Easter weekend is traditionally a time when many motorcyclists take to the road after a winter in hibernation.
Getting on a high performance motorcycle, which may make up to 200bhp, should never be taken lightly and riders should definitely ease themselves back into riding and shake any winter rust off.
We all recognise the need to give our bikes the once over before heading off, checking the essentials like brakes, fluids and tyre pressures, but we often forget about our riding gear, which is why we wanted to give a quick overview of some of the things you can do to ensure that your bike clothing and equipment will be tip top when you head out on the highway…
Motorcycle crash helmets are arguably the most important piece of safety equipment you have, so don’t take any chances.
They should be stored in a dry place, out of direct sunlight, and replaced every five years, as the integrity of the helmet is likely to breakdown over time, but now is as good a time as any to give them a thorough clean and check over. Take out the cheek pads and wash them. Check the liner for any signs of damage. This can deteriorate over time and if you see visible signs of damage it’s best to replace your helmet straight away – it’s not worth the risk. We’d also service the visor – replacing it if there are any scratches or damage, and changing the Pinlock ‘double glazing’ system if it isn’t sealing well. If you use an intercom system, check that the battery still holds a charge, as these will sometimes fail if not used for a long period of time.
Leathers and textiles
In general riding gear is long lasting and if looked after well it will look after you for a long time. As with the helmet, storage is key – particularly with leathers. Leather items can dry out or get mouldy if stored incorrectly, making them a key to recommission or a right pain to wear, because they’re stiff or smelly!
This is a good time to give your gear a good inspection. Give them a clean and check all the zips and so on for damage. With leathers, it’s a good idea to treat them with a nourishing product, which will keep them nice and supple. Finally, check that they still fit. If you’ve been off the bike for a while, you might have put on a bit of weight. Tight leathers are at best uncomfortable and at worst dangerous, as they can restrict your movement. If in doubt, go to a tailor to get them let our – or take the opportunity to invest in some new gear.
Gloves and boots shouldn’t need any particular maintenance, so just give them a quick clean up and check that all the zips are working, and that there are no rips and tears. These items can wear though over the years, especially the soles of your boots and palms of your gloves, so if they are starting to look a bit sorry for themselves, it may be that you’ll need to stick a new pair on your springtime shopping list.
Make sure your filtered earplugs are fully sanitised, undamaged and ready to go. If you use custom fit plugs, check that they still fit well. The shape of the human skull can change as we get older, so it’s perfectly normal that custom fit plugs which were perfect when new don’t fit as well as they once did. Auritech recommend getting new moulds taken every five years, however this is a guideline and you may find that you need new plugs more or less frequently, depending on your individual body.
Earplugs are often overlooked, as research carried out on behalf of Auritech suggests that around one in three of all motorcyclists don’t wear hearing protection while riding – despite the fact that riding at road legal speeds can generate enough wind noise to create fatigue and even permanent hearing damage. Wearing earplugs is the easiest way to prevent this damage, and many riders find specialist filtered protectors, like Auritech Biker, are more comfortable and safer than disposable earplugs. Foam disposable plugs can be disorientating as they indiscriminately block out all sounds, but filtered protectors still allow the rider to hear important ambient sounds and intercom systems, while reducing harmful high frequency wind sounds.
You can find out more about Auritech’s Biker earplugs here: https://www.auritech.co.uk/universal-fit-earplugs/biker.html