If the final ride on your bike last season ended with you hopping off and throwing a tarp over the bike (if even), here’s a checklist for making sure the reconnection with your bike this spring isn’t a case of poking the sleeping bear.
Check your owner’s manual:
If you don’t have one, find one online. Beyond the legalese, it thoroughly explains how the bike works and how to keep it running well. Read it.
Check your oil:
Did you change the oil shortly before storing it away for the winter? If so, you’re probably okay. If you didn’t, maybe a change is in order. Same goes for the oil filter.
Check your fuel:
Did you put your bike away with a full tank? Likely not. If you didn’t, drain the tank. It’s possible that condensation has formed in the tank, especially if your area had those odd 60 or 70 degree days between freezing temps during November to February. Draining all the remaining fuel and replacing it with fresh gas is the prudent move.
Check your battery:
If there’s no or low juice in your battery, try a trickle charger. Check the fluid levels and give it a slow charge. If you aren’t getting any juice, it’s probably time for a new battery.
Check your tires:
If your winter has had extreme temperature swings, the pressure in your tires has likely responded accordingly. If you don’t have a pump in your garage, please drive carefully on your trip to the nearest compressed air source. Also check tread depth and sidewalls for dry rot.
Check your brakes:
Check the brake fluid levels, but also think about the last time you changed the fluid. If it’s been a couple years, it’s probably time for a change. It’s also a good time to check the brake pads.
Check your shine:
If your bike’s been sitting all winter uncovered – or in some case, even if it’s covered – chances are it’s collected some dust. Give the mirrors, gauges, leather and painted surfaces the once over with a chamois or microfiber cloth. Better yet, pull out the hose or take it to the local car wash for a full bath. Soak dried-on bug splatter with a hot wet towel to loosen prior to washing. It will ease the elbow grease required for a thorough cleaning.
If you haven’t already, maybe this is the season you treat yourself (and your buns) to an AIRHAWK. You can learn how to make this year’s rides a lot more comfortable: http://www.airhawk.net/. If you already own an AIRHAWK, make sure the pressure is adjusted for best fit and comfort. See the video story in this e-newsletter for more information.
Here’s hoping for an early spring in your area. Happy and safe riding.