When you have a recreational vehicle of any sort, you are probably going to need a tool or two from time to time. Owning some of common motorcycle repair tools that are get regular use will help for future projects or adjustments. After all, you don’t want to have to take your motorcycle into the shop for every little thing, do you?
Motorcycle Repair Tools: Commonly Used Equipment
A torque wrench comes in handy all of the time, making it a must-have for your tool box. This wrench works on everything (not just motorcycles) and helps keep you from stripping or breaking your bolts. A torque wrench is also one of the motorcycle repair tools that will keep you from over-tightening your bolts.
Almost opposite of a wrench, you’ll need this to loosen bolts. This tool should be used with great caution, as it can sometimes lead to rounding off fasteners. The breaker bar can be one of your best motorcycle repair tools, or it can be your worse enemy. The key to being successful with this tool is to learn how to use it properly first.
A magnetic stick is a moveable, sometimes extendable, magnet. That’s all. This tool helps in garages, in homes, in cars, and anywhere you might lose small items. This is another of the motorcycle repair tools that you can use for things other than bike repair.
Having a full set of screwdrivers can really be a lifesaver. Since screws come in all sizes, screw drivers are not one-size-fits-all. This set of motorcycle repair tools will save a headache when you keep missing the screw because your driver is too big!
Other items that are handy to have are things like extra oil pans, drop cloths and rags, and disposable gloves. Gloves will really come in handy (pun intended) when doing work on chains and other parts of the bike that have thick lubricant. The plus side is, most repair tools also serve other purposes.
To finish this off, we will just say: yes, you need to add these tools to your collection. Having your own motorcycle repair tools will save you a ton of money when it comes to doing simple work!
It’s always exciting to get a new motorcycle. It’s also important to break in the bike properly. However, there’s a lot of debate out there over the “right” way to break in a bike. As it turns out, there is a way to do so which will benefit your bike in the long run…
New Motorcycle: Getting Used to It
The break-in period
First, it’s important to know what the break-in period for a new motorcycle is. Generally, this period is during the first 500-1,000 miles your ride on the bike. However, it’s always a good idea to check the bike’s manual to see what the manufacturer considers to be the bike’s break-in mileage.
Breaking in your new bike is important to help get your bike running at it’s full potential. The friction in your engine is at its highest during this period. This is because the components haven’t been “bedded in” yet, so you’ll have lesser engine performance until they are.
What to avoid
According to some riders, you should break in new motorcycle aggressively. They claim this style of breaking in your motorcycle will prevent the engine from being too weak. However, this style does more harm to your engine instead.
The increased friction in your engine produces more metal shavings than in a broken-in bike. These shavings can then get into your engine oil. Given enough time, and you could end up with these shavings clogging up your oil filter. They could even make their way back into the more crucial parts of your engine!
Instead of the previous method, the best way to break in a new motorcycle is by keeping your throttle low. Try to avoid going over 3/4th of your throttle during those first 500-1,000 miles. You should also avoid high engine speeds, so don’t take your bike out on the highway just yet.
You’ll also want to ride as safely as possible. That means avoiding hard stops, fast starts, and rapid acceleration as best as you can. While you can increase your engine speed to the rev limit for a short period of time, you should do this in quick, one-off goes. Don’t make it a habit to constantly rev your bike up all the way while breaking it in.
Your tires are an important part of your motorcycle’s performance. However, how do you know when it’s time to consider tire replacements? Knowing the signs can help you get new tires before your old ones completely go bad…
Tire Replacements: When Is It Time?
Depth of tread
Checking your tires’ depth of tread is the most obvious sign if you’ll need tire replacements. Too much wear on your treads can lead to safety issues and even blowouts. However, it’s actually pretty simple to check if your tread has gotten too low. The least amount of acceptable tread on a tire is 1/32 of an inch, or 1 mm.
Therefore, you can actually use a penny to check your tread levels! All you need to do is find the most worn part of your tires (usually in the center). Place the penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head going first. If any part of the tread reaches the head, you have at least 2/32 of an inch. Knowing these handy tricks are key to timing your tire replacements.
Damaged tires are unsafe tires. If there are major flaws on your tires, it’s probably time to consider tire replacements. That’s why it’s a good idea to regularly check your tires for any flaws. Keep an eye out for any bumps. broken cords, or uneven wear. These are some of the more harder-to-spot signs of damage than holes or tears. If you notice any of these flaws, then you’ll know it’s time to get new tires.
Tire age is also something you should keep in mind when it comes to tire replacements. Even if the tires have only a few miles on them, they can still deteriorate over time. This can be seen in some obvious and not-so-obvious ways. If your tires are becoming “weather checked“, then that’s a good sign they’re getting up there in age.
However, some tire manufacturers put anti-oxidants in their tires to help prevent this. Still, the integrity of your tire could still be at risk if it’s too old. If you know it’s been quite a while since you got your tires, you should consider getting tire replacements.
Having good tires is an important aspect of proper motorcycle safety. Older tires are more unsafe and more accident-prone than their newer counterparts. If you notice those signs of wear or age on your tires, try to get some tire replacements as soon as you can.
In a lot of pop culture, motorcycle gangs get a bad (or a bad boy) wrap. For example, Sons of Anarchy depicts an outlaw motorcycle gang. In other movies like the John Travolta movie Wild Hogs, some clubs are really just a few friends who get together to ride semi-regularly. What do these two clubs have in common? Biker communities are full of people who come together for the same purpose.
Biker Communities: Finding New Family
You don’t need to be an outlaw to join a club. Actually, it’s probably best that you aren’t an outlaw at all. Biker communities are a good way to feel at home when you’re on the road. Your friends from your local group become your family. This family will become someone you rely on throughout your biking days.
Biker communities are all over. They can be big or small, just a couple of people can be considered a club. The best part is, nothing has to be official. Just calling someone to join your ride will be good enough. You can have a destination or not, it’s up to you.
There may be scheduled rides some days, or impromptu “it’s beautiful outside, let’s go for a ride” rides. Either way, enjoy them when you can. If you decide a more formal club works best for you, try finding biker communities with regular rides. If you can’t, you can start your own! This way, you can add a new patch to your vest or jacket.
Lastly, do we really need to answer the why? Biker communities are a great way to feel more comfortable on the bike or on the road. They can give you confidence and a community of support. There are few other people who will give you the security that your community does.
You don’t need to be part of a gang to be a part of one of the plenty biker communities that are available. Joining the club will bring a new appreciation for your bike, the road, and the community it offers.
Riding anxiety can affect several different kinds of riders. Maybe you’re a new rider anxious to get on the road for the first time. Or, maybe you’re coming back to riding after an accident. Whatever the case might be, this anxiety can leave you second-guessing about going out. That’s why it’s important to know how you can tackle these riding jitters…
Riding Anxiety: Beat those Biking Jitters
Figure out why you’re anxious
The first step in handling riding anxiety is figuring out where it comes from. There are many reasons why this kind of anxiety can pop up. For example, it could come from the crash statistics for motorcycles. Motorcycles can be a bit more dangerous than traditional cars, which can give some pause before they ride.
However, it could also come from a lack of experience. If you haven’t had much or any motorcycle experience, you could be quite anxious over making mistakes. Not only do you not want to look out of your element, but you also don’t want to make any mistakes which could be dangerous.
Think…but don’t overthink
Once you’ve determined where your riding anxiety is coming from, it’s time to think about ways to handle it. For starters, if you’re worried about accidents, then take some steps to make yourself safer. Invest in some good gear, like helmets and jackets, and study why most accidents occur in the first place.
If you’re worried about making mistakes, then it’s a good idea to brush up on some motorcycle riding 101. There’s plenty of online resources you can find that’ll help you figure out what you should and shouldn’t be doing. You can also look for riding classes, which can give you a safer hands-on learning experience.
Experience is key
Of course, the only real way to overcome that riding anxiety is to get out there and ride. If you don’t, that anxiety will keep you from ever giving your bike a good shot. As with most things, the more experience you get riding, the more confident you’re going to feel as you ride.
Still, you don’t have to go crazy when starting out. You can begin with just some simple rides around your neighborhood or town. Once you begin to feel confident there, you can take your riding to the highways and beyond.
One of the best feelings about riding a motorcycle is the ability to feel close to the road. It’s important to remember that motorcycle tires are (almost) the only thing between you and the road. While this can be a freeing realization, it’s also a reminder to check your tires. As is all motorcycle maintenance, proper tire tread can be important to ensuring a safe ride.
Motorcycle Tires: Maintaining Safety
If you’ve ever seen a brand new tire next to an old tire, the difference is noticeable immediately. The grooves on your tire should be definite and distinct. The depth of the tread is a good way to tell how much life a tire has left. Some motorcycle tires have tread wear indicators. Once you see these, you know it’s time to get new tires.
The air pressure in your tires is important. A tire with good tread can be unsafe if it is over inflated. Similarly, if a tire is under-inflated, it can be even more dangerous. Check your motorcycle tires regularly with an accurate pressure gauge. Some recommend once a week and definitely before any long trips.
What to Avoid
When it comes to motorcycle tires, it’s best to avoid mixing and matching brands. If you have two different kinds on your bike, you could become unstable and uneven. However, rear tires will wear out more quickly than the front, so you can mix and match new and old tires. You will likely go through two rear tires for every front tire.
In addition to avoiding mix and match brands, you should also avoid old motorcycle tires. A set that has never been mounted but are more than five years old are unfortunately no good. Over time, the chemicals in the rubber wear down. After this point, the “sticky” tire becomes hard and brittle.
To conclude, be safe and diligent about your tires. If your tread is getting low and the roads are wet, it’s best to not ride. Keep an eye on your PSI regularly. Check your brands and make sure the front and back matches. While these are all basic things, they can be crucial in a safe ride.