UpYourMotorcycleGame

Up Your Motorcycling Game

Updated March 4, 2016 . AmFam Team

Love your ride? Here’s what you need to know to take your motorcycle skills to the next level and enjoy a lifetime of incredible two-wheeled adventures.

Taking to the road on two wheels offers an unrivaled sense of freedom. You’re no longer caged in by the steel frame of a car, and you can feel connected to the sights, scents and sounds of everything you roll past. You’re blazing your own path, and the possibilities are just about limitless.

With that freedom comes extra responsibility on the road. Adopting the right mindset will help you achieve a lifetime of safer rides.

Pre-Ride Protection

Take a peek. Checking your chain, the brakes and your belt and shaft is a great way to reduce the likelihood of a mechanical issue on the road.

Blink better. Make sure your lights and turn signals are working properly. Drivers in cars have a harder time seeing motorcyclists, so the more visual you can be, the better.

Love your wheels. Inspect your tires for proper tread life. Check that they’re properly inflated so you have predictable control over the steering and handling.

Make it a habit. Testing your brakes is the perfect pre-ride ritual for any adventure.

Smart Moves on the Road

It’s not personal. Understanding the fact that most drivers aren’t looking for motorcyclist will help you stay alert. Keep a defensive driving mindset.

Be unforgettable. Remaining visible to other vehicles around you will keep you on their mind. Ride where you’re easy to see in mirrors, and wear brightly-colored or reflective protective gear.

Find some pals. Riding with a different crew is a great way to learn more safe riding habits. You’ll see habits and riding styles that can give you fresh insights into your routine.

Forever a student. Enrolling in advanced rider classes is a great way to keep honing your skills. You can always learn something new, and often local motorcyclists clubs and even many manufacturers offer advanced motorcyclist skills classes to keep you fresh.

Whether your motorcycle is part of your dream, or simply the vehicle to get you there, you deserve to enjoy every minute of it. Staying alert and keeping up on your defensive riding techniques are part of a smart ride every time you take to the road.

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    And conventional bikers are taking notice. From saving on gas bills to riding a smarter bike, old-school motorcyclists find dependability and decreased maintenance costs a major driver as well. A few manufacturers have electric bikes that have been on the market for about a decade. And others are following this trend — with the new rides rolling off the production line soon. Take a look where the market is at, and where it’s headed, with our primer on electric motorcycles.

    Extended Riding-range for Battery Powered Motorcycles

    Manufacturers are plugging new tech into their electric bikes, scooters and motorcycles. Lithium ion battery R & D continues to produce more energy efficient ways to ride. Here are a few ways these powerful batteries are charging the industry.

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    Many manufacturers have pushed the range that their bikes can travel before running out of a charge with their latest offering.

    Fast charging

    New quick-charging battery systems keep your downtime to a minimum. A few producers are currently promoting a charging pack that’s 50% quicker than previous models. The most aggressive of these charging systems boast a 100% charge in just 60 minutes.

    Battery guarantees

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    220 mph, zero to 60 in 2.0 seconds

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    Peak performance via onboard energy management

    Newer battery-controlling software allows you to ride like you would with a normal bike. And you won’t have to worry about burning through your battery.

    Hydraulic brakes helps you stop on a dime

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    Electric Bikes Require Less Maintenance

    One big win for e-motorcycles is that there are fewer moving parts. And that translates to lighter, less-expensive maintenance schedules. It’s true, some of the electronic motorcycles have a higher initial price tag. But the money saved across the life of the bike can help to offset that up-front investment. Here are a few other important electronic motorcycle maintenance details:

    No oil means no oil changing

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    Tune ups are a breeze

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    Less moving parts

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    Smarter ebike tech

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    Electric Scooters Are Gaining Momentum

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    This article is for informational purposes only and includes information widely available through different sources.

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    Get Your Motorcycle Ready for Spring

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    Motorcycle Tire Maintenance

    Start where your bike meets the road and give the tires a thorough check before you start the engine. Here’s how you can make sure your motorcycle’s wheels are ready for spring:

    Check the tire pressure. You always want to check your motorcycle's tire pressure when your tires are cold, which shouldn’t be a problem since it’s been in your garage since last fall. Grab a tire pressure gauge and your motorcycle’s manual and see if they’re within the recommended range. Underinflated tires will cut down on your gas mileage and overinflated tires will be more susceptible to wear and other damage. Plus, they’re both much more dangerous to drive on.

    Give them a closer look. Take the time to look closely at both tires and spot any cracking or other signs of a leak like punctures. If you notice wear, swap out the tires as soon as possible. Driving on a damaged tire is never worth the risk.

    Know your tires’ story. Different styles, brands and types of tires will have different lifespans and fare better in certain conditions. If you bought your bike used, you should have gotten details on how long the tires have been used, mileage and where it was driven. Research the specific tire model, its lifespan and find its date code on the actual tire. If you’re not sure, take your bike to a repair shop or dealer to get more info and an inspection.

    Check Your Motorcycle’s Brakes

    The brake system is probably the most ignored part of your motorcycle. When it works, you don’t think about it — and when you notice something wrong, you need to take it in right away. Avoid an expensive and potentially dangerous problem by checking these parts of your brakes:

    Check the brake fluid. Motorcycle manufacturers’ recommendations will vary, but the general rule of thumb is that you should change your brake fluid at least once every two years. Refer to your owner’s manual and manufacturer tutorials if you want to do it yourself, or hand the job off to a pro.

    Making sure your brake fluid is within the recommended range, however, is something you can do every time you hop on your bike. Make sure it’s at its maximum level at the start of spring by checking the gauge usually located near your handlebars for your front brake and near the back tire for the rear brake. If it’s low, fill it with manufacturer-recommended brake fluid.

    Peek at the brake pads. When brake pads wear down and aren’t replaced on time, your bike could suffer some seriously damaging and expensive consequences. Most brake pads will have an indicator visible without having to take your bike apart, so make sure you understand how it works and how it indicates that a change is necessary. And if you’re not comfortable handling the job yourself, it’s not all that expensive to outsource it to a mechanic.

    Inspect the Interior of the Motorcycle

    Once you’ve checked the parts of your bike that keep you on the road and stop you when you need to, it’s time to check out some of the parts not visible to the naked eye:

    Check the oil. You may have changed your oil and replaced the filter when you winterized your bike, but if not, you’ll want to do that now — it’s good to give it a healthy start to the riding season.

    Test your battery. When your motorcycle sits still for months at a time, especially in less-than-ideal weather, your bike’s battery’s life can be shortened. It’s smart to charge it occasionally throughout the winter months, but if you forgot to do so, it may need replacing. If you’re having trouble getting your battery to work, remove it and take it to a local hardware store that offers battery testing.

    Look at the fuel filter. Your motorcycle’s fuel filter is crucial to the health of your engine. Give your bike a clean start by replacing the fuel filter and filling it up with a fresh tank of gas before you take it out for a long ride.

    Check the bike’s spark plugs. Most manufacturers will recommend that you check your spark plugs every 4,000 to 5,000 miles, but even if you didn’t ride your bike that much last year, you should still inspect them. Take a look at each one individually and keep an eye out for oil leakage, ash deposits or overall wear and tear. If you notice wear and tear or are concerned about their condition, replace them — they’re a small price to pay for a clean-running ride.

    Inspect other often-ignored moving parts. The chain, kickstand, throttle shifter — all these parts can get dried out and even rusty while in storage. And while they’re considered minor when compared to your tires, brakes and engine, they’re still important! Lubricate where you need to and avoid having to make a frustrating fix early in the season.

    Once you’ve inspected and tested your motorcycle, clean and shine it up make sure you're ready to ride with proper etiquette before you take it out on the road — then, make sure you’re protected from the unexpected with the right motorcycle insurance. Your American Family Insurance agent is dedicated to making sure your coverage is customized to fit your specific needs. Get in touch today and get the peace of mind you deserve.