Motorcycle Inspection

 

The following is a technical writeup that I completed for use by Pacific Track Time and is published here to assist riders in conducting a motorcycle inspection.  A basic motorcycle inspection is critical every time you ride and especially when you go to the track or race.  Motorcycle rider’s don’t have the safety of a vehicle body around them and even a minor mechanical problem can lead to a major event.  Always keep your motorcycle clean and watch for changes in the condition of your bike because your safety depends on it!

 

Here is valuable information from the Pacific Track Time website:

 

Pacific Track Time will conduct a basic technical inspection of your motorcycle prior to you riding on the track.  Our skilled tech inspectors will be looking for mechanical deficiencies to assist you in making sure your motorcycle is safe.  However, we are not as familiar as you are with your motorcycle and ultimately, the rider is responsible for the sound mechanical function of their motorcycle.  Consider checking your motorcycle at least a week prior to your track day to ensure you can get any parts or make necessary repairs prior to the trackday.

Pacific Track Time suggests thoroughly washing your motorcycle prior to maintenance and prior to a track day.  Not only will you have a sense of pride because you know your bike looks great, but you will also be better able to see any problems and identify problems more quickly.  For example, leaking brake banjo bolts, leaking fork seals or a leaking oil filter could appear to be road grime until you wash your motorcycle and see fresh fluid again.  A clean motorcycle will also help our technical inspectors get a better look to assist you with our inspection.

One of the most important aspects of your motorcycle maintenance is to ensure that your oil drain bolt, oil filler cap and oil filter are PROPERLY INSTALLED.  The oil drain bolt and oil filler cap should be properly tightened with a torque wrench or “hand tight” to ensure the threads are not stripped and the plugs will not vibrate loose.  When you or your dealer change your oil, you must make sure the oil seal from the old filter does not remain attached to your motor, resulting in 2 “O” rings stuck to your motor.  This should be completely obvious prior to the installation of your new filter – and this condition will result in oil loss every time.  Unfortunately, once the oil filter is tightened you can’t see the problem until pressure forces one of the O rings away from the filter and motor and by then, you’ve oiled the track.  Keep in mind that the smallest amount of oil can cause you or another rider to crash so we want everyone to be especially careful when it comes to the oil drain plug, oil filler cap and oil filter on their motorcycle.

If you see any issues with your motorcycle during your inspection, take proper maintenance steps to ensure proper and safe function of your motorcycle.  Always check and replace missing, damaged or stripped bolts, cracked or worn hoses, brake lines, hand or foot controls, etc.  If you have already arrived at a track day and you discover a problem with your motorcycle, parts and tools are usually available and we will help you to make sure you can still ride throughout the trackday.  However, you should not ride a motorcycle that is mechanically unsafe or not functioning properly.

Many track day riders use a dedicated “track” bike and racers bikes are prepared for a more stringent technical inspection.  If you are using your street bike for a track day, there are a few extra steps you’ll need to take.  You will need to tape over or unplug your rear brake/headlights and you will need to tape over or remove your side/rear view mirrors.  We do this because at the track we don’t want you concentrating on what’s behind you, only on the track infront.

Now it’s time for a visual and physical inspection, starting at the front of the motorcycle.  Starting at the front of the motorcycle, look at your front tire and wheel to ensure they are in good condition.  Check your wheel (rim) for cracks or dents and check the tire for proper tread.  Look at your right fork tube and brake assembly, they should be free of fluid and check the bolts (axle bolt, axle pinch bolts, brake bolts, brake banjo bolts) to make sure they are tight.  Visually inspect your brake pads to make sure you have plenty of friction material to last your day.  While you are down there, look at your radiator and oil cooler if you have either or both and check for fluid, then look for your oil filter and drain plug to check for fluid leakage.  Next, move on to your front brake and throttle assembly – make sure your front brake has pressure by squeezing the brake.  Make sure your front brake has a “ball” on the end of the lever and is not broken off or worn down – a sharp lever can penetrate a suit in a crash.  Open your throttle and ensure it “snaps” shut – if it doesn’t that could be a safety issue.  Check your brake fluid reservoir and make sure IT IS NOT filled past the “max” line – otherwise pressure can develop in your brake line as the fluid heats and has nowhere to expand (potentially causing you to crash).  Move on to your oil sight glass on your case and check for proper oil level, check your oil filler cap and make sure it is tight.  While you are there, check your right side foot control to make sure it is tight, then step on your rear brake and make sure it also has pressure and then releases.  Move on to your rear wheel and axle assembly, checking your rear brake, rear wheel (rim), tire, sprocket carrier, and sprocket.  Make sure your axle alignment bolts and locking bolts are tight and properly adjusted.  Next, check your chain for proper tension, cleanliness and lubrication.  Move on the left side of your engine and check for any fluid leakage and check your oil drain plug and filter if you couldn’t reach it from the right side of the bike.  Check your left side foot control to make sure it is tight, not loose and your shift lever and shift lever linkage are tight.  Check your clutch to make sure it engages and releases – then make sure there is about 1/8” of play (about the thickness of a quarter) in the lever and make sure your clutch lever also has a “ball” on the end.  Finish up on the left side of your front wheel, checking your left fork tube and brake assembly and bolts.  Remember to check your frame, subframe, body, fairings, etc. as you go – checking for cracks, missing mounting points or bolts, etc.

  • Front wheel assembly, tire, axle bolts, pinch bolts, brake bolts, brake banjo bolts, brake lines, fork tubes, brake pads
  • Radiator, radiator hoses, oil cooler, oil cooler lines
  • Oil filter, oil drain plug, oil filler cap, engine fluid level
  • Right side hand control, throttle, front brake, front brake reservoir, front brake lever
  • Right side foot control, rear brake, rear brake caliper and pads
  • Rear wheel assembly, axle adjustments bolts and lock nuts, sprocket carrier and sprocket
  • Chain
  • Left side foot controls, shift lever and linkage
  • Left side hand control, clutch and clutch lever
  • Frame, subframe, fairings and bodywork, etc.

Essentially, you’ve started at 12 o’clock on your motorcycle and worked in a clockwise direction all the way back to 12 o’clock.  This inspection should take you about 5 minutes and is a wise way to check a motorcycle anytime you ride.  Our technical inspectors are happy to re-check your bike or do a more thorough inspection with you at any point during your track day, please feel free to ask any questions and let us know how we may be of assistance to you.

 

A useful PDF checklist from Pacific Track Time can be found here:  trackday_checklist