Author Topic: With spring around the corner (Tuning up your motorcycle)  (Read 3737 times)

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Offline ndcw

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With spring around the corner (Tuning up your motorcycle)
« on: March 02, 2015, 11:29:21 AM »
Hey there, just thought I'd post a little reminder on tuning up your motorcycle if you have one and some things to look for! Better to be ahead of the curve sooner rather than later!

As a responsible motorcycle rider, you understand how important it is to your safety that you wear a helmet every time you go for a ride. In fact, reports indicate that, of the more than 5,000 riders who die in collisions every year, fewer than half are wearing a helmet at the time of the incident. Clearly, helmets save lives. But, did you know that maintaining your motorcycle is equally important to your safety? Poorly maintained motorcycles lead to countless accidents every year, some of them fatal. In light of the upcoming spring, which beckons many riders to hit the road, here are the key areas you should focus on relative to tuning up your motorcycle.

A motorcycle tune up should begin with the brakes since a leading cause of accidents relative to poor maintenance is ineffective brakes. Of course, unless you are an experienced motorcycle mechanic, you should leave this task to the professionals. However, there are many areas of your motorcycle that you can inspect and maintain on your own.

Wheels and Tires
Check the tire manufacturer’s tire pressure guidelines, and use a tire gauge to ensure your tires fall within the recommended pressure range. The recommendations are general, and depend upon your weight combined with any cargo, but if your motorcycle is off balance, that’s an indication that you may need to check the tire pressure. In fact, manufacturer’s recommend inspecting your tires once a week.

Aside from maintaining the proper level of pressure, the integrity of your tires should be inspected as well. This is true especially if your motorcycle has been garaged for the majority of the winter. Look for embedded object (nails are common), as well as cracks and bulges. If the tires look unsafe, don’t take a chance. Replace them.
The same thing goes for the wheels. All wheel types (spoked, cast) should be regularly checked for signs of wear and tear. Lift each wheel off the ground and spin it to make sure it rotates properly, too.

If your motorcycle has been sitting all winter, you may have removed the battery. If that’s the case, inspect the battery to make sure it hasn’t leaked, or become otherwise damaged. Next, install the battery (check your owner’s manual) and confirm it is sufficiently charged. Look over the terminals and connections to be sure they fit soundly. Regardless of whether or not your motorcycle has been sitting all winter, however, you should perform a battery inspection at least once a month.

Once the battery has been installed, turn on the lights and check that they are working properly. Examine the lenses, too, confirming that they are not cracked and are mounted securely. Condensation is not your friend, as it is a sign of a broken seal. When water and electricity mix, the results are never good.

Your side and center stands should be inspected for cracks and integrity. Make sure they are not bent, and that they spring into place and support your motorcycle, as they should.

Take time to investigate the condition of your motorcycle’s frame. Look for cracks, dents, or lifting paint. If you find any, assess whether the problem is cosmetic or structural. The shocks and forks should be adjusted, and the chain (or belt) tension should be looked at as well. Investigate the teeth to make sure they are mounted correctly, and replace fasteners as needed. If necessary, lubricate the chain.

A motorcycle’s hardware will only operate effectively if the necessary fluids are present. To that end, check the levels of your coolant, shaft drive, hydraulic fluid, fuel, and engine and gear oil. Replace old fluids and top off low fluids. Just as important, check for leaks.

If your motorcycle has a backrest, test it to be sure it’s properly secured. If it were to come loose while you’re riding, the consequences for you and your passenger could be disastrous.

Finally, tune up your riding wardrobe by ensuring that the clothing and accessories you wear (gloves, helmet, jacket, boots, pants) are in good shape, and can withstand another riding season. Before you head out, also make sure that you have your license, registration and insurance information with you. Responsible motorcycle riders know to put safety first, and that stops and starts with regular maintenance.

Offline Keith

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Re: With spring around the corner (Tuning up your motorcycle)
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2015, 08:27:17 PM »
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