Guide to Preparing A Motorbike For Summer
When the weather and road conditions improve it is very tempting to jump on to your motorbike and ride out into the sunshine. But before you do it is important to get a motorbike properly prepared. After a long winter in storage it is important to ensure that the motorbike is in peak condition. This will ensure that the bike is working properly, keep the rider safe on the roads and accident-free, which can also help to reduce the cost of motorbike insurance.
Tiger.co.uk has prepared an easy to follow checklist to help to prepare a motorbike before getting it back on to the road after a winter break. This checklist is for guidance only. For motorbike owners who are not confident in their maintenance abilities or if in doubt about any aspect of a motorbike’s mechanical fitness, please seek help from a professional mechanic.
Tyres and Wheels
- Check tyres for signs of wear and tear such as bulges, cracks or any debris that may have been stuck in the tread.
- Check for inconsistencies by running a hand over the tyre - it should feel uniform.
- Once you are happy that the tyres are in good condition then ensure that they are inflated to the correct pressure. Rubber can expand with temperature changes, causing tyres to lose air. Find the owner’s manual for the bike and locate the recommended tyre pressure, check to see if each tyre is inflated to the correct pressure and adjust them accordingly.
- If the battery has been removed for the winter period, check the charge, recharge it if necessary and then re-install it.
- Check the connections to the battery terminals and ensure that the cable connections are tight.
- Check that the terminals are clean, free from dust, debris or corrosion.
Oil and Other Fluids
- Check engine oil, gear oil, hydraulic fluid, coolant and fuel. Look at the levels and identify which fluids need to be either topped up or changed completely. Fluids can become degraded over time so look out for changes in colour, consistency and even the smell to see if the fluid needs to be replaced.
- Check for leaks – if it can be seen that some fluid has been lost or is lower than usual, there might be a leak. Running the engine will help to identify the leak as the vehicle will be working under pressure.
- Have a general check for any cracks in the lenses and make sure that they are attached securely.
- Check if the headlight works and make sure that it is directed correctly.
- Perform a simple check on brake lights and indicators, make sure they are clean and properly attached.
- Adjust the front forks and rear shocks as necessary.
- Check the belt or chain for the correct slack/tension and lubrication.
- Check the frame for any dents, scratches, cracks or any lifting paint.
- Make sure all fasteners are tight and replace if necessary.
- Check all levers and pedals for correct movement and lubricate as necessary.
- Check the throttle to make sure is moves freely.
- Check that any cables or hoses are in good condition, looking for cracks, cuts or leaks and that they are not interfering with the steering or the suspension.
The motorbike owner’s manual will provide instructions on how to perform the majority of the tasks listed above. If you do not have the manual then a copy can normally be purchased from the manufacturer or from a local bike dealer or sourced online.
When the motorbike is ready to take out on to the open road it is advisable to drive slowly at first, practice manoeuvring the bike before riding it properly. As the bike has been in storage throughout the winter it can take a little bit of time for it to reach optimal performance.
Make sure that a valid motorbike insurance policy is in place to cover the motorbike and that it has an up-to-date MOT. If the vehicle has been kept off road during the winter months and you have declared it to be “SORN”, you will need to take the registration document, MOT and motorcycle insurance certificate along to a licence issuing post office to obtain a tax disc.
Now you can enjoy the biking season!