Are you planning to go on a cross-country motorcycle tour?
Here is the thing: your trip’s success is majorly dependent on how well you prepare your motorcycle for the journey.
In other words, preparing your motorcycle before a cross-country ride is essential. Every rider should consider putting it high in their list of priorities.
Although we can’t always control everything that could go wrong while on a road trip, preparing your bike can help minimize the likelihood, be it in the tiniest or even the most horrible way!
Whether your motorcycle is brand new or has been recently serviced, you’ll still need to prepare it before taking a cross-country road tour.
- It secures your safety while on the road
- It makes your whole journey more enjoyable
- It prolongs your motorbike’s life
- It enables your bike to reach its optimum performance.
So, to prepare your motorcycle for a cross country road tour:
- Do a thorough motorcycle inspection, which involves checking the fluid levels, the condition of the fluids, and inspecting the light.
- Then take the bike to a qualified mechanic, to inspect the brakes and chassis, the motorcycle engine, tires, and wheels, to do motorcycle diagnostics, and any other motorcycle services.
So, let’s now jump right into details.
Do a thorough motorcycle inspection
It’s important to take time and do a thorough inspection of your motorbike.
You can either take it to a mechanic or do it yourself. However, if you are not very familiar with the mechanical stuff, I suggest using an expert for a thorough inspection.
This inspection may uncover more than just the external problems that you probably may have overlooked.
If your motorbike was recently serviced, double-check everything to confirm what was removed or replaced after servicing has been tightened back, no leakage, and nothing is missing.
This should never be taken for granted even when you had an expert working on your bike – nobody is perfect!
The following are some basic inspections that you can do by yourself:
Check the fluid levels
Brake Fluid – Brake fluid is of vital importance in keeping you safe on the road.
Because it can lubricate and protect the whole braking system.
And the good thing is, you can check the brake fluid level visually. If it is below the minimum required level, you should have it top off.
Battery Fluid – The water/electrolyte inside the battery helps the battery store energy and produce electricity from the electrochemical reaction effectively.
It is vital to not only check the water battery before departure but also periodically during your tour.
If the water level is down, add more distilled water up to the required level.
And a word of caution: Don’t use tap water.
Because it contains some minerals that may destroy your battery, so instead, use deionized or distilled water only.
Clean the battery terminals with a mixture of baking soda and water to eliminate the grease and dust.
The following are some bonus tips on how to prepare and maintain your motorcycle battery while on your cross-country road tour:
|Check the clamps, cables, and the case for loose connections or apparent damage.|
Always keep the top of the battery free of grim.
Properly clean the connectors and terminals as necessary.
Check inside the battery for excessive mossing, sediment, or sulfation.
Check the electrolyte level.
Checking the condition of the fluids
In any case, if you notice that the transmission/engine oil is black or dark in color and smells burnt, then perhaps it’s time for an oil change.
I don’t recommend changing the motor fluids, and especially the brake fluid, all by yourself if you are not familiar with the process.
Failure to bleed air out of the bike’s system can lead to serious mechanical problems.
This is the last thing you would ever want when going on any motorcycle road trip, and more so, a cross-country road trip.
Inspect the lights
When inspecting the lights, here is what you’ll need to check:
- Headlight high and low beam
- Turn signals
- Brake light
- Riding lights
|Check the fuse box for any damaged or loose fuses. Don’t forget to carry extra spare fuses on your cross-country road trip.|
Take your bike to an expert
When planning a long cross-country motorcycle road tour, servicing your motorbike before should be the top of your priorities.
Unless you are an expert, doing it all by yourself might not be a good idea. There are always some unseen mechanical problems that only a mechanic can be able to identify.
An expert mechanic should do the following services:
Brakes and Chassis
I would recommend riders to take their motorbikes to an authorized service center to check the brakes system and the brakes.
It is because they are among the most critical components of a motorcycle.
The mechanic should be able to:
- Remove and adequately clean the brake calipers
- Degrease the brake pistons
- Inspect the hydraulic brake system
- Clean and lubricate the levers, pivots, and control cables
- Inspect and tighten all the fasteners, including the chassis bolts and the engine mount
- The clutch and the throttle should be adjusted
- Check the fuel hose
- Lubricate and adjust the chain
The mechanic should check the engine and perform the following:
- Inspect the coolant and top-up/test/replace as required
- Change the bike’s oil
- Put a new oil and air filter – if you are an average road-rider, you may not need to change the air filter. However, the mechanic should inspect and advise you accordingly
On the other hand, riders who are used to riding on dirt/off-roads may need to change the air filter regularly.
Generally, your bike’s engine should perform well on your road tour if the engine is supplied with plenty of fresh air.
- Install new spark plugs – it is important to know that your plugs only need to be changed after covering a specific mileage.
Tires and Wheels
Tires should be well-inspected for any tread depth, dry rot, or cuts on the side walls.
The valve stems should also be inspected for any dry rot and rim cuts on the tubes.
And then again, inspect the axles, lube bearings, and axle nuts for wear.
If you are riding to an area with hot weather/climate, you should always check the air pressure. This is because the air pressure should never be over-inflated.
Having said that, it is best to get tires that are suited for different weather conditions (sun, rain, and snow).
The expert uses a digital diagnostic tool to identify the faults quickly.
Other motorcycle services
Since every motorbike is different, some may require additional servicing.
And this is why it is essential to take your motorcycle to a qualified mechanic.
An expert is hence able to check and identify the areas that need servicing before your cross-country tour.
Finally, do a road test.
A well-serviced motorcycle will not only guarantee you safety on your cross-country trip but will also ensure that you have an enjoyable ride.