Easter is just about upon us, and many bikers will be getting their motorbike out of the shed ready for a new riding season. After a few months of storage, it is essential to check your bike for potential issues before you ride it, as the consequences of neglecting a solid maintenance regime don’t bear thinking about. Even if you are one of the hardy souls who got your bike out as soon as the snow went, it is still worth giving the bike a once over.
I always find a checklist helps me accomplish a task more quickly, so we’ve compiled our tips into an easy to follow list.
- Review any notes you made when you put your bike into winter storage. It can be easy to forget little things like that small part you removed to get a matching replacement and never got around to replacing. It’s easy to lose your notes too, but if you remember tinkering with your bike before you stored it, you’ll hopefully remember what you were doing… If not, best check everything!
- Did you removed the battery for winter storage? Or perhaps as some people prefer, you just left the negative lead attached? Check and clean the battery terminals before refitting. A bicarbonate of soda solution works well to clean the terminals.
- Charge and refit the battery. Positive lead first!
- Check / change the oil and filter, and check the grease and other lubricants.
- Check all cables and lubricate with the specified lubricants.
- Drain the fuel tank, clean and refill with fresh. This especially applies if you left it nearly empty during the winter. An empty tank will have air inside, and that air will have moisture, which will condense out in the cold as water.
- Check the tyre pressure and wear of tread. If you had a special winter pressure, remember to change it for summer. Don’t use a tyre cleaner on bike tyres – it will make them hard and slippery.
- Check all lights. Don’t forget the flashing ones!
- Check brake fluid level and ensure brake pads and shoes aren’t worn.
- Clean the inside of your helmet with a mild soapy solution and ensure it is dry. Examine it for hairline cracks.
- If you put away your winter cover during the summer, air it properly, then store it somewhere warm and dry. Don’t let yourself suddenly discover it damp or mildewy next winter when you suddenly need it again.
- Start a new log book for the year and write down your starting mileage – and all the actions you took to get out on the open road again. Promise yourself that you will keep it up to date this year!
Did we forget anything? Please let us know, and we’ll add it.
Don’t for get you can get printable copies of this checklist, which you are welcome to share with friends.
Other motorbike safety resources:
www.bikesafeshow.co.uk – BikeSafe is a national initiative run by UK police forces to promote better biking, improve the safety of motorcyclists on the roads
www.wairbag.com – This ingenious jacket acts like an in-car airbag system. On falling off your motorbike the the airbag system inflates to protect your neck and torso.