With the clocks moving forward and temperatures climbing, motorcycle season is finally here. There’s a good chance your bike hasn’t been out of the garage much, or at all, over the winter months. So to make sure it’s ready for the road, follow these practical tips from battery specialists Exide Technologies. These will help you avoid any nasty surprises and prepare your bike for the year ahead.
Chain: Your bike’s chain could probably do with cleaning and lubricating. Make sure the teeth and chain are not worn and fit together well, and see that the tension is not too tight. You’ll need to roll the bike forward at one point to check the entire chain, as it could stiffen or weaken in a single isolated spot.
Tires: Tires don’t just wear down over time – they lose pressure too, so make sure they’re at the recommended pressure before you take the bike out on the open road. Inspect the treads and look for any signs of significant wear. If your bike wheels have spokes, test each one for tightness – you don’t need us to tell you how important this is.
Oil: If it’s been a while since you took your bike out, it’s a good idea to change the oil at the start of the season. This should be done fairly regularly anyway, as it helps to prevent the parts from degrading – so don’t keep putting it off. As a general guideline it should be changed every few thousand miles, but consult your bike’s manual for a more definite figure.
Brakes: Examine brake pads for wear and tear. Bleed and flush the brake fluid if it’s due. The importance of a bike’s braking system can’t be overstated, so test both front and back brakes before hitting the road.
Parts: Check your bike’s parts for deterioration, including spark plugs, cables and air filters. Keep the equipment clean, lubricated if necessary and in solid working condition. This will help keep your bike safe, and improve its performance and lifespan.
Lights: It seems obvious, but it’s easy to overlook the state of your lights if you head out in bright daylight after a break from riding. So run a check on all your lights – front, back, brakes and indicators.
Battery: If the bike hasn’t been on the road for a few weeks or months, the battery will need a good charge. Look also at the terminals and ensure everything is clean, secure and in good order, free of leaks and corrosion.
Gear: Before you strap on the helmet and go, take a few minutes to look it over, along with any other gear you wear or carry, like gloves, back protectors, safety kit and supplies. Scan the helmet carefully for any hairline cracks or structural flaws, and check the visor for scratches or cracks. If you come across even the slightest problem, always replace your helmet.
Wash: Finally, give your bike a thorough clean. You might even spot something you had missed, like a small leak or a loose fitting. When you’re done your bike will look great and ready to go, especially if you follow with a wax or polish.