PREPARE FOR BLAS
Spring is here and you’re busting to get out there, but before you blast your way through a brilliant biking year make sure your steed is ready and willing with a few vital checks
The days are getting longer and while the tarmac may not yet be hot, it’s certainly getting warmer. If you haven’t ridden much through the winter months then you’ll be itching to get the bike out.
Before you stick the key in the ignition, push the starter and fire off into the middle distance, you should give your bike a thorough once-over.
Don’t assume your bike is as road-ready as it was when it went into the shed or garage last autumn. Motorcycles don’t benefit from standing. As well as that, the start of the riding season is a perfect opportunity to pay attention to some maintenance tasks that will pay dividends in the months ahead. So grab some basic tools and materials and lavish a little care and attention on your pride and joy.
1Tyres: Pressure, wear and condition
Take a long, slow and close look at your tyres. Look out for cracks caused by perishing or standing on under-inflated rubber. Also look out for and remove foreign objects. Check the tread depth either by using a tyre depth gauge or the moulded indicators in the grooves. The location of these is indicated at the edge of the tread either by arrows or in the case of the Michelins on this MT-07, by little Bibendum men.
Also, tyres have a definite use-by date. There might be plenty of tread left but old age takes its toll on rubber compounds and your tyres may have hardened to the point where grip is compromised. Painful as it might be to chuck a set of apparently good tyres away, it simply isn’t worth taking a chance on rubber that might not perform when you it most – cornering and braking.
If you don’t do the sort of mileage or type of riding that wears tyres out, then be prepared to fit new ones every five years or so. If satisfied that your tyres are otherwise good to go, check pressures when the tyres are cold and you’re all set.
Supposing your chain and sprockets are good to go, as are these ones here, adjust as per the book and lubricate on the inside run with a quality chain wax or oil. If they’re thick with old chain lube and grit, clean with degreaser before re-lubricating.
3Cable action: Slick controls all round
A sticky cable hampers control and in extreme cases can jam or break. It’s worth investing in an hydraulic cable oiler to squirt a lubricant such as GT85 between cable outer and inner. While you’re at it, grease lever pivot points too. If the controls work right, you’re more in control.
11Fuel: Is it past its best before date?
The chemical cocktail that passes for petrol these days is highly prone to going off. If your bike has stood for more than a couple of months, it might struggle to start on stale petrol. If you left the tank full, then drain off at least half and top up with fresh. You can put the old stuff in the car’s tank.
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