Riding a motorcycle gives you a sense of complete freedom. You can go anywhere without being caged in by metal. It’s a great way to get around, but there are a lot of dangers involved too.
Motorcycles are less visible and crashworthy than other vehicles. The rider is exposed to all of the elements when a crash occurs and this is often deadly. That fact is one of the reasons why 4,985 riders died in motorcycle wrecks in 2018.
Tragically, the 2018 numbers were actually 5% lower than the usual yearly average. The higher rate of death and injury when riding a motorcycle is why it’s so important that riders know what they’re doing.
Part of knowing what you’re doing is knowing how to care for your bike, so here are three repairs that every rider should know how to make.
1. Patching A Punctured Tire
Tire problems are one of the most common issues motorcycle riders face. Tires wear out quickly because they’re in constant contact with the road. Knowing how to patch a tire is a crucial piece of information for every rider, especially if you plan to drive through rural areas where assistance can be hard to find.
To patch a punctured tire, you need a basic plug kit. It contains a rasp, a needle tool, rubber cement, and sticky strings. You may also need pliers, in case an object like a nail is stuck in the tire.
First, you need to remove the object that caused the hole if it’s still there. Once that’s done, you insert your rasp into the hole and stretch it until it’s the same size as the rasp. This will make the edges of the hole rough, which will help hold the plug in place.
You then grab your needle tool, thread a sticky string through it, add some rubber cement to the hole, and insert the string using the needle tool. Then, you slide the needle tool back out and trim any string that’s not level with the surface of the tire.
Once the cement is dry, you can inflate your tire to its normal size.
2. Replacing Brake Pads
There’s no set time limit for how long you can use a set of brake pads before they need to be replaced. How quickly they wear out will depend on how often you ride, what shape your rotors are in, and other factors.
Because of this, you must be able to spot the signs that it’s time to change your brake pads.
It’s time to change your brake pads if you notice that the groove pattern is almost gone, the bike is taking longer to come to a full stop, or if you hear a high-pitched squealing noise when you apply the brakes. Typical signs as driving a car.
To change your brake pads, you need a spanner, a set of sockets, brake cleaner spray, an old rag, a large flat-headed screwdriver, copper grease, bungee cords, a torque wrench, a pair of pliers, and some brake fluid.
The process has a lot of steps, but the summary of it is you need to remove your caliper, remove the old brake pads, clean the caliper, put in the new brake pads, and then reinstall the caliper. Once that’s complete, you need to top up the brake fluid reservoir, and then you’re good to go.
If you don’t want to take on this process yourself, you can head to a local mechanic. If you’re in a busy city like Chicago, you should have no problem finding someone to perform the task.
3. Changing A Headlight
Blown headlights are a major cause of motorcycle accidents. Some estimates say they’re a factor about 25% of the time. That makes headlight problems one of the most deadly forms of mechanical failure that can affect a rider.
To change your headlight, make sure your bike is on a flat, stable surface. Then, loosen the required screws and bolts that hold your particular headlight in place.
Carefully remove the protective covering, then the old bulb. Inspect the socket for any residue. If everything looks good, put your new bulb in and replace the protective coverings. Resecure these coverings with the screws and bolts, and then check that your headlight is working.
The Most Common Threat You Face As A Rider
Repairs like these three keep your motorcycle in roadworthy shape, which can help keep you safe. Unfortunately, motorcycle problems aren’t the only threat to riders.
The majority of motorcycle accidents occur when the driver of a car fails to notice a rider. Drivers are often only on the lookout for other cars and miss smaller vehicles like motorcycles.
Other drivers making mistakes is one of the main reasons that riders are 6 times more likely to die in a crash than the driver of a closed vehicle. Even when death doesn’t occur, riders are far more likely to be injured. In Chicago, 60% of riders involved in a crash experienced incapacitating injuries in 2018.
These statistics highlight how important it is to be cautious while riding, but sadly that’s not always enough. If you’ve done everything you can to avoid accidents while riding but have still found yourself injured due to the actions of someone else on the road, you may require legal representation.
A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you determine if you were injured due to the actions of another driver, and help you move forward with legal action. Settlements for these cases can often be in the millions, guaranteeing you won’t suffer the cost of massive medical debt.
If money isn’t a factor for you, consider that every driver held accountable for injuring a rider is a step in the right direction. If we want the numbers to improve, we need drivers to pay more attention, even if it’s only to protect themselves from legal trouble.
Knowing how to repair your motorcycle is a key part of being a rider. These simple repairs can keep your motorcycle in good shape, and help ensure that you get home safely.