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Discussion Starter #1
Riding a motorcycle is as close to flying an airplane as one gets without actually leaving the ground. And like an airplane, your bike should get a thorough "pre-flight check" before heading out on the highway.

Like an airplane, if something goes wrong on your bike while you're riding, you're likely to crash, maybe likely to die. (There's a video on YouTube where the biker's chaps that he failed to secure on his pillion get wrapped up in his rear wheel. The bike does a 180, then flips and tosses him into a truck on the freeway.)

I subscribe to regular factory authorized shop service. It's part of the cost of riding. The shop puts the bike up on a hoist and sees stuff I tend not to think about.

Pre-ride I check tire pressure. This is a good time to check tire condition, look at wheels, fasteners, etc.

Check drive belt tension. If it's not right, there may be a serious reason.

Check suspension pressure.

When I check tire and suspension pressure, I remove the bags. This means I check the bags to ensure they're secure, in good working order.

I check the knurled nut securing my saddle.

Check racks, grab rails, engine guards, fairing components, highway pegs for security/operation. Luggage, baggage tight, secure, nothing loose or flapping.

Check oil levels -- duh! (Then when starting the engine, check the pressure gauge.)

Check the battery gauge for proper charging.

Check running lights, turn signals. Check that dash lights are working.

ABS light should go on, then off.

I use cruise control a lot, so it gets checked for operation every time I ride. This is an "in ride" check.

I ensure what I'm wearing is in good repair, zipped, buttoned, buckled, tucked in, secure.

Of all these checks, I think tire pressure is probably the most crucial. Tire pressure affects handling. Handling affects safety.

I've seen too many riders jump on their bike and ride away, only to find something flapping in the breeze as they pull onto the highway.

:bikerguy:
 

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Great Points.

I couldn't even begin to count the number of A7 and F16 pre-flights I've done.

One thing we learned is that a "second set of eyes" is always a good idea.

We'd swap jets for pre-flight about once a week.

Get a knowledgeable buddy to give your bike an occasional pre-flight and return the favour.

You'll be surprised how often your buddy spots that piece you've been "keeping an eye on" is now to the point of needing attention.

Looking at the same parts over and over breeds complacency.
 

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Village Idiot
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another thing that really helps, is to have an actual "check list" on paper. I used it all the time in my airborne days after watching pilots use it for each pre-flight. I also made my teams use it every time they put the communications systems in operations. Use it every time and check off the item that you just checked, it is the thing that you miss that will ump up and bite you in the ass. The list help reduce the chances of missing something.
 

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Fat Guy on the Ultra
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Missed one. Fuel level. By buddy forgot to check his before he left house. He forgot hr hit reserve on way home last ride and met me at the parking lot at work. He started his and pulled outa parking space and it died. He was bone dry....

Sent from Motorcycle.com Free App
 

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I have a ridding buddy that has the same level of riding knowledge as myself so we get along great on the roads. One thing we tend to do together every 3000 miles is an oil change and cleaning. But we both work together on one bike at a time. This is the more eyes on the better thing. He finds problems on my bike I missed and vise-versa. Actually I find more things wrong with his bike cause he's harder on his bike than I am on mine. He actually got to hating me looking at his bike because I always noticed problems that took time or money to fix. Good thing about that is he has a nice Snap-on lift, and a fridge full of beer in his shop.

I wasn't a pilot, I was an aircraft electrician on H3 Sea Knights Helo's, P3 Orions, C2 Cods, C131's then F14 Tomcats. So my check list may be a little different than a pilots list but still pretty thorough. Attention to detail will get you pretty far in life, no mater what you do.
 

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All good reminders, I like the TCLOCK acronym to serve as a good checklist. I was trained as an Army helicopter pilot, so you learn to use those skills in every part of your life, regardless of your level of proficiency.


T- Tires and Wheels

Tires- Check tread depth, wear and air pressure
Wheels- See if any spokes are loose or if the rim is bent or cracked. See if it turns freely, but is not loose on the axle.

C- Control Levers

Inspect levers. Verify they are not bent or broken and move easily.
Check cables for fraying and lubricate them.
Check hoses for cracks, leaks, bulges and chaffed areas
Make sure the throttle moves freely. Closes easily. Lube if needed.

L- Lights & Battery

Check that the battery terminals are clean and tight and that the electrolyte level is correct. Plus make sure the vent tube is hooked to the vent outlet and not kinked
Check the turn signals and brake lights for proper operation. Make sure the lenses are not cracked or broken
Headlight- Check for proper operation and alignment

O- Oil Levels

Check engine oil level plus transmission and primary drive fluid levels

C- Chassis

Steering Head-Move handlebars back and forth to check for tight spots or binding.
Hold the front brake and rock the bike front to back to check for any free play in the neck bearings.
Suspension- Check the front forks and the rear shocks for smooth travel and right air pressure (If equipped)
Belt- Check tension and visually inspect for any rocks or other objects stuck in it.
Fasteners- Check for any loose nuts or bolts and tighten if needed

K- Kickstand
 

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I ride everyday, I check many of the items you listed. I only check tire pressure with a gauge once a week, and same with the oil level. I do a good walk around everyday, but riding everyday I know when something is not right.
 

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Being an A&P mechanic I am guilty. I spend 10 hours a day doing it on C-145's (M-28 sky truck) and do it on my bike three or four times a week. I actually keep a running log on my bike every time I do anything to it, to include gas. Call me anal but I have never broke down anywhere. Knocking on wood now...haha.
 

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Mississippi Cajun
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I'm a pilot and am ashamed to admit that I don't always do a complete "pre-flight" when I take off on the scoot. Thanks for the reminder. BTW, the suggestion of a written check list is a great idea.
I might also add that besides the pre-flight check, we have a pre-takeoff routine that could be applied to the bike such as instrument check, listen for things that sound like they're falling out of the engine, lights, turn signals, etc. The more alert we are to what's going on with the bike, the safer we all are.
 

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All good reminders, I like the TCLOCK acronym to serve as a good checklist. I was trained as an Army helicopter pilot, so you learn to use those skills in every part of your life, regardless of your level of proficiency.


T- Tires and Wheels

Tires- Check tread depth, wear and air pressure
Wheels- See if any spokes are loose or if the rim is bent or cracked. See if it turns freely, but is not loose on the axle.

C- Control Levers

Inspect levers. Verify they are not bent or broken and move easily.
Check cables for fraying and lubricate them.
Check hoses for cracks, leaks, bulges and chaffed areas
Make sure the throttle moves freely. Closes easily. Lube if needed.

L- Lights & Battery

Check that the battery terminals are clean and tight and that the electrolyte level is correct. Plus make sure the vent tube is hooked to the vent outlet and not kinked
Check the turn signals and brake lights for proper operation. Make sure the lenses are not cracked or broken
Headlight- Check for proper operation and alignment

O- Oil Levels

Check engine oil level plus transmission and primary drive fluid levels

C- Chassis

Steering Head-Move handlebars back and forth to check for tight spots or binding.
Hold the front brake and rock the bike front to back to check for any free play in the neck bearings.
Suspension- Check the front forks and the rear shocks for smooth travel and right air pressure (If equipped)
Belt- Check tension and visually inspect for any rocks or other objects stuck in it.
Fasteners- Check for any loose nuts or bolts and tighten if needed

K- Kickstand
K ??? do they have kickstands on them helo's?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yeah, check fuel. Seems like a no brainer. First thing I do is set the ODO and then figure out where I'm going for a gas up. (Although when it went over $4 / gal. we stopped calling it "gas" and started calling it "fuel." )

Lots of checks are just second nature. I check that lights work, signals, gauges, switches, controls.

When I started this thread I was thinking I might get flamed as being "preachy." Good to hear I'm not the only one who sees riding as a lot like flying. I concede to having ridden down the road with the saddle bag open. (I stowed some stuff, then pulled on the helmet.)

:asshat:
 

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Señor Member
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I ride everyday, I check many of the items you listed. I only check tire pressure with a gauge once a week, and same with the oil level. I do a good walk around everyday, but riding everyday I know when something is not right.
That's probably often enough if you ride everyday, I would think.
 

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On the loose
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All good reminders, I like the TCLOCK acronym to serve as a good checklist. I was trained as an Army helicopter pilot, so you learn to use those skills in every part of your life, regardless of your level of proficiency.


T- Tires and Wheels

Tires- Check tread depth, wear and air pressure
Wheels- See if any spokes are loose or if the rim is bent or cracked. See if it turns freely, but is not loose on the axle.

C- Control Levers

Inspect levers. Verify they are not bent or broken and move easily.
Check cables for fraying and lubricate them.
Check hoses for cracks, leaks, bulges and chaffed areas
Make sure the throttle moves freely. Closes easily. Lube if needed.

L- Lights & Battery

Check that the battery terminals are clean and tight and that the electrolyte level is correct. Plus make sure the vent tube is hooked to the vent outlet and not kinked
Check the turn signals and brake lights for proper operation. Make sure the lenses are not cracked or broken
Headlight- Check for proper operation and alignment

O- Oil Levels

Check engine oil level plus transmission and primary drive fluid levels

C- Chassis

Steering Head-Move handlebars back and forth to check for tight spots or binding.
Hold the front brake and rock the bike front to back to check for any free play in the neck bearings.
Suspension- Check the front forks and the rear shocks for smooth travel and right air pressure (If equipped)
Belt- Check tension and visually inspect for any rocks or other objects stuck in it.
Fasteners- Check for any loose nuts or bolts and tighten if needed

K- Kickstand
That actually in the MSF basic rider course handbook, not in as great of detail though .
 
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