Tipskey
Motorcycling Tips
Everyone should learn to ride a motorcycle because:
a) it gives less environmental impact.
b) it is less affected by traffic jam. And if everyone uses it then there will be less road congestion.
c) One's mobility is higher if able to operate one more vehicle besides car.
d) It is more economic than a car.

Criteria of motorcycle

The engine must be four-stroke because it consumes less fuel and does not need 2T oil compared to two-stroke. Also there will be no petrol smell on the rider's back because the exhaust gas is not smoky.

It has electronic fuel injection (EFI) for further fuel saving.

If you may want to use it to travel long distance (over 200km), then its fuel tank capacity should be at least 10 liter.

It has cast wheels (one-piece wheel) instead of wire spoke wheels. Cast wheel is not easily crooked and is easier to clean. Cast wheel uses tubeless tire.

Optional
1) Broader tire for more stability. But note that broader tire consumes more fuel.
2) Twin headlight for brighter light in case you need to travel at night. But traveling at night should be avoided at all for safety reason.
3) LED backlight (brighter and more durable).
4) SOHC (single overhead camshaft). Again, it saves fuel although SOHC has less power than DOHC (double overhead camshaft). You do not use the motorbike for race anyway.
5) Liquid-cooled. Liquid cooling can dissipates more heat from the engine.
6) The meter panel has top gear indicating light so that you will easily know it is already top gear and do not tick the gear shift.
7) The tank cap is embedded type, in which the cap surface is at the same level with tank surface. If it is just normal cap latching onto the tank hole, it is possible to be knocked off by purpose or accident.
8) The keyhole is not at an awkward position that when you have a bunch of keys, it is cumbersome to switch off the ignition.
9) It is not dark in color so that it is more visible to other motorists.
10) Six speeds transmission.
11) The design of the speedometer should be in a way that the surface does not hold rainwater (such as surface sunk under a thick bezel) so that visibility is not affected.

Before riding

The helmet must have a visor. This is especially true when it is rainy season. If it is a full face helmet then it can protect your chin and also keep your chin dry in rain.

Bring along a set of thick rain-suit (best if pants included). Keep a piece of cloth to wipe the seat in case it is wet after raining.

Do not put laptop / notebook computer in the basket or back box without a bag protecting it from impact. If you want to carry it on your body (human body can absorb shock), let the notebook base face your back in the backpack, not the LCD. Do not carry it in the normal notebook traveling case. Some bad guys will know it is a notebook and grab it off you.

Keep a pair of small scissors and a piece of copper wire in the toolbox. This is to repair power circuit in case of failure.

It is better to wear long trousers and a jacket with high collar. Sometimes some insects may accidentally hit on you and give you a nasty bite/sting.

Wear leather gloves that can protect palms in case of falling down.

If there is a basket between you and the handlebars, do not put something tall in it, e.g. a bottle or else it may obstruct the movement of the handlebars.

Use only high quality convex side mirror. Cheap mirror will jeopardize your safety because it gives blurry reflection.

When the sky is heavily cloudy, do not go out, let alone when it is drizzling. Wait until the rain stops completely. When it is drizzling, other motorists cannot easily see you. If it rains two evenings before, then you can expect it will rain this evening so you should plan your journey earlier or later.

The mobile phone must be fully charged before starting a long journey.

If you want to take someone with you, check there is enough back tire pressure or else there will be a flat tire.

You do not have to deliberately wait for the engine to warm up because it wastes time and fuel. Just start moving with low RPM (it is easier to move with low RPM if the bike has clutch). By the way, to warm up the engine is to let engine oil cover the internal moving parts.

When wearing light-colored shirt, also wear a jacket. This is because the exhaust gas from other vehicles may have tiny droplets of black oil that will stain the shirt.

During riding

Do not drive through flood. Just because other people can do it, it does not mean you can do it. The engine will stop if water goes into the spark plug or exhaust pipe.

Always top up the tank just to be on the safe side (in case your favorite petrol station may not be open when your tank is empty).

You must have enough money in pocket at least to fix the bike.

Be alert about what you will do in case there is any accident. For example if a car makes you fall down on the road but you are still able to stand up, do not let the driver just drive away like that without at least paying you some compensation on torn trousers etc. You deserve that.

Be alert when someone approaches you when you stop at the traffic light. Also watch out when other motorcyclist speeds up and approach you. Do not let your valuable for example mobile phone be visible to public.

When riding over a speed bump, stand a little to protect your backbone.

Minimizing the probability of accident (do not learn safety by accident)

Try avoid traveling at night.

Before moving,
a) check tire air pressure by squeezing the tire with both hands in full strength. The tire should be solid hard. If the tire can be squeezed in, then the pressure is not enough. Also when you need a little more effort to push the bike, it means the air pressure is very low. Besides instability, traveling with insufficient pressure will heat up the tire. Also the air inlet nozzle may tilt, damaging the inner tube (if the tire is not tubeless). Not fuel economy too.
b) check the functionality of brake light, front brake and rear brake.
When you do these, it also prepares your mind for the ride.

Make sure the things you put in your pocket will not drop off easily. If you feel that you need a pouch to contain those things, do it. This is to have the peace of mind to focus on the road.

Depart early so that you have a peaceful and clear mind.

When you have planned to do one thing within a period of time, you should concentrate your mind on it until you finish doing it or the planned period is over, whichever comes first. This principle is even more important when riding a motorcycle. Focus on the road. Scan further away to expect what is coming. Think about other things later. If you still want to think about other thing or you want to see anything eye-catching along the road, pull over at a safe spot.

Do not follow the vehicle in front closely. If there are a lot of cars ahead, ride slowly. It is useless to speed anyway in that situation.

Be ready all the time that the car in front may swerve suddenly.

When riding pass by a car parked on the road side, keep a distance from it because some drivers may open the car door without seeing whether there is upcoming vehicle.

If you are on the main road, be alert when you are approaching any junction. Any vehicle may come out from the junction suddenly or the vehicle in front of you may turn into the junction suddenly without signal.

Even though the traffic light is green, you should not speed but should look at the other roads for any speeding car. Some people beat the red light. Sometimes the light is faulty.

When cornering (e.g. at a junction), slow down. The road may have some sand or oil that make you slip.

Try not to let big vehicle such as a truck to get passed you at high speed at close side distance (for me around 2m). When you notice one speeding towards you from the back, try widen the side distance. Pull over if needed.

Do not speed. Many types of high risks are associated with high speed. One example is after colliding with a flying bird, the bird may penetrate into the body.

Try see further ahead to give enough response time.

Before swerving to change lane, look at the side mirror to see if there is car behind. Just switching on the side signal is not enough. If there is a car approaching but you are going to miss the junction if you do not swerve, just choose to miss the junction. You can always find a place to U-turn later. You cannot get home, unless you are safe.

Mindset: Saving a few minutes is useless if it makes you waste much more time in an accident. It is better to be safe than sorry. Safety does not slow the job down but mishaps do. Better be Mister Late than to be Late Mister.

Preventing motorcycle theft

Number of locks: There should be at least one extra lock (other than the default motorcycle key lock) even if the motorcycle is parked at home. If it is parked at high-risk area, then two extra locks should be used.

motorcycle_cover
Motorcycle cover

Type of extra locks: a collared padlock for two-legged stand and a two-foot grade 70 chain with another collared padlock for front wheel. If you have extra money, then look for the locks that have a VdS certificate. Whenever possible, secure to a fixed object (beware of the electricity leakage at the lamp post though). Fork lock and disc brake lock are not that good. This is because they may be damaged or will damage the motorcycle if the motorcycle is moved, either by the thief or by yourself when you forget about the lock. Lock on the back sprocket is also not advisable due to the same reason and the lock can become greasy to handle.

Others

Whenever there is any problem on the motorbike, fix it immediately. It is better to be safe that sorry.

Try fix your bike by yourself before sending it to the workshop. By doing this, you understand your bike more. DIY is also interesting.

If you use a chain lock to lock the motorbike, do not leave the chain on the basket. People make take it away. It is better to utilize the chain lock every time you are away from your motorbike. This will also ensure the lock mechanism will not get rusty and stuck.

If you find that you sometimes forget to switch off the turn signal, you may want to consider installing a beeper.

If you have to park your new bike in the open air every day, get a motorcycle cover to protect it.
Posted: 2007-05-07; updated: 2014-11-20 by Ong Seng Aun.
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