Motorcycle Tire Inspection and Maintenance Procedures

Regular motorcycle inspection and maintenance is essential to keeping your bike working properly and to catching any small problems before they become big problems. Especially if you are about to depart on a long motorcycle trip, it is essential that you go over every inch of your bike and make sure that everything is tuned up and that there are no small problems that could potentially become serious issues as your ride. To make sure that your bike is in 100% perfect working order, let’s start from the bottom.

 

motorcycle tire care and maintenance

Your tires, as the only part of the bike that should ever touch the road, are vitally important. You already know that tires wear down as your ride, but did you also know that they can age significantly in the sun? Unless you keep your bike covered on sun days, you’ve probably seen your tires become bleached and even cracked in the sun.

 

Before getting on your bike, look at your tires. Is there plenty of tread? Are they worn down? Is there any visible sign of damage? Check your tire pressure and give them an extra boost of air if they are low. Doing this before every ride will make sure you don’t have any trouble with one of your bike’s most important parts.

 

While some high tech bikes may have a dial that will check tire pressure for you, the best way to know that you have the right PSI is to check it manually. If you don’t have a pressure gauge, borrow one or purchase one from an automotive supply store.

 

There will be a valve on the tire where you can add air or let it out, usually with a screw-on cap. Take off the cap and press the mouth of the gauge against the valve firmly. If the reading seems particularly high or low, check it again. Most tires will have the recommended PSI either imprinted on the tire. If it is not, check your bike’s owner’s manual.

 

If your tires are underinflated, take it to a garage or gas station where they have an air pump. Use the compressed air to fill the tires, continually checking them with the gauge until you have the right pressure. If you overfill them, you can use the gauge to bleed away excess air.

 

Tread is essential to proper motorcycle operation in the best and worst of weather. A bald tire can make even a small puddle on the tarmac dangerous. To check your tread, take a quarter and place it into the tread. If there is enough depth that the top of Washington’s head is covered, you are good to go. If not, it is time for new tires.

Float Issues on Motorcycle Carburetor

Watching gas pour continuously into my Yamaha motorcycle’s air box was not my idea of a relaxing Sunday ride with my father in-law.  But as the gas continued to flow, even with the engine shut off, I knew that I would be spending this day working on my bike rather than enjoying riding it.

 

I was appreciative of my father in-law who suggested right away that he suspected the trouble lie in the carburetor’s float.  As I got out my manual to begin removing the carb, I started to think that my whole day would be spent diagnosing and disassembling only to find out that I would need a brand new carburetor (or worse).

 

Carefully following the manual’s instructions, the carb came off the bike and was apart quickly, much quicker than I had first anticipated.  The longest part of this process was losing a small piece of the throttle cable and spending 15 minutes on all fours looking for it (after which I proceeded to use my beloved magnetic tray).

motorcycle carburetor float and needle

I was soon looking at the float which we believed to be the source of the problem.  A quick examination of the float and needle showed that it had no wear and was not damaged.  With the carb apart, I followed the instructions on cleaning it and ensuring the float wasn’t indeed stuck.  Once cleaned, I proceeded to put the carburetor back together, hoping that the cleaning had somehow fixed the issue with the gas flowing into the air box.

 

 

After getting the carb reassembled, putting it back into place on my bike and reattaching the lines, I was more than ready to test if the problem had been fixed.  The first crank proved that it had.  Success! My bike started up without issue and no more gas was leaking into the air box. Having only taken a couple of hours to achieve this repair, my father in law and I were able to enjoy the rest of the sunny afternoon riding and I had an extra bounce in my step for the rest of the day knowing I had fixed a problem I had originally thought may hamper more than one day of the riding season.

Tips for “Fly and Ride” Motorcycle Vacations

Say you want to take a motorcycle vacation in another country? Or even just across the country, but you don’t want to waste half of your vacation riding to the place you actually want to experience? While motorcycle riding is about the journey, not the destination, once you’ve exhausted all of the journeys in your area, it may be time to start considering a “fly and ride” vacation. This way, you can spend more time enjoying new roads and the open air, than traveling to your newest ride.

Fly and Ride Motorcycle Vacations

Of course, unless you’re willing to spring for a private jet, you may not be able to take your beloved bike with you. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing! Before you get on the plane, research the motorcycle rental companies located at your destination. Find one that has a bike you are familiar with and a reasonable rate. You are likely going to want to reserve the motorcycle before you arrive, so that you are guaranteed a vehicle. Some companies even provide luggage storage services and may pick you up at the airport, so you don’t even have to worry about finding the company once you’ve arrived.

 

If you are adventurous, this might be the perfect time to check out a bike you’ve always wanted to test out but have never before had the chance. Many riders opt for the same model as they own, to make the transition smooth and easy. Before signing your contract, make sure you know the rental requirements, the local helmet and safety laws, and any insurance that needs to be filed.

 

Packing is probably the most difficult aspect of getting ready for a fly and ride motorcycle vacation. If you are planning on being gone for more than a week, you likely have a lot of gear you want to bring, no matter whether your climate is hot or cold. Unless you can find a way to carry all of that gear onto the plane, the best way to make sure it arrives at your destination safe and sound and on time, is to ship it.

 

Consider this: most airlines charge a steep fee for checking more than one bag (or even for checking a single bag). Those fees multiply exponentially if your bag is over the weight limit. And then there is the possibility that your bag or bags won’t actually make it to your destination, throwing a huge wrench into your plan. Instead of adding all of those costs and uncertainty into your trip, pack everything up a few days before you board the plane and ship it to your hotel.

 

To reduce space and keep your pack organized, try rolling your clothes instead of folding them and packing outfits together so you don’t have to dig to find what you are looking for. And have a safe flight and a great ride!