3. Motorcycle: Pre-Ride Inspection and Controls

Submitted by ReidMR on Sat, 10/05/2013 - 15:37

Motorcycle: Pre-Ride Inspection and Controls

This video covers the pre-ride inspection and controls for the motorcycle. If you want to learn how to ride a motorcycle safely, these videos will be a good place to start. This is the third video for my learn to ride a motorcycle series.

If you would like to play all of the videos in the series starting with the first video, click here: YouTube Playlist .

I have included links to the other videos in the series and other helpful links at the bottom of this page.

The transcript is below if you prefer reading.


(Sound of pencil scratching.)

[Use this information at your own risk. By watching these videos you consent to indemnify me, my company, and any employees from all liability for anything.]

This video will cover the pre-ride inspection.

The pre-ride inspection is meant to ensure the motorcycle is safe to ride. MSF uses the acronym T-CLOCS.

T is for the tires and wheels. To look at: air pressure, tread, cracks, dents, spokes, bearings, and brakes. Everything should look to be in good working order. The brakes should have adequate pad material remaining. We should inspect the rear wheel as well.

C is for controls: the levers, switches, cables, hoses, and throttle. We can first look at the hoses by walking around the bike. We can sit on the motorcycle. The proper procedure for this is to always get on from the left. Put both hands on the handlebars and squeeze the lever on the right handlebar for the front brake. Swing your leg up and over and sit down. From here we have a perfect view to see where all of the controls are. Hold the motorcycle upright and push the kickstand to the up position. Try to roll the motorcycle with the front brake lever squeezed, it should hold stationary. We can twist the throttle all the way and release it for a feel of how far it rotates. On our practices we will seldom have to go over a quarter rotation. We can press the rear brake pedal by the right foot peg and ensure the motorcycle does not roll. Whenever we brake we should use both simultaneously. On the left side by the foot is the gearshift lever, we will not have to do anything with it at the moment. Above that is the choke control for some motorcycles along with the fuel supply valve. Practice toggling them when you are sitting down, especially by putting the fuel selector to "ON", "OFF", and to "RESERVE". Look closely at it to see where each position is. Some people turn the fuel supply valve off when parking. Near the left handgrip is the choke for this bike, you can try to cycle the choke. Near it is the clutch lever which should be used whenever we shift gears. Try squeezing it a few times. It should be firm but smooth. We should adjust our mirrors properly. We should see about 25 percent of the road as well as 25 percent of our side with the rest open space. The hoses, cables, levers, switches, and throttle should be in good working condition.

L is for lights and electrics. We can turn the ignition switch on to verify that the lights and electrics are working. I will show how to put it in neutral in the next video. If there is a neutral indicator it should illuminate when it is in neutral and the bike should roll more than a few inches without the clutch lever squeezed. It is the green light. We can test the headlight to ensure both beams work by cycling the high / low beam switch. A blue light will illuminate when the high beams are on. I always leave the lights on high beams during the day to increase visibility. The turn indicator lights should also be working. We can slide the turn indicator switch to the left and ensure the corresponding lights are operational. Push the button in to cancel it and check the right turn indicators. You will have to remember to cancel the switch every time because many motorcycles do not automatically cancel. Lastly we can try the horn. (Beep!)

O is for oil and other fluids such as the coolant, hydraulic fluid, and fuel. We are verifying safe and adequate levels and looking for leaks. We can open the fuel tank to check the fuel supply by wiggling it side to side if we cannot see it. Every time after filling up you can rotate the odometer to zero so you have an idea when to fill up. In this case I could drive another 70 plus miles until I need to refill because I can drive a total of 150 miles or so. I will show how to check the oil level in the next video. The front brake fluid should also be adequate, which is above the lower line when the motorcycle is upright. We can get off the motorcycle by using proper technique: put the kickstand down, put both hands on the handlebars, squeeze the front brake lever, and get off to the left. This way we can look under where it is parked for anything leaking, on the motorcycle itself, and other areas to ensure there are no fluid leaks from the motorcycle. You could also do this sitting on the motorcycle or at the beginning of the pre-ride inspection when approaching the motorcycle.

C is for the chassis: the suspension and drive components (whether it be a chain, belt, or driveshaft). That is to ensure they are in proper condition. The chain should be lubricated. This one is lubricated and dusty. The sprockets should have enough metal left. There should not be anything leaking from the front and rear suspension components. If you sit on it the suspension should feel firm.

S is for stands: the side and center stand. This one does not have a center stand. We are checking to ensure they are in working condition and to put them up before taking off.

When people are familiar with their motorcycle they may know how much fuel is in it without checking and combine multiple steps for a faster pre-ride inspection.

The remainder of the video is me doing a pre-ride inspection in real time. It takes about 90 seconds total.

The next video will cover starting the motorcycle and checking the oil.

/End transcript.

Videos in the Series:

1. Intro to Motorcycling. http://www.reidmr.com/musings/1introtomotorcycling.

2. Motorcycle: Equipment. http://www.reidmr.com/musings/2motorcycleequipment.

3. (This video.) Motorcycle: Pre-Ride Inspection and Controls. http://www.reidmr.com/musings/3motorcycleprerideinspectionandcontrols.

4. Motorcycle: Engine Start and Checking Oil. http://www.reidmr.com/musings/4motorcycleenginestartandcheckingoil.

5. Motorcycle: Friction Zone and Shifting. http://www.reidmr.com/musings/5motorcyclefrictionzoneandshifting.

Further Resources:

Please note I am in no way affiliated with the MSF and have made these videos on my own. A special thanks goes to Ken at the MSF for sending me a brochure listing many of the lessons.

1. Organization: MSF: Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Page: Homepage. Accessed August 2013 from: http://www.msf-usa.org.

2. Organization: MSF: Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Title: Basic RiderCourse. Rider Handbook. Printing: May 2011. Copyright: 2001 - 2009. Accessed August 2013 from: http://msf-usa.org/CurriculumMaterials/BRCHandbook2011.pdf.

3. Organization: MSF: Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Title: You and Your Motorcycle: Riding Tips!!. Published: July 2010. Accessed August 2013 from: http://msf-usa.org/downloads/Street_Motorcycle_Tips_2010.pdf.

4. Organization: Idaho STAR. Title: Rider's Guide. Copyright: 2013. Accessed September 2013 from: http://idahostar.org/resources/rider%27s-guide.

5. Organization: Idaho STAR. Title: Practice Guide. Copyright: 2013. Accessed September 2013 from: http://idahostar.org/resources/practice-guide.

6. Your state motorcycle manual. Change MN to your state. Organization: DuckDuckGo. Search link: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=mn+motorcycle+manual.