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Motorcycle Repair Tools: The Bare Necessities

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

Torque Wrench

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.

Breaker Bar

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.

Magnetic Stick

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.

Screwdrivers

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

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!

New Motorcycle: Breaking it In

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! 

Break-in properly

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.

Tire Replacements: Motorcycle Maintenance

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.

Damage

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.

Age

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.

Motorcycle Rain Gear

After you ride long enough, you’ll have to deal with riding in the rain. Being prepared with the right motorcycle rain gear can help make these rides more tolerable. However, it’s important to know all your options so you can make the best choice for you and stay safe in unforeseen road conditions..

Motorcycle Rain Gear: Keeping Dry

Material construction

Not all motorcycle rain gear is created the same. In fact, there are several different options and materials to choose from. For example, PVC is very common for waterproof jackets and pants. However, these days, more breathable waterproof options like Gore-Tex are becoming popular as well. 

How breathable your gear is is also important. PVC gear is the cheapest option, but it also builds up heat and moisture. This could leave you just as wet after your ride if the heat isn’t vented out properly. This is why Gore-Tex materials are becoming more popular, but they do cost a bit more.

Visibility

Visibility is also important to consider when picking out motorcycle rain gear. Rainy weather lowers visibility on the road, making it harder for other drivers to see you. Combine this with the tendency for drivers to focus less on what’s around them, and you can be at serious risk.

It’s always good to make sure your gear has reflective patches or stripes. These should be on places which will be visible to other drivers too, like your back or arms. Many rain gear manufactures also offer high-intensity color options which can help with your visibility.

Boots and gloves

It’s important to not forget about your hands and feet as well. Rainy weather could loosen your grip on your bike and cause your hands or feet to slip. That’s why you should make sure to get some good boots and gloves for rainy riding.

Recently, many rain gear manufacturers have started making their own boots and gloves. Gore-Tex, for example, has begun making gloves and boots for motorcycle riders. Still, any good kind of waterproof material will work. These boots and gloves often will come with additionally straps or lacing to help increase their waterproof seals.

Just like when riding in the cold, it’s important to have the right kind of gear for riding in the rain. Luckily, there are plenty of options out there for you to choose from. You can find the right combination of style and protection that will best suit your needs are a rider.

Bluetooth Units: Make Riding Easier

Many motorcycle riders tend to opt for using Bluetooth units while they’re riding. In fact, many modern helmets come designed with these devices in mind. But what is it about them that makes riders choose them? As it turns out, these devices have many features which help with both convenience and safety…

Bluetooth Units: Why They’re Useful

Phone integration

Practically every smartphone these days comes with Bluetooth options. These allow for them to easily connect and pair with Bluetooth units. This means that you can make use of features on your phone without having to ever pull it out while on the road.

For example, connecting your phone to Bluetooth units will let you get directions from apps like Google Maps or Waze. You’ll also be able to answer any potential phone calls you get while riding. All of this can be done without taking your eyes off the road or your hands off your bike, giving these units a nice added safety element too.

Listen to music

Another nice advantage of Bluetooth units is when using them to listen to music. It can be quite loud when you’re riding on a motorcycle, and standard motorcycle speakers just might not cut it. However, instead of investing in a sound system, you can chose to listen to music through one of these devices. 

Streaming services make it easy to just open up a music app, connect your devices, and start listening to music. Also, most of these Bluetooth units have a “priority system”. If you have a GPS app open while playing music, your GPS will always take the priority and cut in to let you know when you’re coming up on the next turn before continuing your music.

Talk to other riders

Motorcycles being loud doesn’t just make it hard to listen to music. It can also be hard to hear or talk to other riders. This can be especially frustrating if you’re riding in a group. However, Bluetooth units can help solve this problem.

Older devices use Bluetooth connections between units to usually allow about 4 riders to remain in touch while within a few hundred feet of each other. However, newer devices use networking, which let’s your Bluetooth connection stay free and increases the amount of riders and distances you can have. While they are a bit more pricey, the added convenience can make them well worth it.

Motorcycle Accessories & Options: Full Fittings

Most motorcycles are good to go out of the box. However, there are a lot of different options out there to customize your ride with. Some of the more popular motorcycle accessories can help you add some personal flare. Not to mention, additional safety features that could become essential in unexpected situations.

Motorcycle Accessories: Keep Your Bike in Order

Audio systems

Audio systems are some of the most common motorcycle accessories riders choose. A good radio and speakers can help you better listen to your favorite music while riding. Furthermore, this means you won’t have to wear headphones to listen to your music, which can be quite risky while riding.

It’s important to know how your new system will mount to your bike. Some will easily allow you to swap the existing system for a new one. Others might need to be mounted elsewhere, like on your handlebars. Make sure to look for a system that won’t be in your way while riding.

Additional lighting

Extra lights are another example of motorcycle accessories with an additional safety benefit. For example, driving lights and light bars help add a bit of extra light reach to your bike. These can be mounted on your handlebars or near your headlight depending on the type.

There’s also cosmetic lighting, which can be mounted just about anywhere on your bike. These lights come in a wide variety of colors, and can be individual or full strips of lights. Some come with the ability to cycle through different colors, or flash and blink. Not only do you get some added flare, but you also improve your ability for other drivers to see you.

Security systems

Motorcycles are often a large investment. Like any investment, you’d want to make sure you keep it protected. That’s why security systems are some of the most recommended motorcycle accessories. Security systems help ensure that your bike stays with you where it belongs.

Additionally, you have a good amount of options here as well. Motion detectors, for example, will sound an alarm if someone is tapering or moving your bike. However, there are also more advanced options, like RFID keyless ignitions and GPS trackers. These give you some added control over your bike, but come at a higher price point.