Many of us have suffered from PMS – Parked Motorcycle Syndrome. In some areas, the winter has been very harsh, and we have not seen our motorcycles for many months. But now the riding season is there, and we are ready to hit the road.
But before we do, we need to check a few things before firing up the engine. The last thing you want is to start your motorcycle, start riding, and 1 mile further up notice that you have a problem and need to push your bike back into the garage. Not fun, and not necessary if you take a few precautions.
Even if your battery has been hooked up to a trickle charger, or un-hooked, open the filler screws and check the water level, and more importantly, check to see if the plates are straight (plates that have started curving will require you to change the battery).
If your battery was disconnected, top it up with a battery charger. If the water level is low, fill it up with demineralized water.
Oil & Filters
The first thing to check is the engine’s oil and air filter. Your bike has been immobilized for a while, and all oil has gone to the bottom. Start your engine for a few seconds to warm it up and then shut it down. Check the quality of the oil from the dip stick, looking for very small particles embedded in the oil. Best thing you can do if your bike has been out of action for a few months is change the oil and filters. Play it safe.
Many motorcycles when they are stored in a garage are left on their tires. The weight of your bike will be pressing down for months, so you’ll need to inspect if spots & cracks have started to appear in your tires. Today’s tires are very solid, but you never know. A spot (color difference) in your tire can spell disaster when riding.
Make sure your tires are all up to their proper air pressure.
Turn on the lights and check all of them, including the blinkers. Bulbs can die off when not in use.
Check the tension in your chain. Make sure it’s according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Nuts & Bolts
Its a good idea to go around your bike and tighten all nuts & bolts. It’ s not really necessary, but it’s one of those things that does not cost much time, but can save you a lot of grievance later on.
Now your motorcycle is ready to go out for the first time, but are you? Before you go out, remember that riding a motorcycle requires experience and instinct. This is normally acquired by riding many miles. It’s a good idea to start your first few rides more slowly than you would in mid summer. Take it easy and build up your instincts and traffic sense.
Ride smart, and be safe.