How to Get Your Motorcycle Ready for Spring

Do you have a bad case of PMS? All over Canada, thousands of people just like you are suffering from Parked Motorcycle Syndrome. Even with a winter this mild, our beloved two-wheel steeds have been placed in the safety of a garage, locked away in hibernation until the roads become less hostile.

And while it may be tempting to just get on your motorcycle and go once the warmer weather permits, a lot can happen between when you tucked your beloved bike away in the autumn and the snow melts in springtime.

Your motorcycle may have changed a lot over the winter. The tires may be showing the signs of cold weather damage, the controls may have been bumped or damaged. Throttle cables, gear levers, clutch and brake levers – even handlebars and mirrors could all be out of position. Cables and hydraulic lines may show signs of stress that may be accentuated by extreme cold – inspect them thoroughly.

Clean Up Your Act

The V-Strom made easy work of both highway and inner city streets with its crisp acceleration, well-balanced feel and good-sized, well-positioned mirrors. The suspension made it easy to ride around on Toronto’s winter ravaged streets, as did the light clutch movement; very handy for the stop-start part of the commute.

Even if your bike has been under a custom cover in a secure location, chances are good that it could still use a bath. Thoroughly washing your ride will not only remove dirt and dust that has accumulated, it also allows for thorough inspection. Unwanted animal or insect nests can appear over the winter and the earlier you detect leaks or early signs of wear and tear the better.

Besides, clean motorbikes look better – and looking cool is the only thing tolerable about stop signs or red lights.

Rider Tune Up

The organic component is affected by the weather too. That means you. Without seat time, your skills might be rusty. Take the time to reacquaint yourself with the basics of good road position, visibility and technique. Take your time out on the road the first time and don’t be afraid to talk yourself through the steps. “Check that guy’s mirror – don’t sit here, it’s his blind spot. Did she see me? Am I in the right wheel track? Look up, look up… arms loose, shoulder relaxed, eyes up…” These mantras will help you get back into the groove more quickly.

Getting Charged Up

Experts recommend inspecting battery terminals before charging or reinstalling. Hopefully you added fuel stabilizer in the fall, but regardless new gas should be added. Check brake fluid, filters, oil and coolant to confirm that there hasn’t been any contamination or leakage. Next, ensure that clutch and brake cables are functioning properly. Tires should be carefully inspected for cracks, flat spots or signs of excessive wear. Recommended air pressure can be found on the side wall and topped up if required. The drivetrain of your bike may vary (chain, shaft or belt), but the components should be inspected and maintained as per the manufacturers recommendations.

Annual Checkup

Enhancements for the 2015 Road Glide include the upgraded High Output Twin Cam 103 engine. The lightweight piston design and higher compression ratio increases efficiency and horsepower, improved airflow and upgraded cam optimize low-end torque while twin cooling of the heads and exhaust ports allow for the delivery of peak performance at higher temperatures. Harley is notorious for not posting horsepower numbers but the 1,690cc displacement powerplant with integrated oil cooler boasts 105 ft-lbs. of torque at 3,250 rpm. It pulls harder, sounds better and runs cooler.

The start of the season is a great time to perform an annual assessment. Review your insurance and registration records to confirm they are current and examine your maintenance files to remind you what may need to be replaced or checked for the upcoming season. It is also a good time to inspect your riding gear for wear and tear. A little patience and preparation will go a long way to ensuring your own safety and your ride’s longevity for years to come.

A checklist for your first ride of the season. 3/28/2016 8:00:43 AM