Every February, we get antsy, waiting for spring to arrive in all its motorcycling glory and warmth. While some of us ride year-round, many are just waiting for the first warm day to get the bike out of winter storage.
If it’s been sitting for an extended period, then it’s crucial that you thoroughly inspect the bike in accordance with your owner’s manual requirements.
We’ve created a short spring motorcycle maintenance checklist you can do to get your bike ready while waiting for the first day of the season. That way, you’ll know as soon as you try to start the bike you can ride to your heart’s content.
Even the most seasoned rider can use a basic motorcycle maintenance refresher. Here’s how to start maintaining your motorcycle when riding season approaches.
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This is the single most vital kit you can keep around your garage. Refer to the manual to see what regular maintenance tips your bike needs and how often you should do it.
While this might sound basic, quickly inspect every part of the bike for signs of damage.
What’s out of place?
Are there any signs of excessive wear or visible damage where they shouldn’t be?
If you haven’t ridden through the winter, especially if you keep your bike outside, you should ensure that an animal hasn’t made your engine its home—mice and squirrels, in particular, love to move into unused engine blocks and chew through wires.
A quick maintenance check can tell you a lot, especially if you know your motorcycle well.
Batteries get drained in the cold, harsh winter weather. Nothing kills the mood faster on the first nice day than dead batteries.
Turn your key halfway to make sure that the headlights come on. If they don’t, it’s time to attempt a trickle charge with a battery tender and hope you don’t need a new motorcycle battery.
Does your brake light work?
How about the blinkers?
If the lights work, move on to the rest of your electrical system. Clean the spark plug and battery terminals, check your fuses, and replace whatever needs to be replaced.
Fluids power your bike and ensure that you don’t destroy the engine in the process.
So many places on your bike can use a little love from a touch of grease.
Your brake lever, pegs, shifters, and other moving parts love to be lubricated.
If that’s in order, when was the last time you checked your clutch and throttle cables, or for that matter, your steering head bearings?
Take a little time for some motorcycle TLC.
Unless you are riding a 1942 Harley-Davidson® XA (the only shaft drive Harley-Davidson ever made), you need to inspect your drive system.
Chains and belts wear and need replacing over time. Ensure that a drive chain is cleaned and oiled and that the chain alignment is up to spec.
If you have a belt, ensure your drive belt tension matches the specifications outlined in your motorcycle Owner’s manual and inspect the belt for cracks.
Flat tires can quickly ruin an otherwise great day, but losing control on the road is a bit slower. This is why inspecting your bike where the rubber truly meets the road is crucial.
How worn are the tires?
Do they still have tire tread in spec with what the tire manufacturer recommends, or are you the owner of sad balding tires?
Confirm the brake cables operate properly.
Check the front and rear brake to ensure your brake pads are still doing their job and the brake lines are in perfect working order.
Brake pad wear that goes unnoticed can be dangerous!
Critical fasteners should be checked at specific mileage intervals based on the recommended maintenance intervals in your owner’s manual. In addition, each fastener has a specific torque value defined in the Service Manual.
If bike maintenance is required and the proper manual or tools are unavailable, or if the service is outside your comfort level, it’s best to take your bike to a professional or dealer for servicing.
There’s nothing worse than having to drill out a bolt and go through the process of rethreading or sizing a piece because you overtightened or lost a part on the road.
Check your air filter and all the nooks and crannies to ensure you are cleaned up.
If there’s nothing else to be done, it’s time to give the bike a bath and a wax; that way, your pride, and joy is gleaming on day one.
Take to the streets with joy; it's riding season.
After weeks or months of minimal or no use, preparing for spring riding season will be necessary.
Taking the time to perform a motorcycle maintenance checklist is essential to ensuring an enjoyable riding experience. Following these motorcycle care tips, you can prepare your motorcycle for spring and enjoy the open road.
Remember to check your bike insurance coverage to ensure you are protected if you encounter any unexpected incidents. Your motorcycle can provide years of riding pleasure with proper maintenance and care.
So, get your checklist ready and give your motorcycle the attention it deserves before hitting the road this spring!