Sunday, October 8, 2017


 Preventive maintenance checks and services. That is (or at least was) a term used by our military to describe regular equipment maintenance. In motorcycle circles you may hear the term "pre-ride check list" or something similar. You would think that someone that has served 21 years in a National Guard mechanized infantry unit, works as a mechanic and has rode bikes all his life would grasp the concept of making sure his equipment was ready for service. While I do understand the importance of pre-op checks there are some days when "Did the bike start?" Is the only check made.
This last week I rode the sportster to work. I can strap my cooler to the sissy bar and carry a few essentials in a bacpac. I can't stop for carry out dinner on the way home or stop to buy auto parts to keep my old dodge running but I can enjoy the freedom of a lighter bike with no wind shield. I also enjoy the top gear roll on power of the big bore twin. During one particularly energetic dash around some slower cages I almost had an incident and it was due to lack of maintenance. Really no big deal but the left grip came almost all the way off the bar at a bad time. I noticed it in time and made the appropriate corrections but the point is that it never should have happened. After work that day I decided to look the bike over before riding home. Besides gluing the grip on, I wanted to check why the bike was handling like a boat on a river. Turns out the front tire had 9 pounds of air in it. That's inexcusable and I'm ashamed to admit it. As long as I was on a roll I decided to look into why the headlight was shining 'coon on one side and lighting up the ditch on the other. Sure enough, the sealed beam rotated in the housing. This is a condition not easily remedied due to the housing having cracks in it. As I was looking the bike over a coworker noticed that the one and only bolt holding the gas tank on was missing its nut. It's not like the tank would fall off but I put a nut on that bolt anyway.
 So what does this all mean? The riding season is winding down for that bike. The mornings will be getting colder and I'll want to sit behind the protection of the Ultras fairing and keep warm with the heated grips and seat. Today I'll make a check list of what needs to happen to the sporty over the winter to bring it back up to safe standards. 

 I also want to move some things around in my small heated shop and see if there is any possibility of having two bikes torn apart in here. The shop has been terribly neglected this it should be during warm riding weather in a state with a limited riding season.



  1. I am terrible about maintenance.A pre ride check? Oh ya that's the once over in the spring and again just before the Maggie Valley trip Right?

  2. I guess if it ran alright when you parked it and you're certain there are no gremlins living in your garage...RUN IT!

  3. I always wanted to be a pilot but the key to a long pilot life has always been a thorough pre-flight check. And I suck at those, also being of the "Did the bike start" persuasion and waiting for something to go wrong before fixing it. Which is not good at 80 mph but even worse at 10,000 feet. But, like you say, the season is winding down and we'll have all winter to get everything back in nick for the spring.

  4. Ya, you can't just pull over and discover you forgot to turn the gas on when you're flying. I'll stick to bikes.