How to: Prepare your Motorcycle for Spring
Spring is just a stone's throw away, especially if you live in a place that escaped snow
this year. But, while you may be gazing longingly out your window awaiting the riding
weather you can only dream about during the winter months, the changing weather isn't
the only thing that needs to happen before you can get your ride back out on the road.
Hopefully, you were able to get all the winterizing chores done when you were forced to
hang up your riding shoes for the cold season. If not, getting your bike back in riding
order might take a bit more effort. Still, either way, a prepared rider will need to pull the
wrenches out one more time before hitting the road again. Spend the next few weeks
preparing for riding season and don't miss a single day of it when it gets here.
Manual Labor If you're still stuck indoors and getting a touch of cabin fever, not only
will it help to entertain you, but religiously reading your owner's or service manual can
help get you prepared for spring maintenance. This BikeBandit.com checklist will give
you some great pointers on how to be prepared but your manual knows your bike down
the every nut and bolt that should be lubed. Read it from cover to cover and you'll be just
fine when those birds start chirping again.
Dead as a Door Nail "Don't use it and you'll lose it." We mean batteries, of course.
What were you thinking? The biggest issue with bikes sitting all winter long end up being
the batteries. If a battery goes unused, it dies. To keep your battery from biting the dust
for good, invest in a trickle charger that will slowly bring your battery back to life. We
recommend getting an automatic
battery charger that will fill it up and then cut off the charge so
that you don't overcharge it and boil over the fluids. But no matter what charger you pick
up, it's still a good idea to check your battery fluid levels before firing it up and topping
off any low cells.
If you happen to hook up your battery to a charger and, still, nothing happens, chances
are that your battery is just too far gone to be revived. But it's best to find out a few
weeks before spring so that you can order a new motorcycle battery without
having to delay your first spring ride.
Soiled Oil Hopefully you changed your motorcycle's oil as a part of putting your bike up
for the winter. If not, you'll definitely need to change it now. If you did change it when
you went through your winter maintenance list, you're oil is probably fine but it doesn't
hurt to freshen it up a bit anyway. In either case, make sure to check your oil filter and
take the opportunity to change it out for a fresh one if it needs it. Here's a handy guide to
help with all that messy business: Changing your Motorcycle's Oil.
Gas Gunk Stale gasoline is an often forgotten yet very problematic issue with sitting
bikes. Many people prefer to avoid it by draining their tanks before putting away their
bikes. Others think it's better to completely top it off then add a fuel stabilizer. If you
you're your tank full, try not to be too stingy by using the gas that's been sitting in your
tank all winter, even if you laced it with
Sta-Bil Fuel Stabilizer, despite how tempting it may be with gas
prices predicted to hit over $5 this summer. With the fuel drained, check your tank for
rust, your fuel filter for clogs and your carbs for gunk. Check out this guide for
instructions and tips on how to clean out a sticky carburetor:
How to: Clean Out or Rebuild your Motorcycle's Carburetor.
Even More Oil We all remember the tin man in the movie Wizard of Oz when he first
meets Dorothy. Poor lad could hardly move. And you certainly don't want your
motorcycle suffering from the same thing. Be kind to your engine and remove the spark
plugs to quench its thirst. This way everything will be running smoothly despite having
been sitting for so long. And with the plugs out, might as well check out their ends to see
if they need to be replaced of if there's any carb tweaking you should consider. The Motorcycle Electronics Guide
has some good tips on knowing what your spark plugs are telling you.
Forgotten Fluid Your first time back in the saddle you're probably going to only be
thinking about the going with the hopes that'll you'll never have to do any of the
stopping. But the reality is that you'll need your brakes at some point. Still, one of the
most neglected things on a motorcycle is the brake fluid. Even when your bike isn't being
used, brake fluid is still hydroscopic, meaning, in normal people language, that it sucks
moisture straight out of the air. Of course, moisture in your brake fluid makes it less
effective therefore watering down your stopping power, literally. Luckily there's a guide
Replacing and Maintaining Motorcycle Brakes.
Spring Cleaning That first time you hit the road again after a long hiatus, make sure
your bike looks as good as you feel. Unless you're working on making a Rat Bike,
give your bike a good scrub and wax it up to help protect it from
riding season hazards such as dirt, rocks and even the sun. After all, you don't want to
roll up to your riding buddies with a layer of dust still lingering.
T-CLOCK With all that said and done, it's back to motorcycle 101 with your typical
pre-ride checklist dubbed the t-clock by the MSF. The list goes tires, controls, lights, oil,
chassis, and kickstand. Before you get on for every ride this season, make it a habit to
check every one of these things. A lot of riders just hop on and go only to find out they
have a problem the hard way: mid-ride. If you circle your bike once checking through the
t-clock list, you should be able to spot any problems before you head out, making your
ride safer and more enjoyable.
Riding Vanity Getting ready for spring is also a great time to freshen up your gear.
Hopefully you got out to your garage a few times during the winter to quench your
motorcycle craving with a project or two. But now, check out BikeBandit.com's motorcycle
gear to hit the street once again to spruce yourself up a bit. With both you and your
bike feeling good, your first ride out will be better than you even imagined it.