With daffodils blooming and spring arriving in many parts of the United States, American motorcyclists are getting ready to roll. Before you embark on your first motorcycle ride of the season, whether it’s simply a ride to a barbecue or a two-day road trip, sprucing up your bike will make it shine, but even more important, help to assure your safety before your ride.
Start your bike’s spring season with a thorough cleaning. Even if you covered your bike and stored it inside during the off-season, dust, bugs or other debris can potentially decrease performance or scratch paint. You want your bike to shine on your first ride. After cleaning your motorcycle, apply a good spray cleaner and polish designed for bikes, and ensure your chrome is shining, as well. Make sure you remove all chrome cleaner deposits from your pipes, because exhaust heat and chrome cleaner residue will leave your pipes cloudy.
Especially when your bike has been in storage for more than a couple of months, it is important to check any fuel that remained in the bike while it was stored. After opening the bike’s filler cap, visually ensure that the fuel is clean and its consistency has not changed. If there is any question about the quality of the fuel, drain the fuel tank, fuel lines and carburetor before starting the engine to avoid costly repairs.
Inspect both tires for holes, cracks, misshapen areas or foreign objects. Once you ensure that your tires are in good shape, check air pressure and add air, if needed. If you notice any damage to the tires, transport your bike to a repair location. Do not attempt to ride a bike with questionable tires – a blowout could be devastating.
Even if you changed your bike’s oil before putting it in storage, check its level and quality. Consider changing your oil and filter as part of a general service check pre-ride. Most shops complete a general safety inspection with an oil change, and with that behind you, you can ride more securely.
If you trickle-charged your battery during storage, it should be ready to go. If not, make sure your battery is fully charged and reliable before depending on it for your first ride. Whether charged or not, check your battery for signs of wear and clean off any corrosion.
After completing your inspection, take a test run on your bike. A steady but short ride near your home or storage unit allows fluids to circulate, ensures the battery is holding a charge and alerts you to any unaddressed issues such as a rough idle or other potential problem.
Carefully test all your bike’s moving parts, fluids and electronics. Make sure everything is topped off, moving smoothly, and working properly. Repair any cracks or leaks, replace burned-out bulbs and lubricate where needed to avoid jams. If the test run goes well, strap on your safety equipment and enjoy the season!