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Motorcycling 101: Spring is here, it’s time for some motorcycle maintenance

On the way to the Barber Museum in Birmingham, Alabama
On the way to the Barber Museum in Birmingham, Alabama
Ralph L. Angelo Jr

Spring is here, it’s time for some motorcycle maintenance. As every motorcyclist should know, when we put our trusty steeds away for the long cold winters here in the northeast we should be doing a bit of maintenance come spring time. Now it's common knowledge that some of you don’t even bother to check your tire pressure when you pull your metallic beasts out of storage for the first time and to be brutally honest that’s a no-no. Today we're going to impart upon you a few choice tidbits to get your riding season off on the right foot, err wheel, so settle in and hang on tight, here we go.

Let’s start at the aforementioned tires. Your motorcycle has sat for the past three to four months. The tires have lost a bit of inflation, and believe it or not, just from sitting in one place for so long, they have developed a slight flat spot. This is really no big deal. Just hook up your trusty compressor or tire pump and bring them back up to whatever air pressure you normally keep them at. Easy right? Now just so you understand, a lot of people ignore tire pressure throughout the season. But it’s really something you should check at least once every two weeks at minimum. Also, while you are there, look over the tires themselves, look for cracks and tread depth. If the sidewalls have dry rot cracks, get yourself new tires. If the tires are down to the wear indicators (those bars that link between treads at intervals), get yourself some new tires.

But is that all there is to motorcycle maintenance in the spring? No not at all. If your motorcycle is chain driven, clean and lube the chain. Use a high quality chain lube and some chain degreaser which is readily available at any motorcycle shop. Also make sure to check your chain for kinks and spots with excessive sag or slack. If you have either of those along with 20,000+ miles on your chain, it’s time to replace it. Next, check your lights and make sure they are all working properly. Brake and turn signals included. Look over your brake pads next. The use of a small inspection mirror could prove helpful here. If they are badly worn down, replace them, or have it done.

Other maintenance items that can be performed by those handy enough are things like cable lubing (this should be done at least every two years if not every year), brake bleeding and brake fluid replacement. You have to be moderately handy around a tool box to be doing either of these.

Last but not least, if you are using a regular dino based motorcycle oil, change your oil and filter at the beginning of the season. If you are using a fully synthetic motorcycle specific oil then you can continue on with what you had in there, as long as it’s not several seasons old. Fully sythetic motorcycle specific oil manufacturers recommend changing your oil and filter somewhere around the 7500 mile mark. We'll say for convenience sake to do it every 5,000 just becasue it's so much easier to keep track of.

There you have it, the basics to getting back out on the road for the new season both safely and confidently. Ride on!

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