10 bits of biking wisdom that no one ever tells you

Posted on 12 July 2016 by Tony Santos

Harley-Davidson-Bike

The easy way to lube a chain

Do you still lube a section of chain, move the bike forward, lube another section, move the bike forward etc? Here is the easy way. With the bike on its sidestand, stand on the sidestand side, grip the subframe and by using the sidestand as a pivot you can very easily lift the rear wheel off the ground and hold it there. Now you can get a mate to spin the rear wheel and lube the chain in seconds with minimal effort!

Always lube a chain after a ride

The best time to lube a chain is after a ride as the chain will be slightly warm due to the friction of it moving. This heat helps the lube penetrate into the chain’s links, making its performance far more effective. Once you have lubed the chain, leave it to cool down and then wipe off any excess using a rag so that your wheel doesn’t become covered in sticky lube.

Flapping fobs

A lot of bikes come with alarm fobs attached to their ignition keys. These fobs flap around in the wind and often lead to scratches and marks on the top yoke. Pop to your local DIY store and buy some Velcro. By sticking some Velcro to the top yoke and the other side to the fob you can keep the fob in place and stop it flapping in the wind. Always put the soft Velcro on the fob as it will be in your pocket and the hooked side will catch on your clothing. If you are tempted to remove the alarm completely, check with your insurer first in case it affects your premium.

Starting tricks

It’s amazing the number of people who don’t know how to bump-start a bike – so here’s how! If your battery is flat, ensure the ignition is turned on and the alarm deactivated then put the bike in second gear and pull the clutch in. If you can, get a friend to push you up to a reasonable speed or roll down a hill and when you’re going fast enough, stand up on the pegs and then drop yourself onto the seat while at the same time letting the clutch out in one go. Don’t slip the lever, just drop it.

By dropping your weight onto the seat you reduce the chances of the rear skipping when the engine’s compression kicks in (which is also why you bump start in second gear) and hopefully the bike will fire into life. Bump starting any small capacity machine is easy, and inline fours are generally simple, but V-twins are very tricky due to their engine’s high compression.

Rucksack disasters avoided

Does your rucksack have two zips? If so, always do it up with both the zips down one side of the rucksack and not at the top. While it seems logical, and easy, to do up the zips so they meet at the top of the rucksack, this is a terrible idea. If the rucksack is loaded, the wind pressure will force the two zips to part, something that simply can’t happen if they are down the same side of the bag. It’s a simple trick, but one that is guaranteed to stop your underpants getting strewn around a dual carriageway.

Stop hair plucking

You know that feeling when you get all hot and sweaty on a summer’s day and your leathers start to pluck your leg hairs out? It’s horrible isn’t it? This is easily avoided by wearing a thin lycra under suit (also called a base layer). These undersuits make getting in and out of your leathers far quicker and easier and also stop the leather getting all sweaty and smelly. On the other hand… you could just shave your legs. Whatever tickles your fancy really.

Heated clothing rules

If you commute or ride a bike in winter, buy some heated clothing. While your mates may call you soft for using it, heated clothing will transform your ride because on cold mornings it keeps you blissfully warm. Heated kit is one of those things that once you buy your first set, you will wonder how on earth you ever survived without it.

Armour up

We all love the freedom of wearing just a jacket and jeans for summer riding, but do you worry about the lack of leg armour in jeans? Even jeans with armour inbuilt are pretty useless because if they’re baggy, the armour can shift around in an accident. The solution is simple. Pop to a motocross shop and buy some m/x knee armour (hard or soft) that attaches directly to your legs as this ensures it is always in place. Now you just have to pull your jeans on over the armour and you are nice and protected. And if your legs are shaved, they’ll slip on nicely!

A cheap alarm system

Not everyone likes to fit their bike with an alarm, however if you are parked away from home (or even in your garage) and you are worried about your bike’s safety here is a cheap DIY alarm. Using a bit of gaffa tape, tape your bike’s horn button down in the ‘on’ position. Should anyone force your bike’s ignition when they try and steal the bike, the horn will sound. A thief is very unlikely to notice the button is taped down (especially if you use black tape) and the din from a blaring horn should alert you something is amiss and hopefully scare off the potential thief.

Clean bugs the warm and gentle way

If you arrive home with a multitude of dead flies on your visor, don’t instantly reach for a cloth. Rubbing the dead critters off vigorously can result in a scratched visor, so instead take your time. Soak some kitchen roll in warm water and lay it over the visor for a few minutes. This will soften up the dead bodies and allow you to wipe them off with minimal effort, vastly reducing the chances of smearing with guts and gore or scratching the visor.

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