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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 antioxidants 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.

Emotional Riding: How It’s Dangerous

There is a special connection between a motorcycle and its rider. Riding sparks joy. Not much is better than riding on a sunny day with a slight breeze. A good ride can enhance a good mood, but what can it do for a bad one? Avoiding emotional riding is important when maintaining safe riding habits. Your senses are out of line when emotional, which puts you at a greater risk for accidents.

Emotional Riding: Why To Avoid It

Emotional Riding

Maybe you’ve just received a sad call or gotten some bad news. Or perhaps you’re angry because you and your partner got in a fight. In these cases, to avoid emotional riding can help avoid accidents. These emotions can cause aggressive driving, which leads to 56 percent of fatal traffic accidents. Feeling distressed or under pressure can also cause this erratic riding behavior.

Alternatives

Avoiding emotional riding can come in different forms. In place of riding while upset or angry, you can try:

  • Washing your bike, performing maintenance, or detailing it. Being physically in contact with the bike will give you the same connection but keep you and others safe.
  • Listening to soothing music. Letting your mind relax and go to a different place will help your overall mood.
  • Ride, but not right away. When avoiding emotional riding, it’s important that you take the time and let yourself calm down first. Once you’ve gotten to a more level head space, try going for a short ride. Make sure it’s at a time where traffic is light.
  • Ride to a peaceful place. If you feel like you can’t avoid emotional riding, try riding to somewhere that calms you down. A nice overlook on a mountain or a waterfront spot might do the trick. Focus on getting there safely and not on your situation. Then, use your time at this scenic spot to calm down.

At the end of the day, the safety of you and others is important. If you ride while upset or angry, you are not just putting yourself in danger. Most of the time, situations that evoke these strong emotions are far less serious once fully thought through. Give yourself time to relax and breathe, and then enjoy your bike. Avoiding emotional riding also avoids accidents!

Rainy Riding: Managing Road Conditions

For most people, an ideal motorcycle ride is when the sun is out and the weather is nice. However, as a motorcycle rider, there might be some times when you’ll have to ride in less-favorable conditions, like the rain. Rainy riding can be challenging, but also very doable… 

Rainy Riding: Maintaining Safe Travels

Prepare your gear

Rainy riding means you’ll be facing a constant downpour, and at high speeds. That means that your usual riding gear might not be a good choice for keeping you dry and safe. Instead, you’ll want to get some specialty rain gear to help you handle these special rides.

You’ll want to get some gear that keeps you dry and your grip secure when rainy riding, while also being comfortable. Try to find a good balance between comfort and practicality. Give special attention to your visibility as well. Helmet visors tend to fog up in the rain, so investing in a special clear, anti-fog visor is a good idea. 

Ride smoothly & smartly

When you ride in poor conditions, you’ll have to change how you handle your bike to stay safe. Riding faster or more aggressively in the rain will increase the risk of you getting into an accident. That’s why rainy riding involves going more smooth and making smart decisions.

For example, try to handle your throttle more gently than usual, making gradual changes rather than more drastic ones. Also, try to brake more gradually and give yourself plenty of breaking room. Slamming on the brakes while on a wet surface could result in them locking up, and then sending you and your bike into a slide. It’s better to give increased following distance to avoid these issues when rainy riding.

Watch intersections more closely

Intersections can already be quite risky for motorcycle riders. Rainy riding further increases the danger of these intersections. That’s why you should give all types of intersections special attention when the weather is less-than-ideal. 

Approach these intersections slowly and cautiously. Keep an eye on other drivers around you, and don’t try to do anything risky like making a yellow light. When you’re stopped, take stock of the cars around you and who might be behind or beside you. It’s important to be aware of what’s going on around you so you can act accordingly.

Biker Communities: Join the Club

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

Who?

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.

Where?

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.

When?

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.

Why?

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.