Sun’s out! Essential pre-season checks for your motorcycle
The sun has dared to peek through the clouds a couple of times and – at the risk of jinxing it – it’s got us thinking about the summer of riding ahead! It’s so exciting and the temptation is to get straight on that motorcycle and out, but while some of us hardy folk might have been riding all through the winter, there are many who have kept our beloved motorbikes under wraps for months, hidden away from the ice and gritty roads.
So before we head out for that first ride of the season, there’s some essential checks to carry out on your Herald:
1. Oil and coolant
Check the oil levels using the dipstick and top up as required. Make sure oil is clean. If you haven’t changed your oil or filter you may want to take care of this. Consult your owner’s manual for the proper oil filter and oil to use. Check the high and low levels on the coolant and top up as needed.
No battery, no riding – check your battery isn’t either totally dead or that it holds enough charge. Sitting over winter can quickly drain the battery. Check that the terminals are clean and the cables are all connected properly.
Make sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure and that they have the correct tread depth. Check for any wear and tear to the tyres. Having the correct pressure can affect handling as well as fuel consumption so this is essential to keep on top of!
Check the chain has no damage or wear, and that it’s set at the right tension. Refer to your handbook for the correct settings. Apply the correct lubricant to the inside of your chain if needed.
Put the font brake on and push down on your handlebars – if all is working as it should, the suspension should give a little. The movement should be smooth. Check for any damage or wear and tear to the suspension.
With the bike on its side stand, turn your handlebars fully to either side until it reaches full lock. There should be smooth movement and no strange noises.
Brake pads should have at least 3mm – visually check them over and get them changed asap if they’re any more worn down. Damage to these will do further damage and so on… they can wear down quickly depending on how you ride so keep an eye on this.
It’s simple – check your headlight, brake light and indicators are all working. Otherwise who will know which way you’re turning!
Give the bike a good clean, getting rid of any residual muck and grease left over from pre-winter. Don’t forget to reapply any protective products or lubricants if you’ve stripped them.
10. Fuel up!
You’re not going to get anywhere on an empty tank!
And don’t forget…
Also check your kit – is your helmet and visor all in tact, with no cracks? Does your jacket have the right armour and protection? Gloves and boots up to the task? Why not check out our gear for some new kit and stylish layers!
As for you, the all-important rider? Make sure your skills are up to scratch before heading out on a long ride. Maybe don’t attempt Lands End to John O’Groats at first try – consider taking a short spin round the block first to help refresh your memory and make sure the bike is all working as it should. It can take some getting used to being on a bike again, navigating the traffic, and remembering to check the mirrors for those pesky cars that haven’t seen you. Riding confidently and taking your place on the road, whilst having awareness of other road users all makes for a much more comfortable ride.
NB: This blog is intended as helpful guidance rather than technical advice. Please consult your user manual and speak to your dealer or garage if you are unsure on how to maintain your motorcycle.