Motorcycle Stuff

6 Step Motorcycle Spring Tune-Up.

As the weather begins to warm, ever so slightly, motorcyclists everywhere are itching to get out there and ride.

In light of the ensuing season, I wanted to bring you some tune-up tips that can get you started and your motorcycle ready for riding, before you ride.

Spring Tune-up – of course, I always recommend you refer to your owner’s manual for specifications, tips and regular maintenance schedules, but this should get you started. If you did a year end wrap on your bike before you stored it, some of these things can be skipped, but always note, if you do not test it before you leave the driveway, inevitably something fails, especially on the first ride.

1) Tires and Wheels: Check the air pressure of your tires. Seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how much air loss can happen while parked. Inflate to the pressure specified in your owner’s manual. Look for wear-and-tear on the treads; cracks, bulges or embedded objects indicate stress on the tire and may need to have the tire replaced/repaired. Look at your wheels (rims) for roundness, cracks and dents. Look for bent, broken or missing spokes. Replace if necessary.

2) Controls:Review the levers to make sure they are still lubricated, adjusted and fitted properly. They should not be broken, bent, or cracked.
Inspect cables to make sure they are not frayed, kinked, or folded into sharp angles. Also, test to make sure your bike’s cables, at no time, interfere with your ability to steer.
Check hoses for cuts, cracks, leaks, bulges, chafing or deterioration. Like cables, hoses should not interfere with your steering or suspension, and should not be folded into sharp angles. Test that the throttle moves freely, does not stick and snaps closed when released.

3) Lights:If you removed your battery over the winter, install it—your owner’s manual should tell you how. Check the battery to make sure the terminals are clean and tight. Make sure it’s properly charged and secured. Check the vent tube to confirm it is not kinked or plugged, and is routed properly.
Look over the lenses on the bike to make sure they are not cracked or broken, are securely mounted and do not have excessive condensation trapped within. Condensation is the sign of a broken seal which may need replacing. Water and electricity just don’t mix and condensation makes for lousy reflections.
Check to ensure the reflectors are not cracked, broken and are securely mounted.
Review the bike’s headlamp for cracks. Confirm it points at the right height and direction. Test the operation of the high beam and low beam options.
Test the tail lamp and brake lights to make sure they work when they should, and they are not cracked. Test both of the turn signals – left and right!

4) Oil and other fluids: Check the levels and quality of the engine oil, hypoid gear oil, shaft drive, hydraulic fluid, coolant and fuel. Replace or top-up fluids that need it. Check for leaks of these same fluids.

5) Chassis: Review the condition of the frame, looking for lifting paint, cracks, or dents. Make sure the front forks and rear shocks are properly adjusted. Check the tension of the belt or chain. Lubricate the chain if needed, while inspecting the teeth of the sprockets confirming they are not hooked and are properly mounted. Replace broken or missing fasteners and tighten if loosened.

6) Stands: For both centre stands and side stands, make sure they are not cracked or bent and that it springs into place. Also it has the required tension to hold the bike in position. Your backrest, if you have one, should be properly secured and ready for your passenger.

The other parts of this tune-up are for the rider. Ensure that you have your ownership and insurance in your wallet. Now that it’s riding season, you may as well just keep it there. Ensure you sticker is up-to-date and renew it if your birthday has come and gone. Get out the rain suit… yeah, yeah, your no wimp but if you have it with you, you can at least put it on and still ride. Besides, wet leather against the skin, leaves much to be desired. 😛

I really should not have to talk about riding gear, as safety is the key here, but I feel it necessary anyway: Helmut, leather gloves, leather jacket/pants or jeans, riding boots and protective eyewear are things you should never ride without. If your carrying a passenger, please, please ensure they too are dressed properly. Don’t forget there is still a chance of black ice once the sun goes down. It may be mid April but the weather here in Ontario sure doesn’t know that yet.

Start safe…. ride safe….. stay safe….

Till Next Time….Tags: , , , ,

7 thoughts on “6 Step Motorcycle Spring Tune-Up.”

  1. Hi James,
    Thanks for stopping by.
    Yes it is a basic tune-up list but if practised as soon as one begins their riding career, it then becomes habit throughout their riding life. Always good to have the basics down pat of as it will allow you to customize it to your motorcycle needs.

    Thanks again for stopping by.

  2. Hi Bitch,
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. All comments are always appreciated.

    In my humble opinion, a tune-up can consist of many things. The words tune-up mean different things to many people.
    If you are a mechanic then yes, you are correct but here in Canada, a tune-up usually consists of regular care for our vehicles and normal prep in order to maintain them.

    Happy riding

  3. OK…I have this “friend” who forgot to put StaBil in their tank at the end of last season. Is the gas probably OK or do they need to siphon it out and fill with fresh petrol? Is siphoning the answer? What happens to the carbs if the bike is turned over with a little residual old gas in the bottom of the tank?

  4. Hello pxlchk1,
    We all have a “friend” who forgets some things, heck even I my friends forget from time to time LOL

    Anywho… depending on the type of motorcycle (four srtoke or two stroke) and depending on the age of the bike (newer motorcycles may have fuel injection) there are certain factors that one needs to take into account.
    1) Was the gas tank full when stored?
    2) Was the motorcycle fired up during storage?
    3) Was the gas regular or premium?
    If the answer to ALL the above questions is yes, then the probability of a clean start is a good one and no siphoning may be needed. This is because the carbs will have gas in them and if you started the bike during the storage time, then you have kept them clean and running.

    If you only had a “little” gas in the tank, there is a high probability that condensation has been built up in the tank and it could cause some issues should you “just fire it up”. Condensation will create rust and rust in the carbs is a no-no.
    I have never siphoned any gas out of the tank myself, but choose instead to fill the tank with fresh gas and fired it up. My bike is really old, but I had no issues doing this.

    If you do not drain the gas during storage then you run the risk of clogging the fuel filter. There are particles that can build up during storage (and rust) which will also clog the carbs. Take a flashlight and peek into the tank to see if there is any rust. If so, get it to a mechanic and do not start it up.

    If not, you may decide to put fresh gas into the bike, turn the throttle to put new gas into the carbs, then spark her up. If all goes well you should be OK. You should then take your bike to a mechanic for a spring tune-up, this will ensure everything is OK.

    If you do not want to start the bike yourself, get it towed to the mechanics and let them deal with your situation.

    Hope this helps and remember:
    Keep the sunny side up and the rubber side down 😉

    Please note… I am NOT a mechanic and any advice given here is strictly opinion. I always recommend taking your bike to a mechanic (twice a year) as they are way more qualified than I and will keep your bike running safely. I am therefore, not responsible should you decide to initiate any advice given here. Also please read your owner’s manual for further help.

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