November 26, 2022

Three Questions Every Motorcycle Rider Needs to Ask About Their Machine

Harley customizing

If you had to guess, how many motorcycles would you posit are out vrooming round the roads, slanging round the corners of the metropolitan world today? Recent numbers put the total at somewhere around 2 million, though it’s hard to get an accurate estimate because of the ones kept in storage during the winter months. Still, there’s no denying the staying power of motorcycles, especially custom motorcycles, in the United States — where they’ve come to be a loud, roaring symbol of freedom.

However, as Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben once told him, with great power comes great responsibility. The same thing is true for motorcycles, even as their crackling engines remain the foremost hallmarks of Americana outside of bald eagles and flapping flags. In order to hop on a bike responsibly, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself.

Is your helmet sturdy and DOT-approved?

According to the Department of Transportation, there is a standard for motorcycle helmets. DOT-approved helmets must undergo strenuous tests, including checking the overall hardness and impact management, in order to gain the stamp of approval. In addition, the Snell Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to motorcycle safety, has its own set of regulations that tend to overlap with the DOT’s. For the safest helmets, always select the certified safe ones.

Do you have less than 2 millimeters of brake pad material?

Taking your bike out of storage is one of the most exciting aspects about owning it, besides customizing it with motorcycle accessories. But before you take it out on the road again, you’ll need to perform a diagnostic test to ensure everything’s at the appropriate levels, including your brake pads. Any pads with less than 2 millimeters of material left are hazardous and need to be replaced by a professional immediately.

If you’re lowering, do you know the limits for ground clearance?

Harley customizing. Choppers customizing. Every kind of customizing imaginable. The most common customization riders make is lowering their bikes in order to accommodate the length of their legs. But in order to do this safely, motorcycles should never be lowered past 25 millimeters. Bikes lower than this tend to lose ground clearance, making them dangerous as they careen around turns.

For more information on Harley customizing, helmet safety or regular maintenance, always consult a local mechanic or bike body specialist.

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