With warmer weather coming (we hope on a regular basis), more people are getting ready to hit the road on their motorcycles. If you're a rider, before you hop on the saddle, make sure you and your bike are ready.
After setting idle for many months, you’re going to want to make sure your bike is tuned up and ready for a season of riding. There are two options, take it to your trusted dealership/mechanic or do it yourself.
If you have a basic understanding of how a bike is put together, most issues can be relatively easy to handle.
Before You Ride: If you didn’t winterize your bike, you may find that it’s not going to start up for you after months in the garage. Often, the problem is that the fuel has gone bad and/or the battery has gone dead.
To fix this, first drain the tank. If any brown grit comes out with the old fuel, it’s an indication that the inside of the tank has rusted, so you need to flush it with an acid remover. Next, remove your old battery and install a new one.
Start the bike and let the engine idle for a couple of minutes to make sure there are no further problems. Then inspect the chain and sprockets to make sure they’re clean and functioning properly. If all looks good, take your bike out for your first ride of the year.
Adjust the front brake: It’s essential that your brakes are in good working order and are correctly positioned so you don’t compromise your control of the bike. DoItYourself.com advises sitting on your bike and checking that the hand brake level rests on the front knuckles of your fingers. If this isn’t the case, use the lever span adjustment knob to correct it. You should also check your brake pads: remove the calipers from the bike’s fork and carefully slide off both brake discs. Inspect them for wear and tear, and make sure their padding is a minimum of 1/8 inch thick. Replace broken or worn brake pads immediately.
Clean and lube the chain: Even if a chain is chromed (and looks clean and shiny), it needs to be cleaned and lubricated. If it’s not chromed and aesthetics aren’t really a consideration, then safety should be — dirty parts likely will not function as smoothly as when clean. The Family Handyman advises getting a wire brush, dipping it in degreaser and sliding it along the chain. Rotate the chain until it’s completely free of debris and mud. Then rinse it with fresh degreaser and dab it dry with a rag or sponge. Next, apply lubricant by spraying the sprocket side, because that’s where the chain meshes with the cogs. Then go for a ride to spin the lube deeper into the mechanism.
Troubleshoot the ignition: Based on your knowledge level when it comes to your bike, you may want to check the fuses, source coil, trigger coil, black box and spark plugs. If any of these appear damaged or worn, you may want to replace those.
Tire Pressure: Make sure that your tires are properly inflated in keeping with the owner’s manual and there are no worn or damaged spots.
While many people enjoy tinkering with their bike, it’s always a good idea to get an annual “physical” for your ride from a certified mechanic too. A little upfront work can keep your safe with more riding time this season.
At Billy Brown, we insure thousands of area bikers as well as some of the area's largest dealerships. If you have questions about motorcycle policies, please call us.