Riding Season Is On The Way: Get Your Bike Ready Now
Each year, cold weather inevitably tightens its grip on America and brings bikers’ road trips to an abrupt end. While the winter technically only lasts from just before Christmas until late March, ice and freezing temperatures don’t seem to follow dates on the calendar. In fact, an unpleasant chill tends to creep into the air during September or October for much of the country, and it doesn’t fade away until April or so.
Meanwhile, bikers across the nation are chomping at the bit, waiting for warm, enjoyable weather to return so they can get back on their bikes. After sitting in the garage or a storage facility during the colder months, though, motorcycles aren’t exactly ready for the road as soon as the riding season makes its annual return. At American Motorcycle Trading Co., we’re here to help you get your bike prepped for all the rides to come.
The Importance of Motorcycle Maintenance
For those of us in the biker community, few things get the heart pumping and the blood flowing like heading out for a nice, long ride. At the same time, few things can put a damper on a great ride as well as unexpected malfunctions. Of course, nothing is quite as heart-stopping as being in the middle of an exhilarating trip only to have a tire blow out or finding the brakes have suddenly stopped working.
Prepping your bike for the riding season before taking it out on the road is essential. One of the most important elements of this is having routine Harley Davidson maintenance performed by a qualified mechanic. This component of bike ownership is crucial for several reasons.
Ramping up Safety
For one, routine bike maintenance improves your safety as well as that of your passengers and other people on the road. Getting your motorcycle checked out by an experienced technician before the riding season begins allows your mechanic to find potential problems early, so they don’t become major issues down the road. Having any necessary repairs made reduces the likelihood of unexpected and possibly dangerous malfunctions as well.
Making the Most of the Riding Season
Pre-season maintenance and repairs also go a long way toward making sure you get the most out of your bike while the weather is warm and just right for riding. Bike ownership has been steadily increasing over the years as a continually growing number of people discover the joys of riding. Unfortunately, many of those people forego seasonal maintenance. As a result, they often find that their bikes spend more time in the shop than on the road during the riding season.
Reducing the Cost of Ownership
It’s no secret that the cost of repairs can add up tremendously if small problems are allowed to build over time. In many cases, bikes experience cascade failure. When a seemingly minor malfunction isn’t taken care of early, it can negatively affect other components and systems until widespread repairs are needed. Those repairs are not only more extensive than they would’ve been with routine maintenance but more expensive as well.
Those are only a few of the reasons to have routine maintenance and repairs carried out before the riding season gets underway. You’ll be safer, save money, and be able to spend much more of the spring and summer enjoying the bike instead of waiting for it to get out of the shop. That being said, it’s important to understand just what should go into pre-season maintenance and repairs.
Understanding the Finer Points of Seasonal Motorcycle Maintenance
Ideally, you should keep your motorcycle tucked safely away in a garage or storage building during the winter. At the very least, if it has to stay outside through the colder months, be sure to cover it with a motorcycle cover to protect it from the elements and reduce weathering, fading upholstery, and other problems. When the time comes to bring the bike out of storage, further measures should be taken.
First Things First
You probably have a good idea of when the spring thaw takes place in your area. Be sure to schedule a seasonal maintenance appointment early, so your mechanic won’t be booked up. If you wait until the last minute, chances are you won’t be able to enjoy those first few weeks of the riding season.
From there, be sure to examine your bike from front to back and top to bottom. Cold weather causes air pressure in the tires to drop, so you’ll probably need to add air to them. Check for flat spots, cracks, and other tire problems as well.
Also look for additional common problems, like cracked brake and fuel lines, leaks, and dry rotting. Start the bike, listen to it, turn the handlebars back and forth, and check out the brakes to make sure they’re working properly. Check the clutch, throttle, and all those other aspects you need to rely on while riding as well.
All this should be done before even attempting to ride your motorcycle to a maintenance appointment. If anything doesn’t quite look, sound, or feel right, don’t try to ride the bike to the mechanic’s shop. Instead, load it up on a trailer and haul it there. Riding it could cause further problems or lead to an accident.
Common Maintenance Points
During a maintenance appointment, your technician will go over the bike with a fine-tooth comb to make sure everything is in working order. Though riding causes a certain amount of wear and tear, sitting idle during the winter can take its toll on a bike as well. It’s essential to have everything checked by a professional to ensure no potential problems are overlooked.
Brakes are among the most important aspects of a motorcycle. After all, you need to be able to stop safely whether someone pulls out in front of you or a traffic light suddenly goes from green to red. The last thing you want is for the brakes to lock up or fail you altogether. A technician will check the brake lines and pads while making sure the brake fluid reservoir is in good shape and fluid is at the optimal level. Your brake system may also need to be flushed.
Bikes need routine oil changes just like cars do. Depending on the type of oil you use and the type of bike you have, this may be necessary anywhere from every 2,000 miles to every 10,000 miles. Having the oil changed prior to the beginning of the riding season is generally recommended no matter how many miles you put on the bike beforehand. This will help keep all the moving components of the motor in great shape, so it’ll hold out for plenty of rides to come.
Belts and Chains
Your mechanic will also look over the bike’s belts and chains for signs of wear or damage. These might include cracks, dry rotting, fraying, worn teeth, and similar problems. Technicians also check to ensure belts and chains have the right amounts of tension. If they’re too tight or loose, they’ll surely cause you grief down the road.
It’s important to keep a motorcycle’s battery charged even if it’s in storage for the winter. The battery also needs to be kept clean and free of corrosion. Even with those measures, motorcycle batteries sometimes decline. Mechanics check the batteries to be sure they’re holding a charge like they should and examine the cables and connections to confirm that they’re clean, free of damage, and properly connected. If necessary, they’ll also check the water level in the battery and refill it.
All the electrical components on your bike are just as crucial as the mechanical ones. During seasonal maintenance and repair sessions, technicians check the starter, stator, coils, relays, lights, and other electrical parts to make sure they’re working properly. All this helps further guarantee your safety while you’re on the road.
Those are only a few of the critical points a technician will cover during a pre-season maintenance check. If you have any additional concerns, be sure to mention them when you drop off the bike for service. All this will get you ready for riding season and make sure you can get the most enjoyment out of it.
Winter and early spring are also the perfect times to have modifications made to your motorcycle. Maybe its seat isn’t as comfortable as you’d like, or the handlebars don’t quite fit the length of your arms. Perhaps the bike feels great, but its look just doesn’t match your personality. Either way, there are countless personalization options at your disposal.
While your bike is out for its seasonal checkup and repairs, be sure to cover all the essential factors that aren’t part of the motorcycle itself as well. Try on your leathers to be sure they’re in good shape and still fit comfortably. Make sure your sunglasses and nighttime safety glasses aren’t damaged. Look through the emergency kit to make sure it’s complete.
Make the Most of the Upcoming Riding Season
Here at American Motorcycle Trading Co., we’re dedicated to making sure fellow members of the biker community are safe and able to make the most of warmer weather. We offer all the services you need to get your bike ready for the riding season from maintenance and repairs to customizations and detailing. Contact us ahead of the rush, so you can enjoy spring and summer to the fullest extent.