101 Steps to Motorcycle Safety - Equipment Tips

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All you really need is a tank of gas and the open road... if you don't mind freezing your kazoonzies off with a broken-down bike in the middle of nowhere. But since getting there is half the fun, here's some advice to help you and your bike accomplish it:

23. Protective Armor Many types are available, and the jury's still out on which is best. Armor should conform to anatomy and not slide around. Vulnerable areas are knees, elbows, shoulders and hips.
24. "Retroreflective" Material - The stuff with the little glass beads. Helmet, sleeves, pant legs, but especially across your back.
25. Eye Protection - Replace scratched shields. Carry a spritzer and soft cloth, and consider a quality defogging device.
26. Electric Vest - Electric clothing is the only way to replace lost body heat while you're riding.
27. Owner's Manual - Don't leave home without it.
28. Handlebars are not a fashion statement They're the primary interface of man and machine. Choose bars that enable you to relax, yet remain in control.
29. The Right Seat - What's comfortable in your living room isn't what works best on the highway. You want back support and freedom of movement.
30. Adjust All Controls - Sit on your bike and close your eyes: Can you reach out and rest your fingers on the clutch and brake levers? How's the free play in clutch and throttle? Is your front brake firm?
31. Lube Cables - Sticky, notchy cables equal clumsy riding.
32. Tire Inspection - Dry rot? Cuts? Foreign objects? How's your air pressure?
33. Tire Replacement - Forget tread depth; cupped fronts, squared-off rears, uneven wear -- all equal yucky handling. Don't buy tires because racers like them or because they yield the highest mileage; choose the best all around skins for the riding you do.
34. Suspension Tuning - Learn what the various adjustments are for. Make changes one at a time. Change fork oil yearly.
35. Roadside Tire Repairs - Tubes. Patches. Plugs. Tire irons. CO2 cartridges. What does your bike require? Never underestimate the dangers of being stranded.
36. Downsize - Keep the big bike; get a small one for kicks and skill development.
37. Road-Race Gloves - So-called "summer" or "touring" gloves will turn to confetti in a good tumble.
38. A Good Helmet - '90s helmets have protective liners made of expanded polystyrene nearly 1-1/2 inches thick. Partial coverage helmets should at least protect the brain stem in back and not slide around on your head. Full-face helmets should have EPS throughout, including the chinbar.
[These tips are the brainchild of Mr Lawrence Grodosky and was originally published in the Feb 1996 issue of Rider Magazine]