Spring Motorcycle Riding: Quick Checklist
If your motorcycle spent the winter hibernating in storage, we’re sure you’re dying to get it back on the road or on the trail again for spring!
Before you rush to get to riding again, do you know if your bike is ready to go? If you did your homework before storing your motorcycle when the weather got colder, you learned how to winterize your motorcycle. However, when the time comes to bring your motorcycle out of winter storage, you should make sure it’s up to the task. Here’s a quick checklist to prepare your bike for spring.
Check the Tires
If your motorcycle has been parked all winter long, your bike’s tires may have cracks in the rubber.
Rubber can crack from lack of use and exposure to low temperatures, so if you had your bike parked all winter long, do a tire inspection first. Inspect your motorcycle’s tires for cracks and other signs of wear, and replace them if necessary. Check the wear indicators to make sure the tires have enough tread, and also make sure each one has enough pressure in it to ride safely.
Check the Brakes
Inspect your motorcycle’s brakes to see if the brake pads are worn, and change them out if necessary.
Check the Engine Fluids
You should change the oil before riding your motorcycle again after an extended storage period.
Knowing how to change motorcycle oil is a great way to get to know your machine. It’s also a good first job to learn if you’re a motorcycle maintenance beginner. Make sure to inspect the oil and air filters as well, and replace them if necessary. If you used a fuel stabilizer when you winterized your motorcycle, the fuel inside it ought to be good. However, if you didn’t use any fuel additives to protect the fuel before storing the bike, you may need to clean the carburetor. It’s also a good idea to check and replace the coolant in your motorcycle if necessary.
Check the Battery
If you kept your machine connected to a motorcycle battery charger during the winter, the battery should be good to go for spring.
However, you should still test the battery before riding your motorcycle again. A healthy motorcycle battery typically reads between 12.5-13 volts when it’s resting. Any voltage lower than that and you might still get the machine to turn over. If it does start up with low voltage after being in storage, consider using your first ride to go to a shop for a complete battery diagnostic to determine whether to recharge it or replace it.
Check Lights and Cables
Make sure all of your lights work, including the ones on your gauges, which are easy to check and replace.
Test your motorcycle’s brake lever and pedal to ensure they activate the brake light, and check that your turn signals work too. Inspect the throttle, clutch and brake cables too to make sure they're working properly.
Check your chain for rust or damage, and to make sure it’s not too loose. You can adjust your motorcycle chain to remove some of the slack, and if the chain and sprockets show signs of serious wear, replace them together. Replacing just the chain or the sprocket will prematurely wear the new component. If everything looks operational, do a simple clean and lube for good measure before riding again.
Get Ready to Ride
Checking the health of your machine is a good first step at the beginning and end of each season.
Time and the elements can take their toll on your machine even when it’s inactive. Spring or otherwise, run through this checklist after any period of inactivity and make all the inspections, maintenance and repairs necessary to ensure you ride safely every season!