Waking up your motorcycle out of hibernation and riding into the big wide world is always an exciting time. However, before you turn a wheel make sure you and your motorbike are prepared.
Prepare your motorcycle for the new season
Hopefully you’ve kept your motorcycle on a trickle charge, or removed and charged the battery, so it’ll start up first time. Also you will hopefully have maintained your tyres keeping the pressure topped up and turning the wheels now and again to avoid flat spots. It’ll be really annoying if on your first ride your battery dies or your tyres are flat, so here are some tips to prepare your motorcycle for the new season.
Clean your bike
Thoroughly cleaning your bike helps detect any damage, loose nuts and bolts, and anything else that may appear out of order.
Don’t just wipe down your fairings and windshield, however. During the winter months, moisture might have caused a little corrosion or rust, so check over all the metal parts. Clean your brake rotors and make sure any protective sprays or greasers are cleaned off before you ride.
Finally, take a peek inside the exhaust and airbox – this is where tiny critters such as mice like to hang out in winter. Mouse nests have clogged countless airboxes and exhaust pipes, so double-check and escort the unwanted squatters out if you detect any. While you’re at it, have a look at your air filter. Take it out, clean it, and treat it: during the cold winter months, moisture might have gotten to it.
Now that your bike’s sparkling clean, go over the motorcycle again and check everything thoroughly, doing a visual inspection. Tighten up any loose bolts, inspect your wheels and brake pads, and see if there are any exposed wires. Lube your throttle and clutch cables and check that your wheels are spinning freely. Make sure that your steering isn’t locking up (or that there isn’t too much play that would indicate the bearings are going). Finally, have a good look at your forks and fork seals, ensuring there aren’t any leaks.
Check your fluid levels
If you’ve changed the oil before you stored the bike for the winter, kudos for you: your engine is coated in fresh oil. However, if you skipped this step, now is the time to do it. Change the oil before you start the bike so that the engine doesn’t get a dose of old, filthy oil.
The same goes for all the other fluids. Your brake fluid and coolant should be fresh for the riding season, so check the fluid levels and top them off if needed. Ideally, change all the fluids altogether to ensure your ride is smooth – and safe.
Finally, if you’d forgotten to add fuel stabilizer before the winter, get rid of old gas and fill up with new petrol. Gas can and does go bad over a longer period of time, and it can clog up the fuel injectors (or carb jets, if you have an older model).
Battery and electrics
Dead battery equals dead bike: we all know this, yet so many riders forget to put the battery on a tender during the winter or charge it before that first ride. Now is the time to do it. If your battery has gone flat, charge it up so your bike is ready to go.
This is also a good time to do a quick electrics check. Go over the fuses and replace any that have been blown; make sure all your lights and indicators are working properly. Replace blown bulbs if you find any and check that your brake light is working well.
If you’ve been considering adding some auxiliary lights, now is the perfect time to do it. Often, car drivers forget all about motorcyclists during the Winter months, and as riders swarm the streets in Spring, riders may be at a greater risk. Increasing your visibility as a motorcycle rider is always a great idea, so grab that auxiliary light kit and install it now.
Wheels and tyres
Now that you’ve cleaned your bike, checked it over, and topped off or replaced the fluids and recharged the battery, do one last check and inspect your wheels and tyres. Run your fingers along the rims to make sure there aren’t any fractures or dents and, if you have spoked wheels, check the spokes and tighten up any loose ones. Clean off rust if you find any.
When it comes to your tyres, spin the wheels slowly and look for cracks and uneven wear. If you’ve kept your motorcycle on a center stand or jack, your tire pressure should be fine, but do check it regardless. If your tires are old and worn, now is a great time to change them. Finally, replace any missing valve caps.
Chain and sprockets
If your motorcycle has a chain drive, go over your sprockets and chain. You’ve probably cleaned them before storing the bike for Winter but inspect them again. If you detect any excess oil, see if your front sprocket seal isn’t leaking. The sprocket teeth shouldn’t be worn, and you might want to check the chain tension before you ride. Finally, give it a clean and a fresh coat of chain lubricant.
Modifications and upgrades
Now is the time to install your Winter haul of shiny parts and protection for your motorcycle, if you haven’t done it over Winter already.
An easy upgrade would be our Eazi-Grip Tank Grips. These make riding your bike even more enjoyable! They relieve pressure on your wrists and arms, and reduce tiredness by keeping you in position. They also protect your tank from clothing rubbing. You can get our Tank Pads for your motorcycle here https://www.eazi-grip.com/cat/eazi-grip/
Make sure your motorcycle is protected too with our Eazi-Grip Paint Protection Kits and Dashboard Screen Protectors. Manufactured from our self-healing Paint Protection Film (PPF) they are cut to shape for each motorcycle to ensure a perfect fit. They are designed to be applied by yourself at home and everything you need is provided. You can order our Paint Protection Kits here https://www.eazi-grip.com/cat/eazi-guard/ and our Motorcycle Dashboard Screen Protectors can be found here https://www.eazi-grip.com/cat/eazi-grip-dashboard-protectors/
We have hundreds of makes and models available, but if you cannot find your bike, just let us know. If it’s a new model, it may be on our list already, or if it’s an older model we may be able to make it for you.
While upgrading parts and adding new bits to your bike, don’t forget your regular servicing to keep everything in top condition.
Your motorcycle may be ready, but are you?
If you haven’t ridden in several months, your riding skills may be a little rusty, no matter how experienced a rider you are.
It takes a little time to get used to the way your bike feels and moves, the way the traffic moves when you’re on a bike, and the way your tyres grips the roads. If you are an experienced rider, it may only take you 15-30 minutes to get back into the swing of things, but if you’re a newer rider, it can take days. To brush up on your skills you can book an advance riding course, or a track day, adventure motorcycling lesson or hit the green lanes. This way you don’t have the stress of dealing with traffic.
Being in good shape also helps, as motorcycling requires endurance. Over Winter, and especially with all the Christmas food, it’s easy to gain a few pounds. When working out, it’s worth focusing on your back and core muscles as these suffer the most when riding. Some weight lifting would help too, just in case you are in the unfortunate position of dropping your bike and having to pick it up.
Check over your gear
Keeping your gear well maintained is as important as looking after your motorcycle, especially as this could save your life in the event of an accident! Your helmet, gloves, clothing and boots should be cleaned, checked for any damage, and your boots and helmet will probably need airing out. Make sure everything still fits too. If you gear doesn’t fit properly any more, it won’t be protecting you as much as it should.
Make sure your helmet’s liner is clean and there are no marks or scratches on the visor. If your helmet is more than 5 years old, you should look to replace it. If your helmet is damaged, or has been dropped, replace it, it’s just not worth the risk.
If you have panniers and a top box, make sure they are clean and check over for any fractures/dents. Clear out all the old ear plugs, washers and cables that accumulate in there too. If you have soft luggage, give it a good wash so it’s all ready for your new 2022 adventures.
You and your motorcycle are ready to go!
However, before you go for a long ride, do a quick test around the block first. Wheel the bike out of the garage, start the engine, and take your two-wheeled machine for a short spin. If you’ve mounted brand-new tyres, a test ride will help get rid of the initial slick feeling. The engine will get a coat of fresh oil, the fuel injectors or carb jets will get a flush of fresh gas, and your battery will be ready for the next time.
As you ride, listen for any weird noises or rattling. Do a few U-turns to check your steering, hit the brakes hard a few times to make sure the fluid isn’t clogged up and the brake pads work as they should. Finally, top up the tank, park your bike, and gear up for that first long ride after Winter.
Preparing your motorcycle for the riding season is as important as Winter maintenance in storage. Don’t skip any of these steps so that your first Spring ride is as exciting, safe, and smooth as can be! And while you’re at it, make sure you’re taking care of bike security, too. A sturdy chain and disc lock is a must wherever you go if you want to protect your motorcycle from theft. In addition, think about installing a wireless motorcycle tracker: as they say, safe is better than sorry.