Motorbike Pre-Ride Inspection Checklist

Whether you’re a seasoned motorcyclist or a fair-weather rider, it’s important to conduct a thorough inspection of your bike before each trip. Doing so dramatically reduces your risk of things going wrong mid-ride, proactively apprehending problems before they become severe.

At Venhill, we manufacture industry leading parts for modern and classic motorcycles. From cables to hydraulic lines to controls and handlebars, our products are designed for performance and developed with longevity in mind.

In this blog, our motorcycle experts outline 8 essential checks you should carry out before each ride.

What is a Pre-Ride Inspection?

Every time you set off to ride your motorcycle, you should complete a pre-ride inspection. Essentially, this is a process of comprehensively looking over your bike and making sure it’s in good working order. From a visual once-over of the body to an in-depth inspection of the brakes and cables, this should involve examining each and every component. Whilst the process can seem time-consuming when you’re eager to get out there and ride, a little bit of effort now will minimise the chances of anything going wrong on the road. Let’s look in more depth at what your pre-ride inspection should involve.

Motorbike Pre-Ride Inspection Checklist

  1. Body & Frame

First thing’s first, look at the body of your motorbike from all angles and see if anything seems obviously wrong. Any flaking might be a cause for concern, indicating a structural crack in development. Don’t forget to look at joint welds and places where accessories are mounted for cracks too. Sit on the bike and make sure the mirrors are correctly angled – if they aren’t, adjust them now as this is dangerous to do while in motion.

  1. Chassis & Suspension

Next, move the handlebars back and forth a few times to check for tight spots in the steering head. If all seems fine, push the front brake and rock the bike back and forth to test the neck bearings, making sure there’s no free play. You should also move the rear wheel around to check the swingarm bushings and make sure all nuts and bolts are tight. Then, move onto the suspension. Have a look at front forks and rear shocks and make sure there are no signs of blown seals. This is also the point to look at your belt or chain for signs of slackness, worn sprocket teeth, stiff links, and lubrication.

  1. Tyres & Wheels

Keeping your tyres in good condition is critical to safe riding – this is not a step to skip. See how much tread is left on your tyres and look for foreign objects as well as any damage caused by potholes and curbs. If they aren’t in a good state, you may need to replace them. Check tyre pressure and make sure it is at the PSI recommended in your owner’s manual or on the bike’s frame. Most bikes have aluminium wheels now but if you do have spoked wheels, make sure to check for any missing and loose spokes. Check out the wheel bearings for signs of problems too. Finally, spin the wheels and see that they are turning freely and not wobbling.

  1. Brakes

Without adequate brakes, you won’t be able to come to a controlled stop, so it’s vital you make sure these are in good condition before every trip. Start by looking at the brake pads for obvious indications of wear. Try both the front and rear brakes out and make sure they feel firm rather than spongey. Finally, check break lines and hoses for cracks and wiggle them to make sure the hoses are securely attached. These elements of the bike are crucial for conveying brake fluid around the bike. If they aren’t in good condition, remove them and put in brand new, expertly manufactured lines and hoses

  1. Electrics

Motorcycle lights are vital for making sure you are conspicuous at all times of the day and night when riding. Using a motorcycle with faulty lights can result in you getting pulled over or even injured, so it really is important to check them before each trip. First look at the alignment of all lights and then see that they function well. Turn signals, headlamp, brake lights, tail lights – all of them need to be checked. This done, you should move on to the battery. Make sure the terminals are clean, the vent tube isn’t kinked, and the electrolyte level is correct.

  1. Cables

What state are your cables in? It’s time to find out. The clutch and throttle cables are crucial components enabling you to control the clutch and your speed, linking the rider to the machine. However, they can experience significant wear. Have a good look at them and check for signs of deterioration, stress, and fraying. You can also assess the condition of your clutch cable by pulling the lever.

Even if the cables look fine, it might be worth doing a short test ride if you’re concerned about your control of the bike, as the inner wire can become frayed without impacting the outer conduit. If you think either of these cables need replacing, make sure you choose a high quality replacement. At Venhill, we manufacture motorcycle cables of only the highest quality for modern and classic motorcycles alike. Find your cable here.

  1. Oils & Fluids

Your motorcycle requires some essential fluids to function, so it’s critical you inspect the levels of each one and make sure there are no leaks. Check the engine oil levels using a dipstick or, if you have a more modern bike, you may be able to do this using the computer or sight glass. Next, check levels of hydraulic brake fluid and engine coolant – both of which can make all the difference when it comes to proper motorcycle operation. Finish this step by topping up fuel if necessary – there’s nothing worse than running low mid-ride.

If you bike has a radiator it is important to check for any leaks in the coolant (It will usually smell sweet). Otherwise, this can cause the engine to overheat. Check your radiator for corrosion and cracks as this is where the leaks are most likely to occur. Getting these repaired sooner rather than later can save your radiator and your bike!

However, if your bike is air cooled, then it is worth checking your fins and your air filter to make sure that they are free from debris. They can become obstructed with dust, dirt and road debris restricting the air flow into the engine to cool it down. If this is left to persist it can lead to the engine overheating in places and the metal within warping, causing serious damage to the engine.

Bonus: Keeping your air intakes and fins clear should help you get more milage as the engine will burn less fuel as there will be more oxygen available. Meaning you can ride for longer on one tank!


  1. Yourself

Inspection complete, you now know your motorcycle is in impeccable working order, ready to perform at its best. But what about you? It’s important before every ride to check in with how you’re feeling. Riding when you’re not in a good frame of mind can mean you lose concentration – putting you in greater danger of an accident. If you feel tired, angry, or upset, it might be best to leave the bike for a bit or choose an alternative mode of transport. If you’re feeling good to go, then kit up and jump on. We wish you a safe and exhilarating ride!

Superior Motorbike Control Cables & Hydraulic Lines

Venhill has been developing and manufacturing motorcycle cables and hoses for over 50 years. Aiming to combat common cable and hydraulic issues, we’re dedicated to designing products that perform better and last longer.

If you need some advice about any our products, get in touch with one of our motorbike maestros today! You can even create a custom brake or clutch line to your exact specifications here.

See more: How to Install a Clutch Cable on a Motorcycle

See more: 8 Essential Motorcycle Maintenance Tips