Getting Your Motorcycle Ready for the Road after the Winter

After a long winter and as the weather begins to improves, it’s time for motorcycle enthusiasts to get their bikes out of the garage and back on the road.

However the cold weather and moisture can cause real problems for a bike that has been in storage over the winter months, so the motoring experts Haynes have produced the following tips to ensure your bike is in top working condition before you take your motorcycle for spin this spring / summer.

1. Put the battery on charge in readiness for getting the engine running. Batteries are the first thing you need to give attention to. If you’ve been giving the battery a trickle charge then it should be ready to go!

2. Lube the exposed ends of cables, lever and stand pivot points. Check that they operate smoothly. Check that the throttle twistgrip rotates fully and returns smoothly when released.

3. Lube the chain and check it has the correct amount of freeplay. Make sure the suspension is operating freely and there is no sign of oil leakage from the fork seals and shock damper.

4. Make a visual check of all exposed brake hoses, fuel hoses, coolant hoses and wiring. Any sign of nibbling indicates rodents have been at work! Also check that there’s no sign of leakage from the hoses.

5. Inflate the tyres to the correct pressure.

6. Place the bike on its centrestand or a paddock stand and check that each wheel rotates freely. Check the efficiency of each brake and that the brake frees off when the lever/pedal is released. Light corrosion on brake discs will soon wear off, but if the caliper sticks it should be detached from the bike and the pads and pistons examined – corrosion in this area can cause recurrent problems.

7. If the oil wasn’t changed before laying the bike up, do so now and fit a new oil filter. If the oil was changed, check the level.

8. Start the engine and let it idle to allow the oil to circulate. The oil pressure warning light should go out after a few seconds. Don’t persist with cranking the engine if it won’t start – the starter motor will overheat and the battery will soon become flat.

9. Wash the bike and remove any oxidisation from metal parts, particularly exposed fork tubes. When dry, apply a polish to painted parts and body panels.

10. Before going out on the road, check that all lights and turn signals work and adjust the mirrors to the correct angle. Note that any fuel left stored in the tank should be ok to use and will soon be topped up with fresh fuel. Note, however, that fuel will degrade over a longer period and may gum filters and lead to running problems.