If you value safety there are some things you should check yourself on a regular basis. Routine maintenance is important but pre-ride inspections and regular safety checks should be done between service intervals. If you don’t have an owner’s manual with specs on your motorcycle try to get one. If you can’t find your owners manual or if it is lacking specifications you may want to consider purchasing a service manual for reference. Factory manuals can be very expensive, but there are generic manuals available at most motorcycle shops and bookstores that will have the information you need for your bike.
You should always have the manufacturer’s recommended regular services performed, but the following are things the operator should do between services.
Things you should check before every ride.
Tires and Tire pressure – Make sure both the tires are in good condition. Look for uneven tread wear or damage. You should have a good tire gauge and check that the tires are inflated to specifications. (Note: Because your tires may not be the same brand as the ones that were originally on the motorcycle check the max preasure inscribed on the sidewall of the tire, NOT the numbers listed in the Owner’s Manual or the sticker on the frame.) Remember that the tire pressure should be checked and adjusted when the tires are “cold” aka ambient air temperature. Tire pressures will rise 10% or more when they reach operating temperature. Don’t trust gas station pump air gauges they are often inaccurate; use a good hand-held air gauge. And check the tire pressure regularly. Tires will loose air over time; as much as 5 psi per week.
Oil level – Check the oil as per manual with the bike on a level ground.
Brakes – Make sure the brakes are functioning properly.
Lights – All lights should be checked; high and low beam, turn signals, running lights and brake light (check both front and rear brake lever activation).
Chain or Belt – Check the tension of the belt or chain. Look for damage on belts and make sure chains are well lubricated.
Things to check periodically on your motorcycle
Battery – Make sure battery connections are tight and free of corrosion. Also check the electrolyte level on conventional batteries.
Brakes – Look for fluid leaks and inspect brake pads or shoes for wear.
Controls – Levers and switches should operate smoothly. Check cables for signs of wear or breakage.
These suggestions are for the operator to perform between regular service intervals. Be sure to keep up with the regular scheduled maintenance as these procedures are designed to avoid catastrophic failures and prolong the dependability and ride ability of your motorcycle.