A note about mechanical issues.
When taking a long trip, it is really helpful to know something about how your bike works and a bit about how to fix things on it, at least basic motorcycle maintenance. You should at least be able to answer these questions:
- Where is the fuse box located and how do you change a fuse? Do you have spare fuses with you?
- Where is the battery?
- If you have a bike with a lot of plastic, do you know how to remove fairing parts to get at what you need to fix?
- How would you change a burned out headlight or brake light?
- How do you check and fill the tires with air? What should the tire pressure be? Remember, the front and back may be different pressures.
- Do you have a tool kit that came with the bike? If not, I suggest putting one together with some commonly used wrench sizes, pliers, screwdrivers, tape, a flashlight, etc.
- Do you have a repair manual? Not the owner’s manual, which is not very helpful, but a repair manual? If you have a repair manual, you probably can’t bring along the whole thing, but maybe look through and see if photocopying a few pages might be worthwhile.
Before you leave the comfort of your own garage, tinker with the bike a little.
Figure out what is where and how to remove some of the fairing components. Change the oil yourself. Check the brakes, check the fluids, etc. If you can’t do that, you would do well to figure these out before a long trip. This is where the internet is super helpful. I’ve learned so much about how to work on my Goldwing (as well as my 1985 VW Vanagon) from really helpful people on vehicle-specific forums. Answers that might take me days to figure out, were answered overnight by others that went through the same problem before me.