Getting Your Bike Ready for Spring
The cold temperatures are finally rising, and if you're a biker, you've been waiting for this moment for a long time. Your motorcycle has been tucked away in shelter for months, but soon you'll get your baby out of storage and hit the open road. It's almost time to feel that wind and sun on your face for a much-needed ride!
When the time comes, it's hard not to be so excited that you immediately get on your bike and ride off. However, your bike has been sitting unused for months in the cold. To make sure it's ready to go, you need to do certain tasks to ensure it's safe for the road. Every bike has different needs, but there is general maintenance you can do to get yours in tip-top shape for your first ride this year!
- Fill up with new fuel. If you still have fuel in the tank, you may be better off draining it from the tank and fuel lines before running the engine. Fluids left sitting in a tank during a long winter can deteriorate. In addition, temperature fluctuations can cause condensation to form in a gas tank, adding water to your gasoline.
- Check brake fluids. Be sure to check your brake fluid and top it off (if needed) with the same brand thatís already in the bike.
- Check the battery. It's common to run into battery issues after a long winter. Before charging, check the leads for corrosion and make sure they're attached tightly. If your battery seems to be holding a charge, it's probably in good shape. Here's a tip for next winter: keep your battery on a trickle charger while it's being stored. It will maintain the life of your battery so the next time you take it out of storage, you won't need to spend hours charging it back up.
- Inspect the tires and brakes. Look at your tires and inspect them for cracks, worn tread or flat spots. Next, check the tire pressure and find out if they need air. Chances are, they do. Next, look for any noticeable damage on the brake pads and lines. If you see any, replace them before you ride your bike. Then, test out the front and back brakes to make sure they're working properly. If you hear any strange noises during this test, have a professional mechanic take a closer look.
- Examine your controls and steering. Make sure your clutch, throttle and other controls still work. Also, test out the steering to make sure you can move freely with no snags. Then check your headlights, brake lights, turn signals and flashers. You can also give your horn a few honks to make sure it's working, too!
- Check your gear ahead of the trip. Make sure your gloves, jackets, helmet and other gear still fits nicely so you're comfortable while riding. Check your helmet for any cracks or visible damage. It's the most important thing you wear, so you need to make sure it's in decent condition!
- Spring clean your bike. At this point, your bike may have lost its shine and look a little dusty. Give your bike a wash and then wax it up to protect it from outdoor hazards like rocks and dirt. This step will make your bike's spring debut that much sweeter!
Once this checklist has been completed, the only thing left to do is ride. Enjoy your first of many in 2019, and remember to stay safe!