As the sun peaks through the grey cloud and the temperature does its best to climb out of the single digit, it can only mean that summer is nearly with us and the roads will soon be filling up with gleaming motorcycle metal. Here are a few tips to get your ride all ready for the summer season.
Clean is serene
You can’t even begin to think about summer servicing your bike without getting it nice and clean first. That way, with all the winter’s dreary muck washed away you can start to keep a close eye out for any issues with rust, seizure, or too much wear and tear in consumables, like tyres.
If your bike has been laid up for several months and you’ve not even looked at it – shame on you! – then you’ll have to start from the ground up to fully and safely prepare it for the summer; P&H Motorcycles can help you with this.
Refresh the rubber
Tyres are entirely critical to motorcycling safety, so after you’ve cleaned your bike, check the tyres of age-related marks, drying out of the compound and any splitting. Filling them right up to the correct air pressure will help you check for all of these faults. A tyre should never feel hard to the touch; you want a feeling of youthful rubbery softness.
Is the petrol perished?
Petrol will only last for few months before it starts to go off, and old fuel can clog up carbs or injectors, so if the bikes is having trouble starting – is your battery still alive? – then it may be that the fuel delivery system needs cleaning out. One way to more quickly check this is to drain the old fuel away, disposing of it in the correct manner, and putting some fresh fuel in the bike. If you know the fuel is fresh and the battery is working the starter motor well, then it could very well be a blocked fuelling system. And a more time consuming problem.
The best tyres in the world will have trouble giving you their best grip if the suspension they are running on is too tired to cope with the stresses and strains of faster motorcycle fun.
Check the stiffness and rebound character of the bike’s suspension if it has been sitting for a while through these long, cold months, and also check for any leaking oil residue around the rear shock and chrome front fork stanchions.
While brakes are designed to bind and therefore slow you down, you don’t want them bound up so tight the bike cannot move. Perhaps the brake discs have stuck to the brake discs over the winter?
It will be easy to tell if this happened, just get the wheels off the ground and see how freely you can spin them, using just the power or your hand. Too much sticking means that a much closer look at the brake callipers will be needed; perhaps even a rebuild and refurbish of them. You might as well change the brake pads and brake fluid while you’re there, too.
There’s quite a bit to do if you’ve not checked your bike all winter, but they are all crucial tasks to make sure your bike performs with grace, grip and speed this summer, and that we all make the most of some warm and dry roads while we can.