Year-Round Motorcycle Maintenance
Motorcycles are a lot of fun. But before your bike becomes your regular summer day commuter or you head out on that weekend cruise to enjoy the scenery, become familiar with your motorcycle's regular maintenance routine and ensure it gets carried out. Skip this, and you'll likely have to deal with costly repairs and risk your bike not operating safely. The good news is that developing a motorcycle maintenance checklist is pretty easy.
With motorcycles, regular maintenance isn't really about season changes, but rather about how much you ride your bike and how long you let it sit. Keep that in mind as you plan your motorcycle's maintenance schedule.
Before you head out, you should do a quick safety check. Verify that your indicator and brake lights are working and your horn is operational. Check your tire pressure and fluid levels, and if you operate a chain-fed bike, make sure it's properly adjusted and lubricated (it should be greased every 160 kilometres). Finally, check that your steering radius is smooth and doesn't interfere with any cables and that your brake cables aren't spliced.
At least once a month you should check your oil level, brake fluid, and battery. Lubricate any control cables and visually inspect any nuts and bolts and spokes to ensure they're tight. Finally, check spark plugs to make sure they aren’t hindered by grease and grime.
Approximately every three months or 4,000 kilometres, you'll want to do regular maintenance. Change the oil, filter, and air filter. Check the wheel and steering head bearings as well as the exhaust system for leaks. Follow your motorcycle's manual for further suggested maintenance.
Winterizing Your Motorcycle
When storing your bike over winter, you’ll need to pay particular attention to making sure it's been winterized properly - otherwise you may have some problems come spring. You can view our full winterizing guide here.
The best option to store your bike is in a garage on a main, centre stand or rear paddock stand. Don't forget to drain your gas tank and add a fuel stabilizer to help prevent corrosion and prime it for next season. If you can, pull the battery or attach it to an intelligent charger or charge the battery every 4 to 6 weeks to keep it from being completely depleted. Wax and grease all moving parts and let the bike dry. Next, cover it with a dust sheet (if it's stored indoors) or a quality breathable, waterproof cover (if it's stored outdoors). If the cover doesn't cover the exhaust outlets, use plastic bags and secure them tightly.
You'll need motorcycle insurance to be able to ride your bike on the streets, but if you pull your insurance during the off-season, you may want to think twice. With insurance, your bike will remain protected in case of things like theft, vandalism, or fire. You'll also be covered if someone was playing around in the garage and gets hurt while messing with your bike. Some insurance companies also often incentives like discounts for maintaining your motorcycle insurance year-round. Talk to your insurance broker for details.
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