Getting Your Motorcycle Ready for a Long Distance Road Trip
A long-distance bike trip offers the ideal opportunity to get away from it all and unwind on the open road. Whether you’re headed out for a few days or taking off for an entire summer, it’s important to plan ahead so you don’t have to worry about logistics while you’re basking in the freedom of your road trip.
Address Routine Adjustments
Before departing on your trip, it’s important to make sure your bike is properly adjusted for the added strain of an extended period on the road. Take a moment to inspect and adjust your:
- Suspension: Tightening the suspension is best before adding luggage, racks, and other road trip accessories.
- Headlamp: Adjust the placement to ensure your gear doesn’t obstruct the light.
- Belt or Chain: Inspect for weak spots and replace as needed.
- Battery: Check fluid levels in all cells to make sure your battery is up for the trip.
- Brake and clutch cables: Lubricate as needed.
- Fluids: Check all fluids and top off or replace where necessary.
Check Your Tires
Inspect the tires on your motorcycle to see if the wear bars are showing in the tread. If these are exposed or nearly exposed, you should invest in new tires before your trip. Carefully examine each tire for signs of damage or uneven wear. Consider the climate that you’ll drive in during your road trip. Are your tires equipped for the dry heat or wet chill? Check the inflation of your tires, as well, and make sure they’re right where they need to be before you depart.
On a particularly long adventure, you may need new tires mid-trip. Plan ahead and have your change of tires shipped to a dealer en route so they’re ready and waiting for you when you arrive. If you stop for tires as needed, you risk running into a dealer that doesn’t have your preferred product in-stock, delaying your progress or causing you to settle for inferior tires.
Consider a Windshield
If your motorcycle doesn’t already have a windshield installed, this is a good time to think about one. Though you may be able to brave the discomforts of a bike without this accessory during shorter trips, the strain of a long-distance road trip may change your thoughts on the matter. According to RedFox Powersports, a good windshield will give you protection from debris, wind, and rain, so you won’t have to slow down your trip for weather or suffer the threat of other road hazards.
Take Your Luggage on a Test Drive
Arrange your luggage ahead of time and take it for a test drive to make sure you have a comfortable arrangement. You should place your gear low and position it toward the front of the bike, near its center of gravity. Make sure your items don’t block exhaust pipes or airflow to the engine. Keep your bags away from drive chains and secure everything carefully.
A little preparation ahead of time can eliminate many potential headaches on the road. This will leave you free to truly enjoy the journey.
Image via Flickr by lensnmatter