How to get your bike ready for the riding season


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WingAdmin
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How to get your bike ready for the riding season

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:24 pm



Spring is just around the corner, on the odd warm day you see bikes on the road - it's time to think about getting your bike out of its Winter hibernation.

With any luck, you did a proper winter preparation on your bike, and it is in good shape, almost ready to ride.

The first thing I like to do each spring has nothing to do with the state of the motorcycle at all, and more to do with the state of its rider: I pull out my bike's owner's manual, and read through it. Honestly! After 30+ years of riding, I have found that every single year, I manage to forget at least one thing about my bike, that reading the manual in the spring reminds me of. Whether I forgot it over the winter, or it just slipped my mind sometime in the past year, it never fails - and as I get older, I'm quite sure the number of things I forget will increase. Give it a try!

Other things to check: registration and insurance. Has it lapsed over the winter? Get it in order before riding season begins!

Fuel: My bike typically sits for between 3-4 months in the winter. I use fuel stabilizer in a fresh tank of fuel when it goes away for its winter nap, and when Spring arrives, that fuel is typically still in good shape. I will however make a point of burning through that first tank relatively quickly, so that it doesn't sit around longer than it needs to. If you live in Alaska and your bike is put away for 6 months, you might want to first drain the fuel before starting.

Battery: My bike sits connected to a Battery Tender Jr. all Winter long - as well as pretty much anytime it's parked in my garage. Doing so keeps the battery running for many years. If yours has not been connected all winter, or if you removed the battery, get it charged back up to top condition and reinstall it. If you have a wet cell, make sure all the cells are topped up, and top up with distilled water if they are not.

Tires: Air up the tires to the correct pressure (you did read your manual, right?) and give them a good inspection for cuts, worn areas or other damage.

Oil: You don't need to change your oil and filter, because you did it when you put the bike away for the season, RIGHT??? If it slipped your mind, do it now before riding.

Other Fluids: Now's a good time to go over all the other fluids, just one more time. Check your brake, clutch and coolant levels. Check the oil level, just one more time. Check for leaks - oil leaks, brake or clutch fluid leaks, coolant leaks. Look at the bottom of the water pump, there is a small hole there that might be leaking oil or coolant. If you see a few drops of coolant there, don't panic - Goldwings commonly leak a bit of fluid over the winter with cold temperatures. If the leak disappears once you start riding again, you have nothing to worry about.

Cleaning: If your bike collected dust all winter, now's the time to clean it up, to start the year fresh.

Lights: Click the ignition on and check that all of your lights are functioning - headlight (including high beam), running lights, turn signals, brake lights, dashboard lights.

Horn: Something you might not use all that often, don't wait to find out it's not working when you need it most. Make sure it's functioning!

Rider: You have not ridden for a few months, so keep in mind your riding skill and instincts are not going to be what they were a few months ago. Riding well is a perishable skill! Take it easy for the first few rides. Go without a passenger. Check your brakes. Ride out to an open parking lot and practice some slow speed riding and turns. Get your confidence level up to where it was at the end of the previous riding season, and then hit the open road! I like to keep my first couple of rides relatively close to home, to deal with any problems that might have cropped up mysteriously over the winter months.

Roads: The roads are not going to be in the same condition as they were last fall. Winter cold, water intrusion and copious salt use cause potholes and cracks in the pavement - some large enough to cause a crash if you were to hit one. In remote areas without curbs, the edges of the asphalt can crumble due to water undermining the substrate underneath them, so stay away from those edges. Salt, sand and gravel put down on roads over the winter is still there, making roads hazardous and slippery. Especially watch the insides of corners, where it tends to collect - and where you can least tolerate a loss of traction!

Cars: Drivers are not used to seeing motorcycles on the road, and they are definitely NOT looking for you! Keep a sharp eye out, make yourself visible, stay out of their way, leave yourself an out, and assume that the driver is going to do the worst, most stupid thing possible.

Ride safe!



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RFW&LMW
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Re: How to get your bike ready for the riding season

Postby RFW&LMW » Sat Mar 12, 2016 8:11 pm

It all sounds like good advice.
THE GRISWALDS

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WingAdmin
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Posts: 17046
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:16 pm
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1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: How to get your bike ready for the riding season

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:39 am

I just added one more: horn. I thought of this one because while pulling my air horns off to get to the spark plugs yesterday, the rubber hose connecting them to the compressor crumbled in my hands. Years of exposure to heat and UV had turned the rubber hard and brittle. I'm pretty sure that horn would not have been making much noise.

$2 of vacuum hose at the local auto parts store, and I'm back in business.

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dhg
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Motorcycle: 1986 GL1200A Aspencade

Re: How to get your bike ready for the riding season

Postby dhg » Mon Mar 14, 2016 7:56 pm

Speaking of other fluids, when I started to get my bike started Saturday, I noticed a puddle of fluid under my front tire. It turns out over the winter my left fork seal decided to start leaking. I'm not a happy camper. I don't suppose that this is one of the seals that might stop once I start riding is it?

I'm not looking forward to taking the front end off and having them rebuilt!

Everything else checked out ok. It took a while to get it started as I believe my battery is going bad. I'll have to check the voltage on it.
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urbanmadness
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Re: How to get your bike ready for the riding season

Postby urbanmadness » Tue Mar 15, 2016 3:15 pm

Mine doesn't go down for a winter nap (we can ride a few times a month, year round)... So for those of us that can ride year round, it's just a good time to go over everything. Mine's getting timing belts, plugs, oil change and general going over this week.




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