Got three minutes to spare? It could be the most important three minutes of the whole day.

Regular maintenance and preventive care of your motorcycle is crucial. To help you through a quick and easy pre-ride inspection of critical components and systems, most riders use the T-CLOCS, which refers to Tires and Wheels, Controls, Lights and Electrics, Oil and Other Fluids, Chassis and Chain, and Stands.

 

T-CLOCS is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your riding risk when riding. It is a good practice to nspect your motorcycle every time before you ride. By following the T-CLOCS checklist, it's easy to remember what to check. It only takes a few minutes, and could make the difference between an awesome, enjoyable ride and a frustrating roadside debacle.

 

T

Tires and Wheels

Inspect your wheel rims for dents and cracks. Make sure that the spokes are tight and straight. Check tire pressure often and always use a good gauge. Consult your owner's manual for correct pressure and load rating. Air pressure can change with the air temperature. While you're at it, inspect the tires. Remove any objects stuck in the treads that may cause a puncture. Check for sufficient tire tread. Replace them if less than 50 percent of the tread remains, or if there are any cracks, cuts, or signs of distress.

C

Cables and Controls

Next you'll want to check the controls to be sure they operate properly. Inspect the front and rear brakes, throttle, clutch, and shifter. Squeeze the clutch to feel if it is operating smoothly. Squeeze the front brake; it should feel firm and keep the motorcycle from rolling forward when pushed. Check the rear brake in the same way. Replace broken, worn, or frayed cables at once.

L

Lights

 

Check your headlight(s), directional signals, tail light, and brake light every time you ride. Not only do they help you see where you're going, but they are your best way of being seen by others. If a light is out, it is often easy to change it yourself. Consult your owner's manual and/or service manual for correct type, and removal and replacement procedure. If replacing a headlight, consult your owner's manual for proper headlight alignment.

O

Oil and Fluids

 

Start by checking your fuel supply. Always start your rides with a full tank of fuel. Check the engine-oil level according to the instructions in your owner's manual.

C

Chassis and Chains

Inspect the chassis for cracks at gussets and accessory mounts. Check the steering for smoothness by turning the handlebars through the full operating range. Test the suspension for smooth, damped movement, and be sure to adjust it according to the load you're carrying and your riding style (consult your owner's manual). For high-mileage bikes, inspect the drive belt and sprockets.

If your motorcycle is equipped with an air-adjustable rear suspension, a good rule of thumb is to add three pounds of pressure to the rear shock for every 10 pounds of additional weight (passenger or cargo). Just be sure to check your owner's manual for your bike's upper limit.

S

Stands (side/kickstand)

Check for cracks or bending in the metal, and make sure there's enough tension in the spring to hold it up and out of the way when riding. A dangling stand is a real hazard.

Also, before you start riding, sit on your bike and take a look in the mirrors to be sure they're adjusted properly. Even if you don't think you've moved the mirrors, do a quick check just to be sure.

Your sidestand can easily sink into soft soil or hot asphalt. To avoid a potentially hazardous situation, consider carrying a small flat block of wood with you at all times to place under the sidestand when parking your motorcycle on dirt or asphalt.