Get your motorbike out of hibernation and back on the road with these top tips

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haynesAfter a long and sodden winter the country is finally starting to dry out, and that means one thing for motorcycle enthusiasts: time to get the bike out of the garage and back on the road.

However the cold weather and moisture can cause real problems for a bike that has been in storage over the winter months, so the motoring experts Haynes are offering the following tips to ensure your bike is in top working condition before you take it for a spin:

1. Put the battery on charge in readiness for getting the engine running. If you’ve been giving the battery a trickle charge then it should be ready to go!

2. Lube the exposed ends of cables, lever and stand pivot points. Check that they operate smoothly. Check that the throttle twistgrip rotates fully and returns smoothly when released.

3. Lube the chain and check it has the correct amount of freeplay. Make sure the suspension is operating freely and there is no sign of oil leakage from the fork seals and shock damper.

4. Make a visual check of all exposed brake hoses, fuel hoses, coolant hoses and wiring. Any sign of nibbling indicates rodents have been at work! Also check that there’s no sign of leakage from the hoses.

5. Inflate the tyres to the correct pressure.

6. Place the bike on its centrestand or a paddock stand and check that each wheel rotates freely. Check the efficiency of each brake and that the brake frees off when the lever/pedal is released. Light corrosion on brake discs will soon wear off, but if the caliper sticks it should be detached from the bike and the pads and pistons examined – corrosion in this area can cause recurrent problems.

7. If the oil wasn’t changed before laying the bike up, do so now and fit a new oil filter. If the oil was changed, check the level.

8. Start the engine and let it idle to allow the oil to circulate. The oil pressure warning light should go out after a few seconds. Don’t persist with cranking the engine if it won’t start – the starter motor will overheat and the battery will soon become flat.

9. Wash the bike and remove any oxidisation from metal parts, particularly exposed fork tubes. When dry, apply a polish to painted parts and body panels.

10. Before going out on the road, check that all lights and turn signals work and adjust the mirrors to the correct angle. Note that any fuel left stored in the tank should be ok to use and will soon be topped up with fresh fuel. Note, however, that fuel will degrade over a longer period and may gum filters and lead to running problems.

Penny Cox, Motorcycle Editorial Manager at Haynes Publishing says:

“There is no better feeling than taking the bike out for its first spin of the spring, but we would highly recommend that riders don’t take risks, and carry out important safety checks and maintenance first.

“Winter hibernation can have a drastic effect on a bike’s condition, so ensure that the tyres are inflated properly, the chain is lubed, the brakes and lights are working and the oil is changed before hitting the road.”

Haynes Manuals have been helping motorcyclists perform these simple tasks and many more for over 50 years. Haynes has now launched its top 150 UK car and motorcycle manuals online, so you can now access service and repair information on your PC, laptop or smart phone.

The new Manuals Online include all the content from the printed manuals with the additional benefits of a glossary of terms, searchable menus and quick links.

The new Haynes motorcycle Manuals Online cost just £23.00 per manual for a year or £28.00 for a lifetime subscription and are available from www.haynes.co.uk .

Haynes motorcycle manuals cost £18.99-£24.99 and are available from car accessory shops including Halfords, all good bookshops and online at www.haynes.co.uk or by phone 01963 442030.

For more information, a comprehensive stockist locator and other great tips visit www.haynes.co.uk .