Road­side fixes

Nine easy tips that could save you from a long, dark wait for the re­cov­ery man

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

Top tips to get you home

Kill­switch killjoy 1

Even with the best main­te­nance, break­downs can strike at any time and leave you stranded at the side of the road. How­ever, if the worst hap­pens and your bike does cut out, there are a few eas­ily fix­able faults that you can check. The kill­switch is an ob­vi­ous and eas­ily over­looked item. Check the switch is in the ‘run’ po­si­tion, and also en­sure that any con­nec­tors lead­ing from the kill­switch are firmly pressed in.

Don’t stand for it 2

The side­stand has an en­gine cut-out switch that will pre­vent you rid­ing away when the stand is in its low­ered po­si­tion. But age, wear and dirt can cause prob­lems, mean­ing the switch can stick when the stand is in the up po­si­tion. If this is the case, you can pull the switch out man­u­ally. You should also check the wires from the switch are in­tact and prop­erly con­nected, as poor con­nec­tions can lead to prob­lems.

Clutch­ing at straws 3

Some man­u­fac­tur­ers choose to fit a safety switch to the clutch lever that won’t let the bike start un­less the clutch is fully pulled in. Over time these switches can mal­func­tion so check any con­nec­tors care­fully. The switch it­self can usu­ally be re­moved and in­spected us­ing a small screw­driver, so check that the small plunger oper­at­ing the mi­cro-switch is be­ing ac­tu­ated.

4 Power games

There are many symp­toms of a loose bat­tery con­nec­tor, typ­i­cally the starter mo­tor won’t have enough sur­face area to con­duct the large cur­rent needed for en­gine crank­ing so a faint tick­ing noise is heard when the starter but­ton is pressed. An­other is in­ter­mit­tent fail­ure of lights, and clocks, along with the en­gine cut­ting out.

5 Get fa­mil­iar with fuses

Blown fuses will cause in­di­vid­ual com­po­nents to fail, most com­monly head­lights, in­di­ca­tors etc. Pre­vent the added stress of search­ing for the fuses on a dark road­side by mak­ing your­self fa­mil­iar with their lo­ca­tion. Fuses are in­tended to be the weak­est part of a cir­cuit so don’t be tempted to fit a higher amp fuse to ‘fix’ a re­cur­ring blown fuse.

6 Starter’s or­ders

Pow­ered di­rect from the bat­tery, a fault with the starter so­le­noid or its wiring will pro­duce the same en­gine crank­ing/ start­ing symp­toms as a loose bat­tery con­nec­tor. Make sure that the con­nec­tors are tight, usu­ally these are se­cured by a 10mm nut. Of­ten there is a sin­gle fuse on the so­le­noid, so make sure it is not blown.

7 Don’t be a fuel fool

An­other ob­vi­ous but to­tally for­giv­able fault, es­pe­cially if the bike is new to you or there is a faulty fuel gauge sender. If your bike mys­te­ri­ously stut­ters then cuts out, it’s al­ways worth check­ing the fuel level first – don’t rely on the gauge as it may be giv­ing you false in­for­ma­tion, but look in­side the tank and give it a slosh around.

8 Is the fuel flow­ing?

Rare on mod­ern bikes but there are still plenty of ma­chines with fuel taps – so make sure it is switched to on. You should also check that breathers which al­low air into the tank as the fuel is pumped into the en­gine haven’t be­come blocked. Air rush­ing in as you open the filler cap is a warn­ing sign. There will be a breather in the vicin­ity of the filler cap, it may be blocked or its rub­ber hose may have kinked.

9 Don’t fear a flat

A flat tyre caused by dam­age from a nail or for­eign ob­ject doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean your ride is over. There are sev­eral punc­ture re­pair kits avail­able that can be car­ried un­der the seat, these in­clude the Gear Grem­lin Punc­ture Re­pair kit (£23.99). The kits are easy to use, and al­though only a tem­po­rary re­pair they will get you back on the road, al­beit at a re­duced speed.

In­stead of reach­ing for the phone, have a go at fix­ing it your­self

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