Motorcycle checks before you start a journey

Before you start any journey, there are some things you should check to make sure your motorbike is ready for the trip – especially if it’s a long one.


  • the tyre pressures: you might need to increase them if your journey is going to involve a lot of motorway riding or riding at the national speed limit.
  • all the lights are clean and working.
  • you have enough fuel for your journey or, if you’ll need to refuel, plan where you’ll do this to make sure you do not run out.

You should also check your motorbike handbook to find out how you can adjust your motorbike for your needs or for carrying passengers or loads. See Carrying passengers and loads on your motorbike for more information about these topics.

Fuel for your motorbike

Make sure you know what sort of fuel your motorbike uses. Most machines use unleaded petrol but some older motorbikes may need lead replacement petrol. Check with your motorbike dealer or the manufacturer if you’re not sure.

If your motorbike has a 2-stroke engine, it’ll need 2-stroke oil as well as petrol when you refuel. Depending on your motorbike, you’ll either

  • add the oil directly to the petrol when refuelling: you’ll need to make sure you use the correct ratio of oil and petrol
  • add the oil to a special oil tank; the oil is then automatically mixed with the petrol as it goes into the engine.

While you’re riding, keep an eye on how much fuel you have left. Some motorbikes have fuel gauges and warning lights that show when the fuel is getting low; others may have a gauge that tells you how many miles you’ll be able to ride on the remaining fuel (called a range indicator). Do not rely on this too closely: the distance you can ride will depend on how you’re riding and in what traffic conditions. Only use the range indicator to give you an idea of how far you’ll be able to ride, and refuel in good time.

If your motorbike does not have a fuel gauge, you’ll need to remove the filler cap to see how much fuel you have.

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