Tyre condition and tread
Minimum tread depth of 1.5mm over at least 75% of the tyre’s road-contact surface; no cracking, crazing or splits on the side wall, no cuts or anything embedded in the tyre.
Find manufacturer’s recommended pressures in the manual, online or on a sticker on the chain guard. You can also experiment going up or down but no more than 2psi at a time.
Check dipped beam, full beam, rear light, separate brake light operation front and rear plus all four indicators. If any aren’t working check the bulb and the fuse.
Check clutch and brake master cylinder levels. Top up with fresh brake fluid if necessary. If the levels have gone down, scrutinise the hoses and calipers carefully for any cracks or leaks. Check coolant level in reservoir.
Brake operation, front and rear
Check the surface of the brake discs for any rust, pitting or damage and the brake pads for plenty of meat. Squeeze the pedal and lever to check for smooth operation and pressure, then roll forward to check again.
Check the engine and transmission oil level via the sight glass or a dipstick. Some dipsticks are fully screwed home, others you rest on the threads: check which yours is.
On a centre stand or paddock stand turn the rear wheel and check the chain for tight spots or seized links. Check rear sprocket teeth; check clean and adjust chain.
Cables and controls
Look over hand and foot levers and make sure nothing’s loose. Do the levers move freely? On a cable clutch the action should be smooth with no fraying or rust where the inner cable shows.
Sit on the 'bike and bounce the rear shock, looking for a smooth, single movement. Do the same with the front forks. Any lack of damping, check for oil leaks and do not ride until fixed.
Ideally, get the front wheel off the ground. Turn bars from side to side: there should be no resistance, sticking or noise. Grab the fork bottoms and wiggle front to back, there should be no play.
If anything’s not up to par, get it seen to before you get out on the road. With your bike running well and knowing everything is A1 you’ll enjoy the ride even more.
This checklist is a guide only & not a replacement for taking your bike to a mechanic for professional servicing.