News Riding

Tips for Riding Your New or New-to-You Street Bike

It’s pretty exciting getting a new bike, whether it’s a brand-spankin’ new machine from a dealership or a used bike from a private party. But there are a few steps you should take before you ride away after handing over your cash.

First, make sure you know where all the controls are, that the fluids are topped off and that you know the proper procedure for starting the bike. It may sound silly, but sometimes the ignition switch may be hard to find.

Also, check the electrics. Make sure the headlight and taillight work as well as the turn signals, brake light and horn. If something is wrong then make sure it’s fixed before you go anywhere.

Plus, make sure you check the chain tension to be sure it’s correct on a chain-drive machine.

It’s also a good idea to take a look at nuts and bolts to be sure everything is tight. How? Tug at the handlebars, footpegs, brake calipers and anything else that is bolted on.

Be sure to check to see how much gas is in the tank, and know how to switch the petcock to “on” and “reserve.”

Pay special attention to the brake discs. Feel them for any oily residue and if there is any be sure it is cleaned off before you go anywhere. If you find this problem, change the brake pads as well because they are probably contaminated. Ride around slowly to be sure the brakes are working properly. If you have new pads, remember they will take a little while to bed-in so ride carefully.

In fact, it’s a good idea to take it easy for a while on a new bike or new-used bike anyway until you get to know the machine. It might be a good idea to take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course on your new bike.