Pre-riding inspections can help ensure you’re in for a safe ride. The following checklist is recommended for most motorcycles.

motorcycle

  • Check Tires, Controls, Lights and Accessories, Oils and Fluids, Chassis and Chain, and Kickstand before each ride.
  • Check your tire pressure. Under or over-inflated tires can translate to poor handling and stability.
  • Check your brake lights , turn signals, and all other electrical equipment and switches, including the horn.
  • After warming up your motorcycle, sit it up straight, remove the oil tank cap and use the dip stick to check the oil level. Add oil if necessary.
  • Operate the throttle, clutch, front and rear brakes and shifter. Make sure they’re all working properly.

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Using your Motorcycle's Brakes

Using your Motorcycle's Brakes

­When a motorcycle experiences a rapid deceleration, weight shifts to the front wheel. This makes the back of the bike lighter and can result in the rear wheel locking up and skidding. In this situation, riders should simply keep the rear brake applied and focus their eyes on the horizon where they want the bike to go. The bike will continue to skid, but in a controllable manner with little fishtailing.

When the front wheel locks up, riders should ease off the front brake. If they don’t, the front wheel can tuck under the bike, causing a fall. The best way to avoid a front lockup is to use a technique called “staged braking.” In staged braking, the rider progresses through four stages, with each stage corresponding to a greater amount of pressure applied to the front brake:

  • Stage one has the rider applying the brake just to the point where there is the slightest friction between the brake pads and disc.
  • In stage-two braking, the rider progresses to stage one, then continues to apply a steadier force.
  • brake-parts

    brake-parts

  • By stage three, which is usually reserved for emergencies that require rapid deceleration, the rider bears down on the brake as hard as possible, but only after progressing through the other stages.

This kind of progressive braking will serve motorcyclists in all driving situations and will usually prevent a front lockup.

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Image credit:calsci

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