• The road
As before traveling should follow some rules.
It begins with a detailed visual inspection of the machine.
Check there is no shortage of screws, all the elements are secure and that there are no stains or liquid seepage. Make sure the throttle cable and clutch (if any) are in good condition and easily slide into the ducts. Otherwise think of grease.
Check the engine oil level and top up if necessary. Do not hesitate to make a drain if it is remote. Some machines tend to consume some oil, consider taking a small container in the luggage...
The coolant is checked at least once before leaving.
• The chain or belt:
Check the tension: too tight is a risk of breakage and relaxed is a risk of derailment or worst of wheel lock.
The chain is imperative to lubricate before departure and the operation must be renewed during the stay (as many times as necessary depending on road conditions). On long trips it will be prudent to re-verification of voltage midterm. If the chain is the end of life it is better to change the kit before departure.
Fork: Watch for leaks at the oil seal. The damper (or shock absorbers) should not ooze. The entire machine must be balanced.
Check the condition and thickness of brake pads, fogging, abnormal wear and irregularities marks on the disks or drums.
Check the level of brake fluid (front and rear).
Check that all the lights work, and turn signals. Do not hesitate to change the bulbs in prevention and take the old backup.
• The Tires:
The tires are the only elements in association with the ground, the contact area between the tire and the road, generally not exceeding a few square centimeters. It is therefore essential for the safety monitor them regularly, including:
- The tread: no foreign body, cuts or irregular wear,
- Flanks: no injuries, cuts, cracks or abnormal wear,
- The connections rim / tread: no traces of friction, wear or impact on the rim.
As for inflation, the tire pressure is checked regularly and it is imperative to respect the values given by manufacturers.
For longer trips it is necessary to go with a new set of tires or recently changed, otherwise it will be necessary to make this change during the trip. Think honing your new set of tires.
Note that during a trip it is not always easy to find repairers for the tires. It is therefore prudent to take a puncture bomb or better a repair kit that will not require a complete cleaning of the rim at the next tire change.
Before you start loading all it is necessary to make a first selection of your business in order to select the heavier and bulkier. The larger will be positioned to offer the least taken to the wind as possible and heavier as low as possible on the bike or on the tank. If you do not have bags (hard or soft), make sure that nothing protrudes in front of the fire or gene visibility counters.
Do not load the machine in excess, the chassis does not appreciate too much in general, luggage and carrier packages have a maximum load capacity which must be respected.
Warning!!! Overloading the back can cause shedding phenomena of the front wheel which can lead to "guidonnages" often dangerous. Remember a motorcycle that is difficult to maneuver when stationary or at very low speeds.
And for your safety, driver as a passenger, avoid backpack that often proves disastrous when dropped and is always uncomfortable ...
*Setting of the bike
Your machine is properly charged, the full is made and your passenger installed, you must now make some adjustments taking into account the weight onboard.
The tire pressure must be adjusted and preload adjusted suspensions front and rear if possible. Finally adjust your lighting so that the light illuminates the road properly.
Remember to take the road map corresponding to travel and your GPS if you have one.
Also get a little money if you have to tolls, if this helps to stop for coffee ...
Driver and passenger
Approved, it is usually not sufficient in case of rain or cold. A choker will be effective to prevent water and air infiltration.
Jacket or vest, leather or textile, it must contain CE certified protectors.
A back protector with lumbar belt is generally more effective than foam protections included in clothing.
The assembly must resist abrasion and remain breathable.
For travel in the Nordic countries it is advisable to have a removable thermal lining.
Same criteria as for the jacket, it must also include protections CE approved, so be careful to jean type pants / Kevlar that do not have (no protection against shocks).
In cold weather make sure you take long underwear if you do not have a removable liner.
It is essential to wear gloves at all times which must be adapted to the season.
Typically for travel summer leather gloves are well suited, but they are rarely watertight. Have a pair of gloves for rain (or over-gloves) in his luggage seems necessary.
Like the rest of the equipment the boots are protected and you have to choose the preferably breathable. They must have reinforcements to the ankles, heels, location selector and have anti-slip soles.
For rainy days the boots should be waterproof and if this is not the case on a pair of boots will guarantee you to have feet nearly dry.
*The rain gear
Even if your clothes are tight for a ride, they may be waterlogged after a few hours and be uncomfortable to wear. The best protection against the rain remains the combination but it is sometimes difficult to put on, the alternative is the over-jacket and over-trousers.
In addition, cool weather the rain gear can serve as a very good windbreaker.
Drive loaded motorcycle:
You took the road and you must now anticipate more about the reactions of your motorcycle.
A motorcycle that has a modified braking both the power of the attack of the brakes. It is thus lengthen braking distances. Similarly acceleration should be more contained.
A heavier bike, the modified center of gravity, a decision to wind accentuated, more depressed suspensions, loading too much forward or height, result in a holding of different route. Beware.
Remember also not to trap you by the width of the bags.
Drive in group... and safe:
To circulate several motorcycles it is necessary for the safety of all to take a number of precautions.
Some common sense rules must be observed.
First, although this may seem obvious, it is strictly forbidden to overtake on the right. Similarly it is imperative to prevent other bikes before any operation: do not hesitate to use turn signals, mirrors, turning his head to check blind spots.
The group must circulate called staggered formation, the first placing slightly to the left of the road. This provision provides for unforeseen events greater margin of safety. An interval of fifty meters must be respected between each rider. Note that the last rider of the group must be an informed motorcyclist to anticipate the unexpected. Obviously the staggered formation is abandoned at the approach turns to take the right path.
It must be remembered that in a group all the bikes do not run at the same speed at the same time but roll on the principle of elastic. When the first accelerates, the last speed up a little later and will therefore accelerate harder to follow the group. It will also brake harder if the head of the group slows. Beyond 5 motorcycles this phenomenon is growing and it seems desirable to form small groups.
In all cases regular stops are to be expected if only to regroup.
In hot weather or cold weather, make sure you take the water. It is indeed necessary to drink regularly to avoid dehydration. Do not forget that the rider is fighting against the "wind factor"...
Drive in the mountain… and safe:
The mountain is the ideal playground for bikers, but it has some pitfalls that you must know.
*The infrastructure is not always suited to bikes: hazardous safety barriers, coatings degraded end of winter, spring or gravel during road repairs...
Road design often provides outputs blind corners and anything may appear then: a big camper or a tractor, an animal or a herd or even another bike in the opposite direction!
Stay alert because in all cases an off can be disastrous.
*The descent leverages the extensively brakes, anticipate and cool is essential to keep all their effectiveness. The descent is the hardest part to negotiate in the mountains, it is also the most dangerous.
*The weather can be capricious, a departure under a radiant sun does not always portend a bright finish. Likewise mild temperatures in the valley can hide frost altitude.
Always bring warm clothes and rain gear, which guarantees to keep the good memories of the day...
Driving abroad… and safe:
Driving abroad implies respect for the rules specific to the country crossed: speed limits, blood alcohol level, general rules of behavior (roll left eg UK), first aid kit, safety vests fluo...
We must respect the local customs:
- Double the vehicles of columns is frowned upon in Germany,
- In Sweden you do not pass the vehicle in front of you, you expect it ranks on the low side...
The road network is deplorable in some countries (it can no longer be cast on plate sewers in Albania for example) or is just different (clay coating battered parts of Finland).
The caution and speed always to adapt but the scenery and fun are always huge.