Coronavirus lockdown took away a large chunk of the perfect days we get for riding in India just before summer truly sets in. And our motorcycles have been grounded for about three weeks or more for some already and there are now three more weeks to go. That is a substantially long time for a motorcycle to not be doing what it does best. So, when the lockdown ends, there are a few things to keep in mind before you set off again.
Tyre pressure: Tyre manufacturers usually recommend over-inflation before the bike is stored for a long time. This prevents the tyre from damage as the bike loses pressure over time. Check your manual for the correct pressures and also do an overall check as well and look for cracks, if any.
Battery: If there is a power source in your garage or where you’ve parked the bike, you could leave the bike connected up to an Optimate or similar. However, if not, you’ll need to check the battery. A healthy power cell should have 12.5v or upwards. Under this, it’ll need charging or perhaps even a new battery. Keep the ignition off when you do a voltage check.
Fork seals: If a bike has been sitting for too long, fork seals can give up. Wipe around the stanchion and seal with a tissue to look for any weeping oil. If it’s been leaking for some time, oil could’ve leaked down the forks and possibly onto discs and callipers, so ensure you are thorough before you ride out. The same drill for the rear shock/shocks.
First start: Modern bikes need minimal or no throttle to rise from a cold start. But be patient when you start it after a long time, the engine may need to crank over a few times before it fires up. Once running, let it warm up for a few minutes and keep an eye out for any leaks. Re-check oil and coolant levels once the bike is cool again.
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Chain tension: Take a good look at the chain which may have gone loose over time and adjust if you have the tools or head to a shop when you can. Use a quality chain lube, applying it from the inside and mask the background with a cloth to prevent overspray reaching the tyre.
Check documents: When did you last park and were the papers in order? The first ride out will have to include a visit to relevant authorities if PUC or insurance and anything else has run past the last date.
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