Winter is ending and the weather is warming up. Spring is in the air. For those of you out there that ride it means time to pull out the old bike and hit the open road. Before that can be accomplished however here are a few things to prepare your bike for the summer.
Prepare your engine by removing the spark plugs and adding a couple drops of oil to the spark plug holes. Give the engine a couple of spins and you should be good to go. If you notice anything that sounds funny go ahead and take your bike in for a service.
It is always best to regularly start your bike throughout the winter, if that was done a quick service and slow start should get you on your way. If not then a full service will be needed. Check the fluids and if they come out looking a little funny then replace them.
The oil will have run off the cam lobes during the winter so adjust the valves and give the cam lobes the oil they need.
Suspension and Steering
You will need to check the steering before you head out so go ahead and prop the front wheel up off the ground, grab the fork lowers and move the wheel back and forth. If you feel movement in the steering head then you will need to tighten it back up.
Be sure to change the brake fluid and check the brake pads or break shoes. If they are thin, or getting there, then go ahead and change them out.
Check the lenses, reflectors, headlamps, and tail lamps to make sure they are not cracked, broken, or filled with condensation. You will also want to make sure these lights as well as the turn signs are in working order.
If you replaced the oil before you put the bike up for the winter then changes are you are ok, simply check the level and color/thickness to make sure it is still good. If it wasn’t replaced before the bike was put away then you will need to change it out and replace the filter.
It is good to keep a full tank of fuel over the winter as it will help to prevent rust. However, unless you used a fuel stabilizer you will need to disconnect the fuel line and drain the tank because the fuel has probably stratified. During this time you will also need to clean the fuel filter, check inside the tank for rust and check the carb float bowls. If they appear to have something that looks like varnished cottage cheese then the jet are probably clogged. You can try a carb cleaner, but more than likely you will need to replace the jets.
At this time make sure the pedals and levers are lubricated and adjusted to fit properly. You will also need to check the hoses, spoke tension, the wheel true, control function, tire pressure and conditions, sprocket and chain, lubrication and adjustment, and check for any possible leaks. Most of these are typical and checked on throughout the spring and summer as you ride.
Now would also be a good time to clean the bike’s surface. Be sure to wash it down thoroughly and wax the finish. Also use tire shin, chrome cleaner and leather dressing on the appropriate surfaces.
You will need to make sure your first aid, emergency and/or spares kit are all fully stocked. You do not need to have all these kits, and, depending on space, you may wish to combine them into one. But it is a good idea to have the basics of first aid and a tool/repair kit if you go out on the road for a longer journey.
Most insurance companies will allow you to remove your bike coverage during the winter months. Before you can even attempt to set wheels on the road make sure to call your insurance provider to reinstate and make sure your bike coverage is up to speed.
Well, there you have it: A short checklist to help you prepare your motorcycle for riding season.