Long-distance bike touring is gaining popularity in India. We are seeing more and more bike enthusiasts take their machines on long road trips to the mountains or the beaches.
Long trips bring several unknowns, like not knowing whether you’d find help in case your bike breaks down. Your trip could turn from exciting to terrifying, especially in parts of India where you’re not familiar with the local language or the area is remote.
To avoid such trouble on your next bike trip, here are 7 maintenance tips to prepare your two-wheeler for long journeys.
1. Get Your Documentation in Order
Before beginning your journey, you should get your bike documentation in place. This includes the following:
In addition to these, you can also carry the following:
- Bike manual to help you in case your bike breaks down on your way
- Roadside safety assistance numbers and receipts
You can also carry some of these documents on your phone through the DigiLocker app, which is legally accepted everywhere in India. The DigiLocker app is compatible with both Android and iOS phones. All you need to get started is to download the app on your phone, connect it to your Aadhaar number, and get your documents registered on the app.
2. Clean the Air Filters
Before going on a trip, you must clean your bike’s air filters. Dusty environments make it easy for dirt to get stuck on your bike, especially in the valves, cylinders, and internal bearings. This could lead to the jerking of your bike and, in extreme cases, could also lead to a breakdown on the road. Hence, get your air filters cleaned at a local garage before you get started.
3. Check the Brakes
When riding on unknown roads, you don’t know when and how hard you will need to brake. It’ll be extremely tricky in such situations if your brakes stop working. If they are not working well, they might not apply in time, and as a result, you may get into an accident.
To prevent such occurrences, you should get your brakes tested and calibrated to ensure that you are comfortable with them before going on a long trip.
4. Check Your Bike Tyres
Worn-out tyres are a major safety hazard on highways, where the speed and grip of the tyres are of the essence. Check the recommended standard for how long you should run a set of tyres. If they are approaching their limit or have already crossed it, get them changed before you go.
Old tyres also cause your bike to not perform as well, thus using more fuel than necessary. While getting a new set of tyres may seem expensive, it prevents you from getting into accidents. You can also get tyre protection cover for your bike to help you deal with such situations better.
5. Review Your Bike Insurance Policy
Before beginning your ride, check your insurance policy for the covers involved. Nowadays, bike insurance companies also have their own apps that you can download to file claims. These apps make filing claims very convenient and can come in handy on a long road trip.
Always opt for a comprehensive bike insurance policy covering damages caused by manmade disasters or natural disasters like floods. This is especially important if you drive through the mountains, where landslides and cloudbursts are becoming increasingly common. You don’t want your bike to get stuck in such disasters, so it’s better to have an insurance policy that protects you against these.
6. Check Your Battery
Your bike's battery is required to power up the bike and ensure that its lights, horn, etc. work properly. If your battery gets discharged on your journey, you will not be able to use the bike unless you find a garage where you can get the battery charged. Since the battery is used to get your bike started, it is an extremely vital component.
Hence, it’s better to get your battery checked at your local garage before going on your journey.
7. Check the Electrical Equipment on Your Bike
Apart from the battery, check the other electricals on your bike. Here’s a checklist that you can refer to:
- Is the dashboard working correctly?
- Pay special attention to the odometer, the speedometer, and the fuel indicator. If these are not working correctly, you might miscalculate your trip. Imagine the indicator mentioning that your bike can run for 100 more kilometres when it can actually go 20 kilometres. You ride for 20 kilometres, only to find that the fuel is over, and there’s no petrol pump nearby. To avoid this, get your bike checked.
- Are the front and tail indicators working correctly?
- Are the headlamps looking dim, or are they as bright as when the bike was new?
- Are the rear lamps working fine?
- Is the bike horn working fine?
Answering these questions will help you gauge the fitness of your bike for a long trip. If something is not working, repair it at your local garage shop.
To have a successful and memorable trip, you need to have a pleasant experience with your bike. Hence, you need your bike to operate at its peak capacity. The tips above ensure that your bike is in its prime form and doesn’t break down even after riding for long distances at a stretch.
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