When was the last time you checked the pressure in your bike’s tyres? Are you sure the indicators are all working fine? After all, you can’t see the rear ones when you’re riding… Any idea what condition the final drive chain is in?
If you’re feeling sheepish about answering any of the above questions honestly then you’re not alone. All of us will at some time have taken our ride for granted and all too often only realise there’s a problem when it’s too late. But fear not, there’s a simple set of checks you can do every time you ride – ‘POWDERS’.
‘POWDERS’ is a checklist developed by police motorcyclists so they can be sure that when they take a bike out they know it’s good to go. To break it down it is petrol, oil, water, damage/drive, electrics, rubber, and steering/suspension.
The first one is pretty obvious. Have you got enough petrol and is the petrol cap secure.
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If you’ve not got enough oil you can quickly kill your engine, so take a look at the oil level in the sight glass on the side of the engine. Now time to think about the mineral oil in your brake and clutch reservoirs. Are the levels correct and the lines free of damage?
Staying with fluids, check the coolant level for the radiator if you’ve got a liquid-cooled bike.
Damage should be self-explanatory but giving the whole bike a quick visual once over won’t do any harm. On the drivetrain front is the chain oiled and correctly tensioned? What state are the sprockets in? If the bike has a shaft drive, are the gaiters in good condition and not cracked or split?
Now turn the ignition on and check all the lights are working, including high beam and the appropriate idiot lights and don’t forget to give the horn a quick toot just to be sure, too.
Talking about rubber, tyre pressure and the general condition of the tyres are obvious things to consider but think about other rubber parts too; grips and foot pegs. You don’t want either of those coming off while you’re riding.
Finally, do the handlebars turn side-to-side freely? How are your fork seals? Not weeping? And what about when you’re going to carry a pillion? Have you remembered to adjust the rear suspension’s pre-load?
Realistically, the entire ‘POWDERS’ check takes as long to do as it took you to read this and it could save you a lot of time money and pain.