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Bringing Your Bike Out Of Hibernation

Written by  March 31, 2008

Over the past several weeks we have seen temperatures ranging from below zero to over 60 in just a matter of days. During the slow months after the holidays, those of us here in the Midwest have been watching and waiting patiently for the return of riding season. Now that spring is just around the corner, we must reverse what we “hopefully” did to winterize our bikes in order to get them running and ready for the riding season.

Some of the basic items to look at are the fuel, electrical system and tires.

Fuel
If you kept a full tank of fuel over the winter and added Stabil fuel preservative, you are one step ahead of the game. If your bike has a carburetor and you didn’t drain the fuel (float) bowls, you can do this now. For some Harleys you will need a long standard screw driver to get from one side of the motor to the other to drain the float bowl. You can also do this on a periodic basis to check for water or debris in the carburetor, which is like a window into your fuel tank.

Electrical System
If your battery has been removed, it is time to put it back into your motorcycle. One quick tip is to spray the battery nuts and bolts with WD40 or equivalent so they will not corrode and cause a bad ground.

Tires
Tires have been covered in several articles, and need pressure adjustments. Just because they look fine does not mean they are. All pressure adjustments are different for each motorcycle, and they will either be stamped into the V.I.N. number tag or you can find them in your owner’s manual. Running the tires at max load will not wear out the tires any faster, but will, I think, give a better ride even if you are riding commando.

Visual items that should be checked are as follows:

Turn signals
Headlight (high & low beam)
Brake and taillights
Windshield for excessive scratching and cracks
Oil or gas leakage including the fork seals
Brake fluid level in master cylinder windows


These are all items that can be checked very quickly and determined to either pass or fail in a state inspection. Rear brake lights usually have an adjustable switch to turn on the brake light when force is applied to the rear brake arm. We all know this is a very important light that can save our lives. And speaking of lights, don’t forget to check your headlight and turn signals. Anything leaking such as oil or gas must be addressed immediately because these can be a great safety hazard. Also make sure to check your windshield, and if it is spider cracked, replace it. This is your only clear path of vision, and you want to have an unobstructed view.

Starting your bike and letting it run for several minutes will give you an idea of how everything is operating and should give you a starting point to get any last-minute repairs made that did not get on your New Year’s agenda.

On my tough-o-meter scale this is a whopping 2 because draining the float bowls can be a bit tricky.

Everybody B-safe when getting your bike out of storage, and I’ll see you on the road this spring!

By Dave Miller