Here it is almost March and I’m itching to get my motorcycle ready for summer. If you are like me, living in a winter climate, I never completely put my bike away for the winter. Since I got my bike in 2004, and 80,000 miles later, I can honestly say I have ridin my motorcycle every single month. So, at least monthly through the winter months, I am climbing on my bike, getting the oil flowing through and over all the bearings and moving parts, keeping a coat of oil over everything. I do keep a trickle charger hooked up all winter, to keep the battery charged through those cold winter nights. This winter in Salt Lake City, Utah, we did get down to some single digit nights.
So, getting my motorcycle ready for summer may be different than others. In the early spring, I usually do the following:
- Replace the oil. (I use synthetic. Have done so since my first oil change 79,500 miles ago)
- Replace the oil filter.
- Replace the air filter.
- Replace the spark plugs.
- Replace the rear gear fluid.
- Lubricate all levers and exterior moving parts.
- Check all nuts and bolts for tightness.
- Check air pressure in tires.
- Check radiator fluid level.
- Check brake fluid levels.
- Give it a good cleaning and a fresh layer of wax.
And I’m good for the year. Depending on the miles I travel during the year, I may change the oil and filter once more. When I change my tires, I always check the wheel bearings. If I feel any roughness when turning them by hand, I replace them. Bearings for a VTX are really inexpensive. I also keep an extra set on hand. And, as a side note. When it comes to changing my tires. I will usually do them myself, or at least take the wheel off and take it to the local shop to change the tire.
I will NEVER allow a dealership to ever change my tires on my bike. I had an experience (my last one with a dealer) where they changed a rear tire and HAND TIGHTENED my rear axle bolt, and HAND TIGHTENED my rear caliper bolt. I didn’t discover the problem until I was heading down the road and put on my rear brake stopping for a stop light and heard a “clank.” Pulled over and discovered my caliper bolt had come out and the caliper had slipped. At that time I also noticed the rear axle bolt had been hand tightened. I’ll never put my life in the hands of a stupid mechanic again. So I do all my own maintenance. Plus, I enjoy working on the bike.
Enjoy spring riding, and ride safe!