Summer is the season for riding. With clear skies and an open road, it’s hard to resist hopping on your bike and just heading out to who knows where. However, don’t hop on your bike just yet and ride out into the summer sun. There are a few things that you need to check first before you get into what many consider to be one of the most anticipated seasons for motorcyclists.
You’re definitely going to ride out quite a bit, and you need to ready yourself and your bike for the wave of kilometers that you’re going to track under the searing heat of the sun, and in the presence of other riders looking to log in the mileage.
Get some summer gear
Remember, the summer months are among the hottest of the year, and it pays to have a good set of ventilated gear with you so you don’t overheat while you’re on the bike. Luckily, most motorcycle jackets sold in the Philippines have ample ventilation to keep you from roasting under the sun. Stay clear of leather jackets and remove the insulating liners from your adventure jackets. Pack up your raincoat and just bring it with you in case the sky starts to cry. Also, consider getting a new helmet this riding season. If your lid is still good, then think about investing in a tinted visor, or getting a helmet with a dual visor to protect your eyes from the sun.
Though, don’t go all out with your purchases. Just buy what you need to replace, and make sure that you get the pieces that you can afford while keeping safety in mind.
Change your fluids
As ambient temperatures rise, the harder it is for a motorcycle to keep cool. Stay on top of your motorcycle maintenance throughout the year, but make an exception for the summer months. Whether your bike is an air-cooled or oil-cooled cafe racer, or if it is a modern liquid-cooled machine, be sure to give it fresh fluids before you head off to a far-out ride.
Change your coolant, first and foremost, as it is the most important fluid that your engine uses to keep itself from overheating. Top it up, or change it out entirely. Coolant may evaporate or leak out slowly over time, and it can get contaminated as well. Fresh coolant can transfer heat more effectively than old coolant provided you’re using the manufacturer-recommended formula or brand.
Oil is up next, and for air-cooled bikes, oil can also serve as a type of coolant for your motor, and it also protects your engine. Old oil is already a bit dirty and may be thinner than it once was when new. Multiple heat cycles may have whittled away at its ability to protect your bike’s engine, so be sure to change out your old lube for a new batch.
Just as a precaution, check your brake fluid as well, and make sure that it is at a good level and clear. Check the reservoirs for both the front and the rear.
Now that your engine is taken care of, now you want to see whether your tires are still in good shape. The asphalt will be very hot in the summer which can degrade your tires faster. If you’ve seen a lot of miles on your current set, you may want to change it out especially if the rubber has been heat-cycled many times over. Sportbike and sport-naked motorcycle road tires tend to tear through quickly in the summer months. The softer compound of these types of tires grip the road easily, but they wear faster than an eraser when the ground is hot.
As much as possible, you don’t want an old pair of tires on your bike, nor do you want a bald set of tires. You may have more grip in the summer because the roads are dry, but you may want to change to a newer set of tires if your current set is on its way out.
Also, consider your tire pressure and keep it in check. Inflate your tires to the right pressure, and adjust for the high heat.
Bring some water
You might not feel it with the adrenaline pumping, but make sure that you hydrate constantly on a ride. Take a break, make a pitstop, or pack some water. Maybe you should add a hydration pack to your summer shopping list, or buy a luggage piece with a bottle holder.
You could remember to take care of your bike, but remember to take care of your body as well. Happy summer and happy riding!