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10 ways to go the distance - expert advice for bikers from Haynes

May 2011

Image selected from Haynes Adventure Motorcycling by Robert Wicks

As the motorcycling season gathers pace motorcycling experts at Haynes are offering practical advice for riders preparing for touring and long trips.

Whether you're off to the TT at the end of the month, riding to a bike race or simply touring on two wheels, there are several simple ways you can increase safety and comfort.

With bikers accounting for 19% of road deaths in Great Britain despite making up just 1% of road traffic¹, ensuring good levels of maintenance is one way of cutting risk.

Penny Cox, Motorcycle Editorial Manager for Haynes Publishing, renowned for motorcycle manuals and books, says:

"The warm, dry, sunny spring has been a dream for bikers and one way to ensure these heady days continue, is to make sure your maintenance is up to scratch.

"Simple things like checking tyre pressures and adjusting suspension will improve safety as well as fuel efficiency and general comfort.

"And if your bike isn't generally used for long trips, or you've owned the bike for only a short time and don't know its history, it's worth spending a few hours preparing for the journey."

Haynes top 10 tips for bike maintenance and safety:

  • If applicable, set the suspension to suit the increased load of a passenger and/or luggage
  • Adjust the tyre pressures if you're touring two-up and also if you're loaded up with luggage. Remember that low tyre pressures will have an adverse effect on the bike's handling and fuel economy.
  • Take your own tyre pressure gauge with you so that you don't have to rely on those in filling stations.
  • Make sure the battery is in good condition. This is something that often gets missed in the basic maintenance routine.
  • Consider taking a few extra tools to those contained in the bike's toolkit. If you have room, an aerosol tyre sealant is worth taking, as are a few cable-ties, a small roll of duct tape and a can of WD40.
  • If your bike has chain drive, give the chain a good clean and apply fresh lube. Also make sure its tension is correct.
  • Go around the bike checking the tightness of all fasteners, particularly those which form fixings for luggage.
  • If the next service interval is approaching soon after or during your trip, bring it forward to ensure peace of mind and reduce the likelihood of a breakdown, but don't leave it until the last minute!
  • If the bike is likely to be kept in a public place overnight, take a good lock with you to ensure its security.
  • If you're not confident about fixing the bike, sign up for breakdown assistance.

[1] Department for Transport Road Casualties Great Britain: 2009

The information on this page is supplied courtesy of Haynes Publishing, please credit accordingly if you intend to use it. For more information or to request a review copy please contact Spirit PR on 0117 944 1415 or email Haynes PR

Haynes Manuals is the world's leading publisher of illustrated workshop car and motorcycle manuals, as well as producing manuals on a wide range of DIY, leisure and lifestyle subjects. These will continue to include motoring and motorsport related subjects. Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset BA22 7JJ. Telephone: 01963 440635 Fax: 01963 440001 E-mail: