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“After the quintessential happy dance from the sight of your two-wheeled machine has subsided, it?s time to inspect.”Many legs will be pole-vaulted over motorcycles on the first real riding day of the year, but we’re here to throw a stick in your spokes. Before you toss in the key and pop the clutch, your bike needs a full inspection and proper tune-up. Let’s check out what we need to analyze for a proper spring tune-up. After the quintessential happy dance from the sight of your two-wheeled machine has subsided, it’s time to inspect. We’ve compiled a list of key areas to explore prior to hitting the road for the first ride of the year.
- Wheels and tires
- Chain and sprockets
- Fluid levels
- Air filter
- Fuel system
- Major bolt torque specs
First, we’ll check out the tires. If your tires have withstood several heat cycles, their rubber compounds have hardened and stand the possibility of exhibiting some minor cracking. This is especially common on older or cheaper tires. Check the tires along the sidewalls, as well as the tread. If you don’t see any cracks, as most riders will not, then check the tread depth. Every motorcycle tire is equipped with wear bars.
If your treads have worn down to the wear bars, it’s best to replace them now rather than in the middle of the season, which will really throw a damper on that trip to Deal’s Gap. If your tires have adequate tread, then check the tire pressures and inflate according to the manual. Also take a look at the valve stems and make sure they are intact. Inspect your rims for dents or rocks wedged between the tires, and spin the wheels freely to make sure the bearings sound and feel good.
Check the brake pads of your motorcycle by either unbolting the calipers or peeking underneath them to see how much meat is left on the pads.
If the brake pads look fairly worn, even if it’s primarily on one side, they’re going to need to be replaced. Replacing brake pads is not difficult, but the mechanically inhibited will probably want the dealer to take care of it. Take a look at your rotors while you’re there, and make sure they don’t exhibit any major signs of heavy grooving. Pull the front brake lever and make sure that there is enough pressure that the lever refrains from hitting the handlebar. Make sure the rear brake pedal is strong, as well. If they are mushy, you’ll need to bleed the brake system, which can be a bit tricky without experience. Next, let’s check the chainwheels out. Feel the slack in the chain. If it’s too loose, you’ll have to tighten it up via the wheel adjusters or eccentrics.
Also, take a look at that bad boy. Is it rusty? Even if you have a shred of a doubt, your best bet is to clean the chain with a good solution like Motorex 611 and a toothbrush or tool like the Grunge Brush. After you’ve dried the chain off, you’ll want a good lube, such as Motorex 622. Spin the rear wheel and wipe off excess with a rag, and you’re slicker than a minner’s prick in a bucket of okra juice, as they say in the South. Now keep in mind that you’ll want to lube the chain after you take your first ride, since the chain will be hot and more accepting of lube.