Las Vegas can get hot. Like Africa hot. Living in such an arid environment presents certain challenges for motorcycle maintenance. In a previous article we discussed riding tips for surviving the heat. In this week’s article we’ll look at motorcycle maintenance tips for riding in the Las Vegas desert.
Protect Tires and Other Rubber Components
Whether you ride off road or on a street bike, this one's important. It’s inevitable though, the UV rays from sunlight will cause the oils within the tire to dry out. The tire will then become brittle like an old rubber band and lose its strength and flexibility. Bad things can ensue... To that end you will want to periodically check to see if there are any signs of cracking or dryness. These are signs it’s time to replace soon.
The key for protecting your tires in the Las Vegas summer heat is to treat them with a rubber seal protectant and conditioner, and do what you can to store the bike away from sun. Remember the only thing that keeps you planted safe on the ground is a few square inches of tire, so it’s kinda important that you maintain them well, I mean c'mon there’s only two!
Protect That Leather
Just like your tires, your bike’s leather components can be damaged from excessive heat or sun exposure. Obviously the primary thing to take care of here is the seat. When seats look worn and dry we usually attribute it to wear and tear, when in fact most of that damage is done by sun exposure. In the summer months, aim to apply a leather treatment to the seats every month or so.
Watch Your Battery
It’s a fact: excessive heat degrades batteries much more quickly. Anyone who has lived in a desert climate for any length of time knows that it eats up vehicle batteries like nothing else. The internal acids and chemicals that create the electrical current break down very quickly when they aren’t able to cool properly. Even when your bike is going 65mph, if the ambient air is in the triple digits, all that airflow isn’t really helping much.
Water Cooled is Best
And if you are planning on buying a bike or trading your old one in, you better stick to the water-cooled engines, as air-cooled bikes may give you some trouble for the above reason about minimal air cooling in extreme heat.
Stating the Obvious
Of course the easiest way to protect your bike from the sun and heat is simply to store it when not in use or make sure your primary parking spot is shaded. Then you can forget about all of this stuff and just focus on riding.