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Annual Electrical Inspection

This is something that should be done more than once a year, but at minimum it should be done at least annually. That is the electrical inspection of your motorcycle. This is to ensure that everything is functioning the way it should as far as lights, kick stand switch, kill switch and more. Please make sure to check these things at least once a year:

  1. Proper dash lights illuminate when ignition on, but motorcycle isn’t running.
  2. Day lights (if equipped) – ensure they come on when the motorcycle ignition is on but motorcycle is not running.
  3. Headlight low beam
  4. Headlight high beam
  5. Left turn signal front
  6. Left turn signal rear
  7. Right turn signal front
  8. Right turn signal rear
  9. Taillight
  10. Brake light when applying front brake
  11. Brake light when applying rear brake
  12. When in neutral and kick stand down – bike starts
  13. When in neutral and kick stand up – bike starts
  14. When in gear and kick stand down – bike doesn’t start
  15. When in gear and kick stand up – clutch released – bike doesn’t start
  16. When in gear and kick stand up – clutch engaged – bike starts
  17. When in gear and kick stand goes down – bike stops
  18. When in neutral and kick stand goes down – bike continues running
  19. Kill switch turns off motorcycle

I did a brief run down in this video for my 1000sx

Situational Awareness – Road Debris

Road debris can be just as unpredictable as cars, but the best thing you can do is be situationally aware and plan for exit paths. In the below video I go through a video posted on YouTube where somebody faces the “flying plastic” paradox – does it go left, right, oh wait – it moved completely different because of that other car. Always be prepared.

Motorcycle Riding Tips for the Winter/Cold Season

Hi Everyone! Riding a motorcycle in the winter can be a thrilling and enjoyable experience, but it’s important to take extra precautions to ensure your safety. So these are five tips to help you safely enjoy cold season riding.

  1. Dress Appropriately. Now this may seem like an obvious one, and I know you aren’t going to go out in a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops. Even squids aren’t that crazy in the cold season… or are they?  You want to wear warm, waterproof gear to protect yourself from the elements. Layering is key, as you’ll want to be able to remove or add layers as needed to regulate your body temperature especially as the temperature changes throughout the day. Make sure you have a base layer that has the armor and protection you should always have while riding. Of course you wear a helmet normally, right? For winter riding a lot of helmets come with a air dam that will help keep your face warm. You can also wear a thin face mask underneath to help keep everything much warmer. Your gloves should be non ventilated and thicker. Heated grips are nice, but the outside of your hands can get cold, so heated gloves would be a nice investment. You can also wear glove liners to help keep your fingers toasty on those cold weather days. You want good boots, possibly even heated boots, with thick socks. The important thing here is if your feet sweat your socks will get wet and your feet can get really cold, so make sure to keep extra pairs of dry socks. The most important thing is to do what you can to keep your extremities warm and protected.
  2. Check your motorcycle. This is another one which should go without saying and should be done before every ride, but you need things to be in the best condition possible. Being stranded on the side of the road because you forgot to check the chain and sprockets and a failure happened is bad enough, but when it is freezing temperatures outside it can be brutal. Make sure your bike is in optimal condition including the tires, tire pressure, chain, sprockets, brakes, fluids and full tank of gas. Ensure everything is in proper working order.
  3. Take it slow. I know one of the big thrills for riding any type of sport bike is to go fast, but when it comes to the cold season you want to take it much slower. Road conditions can be slippery and unpredictable in the winter. You have sand, salt, cinders, ice, snow and much more things to look out for than normal. You want to be sure to give yourself plenty of time to react to any hazards and avoid making sudden moves or sharp turns. Take extra caution when braking and accelerating. It is also important to note your tires take much longer to warm up in the cold, and they don’t stay warm as well, which means they will be less sticky and have less traction. If you need to warm them up for some extra twisty roads, remember braking and accelerating are what cause motorcycle tires to heat up, so do so on a safe, dry and debris free surface and take things slow.
  4. Stay visible. While this is something that we strive for all year long, visibility is a bit more complicated in the colder season. You have fog and snow which greatly impacts the ability for other drivers to see you. Cloudy, murky days where things have less contrast and appear more gray and flat can make it much harder to be seen. Wear reflective gear, even if you have to get one of those bright green or yellow vests. Always ensure your headlights, taillight and signals are all properly functioning and clean any dirt off the lenses to help their intensity. Keep in mind it will be harder to see others out there as well, so keep a keen eye on everything. A lot of people drive in bad weather without headlights on, this time of year is definitely no exception.
  5. Watch for ice. Ice can be a major hazard when riding a motorcycle in the winter. Keep an extra special eye out for black ice – as it can definitely catch you off guard and put you in a risky predicament. Even if the weather turned nice and it is fifty degrees out, black ice can be hidden in shady spots that don’t get sun. Always avoid riding on frozen bodies of water, you never know how thick the ice is and if your tire suddenly breaks through it can flip you over the handle bars or cause you to lose control. If you do come across ice, take it slow and try to maintain as much control as possible. It is always best to hit ice head on and in a straight line, so try to avoid turning on the ice.

Those are the big ones. They may seem obvious, but I feel it is a good idea to have a gentle reminder every year when full-time riders hit the cold weather season. Just remember to always use caution and be aware of your surroundings, and you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of winter on two wheels.

Stay safe and keep the rubber side down.

Get Your Bike Ready, It’s Time To Ride

The fresh scent of Spring in the air, birds chirping, trees and plants blooming and riding weather will be quickly upon us, though some it has already come. You may have already started your riding season, but for some of us it hasn’t yet; however, it is quickly approaching. With the beginning of riding season, you need to get your bike ready. If you ride year round, or live in an area where the weather is nice year round this post may not really apply to you. For the rest, read on.

If your bike has been sitting, there are a couple things you need to do to ensure it is ready to ride. Some of these things are part of standard pre-ride checks, but others don’t occur as often.


Hopefully you did one of two things during the off-season. You either removed the battery and brought it inside or put it in a warmer climate area or you had a tender hooked up to it. If you did neither of these, your battery is going to need a charge. Hook up a charger and get your battery ready to go. Nothing is worse than hitting nice weather and you go to start your bike and it does nothing or you get that awful starter sound where it just doesn’t have enough juice to engage. There is a possibility where you may even get the bike started, but it may not have enough juice to start again unless you ride long enough. If your battery is completely dead, it is best to just replace it, as it will never be as reliable. In either case, get a charged battery ready for you to ride.


I am hoping everyone put stabilizer in their fuel before the off-season. Gas goes back quickly, especially gas with ethanol. Without stabilizer, the gas breaks down and gets gunky. You may go and start your bike and it starts fine, but that gunk is going to clog your filters, injectors or carbs and maybe even your fuel pump. If you didn’t put stabilizer in your gas, it is time to find a can and drain the tank and put fresh gas in. If you did stabilize, hopefully you stabilized with a full tank. If not, there may be some rust in your tank now if it is metal. Be careful about this, that rust will continue eating through the tank until you spring a leak. If you did have stabilizer, your gas should be good to go. If it seems to run rough, go ahead and drain it and use it in your lawn mower, pressure washer or some other machine and put fresh gas in.


Your tire pressure is more than likely low. My tire pressures are 36 PSI up front and 42 PSI in the rear. When I checked the other day, they were 20 and 24. Check your pressures and make sure they are correct. Most times you should go with the motorcycle recommended settings (can be found on swing arm or some other sticker on the bike, or in your manual). If you drastically change tires or other things, you may have custom pressures you use, just make sure they are right before you begin riding.


There tends to be this misconception that if you just changed the oil before the end of the season that you don’t need to change it in the Spring. This may be true in your case, but it most likely isn’t. If your bike is stored in an area that cools down and heats up, condensation forms on the inside of the motor. Oil loves to absorb this moisture and it gets ruined. This doesn’t matter if you are using conventional or full synthetic – it still absorbs the moisture. Sometimes you may go to check your oil before the riding season to make sure the level is good – something you should do before every ride, and it looks cloudy or milky. You may even see condensation on the site glass (if you have one) because the warmer weather has heated up on the outside and caused little water droplets inside your engine to form. In any of these circumstances, you need to change your oil. Don’t run your bike with water logged oil, it isn’t good for it. If you had a climate controlled garage, brought it in your house or a few other rare situations, you may be okay, in which case you just need to make sure you have the proper oil level. Check for any oil leaks, especially around the drain plug and filter. Make sure no hoses are leaking, etc.

Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is like oil in the way it absorbs moisture; however, it doesn’t need replaced every year. Most manufacturers recommend every two years. The reason is that brake fluid breaks down over time, but it also absorbs moisture for the same reasons your oil does – condensation. Some think it is a closed system, so moisture cannot get in – but this isn’t the case. The same thing happens as the engine, if the brake lines, reservoir, calipers and such warm up, and the insides are really cold, moisture forms. If you are at the two year mark, this is the time to change out your brake fluid. If not, just check the levels and make sure all is good. The last thing you want is to not be able to stop. Check

Engine Coolant

If your bike is liquid cooled, this applies to you. Engine coolant is not affected by moisture like oil and brake fluid, but the lubricative elements of the coolant break down over time and with use. These keep your water pump functioning and not bind up. Other elements in the coolant keep corrosion from happening inside your radiator and lines. Replace your coolant at manufacturer recommended intervals. A lot of bikes this is two years, and the best time is at the beginning of a riding season. If you are not due for a replacement, check the level and for any leaks around the radiator, hoses and engine.


Hopefully you cleaned and lubed your chain before the end of last season, but in either case, it is a good idea to clean and lubricate it before the season. The reason is if it is sitting, well, anywhere – dust and other debris can accumulate on the chain. A good cleaning never hurt it, but at the very least lubricate it. Check the tension and make sure everything looks good as well as the sprockets.


Checking the brakes on a motorcycle can be a chore, but if you are not sure of the wear levels it is worth checking to make sure your pads are good. Braking is very important for any vehicle, as you need to be able to stop. Sometimes you can get a flashlight and the right angle to look down in the calipers and see the pads, maybe even see the wear notch. If not, go ahead and pull the calipers off and check the wear level of the pads. The fronts will tend to wear down quicker than the rear, but always good to check both. If they need replacement, go ahead and do that so you can stop when you need to.

Standard Pre-Ride Checks

Make sure to perform your standard pre-ride checks that you do (you are doing them right?) before every ride. Walk around the bike and look for any leaks. Check your lights to make sure they are working, as well as your horn. Make sure your steering works as expected. Check your brakes and throttle response to make sure everything is as it should be. Make sure you have your latest insurance and registration for the bike.

The responsibilities that come with owning a motorcycle may seem like a lot, but they are to keep you safe and your machine running in good working order where it will last a long time. Be sure to do all your service maintenance at the proper intervals. Some are every year, two years, five years. Some are just by mileage. Go through your manual or look up the service schedule online. Keep your bike healthy and happy and it will return the favor.

Once you are all set, head on out and enjoy! Keep your eyes up and two wheels on the ground. Be sure to watch for all of the cars (cagers) out there – they aren’t used to seeing bikes from the off-season, so they will be even less likely to be looking. Stay safe and hope to see you out there!

The Importance of Chain Maintenance

I decided to write this post after coming across a post on a facebook group I am a part of where the OP was asking for recommendations for new chain and sprockets because their chain snapped. Naturally, I asked to myself, “How did the chain snap?” To the comments!

Someone else asked the same question, and the OP’s response was that it was an old chain and they had it serviced at the dealer at the beginning of the year and was hoping to get another year out of it.

Queue the red flags, the sirens, the red alert, everything! They had it serviced at the beginning of the year! Why is this bad? Well, unless they only rode a couple hundred miles and never in the rain then there needed to be more maintenance done. Don’t get me wrong, it is possible that they only rode a couple hundred miles during the year, but by the way the comments were going from the OP this was not the case.

You should always lube your chain after riding in wet weather or washing the bike – this is critical. I will get into more on that in a minute. You should clean and lube your chain about every six hundred miles or so. If you are on a long trip you can get away with just lubing it rather than cleaning it all the time as you do need a water source to rinse the cleaner off.

Why? Well, the chain is metal for one. We aren’t talking stainless steel or aluminum, just regular steel. What happens when regular steel gets wet? It rusts. What also happens? The water seeps into the pins (unless they are sealed, but even then it can still get in there) and rust forms which then causes friction which causes wear. By not lubing your chain after it gets wet, you are going to shorten it’s life quite a bit and it won’t be as safe to ride. Water can also remove the lubrication, which then wears your sprockets.

As for cleaning – think about where that chain is. What it is going through and picking up. Dust, dirt, tar, little gravel, grass and more. This stuff just accumulates which then causes premature wear on the chain and your sprockets. So cleaning it off every so often is just a good idea, but you need to wash the cleaner off before lubricating otherwise the cleaner will actually render most of the lubricant useless.

You might be thinking, okay – so I’ll just replace the chain and sprockets (remember to always change both, never just one or the other) as the wear. Well, that’s like saying you’ll just change the oil in your car when it gets low rather than at it’s scheduled maintenance thereby leading to wear on the engine. When your chain starts wearing prematurely, it isn’t a natural wear. It cuts grooves and weakens links in the chain. Now think about this – if you’re going 70mph and the chain snaps it’s going to fling up, rip the plastic chain cover to shreds, then smack your engine typically ripping a chunk right off thereby destroying your motor. Is it really worth it then?

Another benefit to regular maintenance on a chain is it gives you a chance to inspect it. Notice any bad wear patterns, or bad looking links. Things that may be an indication of an impending failure so you can take care of it before you end up totaling your motor.

A well maintained chain and sprocket set should be able to last 20k – 30k miles. Neglect can shorten that drastically.

Do yourself a favor, take the time to maintain your chain. If you’re going on a long trip, make sure to carry chain lube with you for if it rains.

Stay safe out there and keep the rubber side down.

Chain Maintenance

Motorcycle Safety in Electrical Storms

When riding a motorcycle, you should avoid electrical storms as much as possible. Lightning can be deadly in itself, but couple that with being knocked unconscious or unable to control the bike and you have to deal with an accident on top of that. Your body is already in a state of shock from the lightning strike, but then you have to deal with the shock and damage of the accident, and that’s assuming you even survive the impact.

Avoid electrical storms – that includes heat lightning. Lightning can strike up to ten miles away. That means even though you have clear skies over head, you can still be struck from the storm off a little in the distance. Also remember that if you don’t see lightning, but you hear thunder, it is still there.

Since 2006, only eleven riders have lost their lives due to lightning strikes, but keep in mind most riders avoid the storms to begin with. There is a 99% chance that if you are riding and you are struck by lightning it will be fatal.

Riding faster does not make a difference. Lightning travels at speeds around 300,000 MPH. So even at 100 MPH you are virtually stopped

Your tires do not protect you.

Your gear does not protect you.

You are literally a lightning rod traveling down the road.

So please, do not ride in an electrical storm.

This is a short post because I did a YouTube video on this, so go check it out!