|Posted on May 3, 2019 at 11:15 AM|
Riding motorcycles brings fun, freedom, and inner peace for us riders, doesn’t it? But riding motorcycles in traffic could be slightly challenging. With more than 20 years of riding experience and growing up in NY, this is one thing I can proudly say I have mastered. The art of riding a bike through jam-packed traffic is my game, and if you live in any major city, you'd better make it your game too!
Potholes, the constant texting by drivers in their cars, the visor makeup queens, lunch eaters, moms in mini-van dealing with a car load of kids, old-timers with less than stellar reaction time, you name it, there's no shortage of situations or distractions by others. Any one of these conditions can make the ride tough sometimes. By using proper tips, tricks, and techniques, not only can you tackle them, but also enjoy your ride through boring and lifeless traffic or at the very least, hone your skills.
Although some of these tips might sound very basic and primary, I have seen experienced riders taking them lightly and paying the price. They will help you a great deal with motorcycle riding safety. Applying these simple riding practices will surely make you a better, smarter and safer rider.
Anticipating driver's movements
To anticipate sudden moves of drivers, pay extra attention to their head movements by watching them through their mirrors and windows. Almost every driver makes head movement first and then takes a left or right. And always remember, if you cannot see their face in the mirror then that means they cannot see you!
YOUR mirrors are not 100% trustworthy
Mirrors on bikes are just short of lifesavers. But, to be 100% sure of what’s going around, it is better to take a quick glance over the appropriate shoulder.
It is a bad idea to get between an off-ramp and a vehicle
Drivers who are late at making their decision to exit kill a lot of riders each year. It is very wise on the rider's part to avoid positioning themselves between an off-ramp and a vehicle. It becomes necessary sometimes to take the risk of passing on the right, but it is better to do it between cross-streets or exits.
Keep a couple of fingers on the brake levers always!
Traffic means less reaction time and less reaction time means chances of fumbling. To avoid such fumbling, keep a finger or two always placed on the brake lever, and your right toe near to the rear brake. So the next time when you have to react quickly in an urgent-brake situation, you would have already reduced the action required by some margin as well as reduced the chances of fumbling.
Be ready with the power in hand
Whenever you need your bike to jump forward in traffic, ride in a gear lower than your normal one. This will help you to leap ahead and not limit you to just brakes. Everyone around will also notice your presence more with those higher revs. If you've heard the expression, "Loud pipes saves lives", well this is what I'm talking about.
Do not be exactly behind the car in front
Be either towards the left or right corner of the car in front of you. So whenever an escape opportunity presents itself, you are ready to grab it with both wheels. This will also help you to conquer the traffic race quickly. Just moving slowly behind the middle of a car will not take you anywhere!
Run a constant scan
Always keep scanning the traffic if you want to get away from it. Notice everything from mirrors, instruments, people’s movements, and the road ahead to the blind spots to your right and left rear. Doing this will make sure you are aware and in touch with your situation. You will be better able to react as well. If you just keep watching in the front and back, it is only half useful.
Scan the asphalt conditions
Look out for fuel, spilled oil or anti-freeze on the road. Plus, watch out for sand and gravel too. Try using your sense of smell as well. Shiny pavements are to be avoided as much as possible. You can always smell slippery diesel fuel before your tires run into it. This is yet another reason to ride to either side of a lane, road contaminants tend to be in the center of the road.
Open zones are your riding zones
Use your bike’s maneuvering skills and power to ride in open areas in traffic. Look for gaps between vehicles and ride through them. You will, therefore, separate yourself from other vehicles which will give more space for maneuvering. It will also help you to keep away from blind-spots. Keep varying your speed too.
Do not cancel turn signals
It is a very bad habit I have noticed in a lot of riders along with myself sometimes to procrastinate over using turn signals. Make a habit of giving blinking signals to let other drivers know what you are up to. Another idea is to sporadically switch on your emergency signals when traffic comes to a complete halt. At the very least, have your foot on the rear brake until upcoming driver behind you comes to a full stop. Using the brake light will help ensure that you are seen, you never want to assume.
There is always another way out!
Every biker should remember this in traffic. There is always a way out of traffic. All you have to do is practice your riding skills and use your bike’s strengths. Use their narrowness, lightness, power, and immensely maneuvering features to your advantage. Unlike our car driving friends, we bike riders do not have to sit back and hope something opens up in traffic. So keep planning for multiple escape routes, and when you see the clearest way available, ride away!
More balance by dragging back the back brake
Riding your way through traffic requires some skills. One of these skills is to keep a sense of balance when you ride. For this, keep a slight amount of pressure with your toe on the back brake. Hold it there just enough that you can feel a little friction when you ride.
This will help to prepare you for urgent stops and also smooth out the power delivery. All in all, it will help you to get more balance and ease off that bounciness between accelerating and decelerating.
Always remember your advantages
Riding in traffic is not rocket science. It is about understanding your rocket and it's strengths and using them to the best possible effect. Always be fully attentive. Strong situational awareness and good hand-eye coordination will help you get through any traffic like a pro!
|Posted on April 27, 2019 at 1:00 PM|
Motorcycles to a very large extent are like us! That’s right. They are just like human beings. We need constant working, exercising and activities to keep our bodies functioning and our blood running. Same is the case with bikes. If your bike hasn’t been going out for a while due to winter, this probably would be the perfect time for a checkup! It's springtime and I know a lot of you want to just hop on your bikes and go for a nice long ride. But there are a few things you need to check before taking off.
Was your bike sitting unused for too long?
If yes, this article is meant for you. There are many reasons your bike needs some nursing before going out again. First, you need to get rid of all the dust and rust she has had for company throughout winter. It takes some preparation to get it out of hibernation. But I recommend you to get it ready for springtime as soon as possible.
Did you keep a charger on the battery over the winter?
First things first! If you have kept your bike on a tender over the winter, your battery shouldn't need replacing. If you didn’t, ordering a new battery should be the first thing on your checklist before you take your bike out for your first ride.
If you did put a tender on your bike when it was parked, I would recommend topping it off with distilled water. You can charge it slowly and bring it up to sniff before starting the bike.
Did you put a fuel stabilizer in your gas tank?
If you did put a fuel stabilizer in your gas tank, it would have helped the gas from spoiling. But it won’t help the gas from spoiling forever. Take a quick peek into your gas tank and look for rust, condensation or gunk that might have formed inside and could be troublesome later.
If you haven’t put a fuel stabilizer in, chances, hopefully you emptied your fuel tank. In either case, I recommend adding a little fresh fuel. The highest octane fuel would be a wise choice here to make sure the gas running through is the very best.
This is because if your bike is not running as smooth as it was before and there's a good chance the fuel injectors could be clogged up, a little fresh fuel could clear things up. If that doesn't remedy the situation, you might want to get new fuel filters and also get those injectors cleaned-up.
How are the tires?
Tires are the most important to check on this list. Dry rot and flat spots in tires are the most common problems when your bike is unused and sitting on a cement floor for a long time. If your tires have small cracking then they've dried out and will not have the traction needed, I would suggest replacing the rubber immediately. Tires also lose pressure if the bike is not used for some time, so check the air pressure too. If your tires are bald, change them! Do not take a second chance and remember, new tires will go a long way this spring season.
Did you change your oil?
Change your bike’s oil and oil filter immediately if you didn't do it before laying up. Just like fuel, oil oxidizes and degrades over time. You don’t want to find out in the middle of your ride that your bike isn’t running as smooth as it should, because there is no oil. Or maybe there is, but you’ve got a lot of sludge accompanying it.
If you changed your oil just before winter started and haven’t ridden your bike yet, I would suggest checking the levels. Also, check for any moisture that may have gotten into the system. If everything looks okay, you should be good to go!
Is your coolant dirty?
You need to check your coolant if your bike is liquid cooled. Check the coolant level by removing the radiator cap. Make sure it is above the minimum level and clean. If it is dirty, flush it out and replace with a fresh mixture of water and anti-freeze, so that it doesn’t clog up the radiator.
Check your controls
Brake fluids tend to absorb moisture, making your brakes feel a bit spongy. Moisture can even seize your brakes up a little. Topping off your brake fluids can fix this. Make sure your cables for brakes and clutch are also tight and working properly.
Check whether your bike’s chain is too loose or too tight. It should ideally be in the middle. For more information on this, you can go to your owner’s manual for help. Turn your rear wheel and see if the chain is moving smoothly. Also, make sure there is no buildup of debris or grime on the chain.
Examine your sprockets condition and check for any chipped-teeth.
Check all levers, pedals, lines, cables, and throttles. Make sure everything is working and moving freely and smoothly.
Lights and mirrors are important too!
Turn signals, tail lights and of course your headlight, play an important role while riding your motorcycle. If your bike was sitting unused for a period of time, the bulbs in these lights could have gone out. You don’t want to find out about this when you are riding. Check them and replace them now if needed.
Mirrors can also get loose. You don’t want one of your mirrors to start shaking when you are riding on a highway. Check for scratches on your mirrors and fix them. Tighten them if you feel they are even slightly loose.
Check everything in detail again
A motorcycle airbox is a nice warm place to chill for a small rodent, especially during winter when you are not riding. Check your airbox if you have any surprise residents in there.
Tighten screws, check your bike’s frame and fairings, check your fork seals, and basically, take a nice long look at your bike and check whether everything is correct or not! You want to check and fix everything now, leaving nothing for later. Later only has a whole riding season ahead of you! All you should look forward to later is riding, riding and a lot go bike riding.
If you're feeling overwhelmed with all of this information or you just don't know what the problem is, here's where we come in! Hire us and we'll take out all of the guesswork.
We can arrange to pick the bike up and bring to our licensed repair facility for an in-depth analysis or simply drop it off at our shop in West Babylon.
And as always, feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns. Call us today to schedule an appointment where we will go over the entire bike and give you our expert advice, dial (844) 292-5386 and press option 2 for service.
|Posted on April 5, 2019 at 12:40 AM|
I tend to avoid posts that don’t include a picture of the motorcycle in the post. You can easily tell if the post contains a picture by viewing the word “pic” in yellow at the end of the post link as you’re scrolling down through the list. Look as deep at the picture as you can. Notice if there is anything broken that’s not mentioned in the post. If the bike does not appear to have crash damage or leaking any fluids, and generally looks like it was cared for then that's a good sign.
Taking a look at the quality of the post itself can lend some basic inside information about the product beyond what’s actually listed in the post. For example, does the post have numerous spelling errors or incorrect grammar? This one might be a little nitpicky, but in my opinion, if the poster doesn’t care enough to correct his or her grammar, they might take the same approach to care for their possessions.
Does the post list the aftermarket parts installed? How about the condition of expensive regularly replaced parts like tires, chain, and the sprockets? These are all necessary knowledge for a potential buyer of a motorcycle. Considering a set of tires runs roughly $250 depending on what kind you get and a new chain and sprockets usually run around $150 again depending on what kind, having to purchase those can turn a $5000 purchase into a $5400 purchase in a hurry.
Which brings me to my next point:
There are never too many questions to ask when you’re spending thousands on something. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Craigslist, it’s that people lie to make their stuff sound better and differentiate themselves from other posts. They’ll go out of their way to include useless information about the bike or even blatantly lie about the condition it’s in.
Usually, the post will have a phone number to text or call to get more information. I would highly suggest calling because you can get information quicker and faster and it’s harder to lie on the run when you’re speaking over the phone than when you’re texting.
Next up are some basic questions to ask a typical owner that should be general knowledge about the motorcycle. Even if the post already lists the answer, ask anyway.
You'll want to ask the owner a few questions before you decide to go to see the bike in person. Here are some useful questions when speaking to the seller:
If it is not explicitly stated in the advertisement, and anybody making a good advertisement will include this information, then you can contact the owner and ask. If possible, you want to ask for a picture of the odometer; this gives you an exact answer that you can verify.
A bad answer: "It's been sitting in the garage for a few years. Haven't ridden it." Or, "It's broken. X, Y, Z, doesn't work."
Personally, I keep a running list in Excel with the dates that I have serviced the motorcycle and what was done to it, and whether it was done by a shop or me. I also try to keep receipts for repairs from shops. It shows the bike has been maintained and taken care of. Of course, you can't expect everyone to do this and hand you a log of maintenance, but they should be able to tell you the last time the chain was cleaned and lubed or when the oil was changed or when the tires were changed, brake fluid...and so on.
If you are arguing for a lower price, you could use this as a bit of leverage although be prepared to look for mechanical damage on the bike. Often in minor crashes or a case of dropping the bike in a parking lot, the only things that become damaged are the fairings or turn signals of the bike. Depending on the model these can range anywhere from $100-$1000+ to purchase new so ask for a price reduction accordingly. You cannot expect to get a $500 price reduction because one of the turn signals has been scratched. For example, a set of new fairings for the 2009 Yamaha R6 example we used can cost from $250-$350 on eBay.
Definitely ask about inspection status if it is not listed in the ad. You may wish to take the bike with the owner to a nearby shop to have it inspected before you, but be prepared to cover the costs of the inspection, which are generally nominal.
It is up to the seller to agree to let you do a test ride and set the conditions of the test ride such as a written agreement that if damages are incurred during the test ride, the rider will buy the motorcycle or pay for the damages. But ultimately, you want to be able to at least get a feel for the bike (while it is cold and hasn't been started up is ideal).
This is pretty self-explanatory. You don't want to buy a bike which the seller does not actually own or is stolen. There are very few exceptions to why somebody would not have a title. The most important thing here is to verify the VIN number on the title matches the VIN number on the bike. 99% of all bikes will have it's VIN number on the right-hand side of the upper neck, turning the bars to the left should make it easy to read.
Write out the parts you need to check on beforehand. Some parts you should be checking for usage and if they are working properly are:
2. Rear Mudguard
3. Non-Standard Parts
5. Chain and Sprockets
6. Engine and Chassis Numbers
7. Polished Frames and Swingarms
8. Bars, Bar Ends & Levers
11. Steering Head Bearings & Lockstops
13. Brake Discs
15. Brake Pads
You can visit Visor Down for the full list.
These titles are placed on motorcycles that have been totaled in one fashion or another and rebuilt as street-legal machines.
Rebuilt or salvaged titled motorcycles might have frame damage, bent forks, bent rims, and who knows what the concussive force of a wreck might have done to the internals of the motor. I would stay stay stay away from R titles if at all possible.
Not only have these titles been involved in a heavy crash, but they’re also a pain to obtain. Also, keep in mind if you eventually want to sell this bike be prepared to scare away most buyers
This might be the most important point on this list. Don’t fall in love with a bike before you see it in person. It can be easy to get caught up in reading reviews about how good the bike is and how good it looks. While these articles should be read for informational purposes, they are also written for entertainment value and this consideration needs to be taken into account.