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Motorcycle Pre-Ride Inspection

Updated on May 16, 2011

Motorcycle Safety - Pre-ride Inspection.

Hello Bikers!

I am certain that most of you have been instructed at the beginning of your riding career the importance of performing a safety inspection of your bike AND yourself. As time goes by though, I know many of us have probably not done an adequate job keeping up with this. To help me keep on my toes and do a THOROUGH job, I just remind myself that if something happens with your motorcycle, serious injury can result. In a car, most of the time you can just pull off the road and choose what action to take, but with a motorcycle a minor thing can cause a major catastrophe! Just getting a flat tire could cause a major mishap that could lead to death! So, doing ALL that you can to make sure your motorcycle is road worthy is vital not only to you, but others on the open road.

Pre-ride inspections will help insure a trouble-free ride and also help reassure you that in an emergency situation your motorcycle will respond to you as it should. An inspection really doesn't take very long and if you do it consistantly before each ride, it will become a normal routine. Much safety information on how to inspect your motorcycle will be found in your Owner's Manual. If you don't have one, I would suggest getting one through the manufacturer or a motorcycle dealer. Visual inspection of your bike will enable you to spot potential problems before they become a problem. Fluid puddles under your frame while the motorcycle is parked, tires that look low need to be checked out. No motorcyclist wants to breakdown on the highway...believe me, I have been there and it is no picnic, especially when it is pouring down rain and you are getting drenched!

An easy method I learned while taking a Motorcycle Safety Course and one most of you have heard of is called the T-CLOCS inspection. This quick, easy, but vital technique should be done before every ride. Just like regular motocycle maintenance, the inspection before each ride is of utmost importance! Wear and tear on your motorcycle will occur with normal use, so as time passes, an inspection becomes even more vital.

This is the Pre-Ride Inspection method I learned in Safety School, called T-CLOCS. Each letter represents an area to inspect on your motorcyle. (Note: I have seen different versions of this, but what follows is the most common)

T -Tires and Wheels

  1. Air pressure
  2. Tread
  3. Cracks, dents, loose spokes on the wheel
  4. Bearings
  5. Brakes

C - Controls

  1. Levers (brakes, clutch, gear shift)
  2. Switches
  3. Cables
  4. Hoses
  5. Throttle

L - Lights and Electrical

  1. Working condition

O - Oil and Fluids

  1. Levels
  2. Leaks

C - Chassis

  1. Suspension components (shocks, springs)
  2. Drive components (chain, belt, or driveshaft)

S - Sidestand

A pre-ride inspection should not take more than a few minutes. If done properly before you ride, it can help you identify something before it becomes a problem.

Remember, a mechanical failure by neglect in an automobile is usually just an inconvenience. But the same failure on a motorcycle may result in you being stranded on the side of the road, injury, or even death! I have heard of bikers who were injured say that if they had really taken the time to consistently inspect their bikes before a ride, the accident most likely wouldn't have happened!

Now, LET'S RIDE!!!!!



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    • Knightheart profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from MIssouri, USA

      I agree, God was with me that day! I still recall that day vividly..June 13, 1973. I came around a curve on a VERY narrow road, wasn't even striped with paint, so really a lane and a half. When I came around, there was a car in my lane, or that side of the road...3 was to go right and hit a rock cliff, go left and go over a cliff, or hit the car. Really didn't have time to choose, so just held on, said, "Oh, my God" and heard the sound of glass. I woke up on the road, my helmet gone, my watch and shoes gone and my leg swelled up and I looked like a Sumo wrestler. I was told I hit the window with my head, flipped over the car and landed on my back behind it. My bike was in flames since I just filled up with gas...luckily I wasn't pinned under it or I would have been toast.

      It was bad and spent over a month in the hospital, but they saved my leg!

      I have seen those idiots bikers weaving in and out of traffic, mostly on those super fast sport bikes, or crotch rockets. Mostly kids that have no sense. I have even seen them on highways riding on their back wheel and they pass me and I am going like 70 mph. What idiots! I just slow down and let them pass me since I don't want them to crash right by me!

      The cruiser I have is very heavy so wouldn't even try some of the moves those others try. No thanks!

      The most trouble I have are idiots on cell phones in vans...something about van drivers! LOL My friend got rear-ended by a lady on a cell phone. She said she didn't see him. I said, "Of course you didn't see him, you had your face buried in your phone and weren't looking!" I just called her dumb and got away from her before I possibly would give her the business end of my boot! They have steel tips too! ROFL

      By the way, that picture at the top is of 'yours truly'. I am waving to you!! hehe

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      10 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Wow...from your account, you are lucky to be alive! Glad that you survived with everything intact. Sometimes when I see motorcyclists weaving in and out of traffic I wonder if they have a death wish. Just like people who drive cars...there are all types of drivers whether on motorcycles or in other vehicles. Can be scary out on the road sometimes!

    • Knightheart profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from MIssouri, USA

      Believe me, I know! I got my first bike when I was 19. The only protective gear I had was a Bell helmet. I got hit head-on by a drunk driver and almost lost my left leg from the impact. I totaled a car (Ford Pinto) with a 175cc Honda! Luckily, I wasn't killed or lose my leg! The bike in the photo above I got in 2006. I hadn't ridden since 1973 and couldn't believe the changes! Of course, the bike I have now is much larger, has add-ons for more safety..the windshield, aux. lighting, highway bars. But the gear I have on wasn't even available in 1973. Armored jacket and pants, padded gloves, waterproof calf high boots. Also took a motorcycle safety course before I bought my bike so I would know what to do in an emergency. Motorcycling has come a long way since my teen years, but some things never stupid drivers not paying attention to their driving and driving like morons, even with their kids on the car!

      I am very cautious now and am going to buy a tractor trailer air horn to blow when some nut almost takes me out! I am glad I have earplugs!!! LOL

      Thanks for your is always first for a wise motorcyclist!!!!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      10 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I remember surgeons saying that they would not allow their kids to ride motorcycles because of seeing the damage done to those injured (when I was a surgical nurse). It is true that people riding motorcycles do not have any protection around them such as a car provides. So your advice of checking things out becomes even more important if one is willing to risk riding motorcycles in the first place.


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