122,558 bikers have broken down in the past 12 months!

The RAC reports 122,558 break downs during the past year with the main cause being a battery related issue

According to the RAC, the top three reasons for breakdown are battery fault (15%), wheels and tyres (10%) and poor maintenance, fuel and ignition (16%). Unfortunately, breakdowns can and do happen and whether it’s on the motorway or a mile away from home, they are stressful. So it’s best to check your bike frequently. Maintenance is the key to optimum performance and don’t forget your service checks. Services vary according to make and model so check the service interval schedule in your manual. It will also highlight problem areas you may not have noticed. Not everything wears out at once.

But there are checks you can do at home. Here are the Institute of Advanced Motorists's (IAM) top five tips to get your bike ready for the summer:

1. Test your brakes: apply firm pressure to front brake lever for 3-4 seconds, check fluid sight glass, and for leaks at reservoir and upper union. Repeat the process for the rear brake.

2. Give the electrics a once over: check that the side light, dipped, main beam, headlamp flash, instrument cluster, tail lights (on side and headlight) and number plate lights are working. Test your indicators and hazard warning lights too.

3. Tyres: in the spring the RAC see a considerable rise in tyre related issues. Test tyre pressures, front and rear valve cores and valve caps. Make sure they have plenty of tread. The legal minimum is 1mm but most motorcyclists replace their tyres at 2mm

4. Operations: check throttle and clutch operation (and choke if fitted) through full movement of handlebars.

5. Petrol: look out for fuel leaks. Check coolant reservoir for coolant level, oil level sight glass or dipstick, engine for oil leaks and oil cooler for leaks/damage (if fitted).

If you’re looking for further more tips on motorcycle maintenance, visit betterbiking.org.uk. Whether you’ve just started out or have been motorcycling for the past twenty years, there is something for everyone. You can share your touring stories as well as photos and get up-to-date touring information if you’re going abroad this summer.

It’s not just your bike which needs to be in top condition. A bike’s only capable of what the rider asks of it and with the British summer’s changeable nature, an enjoyable ride-out in the sun can quickly become a challenging ride in a downpour.

Confidence is essential, so if you suspect that you have room for improvement speak to a specialist advanced riding provider like the IAM. Their Skill for Life programme is delivered by dedicated regional biking groups and also comes with 12 months free RAC roadside and recovery cover.

Click here to find out more about IAM.

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