Five Tips to Prepare Your Bike for Motorcycle Season
As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, it’s time to prepare your motorcycle for the riding season. Improper bike maintenance can lead to an increased risk of an accident, which puts you and other motorists in danger on the road.
Preparing your bike for the spring and summer months ensures your safety and extends the lifespan of your motorcycle. Get your motorcycle ready with five helpful tips for taking your bike out of storage and onto the open roads.
A thorough visual inspection of your motorcycle before hitting the road helps ensure your safety during the riding season. Your assessment should include the following elements:
- Brakes: Check the brake pads and rotors for visible wear or damage. If the brake pads are worn down to the indicator line, replace them. If the rotors are warped or cracked, they also need to be replaced. Also, make sure the brake fluid level is at the proper level.
- Lights: Check that all the lights are working correctly, including headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals. Replace any burnt-out bulbs. Missouri law requires all motorcycles to have working headlights and two rear lamps no less than 15 inches apart. Turn signals are recommended by the Missouri Department of Revenue and should also be on your checklist.
- Fluids: Check the oil and coolant levels and look for any leaks. If you notice any leaks, address them before riding. If the oil is dirty or old, it’s time for an oil change.
- Chain or belt tension: Check the chain or belt tension and adjust it if necessary. Refer to the owner’s manual for the correct tension level.
- Forks and shocks: Inspect the forks and shocks for leaks or damage. If you notice any damage or leaks, they need to be repaired before riding.
- Throttle: Test the throttle to ensure it is working smoothly. The brake lever should feel firm, and the throttle should return to its resting position when released.
One of the most critical components of your motorcycle is the tires. A tire blowout while riding can be hazardous. Inspect your tires for wear and damage before you start your bike. Check the tire pressure and ensure it’s at the recommended level, typically between 28 and 40 psi.
Inspect the tread for any cracks or other damage. If the tread is worn down or damaged, replace the tires. Missouri law requires all motorcycles to have at least 1/32 inch tread depth on the tire. Motorcycle tires tend to wear out faster than car tires, so keep an eye on the condition of your tires throughout the riding season.
De-preservation of a motorcycle is the process of getting it back in running condition after a period of storage. Motorcycles can be preserved for extended periods by taking precautions, such as draining the fuel, removing the battery, and storing it in a dry location.
To de-preserve your motorcycle, you need to perform a series of tasks, such as replacing or recharging the battery, refilling the fuel tank, checking the engine oil level, and inspecting the brakes and tires. You should also check for leaks, replace worn-out parts, and perform a thorough functional check before hitting the road.
Before hitting the road, check that your motorcycle is functioning properly. A thorough functional check includes the following steps:
- Warm up the engine: Start the motorcycle and let it warm up to operating temperature before you start checking for any issues. This ensures that all cylinders are firing correctly.
- Listen for irregularities: Listen to the engine while running for any unusual sounds, such as knocking, pinging, or ticking, which could indicate a problem with one or more cylinders.
- Check the exhaust pipes: Place your hand near the exhaust pipes and feel for any uneven or inconsistent exhaust flow. If one cylinder is not firing correctly, the exhaust will feel cooler than the other cylinders.
- Use a tachometer: Use a tachometer to measure the engine RPMs. If there is a noticeable drop in RPMs when you engage the clutch or hit the brakes, it could be an indicator of a misfire in one of the cylinders.
- Inspect the spark plugs: Check the spark plugs to ensure they are clean and not fouled or worn. If you notice any damage, replace them immediately.
- Perform a compression test: A compression test can help determine if one or more cylinders are not firing correctly. If the compression in one cylinder is significantly lower than the others, it could indicate a problem.
Make sure all your paperwork is in order before you start riding. You must have a valid Class M motorcycle license in Missouri to operate your bike on public roads. You should also ensure you have your bike’s current registration paperwork from the Missouri Department of Revenue and insurance documents showing you have the required liability coverage for Missouri.
Accidents can still happen even if you perform regular preventative maintenance and inspect your bike thoroughly. If you or a loved one is involved in a motorcycle accident in St. Louis, contact a personal injury lawyer who can help protect your rights.
At Cofman Townsley, our experienced personal injury lawyers understand the unique challenges of motorcycle accidents and can help you navigate the legal system. We are committed to overcoming bias toward motorcyclists and fighting for the compensation you deserve, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.