The summer heat is finally starting to break and that means the weather is about to be perfect for some long motorcycle rides up and down the coast. But before you jump back on your bike and take off for hours at a time, it might be a good idea to give it a full run-down to make sure it’s safe and ready to go.
Here’s our tips for what you need to look out for before jumping on your bike after taking a few weeks off:
- Check your tires
Making sure your tires are in good working order should always be the first line of business. Go ahead and take a moment to inspect for wear and tear. Keep an eye out for any small punctures or objects inside the tread. After that, pull out your gauge to check the pressure – fill up as needed.
- Lube the chain
Clean and lube your chain. If your bike has a belt instead, give it a once over to make sure there’s no damage to it and that nothing has gotten caught in any of the teeth.
- Check your brakes
This is as good a time as any to look over your brake pads and see how much wear you’ve got left, or if the wear is unevenly distributed across the pad (both are cause for concern). Go ahead and apply the front and back break a few times to get any air out of the lines. You also want to check underneath your motorcycle for any obvious brake fluid leaks.
- Check/change your oil
If your oil level is fine and you changed it recently, go ahead and skip this step. However, if it’s been a minute since you’ve changed your oil (or you can’t even remember the last time you changed it), you’re going to want to take the time to do it now. Not only is it better for the bike, but it improves the riding experience. When you ride with new oil, you can feel it.
- Top off your fluids
Check your brake fluid levels (front and back) and your coolant. If these are low, go ahead and top them off.
- Charge your battery
If you haven’t been riding in a while, it can be a good idea to hook your batter up to a charger the night before just to be on the safe side. But this is just a precaution. If it starts up, it’ll charge as you ride. If your battery is on the older side though, it might be worth it to run a test to see how it’s doing, since a dead battery when you go to stop for coffee can put a real damper on an otherwise great ride.
- Check your lights
Turn the bike on and make sure all of your lights work – your breaks, your turn signals, your headlight and your brights, as well as the lights on your dash. If any of these aren’t working, you’re going to want to check the electrical to make sure none of the wires got disconnected since you last took it out. Otherwise, you might need to replace the bulb.
- Fill up the tank
Obviously a no-brainer, but since you’re already working on the bike and filling up everything else, it’s worth the extra couple minutes to drive it down to the nearest gas station and fill it up so that it’s ready to go when you’ve got a ride planned.
- Shine it up
Last, but not least, don’t forget to make your bike look presentable. We ride for the freedom and for the love of it, but we also want our buddies to know that our bike is better than theirs. Wash it off and shine it up to keep it looking its best. If you’ve got a Harley, check out Harley-Davidson’s own branded cleaning products to give your bike only the best of the best.