Maintain Your Gear To Stay Safe When Riding

Tip #52 from the pages of The Total Motorcycling Manual

dirt bike splashing in the water
Maintaining your bike is a no-brainer... but what about your gear?Cycle World

Ever been in the Army? Or even seen a movie where a drill instructor yells at a recruit for having a dirty rifle? When it comes to motorcycling, you need to be your own drill instructor.

Maintaining your bike is a no-brainer—your safety depends on properly functioning brakes, properly inflated tires, correctly tensioned chain, and all the rest. But cleaning and maintaining the rest of your gear is just as important. A small tear can turn into a ruined garment when you’re talking about a 60-mph (96-kph) wind flapping it to pieces.

The steps are simple, but important. First, air out your helmet after every ride, and store it in a dry place with plenty of air circulation where it won’t get accidently knocked over. (Every blow the helmet absorbs is one fewer blow it can protect you from.) Next, turn your riding jacket inside-out after a hot day’s ride. Finally, a little talcum powder in your gloves can freshen them in hot weather.

Never, ever, put leather items away wet, or dry them over artificial heat. Stuffing sleeves or pantlegs with towels or crumpled newspaper can help the garment retain its form while drying. For hard-finished leather, saddle soap is the external cleaner of choice. At least once a year, give your leather items a rubdown with a good leather treatment like Lexol or Pecard. Even Vaseline can help to restore suppleness. Retouch scuffed leather with shoe dye and shoe polish.