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Finally the time has come, motorcycle season is here! After 4 months of staying inside almost like being in quarantine, of course you can't wait to let your bike roar again! Before you do though, we recommend you check if everything is still in working order. The start of the new season is the moment to take a critical look at your bike.
These tips are not just useful for the start of the season, but it is always wise when your trusty steed has been sitting idle for a while to check a few things before you get back on the road. After all, you don't have to be an expert mechanic to do some basic maintenance.
1. First check your tires
Start by checking there is nothing stuck in the tire that should not be there (like stones, nails or screws). Just run your hand and fingers along the tire’s surface and feel for sharp things. While you're at it, check that your tread depth is still at least 1 millimeter, which is the minimum legal requirement. If the above things are all okay, make sure your tire pressure is okay. This is a simple but important tip, because with the right tire pressure you not only ensure the best possible handling, shorter braking distances and low fuel consumption, but it also ensures a longer tire life. Also check your tire for cracks. You often see these on slightly older tires that should have been replaced already.
2. Next, check your fluids.
We at ChromeBurner recommend that you change your brake fluid annually to prevent loss of brake pressure and the beginning of the season is the ideal time for this. Don't forget (if applicable) to keep an eye on the coolant. And last but not least, check that you have actually have enough fuel in the tank for your first ride, especially if your bike doesn't have a fuel gauge.
3. Check your chain
If you have not done so before you put the bike in storage, it is wise to clean and lube your chain thoroughly. Also, the chain of your bike should be at the right tension. By checking this in time you can prevent major damage and excessive wear. Push the middle of the lower part of the chain up and down. You should have between 2 to 3 cm of slack, although it also varies by bike exactly how much it should be. If in doubt, check your bike's manual. If you can't move it at all, the chain is too tight but too much slack is not good either!
4. Check your lights.
Of course it is very important that other traffic can see you so check your lights carefully. Check if the lights are clean and free of damages. Switch the ignition to ON and in most cases the lights should switch on automatically although some bikes require you to start them first. Next, check the turn signals on all four corners. Make sure you check that the brake lights work by applying both the front and rear brake. If everything works, you can feel safe and confident on your first ride of the season!
Last but not least, good protective gear for an optimal experience!
After following the steps above, you know your bike is good to go. Now it’s time to check your gear! Get yourself into your entire outfit and ask yourself if the clothing still fits. Did you gain some quarantine weight and now your beloved motorcycle jacket got a bit too tight? Now is the perfect time to go for a new look that doesn’t only fit you well, but also matches your personal taste. Yes, you really can have both! At ChromeBurner, we have a range of motorcycle clothing for every type of rider, every riding style, and for all weather conditions.
With the right protective clothing, you greatly reduce the risk of getting injured. Motorcycle helmet laws aside, we absolutely advise against riding with a helmet without a safety rating!
When you put on your helmet, carefully check if the buckle still works and if the visor is still functioning properly.
Not a daily rider?
After taking the car for 4 months there is no shame in feeling a bit rusty on your first ride out again. Don’t go and try breaking new lap records but let yourself get used to riding your bike again and get a feel for it. Before you know it, you’ll feel one with the bike again and remember why riding a bike is so awesome! Please do keep in mind though: At all times, adapt your riding style to the environment, weather conditions and your surroundings.. and keep the shiny side up!