You’ve been suffering from P.M.S. (Parked Motorcycle Syndrome) for the last 4 months. Now, the snow is melting and it’s finally time to get out and test all the mods you’ve done over the (long) winter. To prevent all that anticipation ending in tears, here are 5 tips for spring riding:
1) Ease into it
All the anticipation of not having ridden in a while can result in an over-zealous start to your motorcycling season. Regardless of whether you read our Comprehensive Guide to Motorcycle Wheelies or just can’t wait to hear the sound of your new exhaust at full boil, remember that your body and mind are out of practice. Temperatures and road surface conditions aren’t ideal in the early spring either so keeping a conservative pace is always a good idea.
2) Think about your tires
A few things happen to motorcycle tires over the winter: namely 1) the loss of tire pressure and 2) the potential development of flat spots (unless the bike was stored with both wheels off the ground). In either case, a thorough tire inspection (pressure, wear and condition) is the first thing you should do before rolling out of the garage. Once underway, remember that both pavement and rubber are usually cold in the spring which means your tires will rarely reach optimal operating tenperatures. If we had a nickel for every rider we know who lowsided in the spring because of cold tires…
3) Check your battery
We hope you’ve read our 5 tips for Bike Winterization and that your battery spent the cold winter months on a battery tender. If it didn’t, you’ll want to re-connect it (you at least disconnected it, right?) and ensure there’s still enough cranking amps to turn the bike over. Following that, slap yourself on the wrist and ride to your local auto parts store to buy a battery tender.
4) Watch out for debris
The amount of crap that accumulates on the road (and roadside) over the winter months is unbelievable. Salt, sand, leaves and garbage are all hazards that can catch you off guard, so an added level of vigilance is required to avoid bad situations. Pay particular attention to road surface conditions in corners and practice conservative lean angles to minimize your risk. Spring rain is your friend -although it may prevent you from riding on certain days, know that it’s washing all the debris off the road and will lead to many great rides throughout the rest of the season.
5) Ride clean
Salt is the #1 enemy of metal and it’ll take a while before it’s completely off the street. Even when you can’t see any salt, it has a nasty habit of forming a fine dust and settling into cracks in the road (or between streetcar tracks) until you ride by and stir it up. It then gets into all that precious metal you’ve been polishing over the winter, intro your drivetrain and brakes and starts to wreack havoc. Particularly if you’re keen to be the first one out this year, it’s a good idea to wash your bike frequently after riding to prevent corrosion. Pay particular attention if you have a chain final drive and clean/re-lube it often.