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IAMROAD Smart’s top pre-ride tips

Have you heard of the POWDERY check? It’s the best pre-ride checks you can perform to make sure your motorcycle is road ready.

Ever wondered what checks you should perform before going for a ride? Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart’s head of riding and driving standards, explains the POWDERY checks, which is the proper way to check that you and your bike are ready for the road. 

P - Petrol

Bit of an obvious one, but always make sure you’re fueled up before a long journey. You’ll need enough to get to your destination or the nearest petrol station. Don’t be that guy/gal who chances it and ends up stranded on the motorway. Plus, all of your friends will laugh at you.

O - Oil

Every three or four rides, check you have the right amount of oil by using a dipstick or sight glass in the side of the engine casing. Remember to keep the bike vertical and both wheels flat on the ground when checking. Don’t overfill past the full level though, as this can cause damage to the engine. 

W - Water

If you’re rocking a water-cooled engine water/coolant levels need to be checked regularly, ensuring the bike is vertical when you make the check. If you find that you’re low on water, remember never to use tap water - you’ll need a mix of water and antifreeze. Most of the time, bike dedicated coolants come premixed, so there’s no need to do any mathematics. 

D - Damage

Have a good look around your ride, checking your tyres and bodywork to ensure there is no visible damage. And make sure your gear is in good kick too... 

It’s recommended to replace your crash helmet every 3-5 years or if you’ve had a crash. If you’ve dropped your lid and it’s landed hard, then it’s best to replace it. I know it’s a sting on the bank account, but you only get one head in life.  

E - Electrics

Check your lights and indicators, remember to ensure your brake lights work from both controls. Also, check your horn every few days - ideally not at the crack of dawn - as you might not be in your neighbour's best books. This sounds over the top, but horns do play up from time to time. 

R - Rubber

When did you last measure your tyre depth? The legal limit on a bike is 1mm across three-quarters of tyre and visible tread on the rest. Tyre pressures (which vary depending on the brand) should be tested when the tyres are cold, as the reading will be higher when they’re hot.

Y - You

Are you fit to drive or ride? Have you been under the weather? Don’t risk it if you’re not feeling 100%. For occasional riders, if you’ve been out of practice for a few months, then you may have lost your ‘bike fitness’. Make sure you are fit to ride and remember to take it slow and steady until you’ve got to grips with your machine.

Summary

Granted these check might seem a bit long-winded, and as a daily rider, you're probably not going to perform them every day. But even performing these checks once a week could help keep you and your pride and joy in tip-top shape. As well as these checks, stay on top of any regular servicing, and in the wise words of Bob Marley “every little thing is gunna be alright’’.

Even performing these checks once a week could help keep you and your pride and joy in tip-top shape

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