Preparing for Riding Season
Winter is packing up and moving out allowing room for rising temps and scorching hot leather seats — oh, Winter, how we love to see you go! But before you head out on the road with a grin from ear to ear, both you and your motorcycle need some maintenance to be in top form for a successful start to the season.
To prepare you and your bike for that first ride, follow these tips along with referring to your motorcycle’s owner’s manual for specific maintenance instructions:
1. Undress your motorcycle
First and foremost, remove the cover and all plugs from the exhaust to unveil your pretty baby that’s been in hibernation all these months. Take a moment to appreciate it. Thoroughly wash away grease or any anti-rust agent applied to protect the bike from rust over the winter.
2. Change the oil and reconnect the battery
If you did not change the oil before storing it, change it immediately before riding. Oil separates during storage causing condensation buildup that can be harmful to your engine. Before you reconnect the battery that, hopefully, was removed from the bike and placed on a charger during storage, clean the cables and connections with a wire brush. Add distilled water to your battery if needed.
3. Internal check-up
Check your front/rear brake fluid levels, coolant (if your bike is liquid-cooled), and petrol level. If low, fill. If you used a fuel stabilizer, such as Sta-Bil or a similar product, your fuel should be in good shape. However, it is good to double check by opening the filler cap and looking inside for gunk. If not, you are better off getting your tank and fuel lines drained first.
4. Inspect tires and brakes
Check the tires for leaks/cracks, worn treads, and the correct pressure with your gauge. Refer to your owner’s manual for recommended PSI levels. Additionally, spend extra time checking your brakes, as these are the most important part of a bike when it comes to safety, by inspecting the brake pads and cables for wear and lubricating the front brake lever.
5. Test it out.
Make sure everything is working properly by testing the brakes, lights, and turn signals. Ensure the mirrors are in the correct position and are free of smudges and dirt.
Even after you’ve completed the routine checks above, don’t take off on your motorcycle just yet. Review the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Inspection Checklist to ensure you’ve covered all the mechanical inspections and are prepared for a safe ride.
Also, consider investing in good riding gear. Wearing the appropriate gear can be beneficial for both your safety and comfort. “Riders who don’t wear helmets are five times more likely to suffer a critical head injury in an accident,” according to Claude Reynolds Insurance.
Enjoy the ride with confidence and freedom!
What are some other ways you prepare for the riding reason? Let us know in the comments!