Getting your bike ready to go back out on the road in the spring should be much more than a slap-dash checklist of must-do issues. This is your bike, your pride and joy, your ticket to freedom and adventure. It must gleam in detailed perfection, run in absolute mechanical harmony. Getting your bike ready for the road in the spring is not a job. It's a labor of love. So when your spouse calls out to the garage to see if you're ready to take down the Christmas lights or put away the snow blower, they'll see you diligently working away at your bike and know that you're busy. The Christmas lights will have to wait.
The following list is a good place to start in the process of getting your bike ready to ride.
- Remove, clean, and store bike cover.
- Check battery terminals (clean, if necessary, with baking soda and water).
- Dry or apply an after wash product (there are several available), then dry.
- Check oil and other lubricants.
- Check cables and lubricate with applicable lubricants.
- Check tire pressure and wear.
- Check, charge, or install the battery (positive/red lead first).
- Check all lights and signals to confirm operational and not cracked or broken.
- Check brake fluid level, and brake pads/shoes for wear.
- Wash or apply a pre-wash, and then thoroughly "bathe" your ride.
- Apply leather treatment to leather components.
- Check drive belt, chain, or shaft.
- Polish and wax all chrome and painted parts.
- Add "octane" booster (if desired) to fuel according to directions.
- Clean inside of helmet with mild soap (let dry). Shine outside of helmet as well.
- Write down beginning mileage.
- Review any notes written before putting your motorcycle in Winter storage.
Before you head out onto the highway for your first spring ride, take the bike out to an empty parking lot to work some of the rust out of your long-dormant riding skills. Practice your braking, slow-speed riding skills, turning, shoulder checks, and simply reintroduce yourself to your bike. This little excursion also gives you the opportunity to find any mechanical issues you may have missed.
Road surfaces will not be the same as they were in the fall, so go carefully. Sand/salt deposits on the edge of the road and especially at corners or on exit ramps may be hazardous. It is much better if there have been a few heavy rains to help restore the cleanliness of the roads before you go back out there.
It's all part of the fun, and in no time you will be out there again, exploring the back roads and cruising out to Sunday morning breakfasts with your pals. Those Christmas lights can take themselves down.