Dr. Spoke Speaks

Dr. Spoke Speaks! Send your questions about motorcycles, maintenance, or personal life to Dr. Spoke. Dr Spoke will answer select letters in column format based upon his completely subjective assessment of importance. Due to time constraints, personal replies from Dr. Spoke will seldom occur.

Dr. Spoke Articles:
June 5, 2008:
May 29, 2008:
May 29, 2008:
February 22, 2008:
February 22, 2008:
December 6, 2007:
July 12, 2004:
July 12, 2004:
March 11, 2004:
February 9, 2004:
January 2, 2004:
January 1, 2004:
May 20, 1994:
 Dr. Spoke's Famous Tire Speech

Moto Myths

Do you know something about motorcycles to be true because your brother-in-law's ex-girlfriend heard it from her ex-boyfriend's stepfather? Write Dr. Spoke for the story behind the myth!

Moto Myth Articles:
March 11, 2004:
January 2, 2004:

Basic Rider Information

-Synthetic fabrics tend to burn into the skin in an accident. Try to wear natural fibers unless articles are designed for motorcycling specifically.
-Always wear an approved helmet- either DOT or DOT & SNELL rated (it's the law).
-Always wear sturdy shoes - on a motorcycle specifically you need to watch for laces (tuck them in) as they can get caught in the wheels etc.
-Always wear long sturdy pants, such as denim or leather.
-Always wear long sleeves, such as a denim or leather jacket.
-Always wear protective eyewear ANSI Z87.1 rating (WA State Law) or a helmet with a face shield. Only clear lenses are legal at night.
-NEVER jump-start a motorcycle with a car! The battery may EXPLODE!!! You may use another motorcycle (of same voltage) to jump-start. Also, do not let them freeze.
-Motorcycle batteries do not take well to sitting. They like to be used. If you are not riding keep them fully charged (not over charged) and monitor the fluid in non-sealed batteries.

What Do I Carry?

-Spare spark plugs - when you foul a plug you need to replace it with a new one.
-Basic tool kit.
-Fuses in all the sizes/styles your bike takes.
-Rain gear when there is any chance of showers. A towel is nice to dry off the seat.
-Luggage is nice when you need to carry anything with you. Tank bags are best because they do not tend to wreck your center of gravity, but if they are too large they can obstruct ride-ability. They also provide the opportunity of having a map pocket for travel. Saddlebags and tail packs are also available. Your motorcycle dealer can help you pick out a system that works best with your motorcycle.

Motorcycle & Fashion jackets are not created equal.

Fashion jackets are often sewn using cotton thread or weak nylon thread. Motorcycle jackets use upholstery quality nylon thread. Motorcycle jackets also reinforce any stressed seams. This means the motorcycle jacket is less likely to come apart at the seams in an accident. It can't protect you if it is not on you.
Motorcycle jacket sleeves are rotated forward slightly and longer than fashion jackets. This means less bunching and fuller protection when your arms are bent for riding. This provides a more comfortable ride.
Motorcycle jackets often are cut longer in back to keep your back covered while sitting.

How Do I Transport My Bike?

Things I need to transport my bike:
-Tie downs - do NOT use bungee cords. Tie downs do not stretch, but they do have straps that adjust.
-Some bikes/scooters need tie down extensions when there is no convenient point to hook the tie downs on the handlebars.
-Ramp - make sure it is wide enough for the wheels to turn freely in the slot. Make sure it is rated for the weight of the bike. A board is not a good substitute for a ramp. It tends to fall off the vehicle. Remember your bike is HEAVY! If you must unload a bike without a ramp use a hill to bring the earth up to the tailgate. Do NOT ride the bike up the ramp!!!
-Truck or trailer - if you do not have one you can often rent one for a few hours. You will need some way to hook the tie downs to the truck or trailer to steady the bike.
When using tie-downs compress the forks about halfway. If you compress them all the way there is no give and it can damage your bike. If you do not compress them enough the bike will shift and possibly become undone damaging the bike and the vehicle you are transporting it with. Tie downs are hooked to handlebars and attached low to a point in the front of the front axle. Try to keep the tie down strap lengths equal. Tie off the loose ends so they don't flap and possibly loosen during travel. A half hitch knot works great.

Do NOT put the bike on the center stand for transporting.

By Teri Palazzo AKA Mrs. Vince
Vince's Motorcycle Store June 7, 2007