For all of those in the mid-Atlantic region, it’s been a brutal winter. There has been snow, sleet, freezing rain, and more snow. Because of the brutal weather, most bikes have stayed in the garage this winter. But spring is upon us, and DAASN has spoken with John Leach at Pete’s Cycle, Baltimore’s premier motorcycle dealer, for the necessary steps in getting your bike spring ready.
“Hopefully, you’ve been able to get a few rides in this winter, or at least take the ATV out for a winter romp. Whether you have or haven’t been able to start up the bike, spring is indeed coming, and stagnation is never good for an engine,” says John Leach.
Leach gave us his top ten tips:
Tip 1: When gas sits too long in an engine, parts of the gasoline mixture can evaporate. This means that what is left behind is called varnish, a brown viscous substance that can be very damaging to an engine. The best way to deal with varnish is to empty out all the gas, drop the float bowls on the carbs, and remove any residue with a proper carb cleaner.
Tip 2: Remove the jets and clean them out as well as any air passages inside the carb.
Tip 3: Remember that if by chance you used some fuel stabilizer before winter, and was sure to run your bike for a couple minutes with the stabilizer in it, then you may be ready to go, at least as far as your gasoline is concerned.
Tip 4: As always after winter, replace/refresh the oil.
Tip 5: Of course, there is the usual tire pressure check. Most likely they lost air over the winter. Also ensure that your tires are not cracking and that they don’t have any flat spots, which is common when they sit for a long period of time, such as over the winter. Ideally, you moved the bike this winter a few times to rotate the tires.
Tip 6: Check your brakes and their fluid levels, and be assured your filter is clean and chain lubed. It is also a good idea to check your turn signals, cables and lights to ensure they made it through the winter undamaged. Chances are there are a few items that need work.
Tip 7: There’s a good chance your battery needs some attention. If needed, try using distilled water to replenish any cells that need it, but do not over fill the battery. Go to the high mark only. If you don’t have a trickle charger, get one. Battery Tender makes a great charger and you can even get the one that has the leads you install on the battery. This way you just have to plug in the charger without removing the seat.
Tip 8: Every bike is different, which means that in addition to the steps I have listed, you should read your bike’s manual and make sure you are not missing anything.
Tip 9: And remember this: T-CLOCK. This acronym stands for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s checklist that should be done prior to every ride– tires, controls, lights, oil, chassis, kickstand. Going through T-CLOCK before each ride is an excellent habit to start.
Tip 10: And finally, if your bike has been sitting all winter, then it may be as rusty as your riding skills. So start off easy on the first ride and be safe.