It is that time of the year again when you must be ready for a drizzle or a downpour and everything in between. Just like you prepare yourself to be rain-ready, your bike needs to be too. And whether you choose to brave the downpour and go for a ride or stay put until the weather clears, here are tips to ensure your motorcycle is monsoon-ready.
Tyres and brakes
Even when it is dry, tyres play a hero’s role in ensuring that the bike stays upright, and you stay safe while you are astride. However, when it rains, they have to handle the additional responsibility of channeling water through those grooves in order to maintain traction with the surface. Ensure there is ideal depth left in the tread of your bike’s tyres if you intend to ride while it rains. Additionally, if you have been contemplating a change of tyres all this while due to reasons related to age or wear, now is a good time. Regardless of whether you will be riding or parking your bike for the monsoons, ensure ideal tyre pressure is maintained. Invest in a handy gauge to keep a timely check on this aspect. Also, don’t skimp on quality, for a good pair of half -worn, sticky rubber is twice as good compared to cheaper hard compound rubber, even if it’s brand new.
Stopping distances are generally higher when the road surface is wet. But you have still got to stop, right? Make sure there’s enough life left in the brake pads for stopping power to be always available when you need it. En sure brake oil levels are maintained and if the levers or cables require any adjustment or replacement, get it done without second thoughts.
Battery and electricals
Electrical components and water have never been good friends. For this very reason, replace any cables or contact points that are showing signs of wear. If the bike’s battery is old and near the end of its life, replace it with a new unit to ensure there is a healthy charge available when you thumb the starter. This will drastically reduce your chances of being stranded on a rainy day.
When it rains, visibility becomes a challenge both for the rider and other road users. Check that all the lights, including the headlight, stop light, taillight, and indicators work as they should. Much as we hate to use it, horn is sometimes the last resort, and in the low visibility monsoon conditions, it can sometimes come handy. Make sure your bike’s horn can be heard loud and clear. Have the entire switchgear checked thoroughly, and replace or repair parts showing early signs of failure.
If you will not be riding during the monsoons, try and park it in an area that’s covered. If that’s not possible, invest in a good rain cover and tie it down well. If you will be riding, avoid parking under the open sky. If you live or work in an area where flooding is common, park wisely and keep a check on weather warnings to take evasive action.
For the times you would be traveling to places you are not very familiar with, you can always invest in a compact bike cover. There are several brands which offer high quality covers, which pack away nice and small. Carry one along in a bag to ensure that your beloved bike is protected from water at all times.
Keep it clean
For the otherwise dusty conditions we live in, things become quite mucky when they mix with rain, and no matter what, there is no escaping riding through that mess. While it can get very annoying to keep your motorcycle clean and dry during the mucky monsoons, a little extra effort goes a long way in enhancing the longevity of your beloved machine. When things become dirty, it’s important that you give your bike a good wash and use pressure to hose down dirt that’s stubborn and won’t come off easily. While it might sound counterintuitive to give your bike another splash with the heavens already pouring down, it is important to dial-up the frequency of washes to deal effectively with the abrasive muck. After the muck has been washed off, make sure you leave your motorcycle dry. Even while traveling, keep a cloth handy to keep your bike as dry as possible, especially around areas like the fuel lid, switches, etc., where allowing water ingress is a strict no-no.
If your bike came fitted with a mud guard and you uninstalled it for aesthetic purposes, now is a good time to get it reinstalled. Not only will it make sure that the tyres don’t spray your own back in shades of brown, but it will also keep the one following you happy. Last, but not the least, is the drive chain. Keep it clean and well-lubricated at all times.
If your bike is due for service, get it properly checked and serviced well before the onset of monsoons. If you think that it’s a good idea to get everything fixed once it stops raining, it’s not. The chances of any ongoing issues inflating into something bigger during this time are more. Top up all the fluids, get the chain slack checked and adjusted, get the brake lines bled if necessary and get the spark plugs checked as well. Remember, a short trip to the service station is always more preferable than being stranded on a flooded street while it’s pouring.