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5 Top Tips For A Safe Spring Motorcycle

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Motorcycles

5 Top Tips For A Safe Spring Motorcycle

Kimberlie Hutson
April 25, 2009

Kimberlie Hutson
http://www.guruonline.tv

The clocks have sprung forward, the days are getting longer and the sun is even starting to make the odd guest appearance, it looks like spring is well and truly here with summer just round the corner. For those of you who are fair weather bikers, now is the perfect time to get your beloved motorcycle out of storage and back on the road. If your bike has been stored for a few months, it isn't advisable to simply jump on and go for a run though, here are a few simple tips to help reinstate your bike to its former glory and make sure you're good to go.

Tyres: If your bike has been sat all winter, you'll need to check the tyres and wheels thoroughly. Check for any cracks, bulges or potential weak spots that might develop into a problem. Refer to your owners' manual to ensure you get the correct tyre pressure. Over inflated tyres will not grip the road sufficiently but under inflated tyres wont be fuel-efficient. You will also need to check the thread on your tyres too. If your bike has been sat all winter there's a good chance the thread wont have worn away, but if your tyres tread is below 2mm you should try and get it replaced as soon as possible. Remember, spring is a great time of year for your local council to be out repairing roads or carrying out general maintenance. It is very easy to tyres to pick up loose chips of gravel and any other objects which may have been inadvertently left behind and you have two less tyres than most other vehicles on the road to risk being damaged.

Battery: If you removed your bikes battery over the winter to hook it up to a small charge, or just brought it inside to prevent it from freezing too often, hook it back up, giving the terminals a good clean with some warm water and baking soda. If it has been left hooked up all winter, give it a quick charge and check for any cracks which may have resulted in it freezing through the winter. Just give all the cables a quick check, make sure they're not folded or kinked (or nibbled if its been left still in a garage for a few months)

Lights: The days are getting longer and most of us can go to work and come home in the daylight now, but you still need to check all your lights work. Check not only the headlight but also the indicators and break lights too. Check the beam from the headlight hasn't been knocked and that all the lights are securely mounted. Check the lenses. Look for any cracks or chips which could develop into cracks. If you notice excessive condensation, it may be a sign of a crack which will need to be addressed.

Oil & lubricants: If your bike has been sat still all winter, it may be best to give it a complete engine oil change before riding out for the first time, especially if this wasn't done before it went into storage. Never mix old engine oil, break fluid, coolant etc with new, and make sure it's all fresh. If possible, change the oil filters too. The particles in petrol and diesel will evaporate if left for long enough, this means that even if your left your fuel tank fuel before storing the bike away, the tank may not be full anymore. This could result in condensation forming in the tank which could lead to rust, this is easy to check and can save you a lot of money.

You: Lastly, you need to check yourself. If it's been a few months since you last rode, make sure all your paper work and documents are up to date. Your insurance company should be notified if any of your details have changes (like your address), check your breakdown cover is still in date too. Your bike may now be in perfect shape, but your riding skills may be a little rusty. Instead of heading straight for some long, bendy country roads, it may be worth spending half an hour in a quiet car park or industrial estate one Sunday morning first. This is also a safer place to make sure your bike is back to its former glory and condition too. Check your helmet and riding clothing. Make sure the helmet hasn't got any cracks or chips and your eye line is perfectly clear. No matter how nice the weather is, riding without proper leathers or safety clothes can be dangerous. If you had a particularly enjoyable Christmas, double check you can still do your jacket up and breathe at the same time.

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