Posted by Justin L on September 12, 2017
Riding season is here for most of us and it is time to get your motorcycle out from storage. Before you want to hit the road, you should go over this checklist to make sure your bike is ready. You don't want to get dampered by a dead battery or one of the fluid is way too low for an operational bike. Hopefully, this guide will get you on the right path to have an awesome riding season.
This is possibly the easiest step any riders can do when first getting their motorcycle, it requires reading skills. Whether you're still stuck indoors or if riding season has already begun, reading your owner's service manual can help get you prepared for spring maintenance. Your manual has all the specifics for your own bike.
Skim through it after reading our guide to get a feel for what kind of procedures you'll need to do, and what kind of tools you might need to order before digging in. I usually carry a small set of multi-tools you can get off amazon and toss it in your riding pack.
Stale gasoline is an often forgotten yet very problematic issue with stored vehicles, so we recommend addressing your fuel and fuel system first. Gasoline is a very refined chemical composition, and it deteriorates very quickly. After a few months, the more combustible elements in gasoline will have already begun to evaporate, which can cause your bike to run rough (or not at all.) If your bike has a high compression engine, like in many sport bikes, old fuel will cause even bigger problems. This is when you hearing that bogging sound coming from your engine.
In addition, while sitting in a tank, gasoline can react with oxygen to create varnish deposits in the fuel system, which can clog lines, filters, and jets or injectors. Due to temperature variations, condensation can also form in a gas tank, adding water to your gasoline, which can create even more severe problems.
If you winterized your bike correctly, you will have either drained the fuel or added a fuel stabilizer to the fuel in the tank. If you did drain your tank, take a peek inside for any rust, gunk, or condensation that could cause problems later. Refill your tank with high-octane fuel before you start it up, to make sure the gas running through the system is as fresh as possible.
With fresh fuel in the tank, we can move on to addressing the other most common storage issue - dead batteries.
The most common issue with bikes sitting all winter long tends to be the batteries. Every time a battery goes dead, its life gets cut down, and it only needs to be drained a few times for it to become really problematic. Smart riders will have kept their battery on a trickle charger while it was stored, but if you forgot this step, it's not too late to order one and charge your battery back up for that first ride of the season.
We recommend getting a "smart" battery charger that automatically turns itself off so you don't overcharge and damage it. No matter what charger you pick up, it's still a good idea to check your battery fluid levels before hooking it up, and top off any low cells.
If you happen to hook up your battery to a charger and nothing happens, chances are that your battery is DEAD. It's definitely better to find out a few weeks before spring so that you can order a new motorcycle battery without having to delay your first spring ride that we know you're looking forward to, so check the battery in advance!
Tires are a part of your bike that should really be checked before every ride; only a few square inches of rubber keeps hundreds of pounds of metal (and you) in contact with the road at any given time, so having tires in good condition is essential.
When checking tires after storage, you should be conscious of potential flat-spotting on the tires from sitting for a long time (especially on soft compound tires), and bringing tire pressure up to spec, as air will have undoubtedly seeped out after months of not being used. Check the tire wear too; it may be a good time to go ahead and replace tires before spring hits, so you know you have good rubber for the whole riding season.
You may have changed your oil as part of your winterizing process, but if not, it's a good idea to change it before starting a new riding season. Every motorcycle is different, so you'll need to consult an owner's manual for the exact procedure, but it's a good practice to change your oil and filter at the same time (the correct filter for your bike can be found easily using the fitment tool on our site.)
One of the most neglected things on a motorcycle is the brake fluid. Even when your bike isn't being used, brake fluid is extremely hygroscopic, meaning, that it has a tendency to absorb moisture straight out of the air (brake fluid attracts so much moisture that simply leaving the cap off a bottle overnight can ruin it!) Check your fluids and top it off.
If you have been riding often throughout the year, please check the brake and chain indicators for wear and tear. Worn brakes and chains can do a lot of damage to your bike and yourself if they decide to give out during a ride.
Check your brake lights and headlights. Most motorcycles will utilize both lights during operation even if it is daytime. Your headlights should be bright for oncoming traffic to see you down the road even during the daytime. Most motorcycles are stocked with halogen bulbs, so upgrading them to RAZIR™ LED or HIDs will be beneficial. Not only will it gives the bike an updated look but it will make sure other riders and drivers are able to see you.
Maintaining a motorcycle can be fun and tedious at the same time but that goes with all the hobbies. Being successful is to be ready and we hope this guide gave you some tips for this riding season.