As the winter snow begins to melt and the icy roads clear under the sunny spring sky, navigating the streets and highways is a much more fun and safer experience. It's also the time when motorcycle owners start planning their first ride of the season. bicycle. A lot can happen with your motorcycle while it is in storage. An annual motorcycle inspection from top to bottom, from tires to spark plugs and fluid levels, ensures that you get the best performance and safest out of your bike.
“Just like warming up your body with stretching exercises before exerting yourself, it is wise to check and prepare your motorcycle before each ride to prevent any mishaps.” says Peter Tierhurst, a spokesperson for the American Motorcycle Association.
Peter Tierhurst recommends a checklist, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Pre-Ride Checklist, which provides a comprehensive list of motorcycle parts, what to check and specific terms to look for from engine and body basics to details that It is often overlooked.
1. Check the fuel system
One of the most important areas of a motorcycle to check after winter is the fuel system. The gas left in the tank can change its chemical composition over time as parts of the mixture evaporate, turning what was once fuel for your appliance into a brown varnish, like the varnish sold at paint and hardware stores. If not cured, this varnish can clog the jets inside the carburetor and lead to poor performance, difficulty starting or no starting at all.
Clean the carburetor and drain the tank
Experts recommend cleaning the carburetor and pouring out any remaining gas. Use a liquid carburetor cleaner to remove any varnish residue, or loosen the jets for a deeper clean. Of course, adding a fuel stabilizer and running the engine for a few minutes before storing the bike for the winter will help prevent this problem. The fuel level is low. In this case, it is a good idea to empty the tank and fill it with fresh gas.
2. Test Ignition Coils
While there are different types of motorcycles, with engine size and age, most maintenance differences are related to the type of features electrical or mechanical of the machine. “Electronic ignition is virtually maintenance-free, while older scooters with electrical systems [points and capacitors] need to be checked,” terHorst says.
3. CHECK CHAIN OR BELT DRIVE
Another area of a motorcycle that can vary is the type of drive. “Bikes with a chain drive require more maintenance than machines with a belt or shaft drive,” Tierhurst says. The chains should be lubricated before running, and you should check the proper tension of the belts or chains. In general, he adds, “machines stored indoors require less maintenance than those exposed to the elements.”
4. Test the battery
After the motorcycle has been idle for several months in the cold, there is a possibility that the battery has run out. Check individual battery cells and add distilled water if necessary, then charge the battery with an external charger. The battery density meter will tell you when it's ready to use.
5. Check Tires and Brakes
Besides checking the air pressure in your tires, you should check them for wear, tread depth, weathering, or other conditions It calls for investing in a new pair. Test each brake individually to make sure it prevents your bike from rolling, and check for wear on the brake pads and discs. You can also check brake fluid and refill it if necessary. This may also be a good time to change your bike's air filter. next one. However, the urge to get back on your motorcycle after a long layover can be strong, regardless of the risks. “Riders should assess the limitations of their equipment, the riding environment, and themselves before each ride,” Tierhurst says. “Although there are some motorcyclists who are able to ride in challenging conditions like cold, snow and even ice, acquiring the skill to do so takes many hours of practice and years of experience to stay sharp.”
While warm weather makes drivers eager to get back on the road, taking the time to restore your bike to full riding condition is a wise measure for a safe, high-performance ride.
In addition to proper motorcycle maintenance, having the proper insurance to protect your bike on the road is crucial. Learn about the different types of motorcycle coverage.