Like many riders—especially those in cold-weather climates—you probably put your bike in storage for the winter. But even though it had no wear and tear on it from riding during those winter months, all of that sitting may have taken a toll.
Before you roll it out into the light on the first sunny day, fire it up and pop into first gear, it pays to do a complete overall check to make sure that all systems and components are ready for a new season of riding. With your owner’s manual in hand (or on your mobile device), it’s time to go over your bike from head(light) to tail(light). Here are a few things to inspect as part of your bike’s Spring awakening.
What Kind of Fuel am I? Like a can of soda left uncapped overnight, your fuel can go flat over time. Over the winter, it loses the “fizz” that makes it highly combustible. And when that happens, your bike’s engine can run rough, be down on power, or even be hard to start. Begin the season with a fresh tank of fuel.
Assault on Battery. All of us need to recharge after a long winter. Your bike’s battery does too. Unless your bike’s juice box was connected to a smart charger over the winter, there’s a good chance it has lost the oomph in its amps. Be sure to give it a gradual charge with a trickle charger (1-2 amp) to restore its energy. If the battery is more than a couple years old or has discharged fully more than once, it may be best to start this year with a fresh battery.
Is Your Fluid Forecast Cloudy? The condition of brake fluid is often overlooked by riders. Yet it is highly vulnerable to moisture and can break down over time. Check fluid levels and inspect the color. If you see cloudiness, it’s prime time to flush the system and add new hydraulic fluid.
How Tired are Your Tires? As sure as the days are getting longer, your tire pressures have undoubtedly dropped over the winter. Be sure to top up air to specified pressures. And, while you’re at it, check the condition of your tires, including looking for dry rot cracks, any nails or foreign bits that can cause a puncture, and make sure the tires have sufficient tread to perform safely.
Your Ticket to the Drive Train. Has your bike’s chain been exposed to moisture over the winter? Is it showing any signs of rust? Are there kinks? Does it flow smoothly over the sprockets or does it bind when you spin the rear wheel by hand? Do your sprockets have well-defined teeth that are straight and full? Or are they worn down, sharp and curved? If components are questionable, consider replacing the chain and sprockets as a set to assure top performance and to minimize the chance of drivetrain problems when you’re far from home this season. Sunstar, as the world’s leading provider of OEM drivetrain components, is sure to have the parts that not only fit your bike, they were designed for it. Swapping out that system is something you can do yourself. No really. Check out our blog, “Yes You Can” (insert link) and see just how straightforward the process is.
If your bike’s drivetrain components are still in good condition, make sure both front and rear sprockets are debris-free and that the chain is properly lubricated. Then, check the chain slack and adjust the tension as needed. Refer to your owner’s manual for proper tension specs. You may also want to read our earlier post, “Well Adjusted," to see just how easy it is to keep your bike’s drivetrain properly tensioned.
Let’s Ride! With a few routine checks and simple maintenance tasks, your bike will have a proper Spring awakening and be set for another great season of riding. And you’ll have the confidence your bike will be up to the task.
When it comes to selecting the right components for your bike’s drivetrain, explore the full range of sprockets and chains available for your bike by visiting the SUNSTAR website at sunstar-braking.com. Need help selecting the right parts? Just ask!