How to Inspect Your Motorcycle Before Riding

A motorcycle is a powerful vehicle that requires a lot of care and maintenance. One important part of taking care of your bike is to make sure it’s in good condition before you take it out for a ride. This is the golden rule to make every ride a safe ride. Before starting your bike, follow our simple guide on how to do a pre-ride inspection.

The TCLOCS Inspection

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) recommends using the acronym TCLOCS to remember a routine way to inspect your bike. The TCLOCS inspection involves you checking 6 areas:

T- Tires & wheels
C- Controls
L- Lights & electrics
O- Oil & other fluids
C- Chassis
S- Stands

Tires and Wheels

Check both tires to make sure they are in good condition before they start spinning! Look out for any objects that may be stuck in the tires or any bulges or bumps. Regularly checking your tires also allows you to monitor the tire wear so they don’t get too smooth and lose traction. Also make sure both tires have enough air, as temperature can affect your tire pressure.

Checking Controls

Your controls need to be working normally, so start by checking the hand grips. They should be securely in place, and your handlebars should be straight and able to turn freely. Look out for any grinding sound from turning your handlebars, because such sounds are cause for concern.

We also recommend giving your levers a squeeze to double check that they are well-adjusted. Check for any bends or cracks in the levers. If you squeeze the lever and it has some give, or feels sticky, lubricate the pivot bolts. You can also lubricate clutch, brake, or throttle cables too. Look over your cables as well, checking for any visible damage that may have happened during your last ride.

Lights and Electrics

Your battery is the heart of your bike, so making sure that it in good condition is a critical part of maintenance. Be sure that the battery terminals are clean, and you can even lube them with dialectic grease. Then take a look at your motorcycle lights, too. Your headlamp, turn signals, and brake lights should all be working and the light lenses should hopefully be clear of cracks and cloudiness.

Oil and Other Fluids

When was the last time you changed your motorcycle oil? If you don’t remember, chances are you are due for an oil change. We typically recommend changing your oil once in the fall and once in the spring, bonus points if you do both! Besides your oil, there are other fluids that are keeping your motorcycle running. You also have to be monitoring your fuel levels, as well as the coolant and hydraulic fluid and transmission fluid. You should also be checking for any leaks that might be coming from a seal or a hose.

Chassis

The chassis is the outer framework of your motorcycle. Look out for any damage that may have occurred to the frame of your bike, paying attention to things like accessories as well as the chain or belt. If your chain does not have the right tension or is not lubricated, it can cause issues while you are riding your motorcycle.

Stands

It is important to ensure that your bike can support itself when you are not riding. Check to make sure your stands are intact and not cracked or bent, which would prevent it serving its purpose. The springs should also be checked to make sure that there is enough tension to hold the bike up.