by Liz Jansen
You’ve waited a long time for spring to arrive. Start the season on the right foot by making sure your motorcycle is safe to ride, using the spring motorcycle checklist below as a guide. Even if you winterized it and took painstakingly good care of it while it was stored, it may have experienced corrosion or been an unintended home for little critters.
Always refer to your owner’s manual for guidance for your own specific motorcycle.
10 Musts for your Spring Motorcycle Checklist
- Tire condition. Check for tread depth, flat spots, embedded objects, bulges, damage and cracks. They should be OK if you followed our winterizing instructions – however, it’s always good to make sure. Keeping your tires in good condition is one of the most important, and easiest, checks you can make to keep yourself safe.
- Tire pressure. Make sure it’s at the setting recommended by your motorcycle manufacturer. Tires can lose air pressure with time, especially in cold weather.
- Fluids. Check for any leaks before and after you’ve started it for the first time. Make sure your brake fluid is within speck, both in terms of quantity and age. It needs to be replaced periodically; fluid that is dark amber is likely due for a change. Do a full circle check, inspecting hoses, cables and fluid levels and ensuring all the lights and turn indicators are working. Use MSF’s T-CLOCS Checklist as a comprehensive guide.
- Oil and oil filter. Change your oil and filter if you didn’t do it in the fall.
- Battery and wiring. If you’ve kept your battery on a trickle charger, it should have maintained its integrity. Examine it and make sure it is fully charged and topped up, depending on the type of battery you have. Make sure the strap that holds it in place is secure. Check the terminals and leads to make sure they’re secure and free of corrosion. Check the wiring for any signs of wear, corrosion, or damage. Make sure all the lights and turn indicators are working.
- Tool kit. Make sure the tools in your bike’s kit are clean, and free of rust. Double check to make sure everything is still there and replenish if necessary. You may want to add a few small frequently used items that aren’t in your kit, such as an air pressure gauge.
- Drive chain and sprockets. Make sure the chain is clean and well lubricated. Check the sprockets for wear and before you take it out for the first time, make sure the tension is set to your manufacturer’s specifications.
- Air filter. If you plugged your air filter as advised during winterization procedures, make sure to unplug it now. If you didn’t, check for evidence that critters have used it as a winter residence. Also remove any plugs from your exhaust pipes.
- Fuel intake. Make sure the gas supply is turned on and that your gas is in good condition.
- Brake pads. Look at each set of brake pads on your bike to confirm they’re not worn out. Often they have wear bars on them just as tires do. Change them now if they need changing.
Bonus: Even if your bike didn’t rust over the winter, to varying degrees, your skills will have. Ease back to riding gently and practice braking and maneuvering in a parking lot.