Whether you rode your bike last season or let it sit for a while, a proper motorcycle tuneup is essential for keeping it in good shape. In addition to other parts, the wheels, tires, chains, fluids and brakes need to be checked and refreshed once a year to keep them running smoothly. Here’s a look at some tuneups you should do before you take your bike out for a new season.
One of the most important safety checks on your bike is the wheels and tires. Inspect the tread for wear and replace them if they’re too low. Look at the wheels and keep an eye out for dents, scratches or other damage that can compromise their structural safety, and replace them if needed. Also, check that your tires are set to the correct air pressure for optimal grip and performance.
Along the lines of safety, checking the bike’s brakes and calipers is equally important. Remove the calipers to inspect the brake pads and replace them if they’re worn beyond the manufacturer’s specs. Rotors should also be inspected. Look for grooves in their surface. Finally, top off the brake fluid and be sure both front and rear brakes have sufficient pressure.
If you took your battery out of the bike before you stored it and kept it on a charger, it should be in good condition for another season of use. If you left it in over the offseason, you will want to take it to your local dealer to have it tested and perhaps replaced. Replacing the battery is easy enough to do yourself. Consult with your local NAPA Auto Parts dealer if you haven’t done it before.
The beginning of a new season is a great time to refresh and replenish your motorcycle’s fluids. Changing the oil, flushing the coolant and refilling the brake fluid are all great things to do to keep the bike running smoothly.
Give It the Gas
Your bike was most likely put away with some fuel in the tank. While it may start up and run, it’s best to siphon the old fuel out and replace it with fresh fuel. While you’re at it, now is a great time to check the carb and injectors, flush the fuel system and replace the spark plugs.
Last up on your preseason checklist should be to check your chain. Make sure it doesn’t have too much slack. If you find it’s loose, move the wheel adjusters to tighten it. Also, keep an eye out for rust, and clean and lubricate the chain before riding.
Motorcycle season can be an exciting time. Before you hit the road, however, go through this simple motorcycle tuneup checklist to ensure your bike is ready for the road.
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Erich Reichert has been an editor and on-air personality in the radio control car hobby for 12 years. A certified car nut since birth, he has written for internationally published titles such as RC Car Action, RC Driver and Xtreme RC Cars, as well as Stuff Magazine, Road and Track and Super Street. He's covered everything from product reviews and tech articles to high-profile lifestyle pieces and celebrity interviews. Erich found his passion for writing after a successful career as an art director, working with brands such as Pepsico, NASCAR, MTV, Nintendo, WWE, Cannondale Bicycles and HBO. He's also a father, an avid hockey fan and an FIA race license holder who enjoys hiking, playing drums and movies.