Buyers Guide to what to wear and how to keep safe riding in a motorcycle and side car
Your head is a very important part of your body and therefore needs to be protected. A good quality Helmet is tested and proven to do just that. It is also the only piece of riding gear, which is required by law. Before you buy a helmet consider the following points:
- It must be either British Standards or EC 20025 approved.
- It should be comfortable and fit snugly.
- Try on several helmets from different manufacturers as shapes do vary.
- It should be easy to fasten and undo.
- It should be bright and easily seen.
- It should be light in weight.
- It must be looked after, if involved in an accident or dropped onto the floor it should be changed because a damaged helmet will offer little or no protection.
Passenger and rider Boots & Gloves:
Boots and Gloves tend to be seasonal in that during the summer a thinner pair of boots and gloves will be beneficial because they will be cooler and give better feel for the controls of the Motorcycle. Winter boots and gloves do tend to be thicker to give warmth and are often made with a waterproof membrane the down side being that they tend to be bulky. Remember that cold, wet hands and feet can lead to discomfort and a loss of concentration. (Potentially very dangerous).
Side car Clothing:Your riding gear is essential for three reasons firstly it will protect your skin against abrasion injuries. It will keep you warm and finally it should keep you dry. Look at the table below to see how they perform. Leather is still very popular for its strength and because it can be very comfortable. Man made fibres such as Gortex or Cordura are now an excellent buy because they fulfil all of our requirements aswell as being reasonably priced and hard wearing. Again try a selection of clothing before making a hasty decision.
Bikes and Side cars:
New Buy from a reputable Dealer for peace of mind. Do your homework, check recent reports in magazines or ask other owners for their views the net will put you in touch with other owners. Think about what you require from the bike and set yourself a budget. Compare prices as people are prepared to do deals, it may just be some clothing but it helps. Make sure you get some quotes for insurance before you commit and ring around. Be sure to sit on the bike is it comfortable and manageable? Can you easily reach the floor and the controls? What Training will you require?
- Ideally take along someone who knows what to look for and who is able to test ride the sidecar / bike.
- The motorcycle should be clean and tidy check the hidden areas for dirt rust or signs of general neglect.
- Check the condition of Brakes, Tyres, Chain and bearings at the steering head and wheels. These Parts if requiring attention can soon add up.
- Turn on the Ignition and check all of the lights and the horn.
- Start the engine and listen for excessive noise. Look for blue smoke from the exhaust which is a sure sign of internal wear and costly to resolve.
- Check the Engine oil it should be clean and to the correct level.
- Look at the suspension front and rear are there any signs of leaking oil or pitting on the fork legs in particular.
- Look at the documentation and service record. Make sure that the Engine and frame numbers on the Logbook match those on the bike. If you cant find them on the bike then walk away.
- Remember that a HPI check will reveal any anomalies such as previous damage or finance still outstanding.
- Don't let your heart rule your head and buy the first you see. If you view several you will be better placed to buy!