Whether you chase the rebellious dream of Marlon Brando and James Dean on Café Racers, or simply enjoy cruising the open roads with your old reliable Gold Wing, riding a motorcycle is a summertime must for many Canadians.

In the early 1950s, riding was as easy as putting on your trusty old leather jacket, a pair of rugged boots and sunglasses and setting off for the open road. Fast forward to today, and you will see that safety standards, equipment, and education have allowed us to keep the freedom of driving a motorcycle, while also lowering the risk. Even the seemingly simple leather jacket has been rigorously lab tested and combined with materials like Kevlar to provide maximum injury prevention in the case of an accident.

While having the latest tech can be great, the most important thing you can do to keep yourself safe this motorcycle season is a thorough inspection of your bike and biking accessories. Before heading out on the road, here’s a quick checklist to ensure everything is in tip-top shape.

Remember: Always consult your owner’s manual, and bring your bike to a mechanic for extensive maintenance tasks.

  1. Riding Gear. Take everything out of the closet and try it on to ensure it fits and is in good condition. Any chips, cracks, broken pieces, or wear and tear marks? Maybe it’s time to check out the latest helmets or jackets for an upgrade.
  2. Tires. Your tires are what keeps you on the road, so give them the attention they deserve. Did you notice the tire wear bar showing when you put the bike away last year? If so, then it’s time for new tires. If the tread is still good, a quick pressure check and inflation will help to keep your ride smooth.
  3. Brakes. Test front and rear brakes separately to make sure they are working and there are no squeaking or scraping sounds. Make sure to check your brake pads, lines and fluids and replace any broken lines or worn pads. There is nothing worse than damaging your rotors while trying to squeak out the last millimetre of brake pad before changing them.
  4. Chain. It might seem like a small thing, but your chain is a key component for your motorcycle’s performance. Inspect your chain for any rust that needs to be cleaned off and give it some oil to keep it lubricated. Feel the slack of the chain to see if it needs tightening.
  5. Fluids. Ideally, you’d have changed your oil before putting your bike away, but if you didn’t, it’s a good idea to do it before you hit the road. While you’re changing your oil, be sure to top up your other fluids as well.
  6. Kickstands. Did you know the tension spring in your kickstand can weaken in storage over the winter? A quick check of this will make sure that you don’t start the season with your bike falling over unexpectedly.
  7. Battery. A common issue after the winter is your bike’s battery. Every time a battery goes dead, its lifespan shortens so it is a good idea to have your bike hooked up to a charger that will keep it charged while in storage to ensure that your bike is ready to go when you are.
  8. Lights. Once you’ve confirmed your battery is operational, check all the lights and gauges – especially your brake and indicator lights – to make sure they are in working order and no bulbs need replacing.
  9. Insurance: If your bike is ready, and your gear is sound, one last thing to confirm is that your insurance is up-to-date. Maybe it’s time to look into whether you have the right coverages for your needs, or if you’re eligible for a discount for all those years of claims-free riding?

At Cowan Insurance Group we have a team of experienced insurance professionals who can make sure you are getting the right coverage to drive off into the sunset with confidence. If it’s time to look at your insurance, give us a call at 1-866-912-6926 today for a free, no obligation quote! Let’s get you out on the road this summer confident, safe, and protected.