You’re ready to hit the road on your motorcycle, feeling confident in the routine maintenance you perform on your bike. However, traveling and road conditions can be unpredictable. It’s important to be prepared for any situation, including the need to perform repairs on the road. If you do have an issue while you’re riding and can’t get to a mechanic immediately, make sure you’re ready to handle any sudden problem with Cycle Trader’s five tips for on-the-road repairs.
1. Put Together a Trip Repair Kit
Before getting out on the open road, compile a trip repair kit and keep it somewhere easily accessible. You can store this in a compartment under your seat or in a convenient side bag. This kit should contain:
- Copy of your insurance: This can either be a hardcopy of your insurance card or a mobile version.
- Roadside Assistance Card: If you have roadside assistance, which we’ll discuss more about later, make sure you either have the physical card or access to the emergency contact number and your account/membership number.
- Emergency Toolkit: A toolkit can be incredibly helpful to have on-hand when you’re on the road. Your emergency toolkit can include items like a flashlight, screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, tire patches, and a portable air compressor. These can help you fix minor issues many riders face.
2. Know What Roadside Assistance Services You Have
Roadside assistance is offered through different companies and memberships, as well as your insurance provider. If you spend a lot of time on the road, it may be beneficial to invest in some form of roadside assistance. These plans provide motorcyclists with emergency services and minor repairs, such as battery service, flat tires, fluid delivery, and towing for more serious incidents. If you do have roadside assistance services, keep your plan card on your person when you ride or make sure you have access to the emergency contact number and your membership information to call for support.
3. Get Out of the Way
When you notice something wrong with your bike, or simply have a breakdown while cruising along the highway, you’ll want to get off the road as quickly and safely as possible. Make your way to the shoulder of the road, turn on your hazard lights, and get your motorcycle completely out of the roadway before you evaluate the problem. Traffic racing by, combined with lookie loos who’ll stare at you instead of the road, can create an incredibly dangerous environment while you’re trying to make a repair or wait for assistance. If possible, move your bike to a nearby parking lot. Or, if your motorcycle can safely make it, get to a rest stop or pull-off point for a less-active place to make your repairs or wait for roadside assistance.
4. Decide if You can Make the Repair Yourself
Once you’re safely out of the roadway, you can take a look at your bike and try to figure out the issue. Some repairs are minor, so you won’t require roadside assistance or a mechanic. Depending on your skill level, you should decide if you can make the repair yourself. Common issues riders face on the road include: low or flat tires, loose chains, broken hoses, and burned out light bulbs.
5. Keep Track of Your Parts
When performing repairs on the side of the road, you may place nuts, screws, and other parts on the ground as you work. But don’t lose track of them in the dirt, grass, or gravel. Losing track of one of these parts, then having to stop what you’re doing to find it, can be a real pain. Try to use some kind of container, such as a cup, removed cover, or even your helmet, to store your motorcycle’s parts and pieces in one place.
Conclusion: Your rides can often take you far from home, so it’s best to be prepared if you run into any incidents on the road. Keeping important information and tools on-hand, knowing your options, and remaining safe on the side of the road can help alleviate some of the stress of an on-the-road repair. Regular maintenance is a key part of motorcycle ownership and can help prevent issues on the road. We previously covered the six basics of routine motorcycle maintenance to help you out.
If you’re in the market for your next motorcycle, check out the nationwide selection of new and used bikes at CycleTrader.com.