New motorcycle season:

Properly prepared on two wheels on the road

imagePhoto: GTÜ
Are the oil level, tyres and brakes in order? • The GTÜ helps with tips – and the main inspection • Signal vests are becoming more and more popularCycling weather prevails again: After the beginning of spring, the temperatures climb back into the double-digit range, and the motorcyclists bring their beloved machines out of hibernation. Experienced bikers have used the frosty time for a thorough preparation: This applies to the technology as well as clothing and other equipment.

__ The GTÜ Gesellschaft für Technische Überwachung mbH advises to take sufficient time to prepare for the new season. Because the statistics show: In the second quarter of a year, usually a particularly large number of bikers have accidents. Careful planning can therefore contribute to accident prevention. That is why the GTÜ advises checking the technology and equipment before the first kilometres of the year – and ideally supplementing it with driving training.

__ Just insert the battery, start and off you go? Sometimes the motorcycle does not agree with such a lightning start and strikes at one point or another. It is therefore better not to make it that easy for yourself and instead start with a thorough wash. This is good for the two-wheeler – and at the same time offers an opportunity for a thorough inspection, during which leaks, components requiring maintenance or even loose screws can be detected. When pushing, the basic function of the front and rear brakes can be checked. This necessarily includes a closer look at brake pads and brake lines: Are there porous areas or even brake fluid leaks? After cleaning, the oil level of the engine is checked and also when the oil has been filled. Is a change of lubricant due? The GTÜ considers it useful every two years.

__ The view in the garage at home should always include a look at the tires. The tread depth should be at least 1,6 millimetres and the tyres must not have cracks. Subsequently, the air pressure is set back to the correct nominal value, because it is precisely this that drops slightly during the months when stationary.

__ Finally, a look at the license plate: Is the date for the main inspection (HU) perhaps due? In this case, GTÜ partners are available throughout Germany. At HU, they take a thorough look at important things for safety, such as brakes, steering clearance or lighting. Setting the HU date due every two years for spring can thus contribute to the good feeling that an all-round well-functioning and roadworthy motorcycle gives its driver.

__ When the two-wheeler is re-registered, the INSPECTION must not have expired. In times of the pandemic, it should also be noted that re-admission is usually only possible after an appointment by the responsible district office. Several days or even weeks can pass before this administrative procedure is completed – so it is best to plan time accordingly.

__ The beginning of the motorcycle season is also the ideal opportunity to take a closer look at the protective equipment. In the case of the helmet, the GTÜ recommends a new purchase every five to seven years. Even if everything seems to be fine visually, the thermoset or thermoplastic outer shell and also the inner shell, which is usually made of polystyrene, age. The market for helmets is hardly manageable, and there are legal grey areas as far as approval is concerned. But those who adhere to the ECE 22-05 standard are on the safe side. Proof of purchase and instructions for a new helmet should always be kept: On the one hand because of the instructions for use and care, but also because of the easy traceability of the date of purchase.

__ Does the leather suit no longer really fit? This does not have to be due to the leisurely and calorie-rich winter months of the biker. The protective clothing can also dry out over the winter and become brittle. At the latest before the start of the season, the good piece should therefore be greased. It would make more sense to have thorough care before the winter break. Whether leather or textile clothing is chosen as the material of the protective suit is a matter of personal preference and also of the inserts. Under the protective skin, the GTÜ recommends underwear made of functional fibers. This keeps you warm in the cold and dissees sweat from the skin over a large area when it is heat.

__ Protective pads made of hard plastic or special foam are important for gloves. To do this, they should fit well and still offer sufficient freedom of movement for the operation of the two-wheeler. No standard is prescribed for motorcycle boots. However, DIN EN 13634 provides orientation: Here the protection of the ankle, shin, heel, toes and outer edge of the foot has been tested.

__ The cheapest part of protective equipment is becoming more and more important: the signal vest. It is sometimes rated by the bikers as not very cool. But the GTÜ emphasizes that signal vests make a decisive contribution to more safety in the most beautiful and exciting way to get around on the road: motorcycling.

__ On 32 pages, GTÜ's "Motorcycle Guide" takes up many topics relating to bikes, protective clothing and riding itself. It can be read directly on the GTÜ website or downloaded. The HU checklist of the GTÜ for motorcycles also offers good information for the check before the start of the season and for preparing for the HU.