Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Top Ten Ways to Prep Your Bike- A Pre-Ride Checklist

Here at Boss Bearing we love a top 10 list!  Before you go riding make sure you read the top 10 most useful things you can do to prevent breakdowns, expensive repairs and improve the quality of your ride.
Pre-Ride Check 1 – Air Pressure. Check your tires at the beginning of the day. As a rule of thumb for Hard Pack conditions use 11 psi in the front and 12 in the rear. Loamy conditions use 12 psi in the front  and 13 psi in the rear. For off-road and rocky conditions you need to use more pressure to prevent flats, 13 front/14 rear.
Pre-Ride Check 2 – Bleed the forks. Forks need to be bled with your front wheel suspended off the ground otherwise you create a vacuum. Excess air in your forks build up pressure and cause a stiff, harsh ride. A 1-2 pound addition of air in your fork can be equal to a higher spring rate. Remember, pressure builds as you increase in elevation and temperature.
Pre-Ride Check 3 – Oil level – Checking your oil regularly is one of the best ways to keep your engine running well. Check the oil level on your bike after the engine has been run for a few minutes and the bike is upright. If your oil is dirty change it before you ride.  If you run the oil level low, you can do a lot of damage to your engine.
Pre-Ride Check 4 – Coolant level. Check your coolant level and make sure it is just above the cooling fins in your radiator. Even the tiniest amount of coolant loss can be a good indicator that your engine has a problem. If you are consistently losing coolant your engine is running too hot, you have a leak, or your radiator cap is bad. Engines that are consistently hot can mean a worn top end, bottom end, clutch, low or contaminated oil. Check for coolant leaks in the radiator, head gasket, hoses and water pump seals.
Pre-Ride Check 5 – Lube and adjust your chain. Check your chain for slack at the halfway point on your swing arm. Your chain should have 30-40mm of or 3½ normal sized fingers of play. Check the chain over a few different points for slack to make sure it’s not kinked or binding. Now is a good time to check your chain guides, sliders, and rollers too. Lube your chain with a good quality motorcycle chain lube.
Pre-Ride Check 6 – Tighten Spokes – Spokes loosen up more rapidly in the first few rides than any other time but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop checking them. The key to tightening spokes is using a good fitting spoke wrench and tightening a small amount at a time.
Pre-Ride Check 7 – Set the Sag. It’s best to set your sag at the beginning of the day when the shock is cool. Check the sag in all your riding gear. Stand on your pegs when you check your sag because it gives a more consistent reading than sitting. If you need to make adjustments during the day, record the changes by number of turns in our out from where you started. You don’t want to check the sag when the shock is hot because it will give you an inconsistant reading.
Pre-Ride Check 8 –Check Contols - The beginning of the day is a good time to set your brake levers height, clutch lever reach, handlebar position, etc. You don’t want to go out and do your first ride and not be able to reach the brake lever!
Pre-Ride Check 9 – Air Filter – Just like having dirty oil, a dirty air filter can harm your engine and it’s performance. Make sure it’s clean before you go riding.
Pre-Ride Check 10 – Nuts and Bolts – A quick once over for loose nuts and bolts will go a long way once you start your ride.
 Do these 10 checks and you'll be good to go!