An easy way to remember the items to inspect is the phrase “START-GO.”
Steering and Drive System
- Drive chain: Check your owner’s manual for proper adjustment. Inspect and lubricate the chain regularly.
- Drive shaft: Check for leaks, and consult your manual for proper lubricant levels.
- Handlebars and footrests: Shake to make sure they’re secure.
Throttle and Brakes
- Throttle: Make sure it moves smoothly and snaps closed.
- Ignition switch: Check for wear.
- Engine stop switch: Test operation.
- Brakes: Test to make sure controls operate smoothly.
- Foot shifter: Make sure it’s attached firmly and positioned for safe operation.
- Headlights and taillights: Turn them on.
- Brake lights: Press the brake, and have your riding partner make sure the brake lights illuminate.
- Make sure your registration or trail pass decals are attached.
- Confirm that the dates are still valid.
Tires, Wheels, and Suspension
- Always use a low-pressure gauge to check tire pressure.
- Make sure pressure is equal on both sides.
- Check for damage that could cause air leaks.
- Axle nuts: Make sure they’re tight and secured by cotter pins.
- Bearings: Try to rock the wheel on its axle to check for wear.
- Major fasteners: Periodically tighten all major fasteners with hand tools.
- Gasoline: Make sure the tank is full.
- Leaks: Check for fuel leaks.
- Oil: Check while the engine is off.
- Leaks: Check for oil leaks.
In addition to checking the items listed in START-GO, your pre-ride inspection should include the following.
- Spark arrestor/muffler: Make sure it’s attached firmly and working properly.
- Air filter: Make sure it’s clean, undamaged, and unblocked.
- Spark plugs: Replace if necessary.