Keeping you up to speed
If, like most riders, you put your motorbike into hibernation for the winter, then now is the time to get it out again ready for the spring. But however tempted you may be, you can’t simply jump back on and ride off; there are a number of important checks that you need to do to make sure that you and your bike are safe for the new season.
• The first thing to do is check that your motorcycle insurance is up to date and covers you and your bike correctly. This includes notifying your motorcycle insurance provider of any changes, such as speeding points, that have happened over the winter.
• Next, you should perform a visual inspection of your bike to assess its overall condition. Are there any oil leaks or other leaks that have happened over the winter? Have the tyres gone down and/or perished while your bike has been in storage?
• You will probably have to recharge the battery after a long period without a ride, so you need to plan ahead before your first ride. You should also check all the major levels on the bike, such as oil, coolant, brake fluid etc, to ensure everything is topped up appropriately.
Before you start your motorbike’s engine for the first time, you should gently roll the bike a few yards. This will tell you if anything has seized, such as the brake levers or the throttle. Rolling the bike will also help you to check the drive chain for slack and tension.
Lubricate any levers or grips that are sticking before you start the bike. You may also need to lubricate the stand to get it to move smoothly after being locked in place for so long.
When you first start your bike after a long layoff, you should allow the engine a few minutes to warm up before you rev it. You can use this time to check the lights, indicators and dashboard warning lights that only operate when the bike is running.
Once the bike has been running for a few minutes, rev the engine to get everything moving, then turn it all off and check the bike over thoroughly once again for any leaks or irregularities.
Once you are sure that everything is in order, you can take your motorbike out for its first ride of the new season. However, you should only take it for a short run to begin with, before checking everything one final time. A short test run like this is important, not only for the bike, but also for you as a rider. After several months, it will inevitably take a little while to get used to riding again. A short test run will give you the chance to reacquaint yourself before you set off for your first big spring run.