I cherish the preparation phase of a long trip as much as the trip itself. All the anticipation and excitement that slowly builds, it’s like being a kid all over again.
But I also don’t like surprises, at least the kind that could ruin an amazing experience, no Sir!
Which is why I’ve put together these key things that will guarantee your bike is up to the task when it comes time for that road adventure.
But before we get to the bike, let’s cover a few common sense tips that will ensure total success as well, like:
Know where you’re going. Do some research ahead of time. If it’s your first time where you’re going, do some digging, you’d be surprised how much you didn’t know about a place you’ve never been before.
If it’s your first road trip, start small…You might want to explore the back roads and lesser-traveled corners of your home country first before deciding to cross borders and go to a different continent.
Make sure you take essential documentation with you; license, registration, passports, proof of insurance, etc. Also, if you’re on any medication, take enough to last the trip. Or make plans at the local pharmacy of your main destination.
While on the prep stage, make sure your sat nav is route-map ready, and you’ve downloaded all the additional maps to your device. You don’t want to fiddle with this when you should be focused on riding.
So on to the bike then…let’s walk around it and do a visual inspection of the 6-7 things you must have in top notch condition before you head out… Here we go!
First on your pre- trip checklist:
Brakes – Inspect your front and back brake reservoirs. If you can clearly see the fluid level, don’t unscrew the caps. You don’t want any air or dirt in your brake lines.
Make sure your clutch and throttle cables operate freely and are oiled.
Brakes always get a beating on a road trip, even without passengers. Because any additional load means you take longer to stop and your brakes have to grind harder.
Take the pads out and make sure how much meat is on them.
And while you’re at it, make sure the lever and pedal have enough pressure. If either feels kinda spongy, it means there could be air in the brake line.
Tires – How many miles is the trip? Do your tires have enough tread? The bigger the bike, the faster the tires wear out. Any signs of damage on the walls? For a quick update on –How To Check Tire Pressure– check out this article.
Lights – No lights, no trip! Some states even require your lights for daytime riding also. The good thing is that it’s easy to check, and there’s not a lot of gray area here. Either your lights work or they don’t. To make sure they’re fully operational, place your bike in front of a wall or door. Turn on the lights, and make sure both the full and low beam work.
Same for the rear light. Also, check brake lights, pump the front brake lever, then the rear brake pedal and look for the brighter glow. Test the turn signals and the break lights as well.
Electrics –Electrical wires and components are easy to ignore because they’re usually out of sight. The key here is to avoid trapped wiring or stray wires between frame rails and luggage straps.
Also, lift the seat and inspect your electrical components and make sure they’re safe and secured.
Fluid Checks –This covers oil, coolant and brake reservoirs (which we covered already). Oil checks will depend on your particular motorcycle. These checks range from dipsticks, to sight glasses. Some bikes will have a separate engine, gearbox, and primary drive case oil, keep this in mind. If in doubt, bring it in. Our service department can take care of this for you.
On a miscellaneous basis we got Mirrors and Stands.
As far as mirrors… If they’re cracked, this would be a great time to replace them.
Make sure your side stand is in good shape and if it is spring operated and retracts when you center the bike, ensure it goes all the way up. Same with center stands.
But hey…Why bother with all this? You’re busy planning a trip!
If you’re not in the Ohio area, the easiest way to cover this list is to Google, ‘kawasaki dealership near me’ … or ‘Motorcycle dealer near me’, call and talk to a seasoned specialist at the dealership that could give you sound advice on all aspects of your road trip, and help you get ready to roll.
But if you’re in the Cleveland, Niles, Lodi area… Schedule a service appointment, bring your bike in, and we’ll make sure you and your bike are cleared for an awesome road trip.
Our service dept team is amazing…Those guys live and breathe the rider’s lifestyle. Trust me… I know! 😉
See you soon!