Motorcycle riding season has arrived, so you need to be sure your bike is road worthy. Over the last few decades, motorcycles have been built to higher quality standards than previous generations. In fact, these newer bikes deliver improved comfort, performance and reliability. But components can still break, fail or prematurely wear out.

It’s easy to overlook the importance of a safety inspection because of the high build quality of these bikes. However, you need to keep close tabs on the condition of your motorcycle. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers a comprehensive checklist, so you can perform a thorough inspection before you hit the road.

Important components to inspect

You should take the time to inspect these parts and components after each ride. This gives you the time to fix or repair any problems before the next ride.

  • Lights and turn signals: Place the bike in a dark garage so you can easily see that headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals are properly functioning.
  • Tires: Closely examine the tread and sidewall of the tires and verify there’s no damage, tread separation or delamination. In addition, make sure nails, screws and other foreign objects have not penetrated the tire. If the sidewall has been cut or damaged, you must replace the tire.
  • Wheels: The wheels must not have cracks, missing spokes or worn-out bearings. The wheels should spin freely and not twist or bend.
  • Loose parts: Side covers, fairings, windshield mounts and other body parts must not be loose. Tighten or refasten any components that have come loose. A part that has loosened may fly off a bike.
  • Controls: Throttle, clutch and brake cables and lines must correctly and freely operate. Cables must be properly lubed and there should be no frays or kinks. If a cable or line sticks or binds, you must remedy the problem.
  • Leaks and other problems: Oil or coolant spots underneath your bike indicate a problem. While it may be just a leaking gasket, it could be a serious internal engine or gearbox problem that needs repair.

Inspecting and properly maintaining your motorcycle makes for a safer and more enjoyable ride. A breakdown or component failure can lead to loss of control and result in a serious accident. Take the time to complete an inspection.