Warm weather brings motorcyclists back out to the country roads and busy highways. But before they take that first-of-the-year ride in the wind, the smart ones work on their mental check-list, to make sure their bike is in the best and safest shape possible.
Your Bike’s Annual Physical
- Using a soft cloth or brush, dust off accumulated dust.
- Check the air pressure in your tires, and also the general condition of them. Treads getting worn, or dry-rot? It’s time for replacement.
- Check the fluid levels; engine oil, transmission fluid, and brake primary reserve. My husband always changes the oil and oil filter.
- Do a brake check. Roll bike back and forth, and apply them.
- Make sure lights are working properly; your headlight high and low beams,brake, tail, and turn signals. Check for loose wires and bulbs.
- Clean or replace the spark plugs.
- Check the tension on the rear belt drive, or chain.
- Make sure nuts and bolts are secure.
Showcase Your Ride
- Thoroughly wash, dry, and wax your motorcycle until it gleams.
- Polish the chrome.
- Apply a protective leather cleaner to the seat (or seats), and do the same for other leather accessories you have.
Your Riding Gear
- If your state requires a helmet, check it out carefully. Look for cracks, splits, or other damage to the outer shell, and excessive wear or damage to inner lining. Examine the chin strap for fraying, and becoming unattached to the helmet. It might be time to replace it.
- Helmets are exposed to the elements; heat, sunlight, rain, and fumes can cause deterioration which is unseen. Many motorcycle helmet manufacturers recommend replacing them every two-four years.
- Inspect your face guard for scratches and cracks, which can interfere with your vision. Replace it for your safety, as well as for others on the road.
- Bikers don’t wear leather chaps, boots,vests, jackets, and gloves to look “cool” or “tough”. Leather is the strongest material to protect your skin in the event of an accident. Make sure your gloves aren’t worn and thin, and your leathers still fit comfortably. It’s cheaper to loose weight than to buy a whole new outfit.
Fill up your gas tank and hit the road. For a biker, there’s nothing more exhilarating than that first ride of the season. My husband and I enjoyed our Harley-Davidson for many years; we even rode it from WV down to FLA for our honeymoon. It’s a sense of freedom that only other motorcyclists can appreciate and understand. Just one more tip; be safe out there.