Road tripping on your motorcycle brings you a sense of freedom like no other. The feeling of being out on the road is great, but when it comes to long road trips it is not as simple as just jumping on your bike and hoping for the best. The saying ‘if you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail’ applies perfectly to this situation. So if you are thinking of heading out on a road trip soon then make sure you are prepared properly so that you can enjoy your trip without any hiccups.
Here are 7 tips for preparing your motorcycle for a road trip.
1. Always Check The Weather Before Riding
One of the most important things you need to do before going on a road trip is to check the weather before riding. Riding in inclement weather such as sleet, snow, rain or heavy winds can be very challenging and it should be avoided where possible. Also, even if the weather seems to be fine, you should always make sure that you are as prepared as possible for any sudden weather changes. Unfortunately, the weather can be unpredictable but if you take the steps to make sure you are ready for any kind of weather then you will be fine. Part of this preparation is making sure you are wearing the correct protective gear.
2. Wear Protective Gear
Wearing protective gear is vital for any road trip regardless of how long it is. Protective gear has been designed to keep you safe from the weather, road rash, general debris, and injury in case of an accident. If you do not wear your protective gear and do end up in an accident your injuries are likely to be far more severe. Gear includes goggles, a full-face helmet, leather jacket and pants, and non-slip gloves. While it might seem like a hassle to put on and take off these layers they are there to protect you and the importance of this cannot be overstated.
3. Windshields Will Make Your Life Much Easier
Windshields are an absolute necessity for your road trip as they will make your ride a lot easier. Using motorcycle adjustable wind deflectors and spoilers helps to direct the airflow in the right direction so that your ride is safer and more comfortable. You can find windshields that are easily removable while still meeting all of the necessary safety regulations. It is worth investing in a high-quality wind deflector and spoiler as these really will make the difference in how smooth your road trip will be.
4. Check Your Tire Pressure Before Riding
The tires on your motorbike need to be regularly checked and before you go on any long road trips you must check your tire pressure. Keep a tire pressure gauge handy so that you can make sure your tires are fit and up to the job. Take care of your tires and they will take care of you. Make sure you check them around once a week, possibly more if you are some who drives often. If you are unsure of how to check your tire pressure there are plenty of online tutorials and tips to help you out.
5. Check Chain Tension
Another important thing to do to help you prepare your motorcycle for a road trip is to check your bike’s chain tension. If the tension is not strong then there will be no power coming from the back wheel which will make your ride very difficult. Your motorcycle chain should have between 30 to 40mm of slack, but this will vary depending on your vehicle. You should have a motorcycle manual specific to your bike and so if you have any doubts regarding the chain you can check back there and see what it says. Don’t forget to do this because if your chain is too tight then it is at risk of breaking and if it is too lose it may fall off. Neither is good for you and your bike.
6. Pack Lightly
If you are someone who overpacks for a trip then you are going to have to learn how to pack efficiently and compactly. The last thing you need is to have a tonne of heavy stuff with you while going on a long ride. This is tiring and it will slow you down. While it may seem trivial, packing lightly will make your life a lot easier.
7. Take Breaks
This point should be taken very seriously and it is vital that you take breaks along the way on your road trip. Nobody is exempt from feeling tired on the road and falling asleep on the road is one of the biggest causes of accidents. 1 in 8 drivers have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel and roughly 20% of all road accidents are caused by driver fatigue. Set yourself a few designated times to take breaks while driving and make sure you stick to it. It can be tempting to keep going so that you get to your destination quicker but it is not worth it. Take a break, have a coffee or an energy drink, and get some food inside you. This will refresh your mind and re-energize your body so that you can continue to ride safely.
8. Bring A Spare Map
So many people nowadays rely on GPS on smartphones and there seems to be no need for a physical map anymore. However, it is best to have a backup plan just in case your phone dies or if it breaks. Life can be unpredictable and it is always best to have a plan b in case the worst should happen. So make sure to bring a physical, spare map on your road trip so no matter what happens you will have that ready to go.
Going on a road trip is an amazing experience for motorcycle drivers and if you put in the time to complete the necessary preparation you will be sure to have a smooth and enjoyable ride.