There is a seemingly endless list of life-hacks available, all ostensibly designed to make our lives easier or, at the very least, to make a few tedious tasks less tedious.
When it comes to motorcycles, there is a confusing jumble of myths and fables to wade through before you find a few tips that are actually useful in some shape or form. Seasoned riders have been putting these into practice for many years, benefiting from years of riding experience. Some of us have only been riding for a short time and haven't had the chance to learn or discover them all.
So here are a few of the most relevant tips and hacks that can be put into practice right now or may come in handy one day in the future.
WD-40 Multi Tool
WD-40 is a bit of a hack in and of itself, with a range of uses that is hard to believe until you try it; it just works, on almost anything.
Motorcycles have a wide range of applications. You can use it to clean grit or grime off any surface (including paint and plastics), as a chain cleaner (but don't let anyone tell you it can be used as a chain lube; use oil for that), and a variety of other things. Seriously, it could be the best product to come out of the oil and gas industry in a long time.
Tuck Those Shoelaces Away
If you ride a motorcycle, you know how important it is to use the proper gear as much as possible. However, if you are going to ride quickly to the shop or convenience store, we doubt you will reach for the riding boots.
You're going to put on your sneakers nine times out of ten, and if you've ever ridden with sneakers on, you've probably felt that awful sinking feeling when your lace gets stuck on the footpeg. All you have to do is get into the habit of tucking your laces in; it could save you from a low-speed tip over one day.
Bleeding Brake Oxygen Tubing
Medical supplies may be a sensitive subject for some, but if you have some of this hose lying around the house or are willing to spend around a dollar at the drugstore, it is easily the best tool for bleeding your brakes.
The rubber joint appears to be designed to fit over a brake nipple and creates a perfect seal; you can also clearly see air bubbles, and it is one of the most durable tubes money can buy.
Removal of a Decal
Decals, particularly those that have been baked by the sun for years, can be difficult to remove.
The best way to go about it is to add heat; if you have a heat gun, that's great; if not, a hair dryer will suffice. To remove excess adhesive, keep some rubbing alcohol on hand, or our all-time favorite, WD 40, which also works quite well.
Homemade Oil Pan
If you do most of your own maintenance, you probably have an old oil container lying around; if not, most garages will gladly give you one for free.
Simply cut out the middle and you have a handy oil pan; while this can also work with cars, it can be a little messy to deal with. Motorcycles typically use 2 to 3 liters of oil (consult your owner's manual), so there is no risk of spilling anything.
Prepare Your Brakes
Most experienced riders will cover their brakes to prepare for the inevitable, but even this can result in panic braking, which can lead to an accident (even with ABS).
If you go a step further and preload the brakes, i.e., hold them to the point where they bite, you can almost completely eliminate the possibility of grabbing the brakes in panic and sliding down the road.
Always place your left foot first.
It appears simple enough, but not everyone does it. Some use both feet, others alternate, and some even use the right foot, which is actually the wrong foot in this case.
To avoid making a mistake, always shift some of your weight to the left as you come to a complete stop. This forces you to the left, allowing your right foot to remain planted on the foot brake.
The counterlean is arguably the most counterintuitive technique; we see it all the time on dirt, but leaning into a corner like a MotoGP rider makes more logical sense and is certainly more fun.
However, the reality is that most street corners are low-speed corners, so counterleaning is far more effective. If you practice it, you'll notice how much faster you can shift your weight in an emergency situation compared to a lean that requires "getting your knee down."
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