With a little bit of work and even more patience, you can make your first ride of the season memorable and hassle-free.
As the sun’s rays increase temperatures, we motorcycle types get anxious to get our wheels out of hibernation and get rolling down the road again for that burst of cool, fresh spring air. Which part of the country you call home will have a big impact on your accumulated mileage, given points between the west and the east coasts have vastly different weather patterns. I’m sure some of you have your bike out already and have a put few hundred kilometres on it.
Personally, I don’t like to get my bike out until we’ve had a couple of good, hard spring rains to wash the salt, dust and winter grime off the roads. Even if you have your bike out now, did you have a good look at it before that first ride?
A little time spent looking after a few basic tasks on your bike will help make your spring rides as enjoyable as possible. The following checklist won’t take you very much time, but that, of course, depends on how you put your bike to bed last fall. If you followed the proper procedure for storage, you should be out riding within an hour or so once you decide the time is right.
Many riders like to work on their bikes themselves, so the following is a pretty thorough checklist for those of you who take a hands-on approach to motorcycle maintenance. However, even if you prefer that a local shop looks after your bike at the end of riding season, store it and get it ready for spring riding, you will still find this checklist useful, as it contains simple tasks that you should be performing on a regular basis throughout the riding season.
Many of these simple checks should be performed on a daily basis – or, at least, weekly – and should be part of your regular pre-ride schedule. To make the checklist easy to remember, there’s an acronym for this list of daily or weekly checks: T-CLOCS. We have elaborated on that checklist to provide a comprehensive description of those acronym components.
Tires and wheels
Not enough can be said about the condition of your tires when you consider that there’s only two pieces of rubber the size of your palm that separate you and your bike from the road. Obviously, tire air pressure is the most common item people think of when someone mentions they have to check their tires. However, there is more to tires than simply checking air pressure. Be sure to check the general appearance of the tire carcass – such as tread depth; there aren’t any cords or threads visible; and make sure that the tire wear indicators (aka wear bars) are not showing at tread level.
Depending on the make of the tire, wear indicators may be slightly raised portions of the tire carcass and quite hard to find (sometimes the location is indicated with an arrow on the tire shoulder) or they may be a definite bump visible at the bottom of the tread. A general rule is that the tread surface…