Get Your Bike Ready For Spring
Now that the warm weather is here to stay, many riders in the northern
reaches of the country are faced with getting their motorcycles back in shape
for the riding season.
If you didn't do much more than park your bike on the side of the garage
when the first cold winds blew last fall, you've got a little work ahead
of you. Suffice it to say that prepping a bike for winter is usually a lot
easier than getting an unprepped bike ready for spring. That’s because several
things have been going on over the past four months that could make your
life difficult now.
Foremost is the fuel system. Gasoline is a mixture of volatile chemicals,
and when it sits untreated for several months, parts of the mixture can
evaporate, leaving behind a brown gunk called varnish. Varnish can clog
the small jets inside a carburetor, leading to sluggish performance, hard
starting or even no starting. You’ll at least want to drop the float bowls
on the carbs, dump out the gas that remains, and clean out any residue with
carb cleaner. In addition, you may need to unscrew the jets and clean them,
Preventing this next year is as easy as squirting a bit of fuel
into your last tankful before winter. Then run the engine for a few minutes
to get treated fuel into the carbs.
If your gas tank was low when you parked the bike last year, it’s possible
that condensation has formed in it. Draining all the remaining fuel and
replacing it with fresh gas is your best bet.
Your battery may well be dead or nearly so. Pull it, add distilled water
to any cells that need it, and put it on a trickle charger. You can use
a hydrometer to tell when it’s ready to use.
You’ll also want to be sure that your tires contain the recommended air
pressure, that your brakes work smoothly and have adequate fluid, that your
chain is oiled and your air filter is clean.
Yes, it’s a lot to do. But it’s stuff you’d more than likely have to
do sometime soon anyway. Consider it getting a jump on your bike maintenance
for the year.