While modern motorcycles are much more reliable than they used to be, you can still be inconvenienced by a breakdown.
And when you have a motorcycle breakdown, it is not always easy to get back on the road.
In a car, you can carry emergency gear that can get you going again.
However, not all motorcycles have the luggage capacity to carry emergency gear.
Here are six steps you can take to ensure you are not left stranded by the side of the road.
- Join a 24-hour roadside assistance program. Your motorcycle manufacturer may have a service, or your state’s auto club, or try the National Motorcycle Alliance (NMA) not-for-profit roadside assistance service.
- Three out of every five callouts for broken-down motorcycles are for tyre problems, according to roadside assistance sources. So take the time before riding to check your tyres for pressure and wear. You can also pack a puncture repair kit. Some are quite compact. However, those with tubed tyres will also need to carry tyre levers.
- Check your battery before heading off. The NMA says the second biggest reason for callouts is a flat battery, a problem that even sidelined Bruce Springsteen. Battery testers are cheap and a trickle charger is a good idea if your bike is unused for more than a few weeks. There are also cheap and compact battery chargers you can pack on your bike. You should also learn how to jump-start your motorcycle, just in case.
- The third most common cause of a callout is running out of fuel. Learn how much range your bike is capable of and monitor it with your trip meter. Don’t rely on the fuel gauge as they can be inaccurate.
- If your bike won’t start, check that you haven’t forgotten something simple like the kill switch, fuel tap (or petcock valve) or that the kickstand is still down. Some modern bikes have an immobiliser key fob and if its battery is flat it can prevent the bike from starting. Carry a spare key fob battery.
- If it still won’t start, check the spark plugs if they are easily accessible. A dirty spark plug can easily be cleaned if you have a small piece of sandpaper packed under your seat. You’ll also need to pack a spark plug spanner.
- Do you have any other tips to avoid a breakdown? Leave your comments below.