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Tips and Tricks for Motorcyclists


A monthly column of selected favorites from our vast archive.

Book your spring service early

Setting up your spring service sooner than later is always a good idea. In areas where there truly are four seasons, when the days warm up so will the wait for service. When arranging the date, talk with your service manager about what parts will be needed this time around and confirm he/she has them or will get them on order so they are there when you arrive.

Some shops do winter service specials to keep things busy during the slower months and ward off having to lay off staff. Take advantage of those specials and feel good about keeping your tech employed.

Clean House

The old saying goes, if you haven’t used it in 60 days, get it out of here. Using a packing list you create specific to you, pull together all the gear you’d take on a ride. When you come upon something you used to use, but not any longer (like a bulky camera, crusty tent or flashlight), set it aside. When you’re all done, gather everything in the pile and take it to the Good Will center near you.

Finding E0

Some manufacturers recommend the use of E zero fuel in their bikes whenever possible. This is fuel that is free of ethanol, a.k.a. ‘corn water.’ But it’s not easy to find. The most likely place to locate it along your route is near lakes and rivers where boating is popular, since many boat motors are also rated for E0 fuel. Several websites exist that track stations who provide E0 so you can pre-plan your trip.

Read your owner's manual annually

There’s so much to know about vehicles, we can’t possibly retain all the information. You may or may not have read your owner’s manual when you got the bike, but regardless, take some time to do so annually. This may remind you to take care of a few things like checking your chain for extensive wear and keep you out of trouble later down the road. Call it “new bike night” and snuggle up in bed with the manual and a notepad.

The history of roads around you

We know a rider who went around the world in six weeks. Stunning, but he missed a world of knowledge in his haste. Take time to learn a little history about the roads you’ll be travelling on, near or far. Many roads existed as Indian trails, wagon trails and commerce routes long before they ever had pavement laid upon them. Knowing a little about them allows you to imagine what they may have been like back in the old days.

Packing Light, Packing RightTips and Tricks is a monthly column created by our editors and readers alike. If you have a tip or trick you'd like to share, email it to If we use it, we'll send you a copy of The Sound RIDER! guide to Packing Light, Packing Right - FREE!



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