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You know better than to ride around trucks any longer than absolutely necessary, but a far more insidious danger is the unprofessional vacationista whose load-securing skills are often primitive. Whenever you see somebody towing a boat, a trailer, or especially a boat or a trailer with a bunch of other junk strapped onto or around it, expect this to happen and ride accordingly, i.e., nowhere around it. Especially not behind it. That goes double for the bane of Southern California motorists, the gardening truck, which is often a rolling obstacle course of weedwackers, rakes, and aluminum ladders yearning to break free. If you see someone holding a mattress to his roof with one hand out the window, know youíll be the one most likely to take a nap if youíre silly enough to ride behind him
This rider got back up; we wish him a speedy recovery.
If youíre meticulous about your motorcycle maintenance, your battery could last you upwards of a decade. However, battery manufacturers estimate most batteries have a useful life of anywhere between 2 Ė 5 years on average depending on type (lithium vs lead acid), care, and riding conditions, among many other factors.
One way you can help prolong the life of your battery is with the use of a battery insulator. This particular insulator is from BikeMaster, but there are many like it. BikeMaster claims this one can withstand and protect batteries from radiant heat up to 2,000ļ Fahrenheit while also protecting batteries from vibrations. Since itís basically a sleeve for your battery, installation takes hardly any brain power, and it can fit most top- or side-mounted batteries.
Walk around at any motorcycle gathering and count the bikes with limp, sagging chains. Often, the worst examples also are bone dry with rust and/or crud built up on them. Since youíre a MO reader and regularly clean/lube your chain, youíre ahead of the game. However, you still need to make sure that the chainís slack is within specifications. If you lube your chain regularly, you will probably not need to adjust it every time you return from a ride, but as a chain nears the end of its usable life, you will need to adjust the slack more and more frequently.
Although a rear stand is not required to adjust your chain, it will make the process much easier. When your chain is cold, measure the slack halfway between the sprockets by moving the chain up and down. Press down on the chain slightly to make sure it is at its lowest point. To get an accurate reading, hold a tape measure in front of the chain and look across the top of the links. Adjust your line of sight until the tops of both sides of the chain line up, which assures your eyes are perpendicular to the chain and parallel with the top of the links.
Next, move the tape measure so that one of the inch markings aligns with the top of the chain. Now, press the chain up until it is tight, and, bringing your vision up to align the top of the chain again, note the measurement. A little math will tell you if you if the slack is within your bikeís recommended specifications. Since chains donít always wear evenly, check the slack measurement in a couple of places. If you need to adjust the chain, set the chain tension to accommodate the tightest point. Also, if the chain is dramatically tighter in one place, consider replacing it.