Big Ed's Workshop - Getting her ready for summer
Keeping a motorcycle maintained is important not only for the health of the machine but also for your own safety. Through this Bikers Guide I'm going to give you some top tips for doing work yourself, not only to give you a better understanding of your bike, but also to save you some pennies!
Why it's important:
If your motorbikes been hiding away in the garage or shed all winter just waiting to be ridden there are a number of things you'll want to check before getting her back out there. You'd be surprised how much can happen to a bike when it's just sitting quietly and these things must be addressed before you get on as they could damage you and your bike.
Let's get to work:
Step 1: Clean up: Drag her out of her hiding spot and give her a good wash down. She's probably covered in cobwebs and all sorts of grime that build over the long cold winter. By washing her down you'll be able to spot any spots of corrosion that may need attention as well as anything else that doesn't look right.
Step 2: Power: If you haven't been trickle charging your battery (which isn't good for battery life anyway) you'll probably find that it's flat. This can be remedied by giving it a good charge yourself if you have charging facilities or at your local dealer (they'll do it for free if you're savvy enough). It's probably worth getting them to check the charge and if it holds as over time the battery may have deteriorated and you don't want to be stuck out in the country with a flat. A good long ride will help towards getting it back to life, but I'm sure you'd be doing that anyway if it's the first time out!
Step 3: Electronics: Now you've got some power back get her started and check all your systems. Lighting is definitely worth looking at as bulbs may have gone and if she's due for MOT they'll pick up that straight away. Check round all the contact points, battery, starter relay, starter motor, earths, ignition etc and give them a good clean. Corrosion loves to get into electrics and if one point is corroded over it may not work and you'll be left scratching your head as to why your bike won't start! Also use this time to check all your fuses, easily replaced but could again stop your motorbike from running.
Step 4: Tyres: Your tyres will almost certainly have lost some pressure. Make sure they are back up to manufacturer recommendations before you go anywhere as this will hinder your enjoyment and safety.
Step 5: Lubrication: Corrosion is a bikers worse enemy and I can guarantee they'll be some hanging about on your cables and moving parts. Give them all a good spray and grease and get them moving. Also give your chain a good grease up as again I'm sure the rust will have started to take hold.
Now your bikes all checked and ready for the road! Get out and enjoy her!
Ride safe all!
25.04.13 - Big Ed