(Please note: If you have a factory ride in MotoGP you can ignore this article. You have “people” that do this for you.)
There are a few things you should do before hopping on your bike to ride that will ensure your bike is running properly AND keep you from getting stuck on the side of the road. If you’re planning a long ride, specifically a multiple day ride, run through these checks a few days before you take off. You don’t want to find out you need to replace or repair something the day before your trip, only to find out the dealer can’t get the part in in time.
1) Fluids – Look underneath the bike to make sure nothing has leaked onto the ground. Then take a closer look at the engine to ensure you don’t have any minor leaks. Once that’s complete, check your coolant level (for water-cooled bikes) and overflow tank to ensure both are at the proper level. Then refer to your owner’s manual to check the proper procedure to check your oil level (many bikes should be checked after running the engine for a few minutes and with the bike level). Also check your front and rear brake master cylinders to ensure the brake fluid is at the correct level. Same thing with the clutch if you have a hydraulic clutch.
2) Drive System – In the case of a chain-drive, ensure it’s lubricated and at the correct tension. Belt drive – correct tension and inspect for cracks. Shaft drive – Just ride the damn thing! Just kidding, make sure it’s not leaking any fluid and you’re good to go.
3) Battery – Ensure the connections on the terminals are tight and clean up any corrosion.
4) Tires – Check for nails or other punctures. Make sure they’re in good working order and not worn passed the wear-indicator and then ensure they are properly inflated.
5) Lights – Check to make sure your headlights, taillights, turn signals, brake light(s), license plate light and gauge/dash lights are all working.
6) Cables – Make sure all cables are properly adjusted and lubricated.
7) Brakes – Ensure there are no leaks or cracks in your brake lines. Check the brake pads to make sure they’re not in need of replacing.
8) Filters – If you haven’t checked your air filter in awhile, pull it out to see if it needs cleaned or replaced.
9) Nuts, Bolts, and Fasteners – Go over your bike to visually inspect all fasteners are in place and double-check to ensure they aren’t loose.
The list I’ve provided you should suffice for 95% of bikes. However, each bike is different so there may be things you need to check on yours that aren’t in my list above.
Be safe and happy riding!