If you’re like me, you’ve noticed the increasing number of motorcycles breaking out for a quick ride. With warming temperatures and yearning riders, it’s time to get your Motorcycle ready for the road. Here are nine tips to help you stay ‘sunny-side up’ and help protect you and the health of your motorcycle.
- Charge your battery:The heart of your bike’s electrical system and the source of power to get-up and goin’ is your motorcycle battery. The prudent already have their battery on some form of Battery Tender [Tip: keeping your battery charged can add multiple lives to your energy cell.] But if you don’t have your battery on a charger, the first thing to make your motorcycle ride-ready is to charge your battery.
- Change the oil & filter:If you followed our recommendations for winterizing your bike, you changed the oil before putting it in storage for the year – but if not, now’s the time to do it. Swap that stale lubricant for fresh clean oil and a new filter. If you don’t do the work on your bike, make arrangements with your favorite motorcycle maintenance facility to accomplish this important task.
- Tires: These jewels are where the ‘rubber meets the road’ literally,
so pay special attention to them. Do a full 360 degree check on each
tire for any cracking or punctures. Also, check for wear. Excessively
worn tires are more easily punctured and less likely to maintain proper
traction. On many tires, tread wear indicator bars signal a need for
replacement, but another easy check – if you can see the top of
Lincoln’s head on a penny when inserted in the tire tread, Lincoln’s
head facing down, it’s time for a new tire. If your tires pass the wear
test, inflate them to manufacturer’s inflation specs and your rubber is
ready to go.
- Fuel:If you stabilized the fuel in your motorcycle during the winterization process, you should burn through it or siphon it out and replace it with fresh fuel. If you didn’t winterize, and also didn’t fill the tank before storing, check the fuel tank for rust, which may have formed due to water condensation. If the tank is clean, fill it and ‘ride-on’. If there are signs of rust, you’ll live with the consequences – fouled carburetor, clogged fuel filter, etc. – until you replace the tank.
- Cables & Pivot points:A Spring tune up of cables and pivot points is time well spent. Get a good multipurpose spray lubricant and use it on anything that pivots or slides – cables, levers, pedals, kick-stand, etc. Exclusions to its use are chains and drive assemblies. We recommend using chain and driveline lubricants specifically designed for this task. Check with your motorcycle manufacturer for recommended products. Use fogging oil designed specifically for fuel tanks as part of your winterization at the end of the riding year.
- Lighting: Turn on your motorcycle’s power and check all the lights for any that have inoperative bulbs and replace them i.e. brake lights, turn signals, headlights, etc. Often, replacement bulbs come in twos, so save extras for the next time you need one. Occasionally, an outage may be due to a fuse failure. Replace the spent fuse, but monitor the outage situation – there may be more awry than a burned-out bulb. Repetitive fuse failures can signal a deeper electrical problem, which may require professional help.
- Brakes:Stopping your motorcycle safely is just as important as insuring your bike can accelerate. Before you hit the road, thoroughly check all the components of your brake system – lever adjustment, cables, calipers, brake pads, etc. Review your motorcycle’s manufacturer’s manual for tips on proper brake system adjustment. If settings don’t seem right and you’re not comfortable making adjustments, seek professional help. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
- Fluids:Check for all the motorcycle’s fluid levels – brake, clutch, oil, coolant. Top them off as needed. Look for any leaks on the floor where your motorcycle’s been stored. Another way to check for leaks is to start and warm your bike up to running temperature, then turn it off and check for leaks.
- Clean:Finally, the old adage, ‘cleanliness is next to Godliness’ is true, and definitely so for your motorcycle. When you’ve taken all the steps to prepare your motorcycle mechanically, thoroughly clean the exterior and your bike will look as good as it runs and you’ll look good riding it!!!