By Len 'Burn' Tully
For those of of you getting the Spring itch lets go thru some basic checks;
• Freshen up the battery with a charge.
• If you have someone that can check the voltage when done, or better yet, load test it, you'll have a battery you can trust, or know to replace it.
• If and when installing a new battery, use dielectric grease on terminals and make sure the contacts are tight....loose connections cause issues.
• If your fuel was topped and stabilized in the fall great. Give it a sniff just to make sure it's ok; you can't mistake bad fuel.
• Look for rust around the inside of the tank; any signs of heavy rust or flakes means taking the bike in to a shop.
• If all is well place a piece of line on the drain spigot of each carb and drain your Carburetors (check for water or debris; water will show as floating globules)
• If you changed your oil and filter before storage check its condition.
Clear and fluid, great;
Whitish means moisture, not good
After you get the bike running up to an operating temperature cycle, the oil and filter must be changed.
• Some units have seperate tranny fluid and or rear drive oil.
• Check resevoir for color and content, after its run thru a heat cycle; check resevoir for content.
• The maintenance schedule in your manual lets you now when to change the coolant. I recommend every 5k; these fluids draw moisture and moisture in hydraulics is not good.
• Cracked or uneven wear - REPLACE
• If not near the wear bars or past the 5 year date, bleed them of as much air as possible, and refill to tires specifications on sidewall.
• If you have spoked wheels, check them for any loose spokes...Only tighten if you know how!
• Raise bike and clean the chain and sprockets. If there is damage to chain or sprockets change as a set always. If ok dry, lube with a good quality low fling wax and check tension.
• Same check as chain without the clean and lube. A belt is usually good for 50k.
• If you have open access to air filter, remove it and check. Service and/or replace as required. Yes, you may find a nest here, if so glove up and remove. Remove air box and check intake, etc for more debris.
Grease and lube all pivot points and cables.
• Check chassis for missing paint causing rust, dents or breaks.
• Check engine for leaks or damage
• Check exhaust for tightness/damage
• Check suspension for leaks at seals or sitting unevenly. Coils for damage. Adjust Sag if never done.
• Check all lights for proper functions
• Check horn function.
• Check accessories for function. Remember; everything you add to customize your ride may effect its handling (i.e.- lowering kits) or demand more draw from your charging system.....
• Check safety features such as Side Stand switch, Clutch switch, Kill switch.
• Check license plate - are you registered?
• Spin front and rear wheels to check bearings
• Make sure your brakes pads/shoes are within specs. Calipers should be serviced if they aren't working smoothly.
• Check brake rotors for wear
• Check rad and oil cooling fins for damage
• Check steering headstock bearings for smoothness and tightness
• Shine your flashlight around the underneath of the front and rear fenders to check for wiring harness wear.
• Check all panels for damage or missing pieces/fasteners.
• Check left hand grip for looseness - they do let go from the glue every now and then...if so remove,sand the bar, re-glue, and wait until it has properly cured before riding.
• Check throttle grip for proper action and release/return.
• Check starter for function. (Any excessive noise when you start it SHUT IT DOWN and have it checked....)
Did I miss anything? Possibly. I do this so often it becomes second nature so call out if you've got questions.......I'm no self proclaimed professional by any means but I've been on two wheels since I was 3. Motorcycles are my passion but due to health reasons I don't put nearly the miles on like I used too.
These spring checks have to be done CLOSELY AND NOT QUICKLY!!
A walk around before you leave for each ride takes less than a minute and could save your life...or someone else's.
Depending on the ride and if you would like a hand familiarizing yourself with basic checks. I'm always willing to help you familiarize yourself with your basic checks needed and where I can, or I will help you get the information for you!
Final words from the "Burn"....I cannot stress enough on the importance of reading your owners manual from cover to cover. Familiarize yourself with every inch of the HP your riding! If you don't have a manual, you can download one off the internet or order one. You can also go to your dealer and ask for a printout of your rides maintenance schedule.
Be Safe, Ride and Have fun while helping others!
Len 'Burn' Tully
2nd C.A.V. Dunkirk