How to Get back on the road this Spring

Bike been hi­ber­nat­ing in the garage? Here’s how to make sure it’s ready to roll

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Contents -

Check your pres­sures

Tyre man­u­fac­tures of­ten rec­om­mend you over-in­flate your rub­ber be­fore you leave the bike laid up over win­ter. This is to pre­vent the tyre car­cass be­ing dam­aged as the bike loses pres­sure over time. Check in your man­ual for the cor­rect pres­sures and take the op­por­tu­nity to thor­oughly check their over­all con­di­tion, look­ing for cracks in be­tween the treads.

Re­fill with fuel

Ide­ally, be­fore stor­ing your bike you would’ve run your fuel down to a min­i­mum, as op­posed to leav­ing it full to the brim. The com­bustible ‘light-ends’ of the fuel will evap­o­rate and ren­der the petrol less volatile. By adding five litres of fresh petrol, you will ef­fec­tively be rein­vig­o­rat­ing any fuel left, pre­vent­ing poor start­ing. Use a fun­nel with a fil­ter to stop any gunk get­ting in.

How’s your bat­tery?

If your garage has elec­tric­ity it is easy to leave the bike con­nected up to an Op­ti­mate or sim­i­lar – but if you rent a lock-up you’ll need to check the bat­tery. A healthy power cell should have 12.5v or up­wards. Any­thing less will re­quire charg­ing, or per­haps even a new bat­tery. When you do the volt­age check, make sure the ig­ni­tion is off.

Does it have enough oil?

Take the bike off its stands and try to hold the bike up­right so it’s bal­anced and then check the amount vis­i­ble on the sight glass. En­gines with dip­sticks need to be held up­right and bal­anced, but check with your man­ual as to whether the dip­stick should be dipped in or screwed in prior to tak­ing a read­ing.

Check the seals

Fork seals can fail if a bike has been sit­ting for a long pe­riod of time. Wipe a tis­sue around the stan­chion and seal to look for any weep­ing oil. In a se­vere case, oil would’ve leaked down the forks and pos­si­bly onto discs and calipers, so en­sure you are thor­ough. Do the same for the rear shock.

Start up and check fluid lev­els

Most bikes re­quire min­i­mal or no throt­tle to start up from cold but be pa­tient, the en­gine may need to crank over a few times be­fore it fires up. Once run­ning, let it warm up, keep­ing an eye out for any leaks from the oil and coolant sys­tems. Re-check oil and coolant lev­els once the bike is cool again.

Give the chain some lov­ing

Place the bike on its cen­tre­stand or a pad­dock stand and check the chain ten­sion and ad­just if nec­es­sary. Now use a qual­ity chain lube, ap­ply­ing it from the in­side and mask the back­ground with a cloth to pre­vent over­spray reach­ing the tyre. Make sure the wheel spin­dle is cor­rectly torqued up to spec, too.

How are your nuts?

Make a thor­ough check of your bike’s cru­cial nuts and bolts. If you have had the bike in bits over the win­ter for clean­ing or re­pair, do a fi­nal check over the bike for safety. Things to in­clude would be caliper bolts, spin­dle nuts and fork leg pinch bolts. The cor­rect way to check tight­ness is to undo the bolt first and then tighten up to the cor­rect torque set­ting with a torque wrench.

Show me your pa­pers

These days the ‘pa­per­less’ tax disc sys­tem gives no im­me­di­ate vis­ual clue, but the good news is that it’s easy to check on­line – with a mo­bile-friendly web­site. Just type in your reg­is­tra­tion num­ber to ve­hi­cleen­quiry.ser­vice.gov.uk to check the sta­tus of your bike, along with the ex­act date that each one ex­pires. That just leaves you to check your in­sur­ance is valid!

Don’t just as­sume you can whip off the cov­ers and go

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