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Yamaha Motorcycles Street Event - Skagit


Tips and Tricks for Motorcyclists


A monthly column of selected favorites from our vast archive.

Low Labor Rates

Sure, we all want the best price. But let’s keep in mind the costs of running a business year after year. Labor rates, now into the three digits can seem high right off the bat. It costs good money to have a certified tech on staff, cover overhead and retain a qualified staff of individuals that supports the service department. The next time someone offers you a rock bottom labor rate, consider they may be cutting corners to run their business and could be cutting corners to fix your bike as well.

Get a real kickstand pad

We call it the $5 insurance policy. Kickstand pads give the bike a big enough footprint to keep it from sinking into wet grass, sand, hot asphalt and otherwise. There are those who say ‘I just use a crushed pop can.’ Yeah – that will work, but you want to tote a gritty pop can around all the time. And how do you retrieve the can when it’s time to leave? Better kickstand pads utilize a small hole where the rider can tie in a nylon cord. The other end of the cord can be attached to the left hand grip making it easy to retrieve the pad when it’s time to roll.

Head Wraps and Neck Ties – A lesser alternative for cool riding

There are a number of ways we can enjoy warmer days on the road. The ultimate defense to heat is wearing an evaporative cooling under your riding jacket. Some riders try the neck ties and head wraps on the market with not-so-great results. That’s because the core of the body is what’s pumping out the warm blood to your head and extremities. A neck tie or head wrap won’t do much good after the fact. Wearing a head wrap under a helmet is uncomfortable and defeats the purpose of evaporative cooling due to lack of air movement in the shell.

How much water should you drink a day?

The latest medical trend in how much water to drink works like this. Take your weight and multiply it by .05. The number you get is how many 8 ounce glasses you should drink a day. If you’re, say 160 lbs., that number is 8. If you’re out in the heat and sweating a lot, consider drinking more, but be sure to use an electrolyte add-in like Elete to replace all that salt, potassium, magnesium and sodium chloride you’re leaching out, otherwise you could experience the same symptoms of sun stroke and cause organ damage.

Keeping the bees out and the heat in

A neck gaiter is a smart addition to any rider’s wardrobe. On cooler days they will help you maintain heat inside your jacket, acting as a gasket between your core and the outside air that wicks heat away from the body anyway it can. On warmer days, a lightweight neck gaiter will help keep bees and other bugs from smacking into your neck, and into your riding jacket. One thing to remember on those days is to remove the gaiter carefully as it may be hosting a live payload.

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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