Good news folks! Spring is right around the corner and you know what that means – riding season! Unfortunately you cannot just pull your motorcycle out and take it for a spin on the first day of spring – You need to inspect the bike first to ensure it is 100% road ready. Below are a few tips for making sure your vehicle is ready for the road!
Your motorcycle has been sitting in the garage, shed, loft, storage unit (wherever you may store it) for the past 4-6 months. Tires guide the bike, they allow you to move or turn and if they’re in poor condition it can affect the accuracy and safety of your bike. It is recommended to store the bike on a motorcycle stand during the winter months; this prevents the tires from developing flat spots. First you want to check the tire pressure and inflate them accordingly. You also want to check for any wear and tear. Specifically look for any balding or cracking of the rubber – If you see this, it is recommended that you replace the tire. Inspect the wheels to ensure they are no flat spots or dents or cracks and the spokes are problem-free.
Approximately 75% of a motorcycle’s stopping power comes from the front brake. The brakes need to be thoroughly inspected prior to taking the bike out for a ride. Roll the bike back and forth; test the braking while doing this to ensure both the front and rear brakes properly engage. Check your brake pads for any wear indicators; if needed replace them now so you don’t have to do it mid-season. Not changing the brake pads may result in more serious repairs later and compromises safety.
Check the ground below where your motorcycle was stored, the base of the engine and frame for any signs of a leak. If you notice a leak, trace back and figure out where the leak is coming from. Some can be fixed on your own, others may require the services of a mechanic.
If you followed recommendations in the fall for storing your bike, then you changed your oil prior to putting it in storage for the season – but if not, now’s the time to do it! Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the type of oil to be used and how to properly change the oil or oil filter (or take your motorcycle to a mechanic). Check the brake, clutch and coolant fluids to ensure it is at an appropriate level and top off if necessary.
The motorcycle runs off its electrical system and the source of power comes from the vehicle’s battery. Ideally your motorcycle battery has been plugged into a smart charger over the last few months. If not, charge the battery and check the levels with a multi-meter. If the battery isn’t giving off a good voltage reading after a full charge, it may be time to purchase a new battery.
Check all levers and pedals to make sure they are not broken or bent. Lubricate them so they move freely. Take a look at the cables. Make sure they are not interfering with steering. Check if there are any folds, cuts, cracks or leaks on hoses and ensure they do not interfere with steering or suspension. Lastly, make sure the throttle moves freely.
Lights and Gauges
While the battery is plugged in, check your lights and gauges. Make sure your brake lights, signal indicators, headlights and all gauges light up. If not, replacing the bulbs is quite easy and can be done on your own.
Clean it up
Your has been idle for a while and has probably collected a bit of dust; it’s now time to for a thorough cleaning to prepare it for the beautiful weather! You can also apply a wax coat which will make a big difference to how the bike looks and how long the paint lasts.
Always check your riding gear before you hit the road. Your helmet ensures your safety in case of a collision and you must ensure that it is in good condition every time you are on the road. Investing in your riding gear is non-negotiable from a safety point of view.
One of the most important tasks is to check your motorcycle insurance. If you don’t have any, now is a good time to get one. Preferably, insure your bike with the same company that insures your home or car. You may qualify for a good discount of 10-15% on your motorcycle premium.
Spring is one of the most exciting as well as dangerous times of the year to ride. You haven’t ridden for months and drivers haven’t shared the roads in months. Take some time to warm up to the bike. Take it easy, take it slow, have fun. But remember -SAFETY FIRST!