Ready to hit the road for the motorcycling season? Hold your horsepower! Let’s run through a few important preparation tips first.
If your moto has been laid up for the winter, you’ll likely already know that you can’t just jump on and (a) expect everything to work perfectly or (b) expect early road conditions to be just right for your first outing.
It goes without saying — but we’ll say it anyway — that you should never ride your motorcycle without three critical things in place:
- You’re wearing the right safety gear.
- You’re properly insured for Ontario motorcycling. If you have a seasonal policy that becomes dormant during the winter, call us or the insurer to reactivate it.
- You’ve charged up your common sense battery so you won’t be doing anything stupid!
- About the bike itself, a lot depends on how you closed things down in the autumn.
- motorcycle insuranceAs Motorcyclist magazine’s Ken Condon says: “If you failed to put your bike away last autumn with stabilizer in the fuel tank, air in the tires, fresh lube where it belongs and a trickle of energy feeding the battery, then your season may be delayed as you get your motorcycle up and running.”
Even if you did the right things, you’ll still need to check a few things such as engine oil and lubricant levels and chain lubrication. Plus, of course, tire pressure and tread wear, which should be checked before every single ride.
Essential Motorcycle Checks
In addition to these points, here’s a quick rundown of the essentials you should check before your first foray onto Ontario’s highways:
- The electrics. Check the low and high beam settings on your lights are properly adjusted, and that your instrument panel is properly lit up.
- The battery. Wise riders keep their batteries in shape with a trickle charge during the winter. But it may still need a full charge before you set out.
- The belt — if your bike is belt-driven. Replace it if there are any cracks or serious signs of wear.
- The chain for tightness and cleanliness. Look for damaged teeth on the sprockets.
- Fluid lines and hoses for wear and firm anchoring.
- Coolant. Top it up or do a complete flush and replacement.
- The airbox. It can make a cozy home for adventurous rodents during the winter! Clean it out — and check the filter while it’s open.
- The fuel system. Clean it out with a proprietary additive.Cables and more. Lube the front brake lever and throttle cables.
- The brakes, the brakes! There’s nothing more important than fully testing the braking system, either flushing the system or topping up, and checking lines, pads and drums or discs for wear.
- Don’t take risks with your brakes. If you’re not sure how to do a safety check and/or replace parts, get a pro to do it.
In fact, this is a good time to raise a very useful tip on preparing your motorcycle for the season: root out the owners’ manual and have a quick run through it.
Depending on the make and model, there may be specific issues to check for and procedures to follow. And then keep it handy in case you need it on your travels.
The well-prepared Ontario motorcyclist also carries good first-aid and spares kits. There’s no better time to check yours that before you even straddle your moto for its first outing.
And then, there’s your own state of readiness. As Ken Condon points out, motorcycle incidents and close calls rise alarmingly in the spring months — often because car drivers haven’t been used to seeing them in the colder months. They’re just not paying attention.
So, it’s important to wear bright, easily-spotted gear and to be extra cautious at intersections.
There are other hazards on the road too.
“Depending on where you live you may have to contend with leftover sand and salt used to treat icy roads,” Condon warns. “Often, this debris is hard to see until it’s too late, so take it easy.
“Freeze-thaw cycles bust up pavement, leaving massive potholes and frost heaves. And remember that just because the air temperature is above freezing, doesn’t mean the roadway is. You may come across dampness and snowmelt that may not be completely thawed.”
Remember too that, in the early months, temperatures dive rapidly once daylight fades.
Don’t Be Crazy
Finally, another word about insurance. Not only does Ontario law insist that motorcyclists are insured but it’s also crazy to even consider riding without it.
An accident could cost a bankrupting fortune.
Secure Insurance Solutions Your Best Motorcycle Insurance Choice!
At Secure Insurance Solutions, we make it quick and easy to check your coverage to ensure it exactly meets your needs. We make it just as simple to get the motorcycle insurance coverage you need at the most competitive prices.
And if you need to make a claim, our full-time claims department, backed by 24-hour emergency support, is here to help.
Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. But, like the safety of your bike and the skills of its rider, good insurance is key to a great season of motorcycling pleasure. Call us today for your free motorcycle insurance quote! 800-665-3259