Spring is in the air! And that means motorcycle season has begun! With over 736,000 registered motorcycles and mopeds in Canada in 2019 and almost a ⅓ of them in Ontario, you want to make sure you and your motorcycle are prepped and safe for another riding season. Before you hit the road, take some time for spring maintenance. Here are some tips on maintenance and quality checks you can do at home:
If you changed the oil and filter before storing your motorcycle, you’re probably good to go with just checking the fluid levels. If not, then now’s a good time. Also, check the coolant levels. If your motorcycle has a shaft drive, check the level of the gear oil in the hub assembly. Look for any changes in the consistency and colour of the fluids. If you are unsure, check your owner’s manual for the recommended service schedule.
Pay particular attention to your tires. Check the pressure and make sure they are as per the owner’s manual. If your bike has not been on stands or moved around over winter, you may find that the weight of the bike has caused some damage to the tires. If there are any cracks on the sidewalls or the tread is worn, change the tires. Don’t take any chances.
With your motorcycle being in storage for the winter season, your brakes may have seized up a little. Check both the front and rear brakes, including brake pads. Do a thorough visual inspection and test at a walking pace. Also, check your brake fluid. If the fluid colour is dark or the brake lever feels spongy, you will need to drain the brake fluids.
If your bike’s battery wasn’t on a charger over the winter, chances are you’ll need to charge it. Hopefully, a slow charge will bring it back to life. If the battery struggles to turn over the engine, you should consider replacing it. Check to make sure the terminals are clean and the cables are securely connected. It’s also a good time to inspect your fuses and make sure you have some spare ones on hand.
Lights & Gauges
Make sure you can see and others can see you by checking your lights. Make sure your headlight (high and low beams), taillights, brake light, turn signals, hazards and your gauges are all in working order. Replace any bulbs that are burned out.
If you didn’t put some fuel additive in the tank at the end of last season, the fuel may have gone off and can lead to fuel injectors getting clogged up. You may need new fuel filters and a clean-up of the injectors.
Belts and Chains
Inspect your drive chain or belt for cracks or signs of wear. Also, check the tension to ensure it’s at the manufacturer’s recommendations. Make sure the chain is properly lubricated.
Sit on your bike and make sure your mirrors haven’t come loose. Turn the handlebar and check for cable and wiring strain, and check the steering. Double-check your shifter and brake pedal to make sure they are where you want them.
Once you’re sure your motorcycle is ready for the season, spend a few minutes looking over your gear. Check your helmet for any cracks or wear and make sure it still fits. If your helmet is more than 5 years old, consider replacing it. Are your gloves in good shape? Even in a low-speed slide, your hands are vulnerable to severe friction burns.
Now that your bike, and your gear, are ready to ride the road, ease back into the groove. Remember to be aware of your surroundings, including potholes and other drivers who haven’t shared the road with motorcycles in months. Consider taking a refresher course, like The Ottawa Safety Council’s Experienced Rider Course. It gives you a chance to improve your skills and shake off the cobwebs before hitting the road. Get in touch with us for more information on the next course date. Happy riding!
Road safety is a shared responsibility, regardless of how you use the road. Our friends, family, children, and colleagues are impacted several times daily by road safety. When tragedy strikes, too often we feel powerless in terms of making an impact to prevent further issues. If you would like to get more involved in road safety, we invite you to take the #RoadSMARTS pledge. By taking the Road SMARTS Pledge, you Support Making All Road Travel Safe, which can help improve road safety for everyone. When road behaviours change, accidents can be reduced. For more information and to take the pledge for free, visit https://www.ottawasafetycouncil.ca/road-smarts.