Whether the bike in the back of your garage is a Honda, a KTM or a good, old Yamaha, there’s more to bring it back to life than pulling it out of the garage. If you’ve been dreaming of the open road since the middle of winter, you might be in a rush, but there are things to be done before all the fun!
If you’ve done your due diligence and filled your fluids before the winter arrived, there may not be as much to do. But, before heading out for the next unknown town, it’s worth looking over some of the following items to ensure your motorcycle is ready for the journey.
Do a Little Dust-Off
Most riders take a lot of pride in their motorcycle, so there’s likely a fair bit of cleaning that goes on before they put it away for the winter months. But, that doesn’t mean when you finally decide to pull out your bike for summer riding that you should forget about a few touch-ups. In all likelihood, your bike’s gotten pretty dusty so it’s definitely worth taking the time to do a wash and a polish.
At the same time, it’s important to size up the basics to make sure they haven’t fallen into disrepair. Take a look at the tires and ensure that they aren’t showing any signs of excessive wear and tear like bulges, cracks or embedded objects. It’s also important to take a look at the heat shield and the pipe guards. When it comes to chains, they should be lubricated before you hit the road.
Go Over the Parts and Pieces
A bit of cleaning is a good place to begin, but it can be hard to tell – particularly if it was a rough season – if there are some parts and pieces that need TLC. When you pull the bike out from under its cover, this is a great time to take a once over of all its different elements to ensure they’re road ready and won’t need to be replaced in short order. In addition to reviewing the mechanical, test out the brake system. You can also do a quick test of the controls and steering by moving the bars from side to side to see if there are any noises that may lead to strife when you least expect it. It’s also a good idea to turn on the bike for a bit and ensure that all of the lights are working properly.
Double-Check the Toolkit
The trusty toolkit is one of the most important things you can take out on the road with you, so before you get to it ensure that you check up on this piece of equipment. There’s always the chance that something has been removed or used that you forgot about, so make sure you check for all the proper tools. In addition to a hex key, a screwdriver, and an adjustable wrench, you may want to have an air pump and pressure gauge. But, before closing your toolkit up for its next use, make sure the items you have will do the trick when push comes to shove.
Review the Fluids
If you filled up your bike with fuel before putting it away last year, you’re in the clear. But, if not, you’ll need to drain as much as you can and refill it with fresh fuel. Keep in mind that it’s important to do this without starting your bike. Once this is complete, take a once over of all the fluids and ensure they look to be the right colour and consistency; otherwise, they’ll need to be removed and replaced. While brake fluid only needs to be replaced every 2-3 years, you should be able to get a sense of when your coolant will have had its best day by reviewing your maintenance manual.
Take A Test Drive
If you’ve dusted off your bike, checked the fluids and glanced over the parts and pieces, the next thing to do is make sure it’s road ready by going for a ride. When you start your bike, listen for the sound of the engine and for any suspect noises that might point to a problem. A slow start is not necessarily a bad sign, but if it persists you may need to do a bit more investigating. Once the motorcycle has run for a few minutes, review the tires to make sure the pressure is consistent and the tires are solid. As you head for the road, make sure that all the lights are working, your bike is comfortable and all your motorcycle accessories are safely secured and in place.
Getting the bike out can be one of the best parts of the year, but you’ll need to do a few checks before you get back on the road. Whether you’re raring to go for a long haul or are looking to customize your bike for some epic adventure, a few quick tricks can have you riding in no time.