Rally prep – Something for the Weekend | WORKSHOP
Sun’s out (hopefully) and some big rides coming up, whether you’re going on a National or just joining mates for a ride out, a bit of solo riding or a bit of a potter you’re ready but is your scooter?
Is your riding gear OK? Have you changed that visor with scratches on? Do you know where your waterproofs are? Well, after being unprepared on more than one occasion, these are a few checks which I have found helpful before a ride out. It’s only a few basic things but they’re easily missed, the minimum basics.
First thing to check, which is obvious but easily missed is your tyre pressure and the tread on both front and rear. On my Lambo I run 30psi rear and 20psi front, one thing I learnt when I raced many years ago always use the same tyre pressure gauge; the one you are confident with – it’s amazing how they vary.
Next thing, change your gearbox oil, especially if your scoot has been stood over winter as the oil can absorb moisture and it’s reasonably cheap to change your oil. Doing this keeps your roller needle bearings nice and clean, and the seals in the engine cleaner and helps with the longevity of all parts.
Worth checking the tightness of the cables, they don’t want to be too loose or too tight – you can feel this through your gear change – worth packing a couple of cables just in case, a throttle cable, gear cable and a clutch cable and a spare trunnion – all worth packing even if you cannot change them yourself at the side of the road at least if you have them with you someone will be more likely help you out.
Take your spark plug out and give it a clean with a soft brass brush or pop a new one in. Handy to pack a spare spark plug and don’t forget a spark plug spanner – been caught out myself and they don’t sell them at petrol stations, Spars or Tescos! Also handy are a spare plug cap and a spare CDI.
Clean out your air filter if you’re running with one, or replace, because two-strokes live on the air filter. Also check the air hose as they can degrade over winter.
Its also worth carrying a small bike pump, they only cost about £8 from the bike shop and a spare inter tube if you don’t have room for a spare wheel. Mind you the assumption is you have the tools with you to take the wheel off and remember they charge for air at the petrol stations so a bike pump is always handy.
Lights and mirrors
Check your lights front and rear, it’s worth carrying a front and rear light bulb and one thing I find really handy is a small headlight that goes around you head like push bikers wear, in an emergency if your front light goes you can hook it around your leg shields, or on to the back of your scoot if the fog comes down (they normally switch from clear to red light) also if you breakdown in the dark use it on your head so you have light while you fix your scoot!
Lock to lock
One check I do every time I get on a scooter, an old fella in pit lane showed me years ago, is fire your scooter up and sit on it, pull your clutch in and move your handlebars from lock to lock – this gives you a feel if your headset is coming loose or if anything is untoward with the front end. I did this one time and the stud and the nut holding my damper on shot off across the car park, easy to cope with standing still.
Then pull your front brake in, compress your suspension, lean on the front, and you will feel the resistance from the brake and you can feel your suspension working. It might not work with anti-dive but still worth the check. Let your weight off the front end, dab the back brake, feel the resistance by pushing with your foot on the floor, just to prove your back brake is working.
Let the back brake off and put both feet on the ground. Let the clutch out slowly making sure you’re not in gear, put your hand in front of your headlight, check dip and dazzle. This all sounds long winded but takes less than a minute to do and you know your brakes are working, lights are working and your engine has warmed up.
One thing easily forgotten is enough two-stroke oil for the journey and a jug to measure the oil correctly. It’s getting harder to buy good two-stroke oil from a petrol station, however they have good coffee and pies at extravagant prices!
I carry a lot more spares than this to stop Mrs P over packing! The above is just the basics.