April 2003 Safety Thoughts

Spring Tune-Up: T-CLOCK & Parking Lot Practice

by Dave Hansen, Safety Officer

Have you heard the term T-CLOCK?   What does this term mean?

Itís a term that has been around a long time & one that I equate to MSF classes and the motorcycle safety inspection that you should perform to ensure your motorcycle is safe to ride.

Letís review what the term denotes:

T is for Tires and Wheels -

Inspect the condition of your front and rear tires for adequate tread depth, condition of the sidewalls and proper inflation pressure.  Also inspect your wheels.  Look for bent rims, warped brake rotors, wheel bearing operation & the condition of the wheel bearing seals.  

C is for Controls -

Inspect the condition of levers and cables. Ensure proper operation & adjustment of the throttle, clutch and both front & rear brakes. 

L is for Lights - 

This includes inspection of the battery, battery terminals and battery ground connection, as well as verifying all the lights are working, all lenses and reflectors are installed securely and the headlight is aimed correctly.  Also inspect any exposed wires & wiring to ensure there are no frayed wires and all connectors are secure and properly connected. 

O is for Oil - 

Check levels and inspect for leaks in the engine oil, primary case & transmission.  Itís a good idea to drain & install fresh fluids, particularly if your bike has been stored in an unheated space for the winter, subject to thermal cycling & humidity. 

C is for Chassis - 

Inspect the frame, forks, steering head bearings, swingarm, and suspension components for any damage or looseness.  Correct any problems discovered BEFORE you ride. 

K is for Kickstand - 

Inspect your sidestand and centerstand if you have one to make sure the unit locks securely when down to prevent the bike from rolling off & tipping over.  Also inspect it for proper retraction in the up position, making sure the return spring is not damaged or worn.  Note here that this may require an assistant and also note Ė return springs can be & often are damaged by improper location of a lift or jack, which many may use to raise the bike tires off the ground during winter storage. 

The T-CLOCK inspection system is a good way to make sure your bike is ready for that first ride of the season. 

Now about that first ride - many of us use that first ride to re-familiarize ourselves with the controls and feel of our bikes.  We make that first ride a ride to an empty parking lot where we can practice starting, stopping, turning left & right, making circles in each direction and finally aggressive braking to simulate real world traffic situations the would test our ďrustyĒ skills without first practicing them in a non-traffic setting. 

Questions?  If not, T-CLOCK and then head for an empty parking lot.

Ride Safe!

Words of Safety