Now that spring has arrived, bikers are retrieving their dormant motorcycles and preparing for a season of two-wheeled treks. Because your bike has slumbered in the garage all winter, it’ll need a pre-ride inspection before twisting the throttle. “T-CLOCS” is the acronym created by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation for the pre-ride inspection checklist it developed, and it’s a helpful reminder to ensure that your bike is ready to tear up the road.
Tires and Wheels
First and foremost, check the tires’ air pressure. Consult your owner’s manual and inflate them to the specified pressure. Inspect the treads to ensure that they’re not eroded to the point of being unsafe. Adequate tire treads are especially important in the spring, when it rains frequently. Healthy treads allow water to be channeled away, providing the necessary traction in slippery road conditions. The “penny test” is an easy way to make sure the tread is adequate; insert the coin into the tread, and if the top of Lincoln’s head doesn’t reach the tread, you’re overdue for new tires.
Levers and pedals may need to be re-lubricated in preparation for the season. Look over the cables; under no circumstances should they interfere with your steering nor be frayed or drastically bent, advises Kanetix.com. Check along the hoses for any leaks or bulges. If any components need to be replaced, make sure that they fit with the make and model. You can find good deals on Harley-Davidson and Yamaha parts online or at your local dealer.
Lights and Electrics
Many motorcyclists remove the battery for winter hibernation. If you are among this crowd, reinstall the fully charged battery before examining its condition and tightness of the terminals. Go over the headlamp, tail lamp and brake lights for surface cracks, after making sure they illuminate well. Check the headlamp’s angle—it should be at the ideal height, aimed directly in front. Throughout the long winter, condensation may have accrued inside the lenses. You may not have sufficient sealant along the headlight seams.
Oil and Other Fluids
Not only should you get an oil change, but you must check and top off other fluids, as well. Coolant, brake hydraulic fluid, gear oil and drive shaft fluid may need to be replaced or refilled. Be on the lookout for any leaks.
Scrutinize the frame for any cosmetic damage, cracks and peeled paint. Motorcycle.com suggests straddling the motorcycle and bouncing it to get a feel for the condition of the front and rear suspension systems. Closely examine the bike for any loose or lost fasteners. Tighten the nuts and bolts. Adjust the front forks and rear shocks and lubricate the belt or chain if necessary. The belt or chain needs to have sufficient tension and must fit securely in the sprockets.
Side and center stands should flip out and recede with relative ease. The stands’ springs should be secure.
The freedom of the open road in springtime is definitely one of the reasons to ride. Once you’re through your checklist, enjoy your first ride of 2013.
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