Make Sure You Are Ready for On-The-Road Problems

Are you ready for whatever problems might come your way?

Make sure you don't have a problem on the road by taking necessary precautions
Chains will only be a problem on the road if you neglect them. Make sure they have not stretched or developed tight spots before leaving, be sure the master link is leading with its closed end, check that the sprockets are aligned, carry the correct master link, and check tension daily, so you'll have no need to fret about problems while traveling.Cruiser

It’s good to know that there are a few things you can depend on. Among them are that the batteries in your emergency flashlight will always be dead when there is an emergency, that the last place you’d think of looking for something is where it is, and that your bike will choose 6:03 p.m. on a Saturday, far from home, to have a problem.

To get through your bike's mechanical Murphyism, you need to be able to work on it. That means having the experience and the tools with you to repair it.

The best way of assuring that you have the correct tools and know how to use them is to do as much maintenance as possible yourself beforehand. Not only will you learn how to perform certain tasks in the relative comfort of your own garage, you'll discover which tools from your tool kit will suffice, and which need to be supplemented.

For example, when it’s time for new tires, you can simply take your bike to the dealer, hand him a stack of cash, and roll out with new rubber. Or you can take the opportunity to become more familiar with how your bike is put together. By simply removing the wheels yourself you can save some money and learn what’s involved. To get the maximum benefit, try to do every task with the bike’s own tool kit and the other tools you’d normally carry while traveling. If these tools won’t cut it—if, for example, they don’t provide enough leverage to loosen the axle bolt—then you will know what additions your tool kit needs to enable you to remove a wheel to fix a flat. When you remove a wheel, you will also be confronted with the need to get at least one wheel off the ground at a time, a fold-up or compact stand will be useful here.

Other tools you are likely to add to your traveling tool kit are an adjustable wrench, tire gauge, several common socket sizes with a driver, some small Vice Grip or Auto-Lock pliers, and, assuming you know how to wield them, tire irons. Other supplies include fast-drying epoxy or other goop that will seal a leak, more spare fuses (your stock spare will always blow while you are testing to see if you have fixed the problem), baling wire, tire repair kit, six feet of electrical wire and that flashlight which will have dead batteries unless you take precautions (like wrapping one battery in plastic). We like to carry a spare bulb too. For the flashlight, that is. We find that most motorcycle bulbs can be obtained at gas stations and the vital ones have additional filaments. A burned-out taillight can be remedied by swapping lead wires to the taillight and turning the brake filament into the running light until you get to a gas station.

Tire repair can be handled by a can of inflate-and-seal solution, though tire makers say this can damage the carcass and recommend that you replace the tire promptly. If you are going to fix the tire yourself, you’ll need a means of inflating it, such as CO2 cartridges or a pump, the handiest of which are the kind that attach to the spark-plug hole. Stop N Go sells kits with all the gear to repair motorcycle tires.

Other likely difficulties include leaks, often caused by the bike tipping over and cracking something. We carry the sealant for these. Electrical maladies, usually either a bad connection (generally caused by a loose or corroded connection) or a dying battery, can strand you too. Giving your battery fluid a daily level-check while on the road can head off problems before they strand you. Fasteners that loosen are generally those that have been removed and replaced since the bike left the factory and may need a bit of Loctite to stay put. When they disappear on the road, it’s too late to remedy the problem, so carry all the sizes of nuts your bike uses and a selection of bolts as well.

When loud crunchy noises emanate from the vicinity of the engine’s lower end, your best out may be a phone. A good companion is a roadside rescue service, such as the Mo-Tow service offered to AMA members (call 614/891-2425 for info on this or other membership services).

Related:

Take a look at all the necessary tools you need HERE.