Like an Alaskan grizzly who’s been sleeping all winter long, you too are probably hungry to get outdoors. If you plan to go searching out the sweetest riding routes, rather than the sweetest spring berries, there are a few things you should do before heading out onto the open road. Don’t just hop on that motorcycle that’s been sitting dormant for the winter months. Here are a few tips to make sure your bike is ready for the spring riding season.
If you thought ahead and put fuel stabilizer in your bike before parking it for the winter, then you might be just fine. If not, then you are going to want to drain the old fuel and replace it with some fresh, high-octane gasoline before going for a ride. The last thing you want to do, is get out onto the highway only to find out the condensation build up in your tank has finally made its way to your fuel line.
Get down, or get your bike up on a stand, and have a look at the brake pads, take them off and make sure you have ample wear left to safely get around for the season. Check your brake lines for any wear or cracks that might have occurred last season from general use. Check your brake fluids and note when they were last changed, it might be time for a fluid change.
Open up the airbox and investigate the condition of your air filter, maybe the last road your ran was dusty and dry, now all that grit has been built-up on your filter for months. Is the filter still in good shape or does it have any cracks are wear issues that need attention. At the very least give it a good spring cleaning.
Hopefully you have a bike stand that allows the tires and wheels to be up off the ground while it’s in storage. If not, you will want to check that the tire does not have any abnormal shape to it after sitting so long. A tire left on cold or frozen cement for too long could give you some serious issues in premature rubber wear or with deformities. Blow them up to manufacture recommended air pressure, and give them a spin to look for anything unusual. If they look good, check for tread life to know when you are going to start thinking about your next new set.
A battery that has been subject to extreme cold could start to bulge, crack or breakdown. If your battery isn’t a sealed battery, have a look to make sure its fluids are topped up and ready to go. If you have a charger, it’s a good idea to give the battery a nice spring charge-up, and test its strength.
When’s the last time the oil was changed, maybe it’s time to change it anyway, just to be safe. Clean engine oil will give your bike a longer life than almost any other maintenance. Check the coolant and reference the owners manual for when it might be time to change it again.
Go over the sprockets on your bike and see that they have plenty of life left, as well as your chain. Check to see if the adjustment is where it should be , then clean and oil it to keep it lasting longer or replace if needed.
A Once Over
Lastly, you are going to want to give your bike a good, once over. Checking that all components are working, like lights and signals. That all nuts and bolts appear to be on and snugged up. That throttle, clutch, and brake cables are all smooth and operational. Having a smooth running, safe bike is the way you want to start the season.