Spring is in the air and you’re feeling great! But is your motorcycle in the same shape? Now that temperatures are rising, you probably can’t wait to jump on your bike again. Before you do, make sure you can hit the road worry-free. Here are a few tips and tricks to get your motorcycle ready for spring:
1. Clean up your motorcycle
Before fanatically getting it dirty again, take your time to thoroughly clean your bike. There might be some residual road salt left on the bike after that one winter ride, or dust and old dirt might have settled everywhere. Rinse it down with a moderate flow of fresh water but avoid using a pressure washer. Soap and scrub your bike carefully and dry it out using a bike specific dryer or go old fashioned and use some clean towels. Pay special attention to your chain. Some dust may have settled on the chain and some of the links might display some signs of rust. Thoroughly degrease and clean your chain, check the tension and then lubricate it again.
2. Fill your bike up
And we are not talking about fuel only. Check your engine oil, coolant and brake fluids and fill up where needed. If that’s done, inspect the state of the fuel inside the tank. Fuel inside a motorcycle that has been parked for the entire winter – especially without any additives – may have built up moisture – which could affect the inside of the tank. If that’s the case, double check for any rust particles inside the tank. In any case: ditch the old fuel (disposing of it according to local regulations) and replace it.
3. Charge up the motorcycle battery
Even when your motorcycle kicks into life right away, the battery may have been affected by the cold winter temperatures. If you didn’t plug your battery into a trickle charger, it might have lost charging capacity. This can cause problems after your first stop during a ride. Make sure to re-charge it fully before your first long ride. If you experienced battery issues before winter, it might be safer to just replace it.
4. Check the state of your motorcycle tyres
A crucial item on your motorcycle safety checklist is the state of the tyres. Before heading out, ensure that your tyres don’t display any cracks or unusual wear and make sure they have not gone flat over the winter. Even if everything looks fine, verify the pressure with the right equipment and, if necessary, adjust according to the prescribed tyre pressure. Make a habit out of this: tyre inspection and maintenance should be a year-round practice!
TIP: most of the times the information about tyre pressure can be found on a label on the swingarm of your bike.
5. Don’t forget the electrics
Making sure the mechanical aspects of your bike are ok, is important. Equally important is to check your electrical components: before heading out, make sure all of the lights (front and back, brake light, indicators) are still functioning as they should. While you’re at it, check if the gauges and horn are still working.
6. Final motorcycle safety checks
To finish your motorcycle safety inspection, make sure your riding gear is still in decent condition. Do you still fit into your motorcycle pants? What state are your gloves and jacket in? Are your boots still in one piece? How about that helmet you have been using for a good number of years?
And now, get out there and ride your bike
After walking through this motorcycle safety inspection checklist, there is only one more thing to do: go out there and enjoy life on two wheels. But take it easy at first. Take into account that you might need to rebuild your reflexes and road feeling. Go out for some shorter trips at first so you can get back into the swing of things. Work on your defensive riding skills: car drivers too need to familiarise themselves again with the way motorcycles weave through traffic. Keep your eyes open!
Taking these precautions, you will be fully prepared for the new motorcycle season. Hop on your motorcycle and enjoy each and every ride to the fullest. Embrace all opportunities to experience new adventures, meet new people and explore new surroundings. Just you, your motorcycle and the right state of mind; that’s all you need!