With the start of the riding season finally upon us, it’s time to dust down your bike and make sure it’s in tip-top shape.
That’s why the Institute of Advanced Motorists has released a checklist to ensure you don’t miss anything before you head out for the first time.
Have you done your powdery checks?
Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart’s head of riding and driving advice, explains the POWDERY checks you should do before getting back on your bike after it’s been tucked away all winter.
“If you have been out of motorcycling for the winter, then get yourself back into it gently. Make sure the bike is roadworthy and routine maintenance is carried out. Allow yourself some time to regain your sharpness and adjust to bike mode. Remember, a motorcycle needs to be ridden with a smile on your face.”
Make sure you fill your tank and top up regularly. If your bike has been standing for a long period of time, old petrol can cause starting problems as it may clog up the fuel system. The best thing to do is drain your old petrol if there is a lot and fill up with new petrol.
You can check you have the right amount of oil by using a dipstick or sight glass in the side of the engine casing. Remember to keep the bike vertical when checking this by getting someone to sit on the bike whilst you check the oil. Bear in mind that overfilling will also cause damage, so top up slowly and check your fuel level regularly.
This needs to be checked if you have a water-cooled engine. Again, the bike needs to be vertical. If you find that you’re low on water, remember never to use tap water as you’ll need a mix of water and antifreeze.
Check for any damage – this could be on your bike, helmets or even your protective clothing.
If you’re taking your bike out for the first time in a while, it is always a good idea to check your lights and both the foot and hand brake light switches.
Remember to check your tyre pressure as well as the condition and tread depth. Bear in mind this could change depending on the amount of weight your bike is carrying. Remember to test this when your tyres are cold, as the reading will be higher when they’re hot. The legal limit is 1mm across three-quarters of tyre and visible tread on the rest.
If you’ve been out of practice for a few months, then you may have lost that ‘bike fitness’. Make sure you are fit to ride your bike and remember to take it slow and steady until you’ve got to grips with it.