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Rider Checklist

If your favorite ride has been stored for awhile, it won't be long before that first warm day lures you back to the open road. Before you just jump on the old Hawg and wail away at the starter, there is a simple list of quick maintenance items that could save you a pile of trouble (and money) later on. The list isn't all-inclusive, but it represents some of the most common problems seen by J&P Cycles®' top-notch staff of technicians.

The Battery: You did remember to remove the battery, take it indoors and put it on a trickle charger, didn't you? Even a properly charged battery can freeze if it gets cold enough and, if it does, you might as well toss it. So, now you're ready to reinstall your properly stored battery. Check your cables at both ends, making sure the connections are clean and tight, and that nothing's loose or corroded where the cable crimps on to the connecting hardware. And be sure to top off the battery fluid with nothing but distilled water. You can get a gallon at almost any grocery store for less than a dollar.


Fluids: In most cases you shouldn't have to do much more than top off the crankcase, transmission, primary, forks and brakes with the right grade of lubricant. Hopefully you changed the oil before you stored your bike, if nothing more than to rid yourself of any water that condensed there. If you live in a humid area and have had lots of temperature swings during the winter, you might find condensation in almost any of these systems. Common sense and a few cents for fresh fluid would set your mind at ease for the year. Do it.


Tires: If you own an Explorer with Firestone tires, your tire awareness is probably already sky high. Skip this. The rest of you listen up. Besides checking for the usual tread wear and sidewall cracking, make sure you check your service manual for the proper air pressure and wear limits. And did you install anything new that might affect tire clearance? It may look right just sitting there, but have someone check it when the bike is loaded with you, your sweetie and luggage.



Lights and Turn Signals: Sure, you can do a lot of riding without them, but why risk a ticket or, worse, getting run over just because a brake light or turn signal was burned out. If the bulb is OK, but you still get no light, most likely you've got a faulty ground. Check it out.

Chains and Belts: Don't just look at the belt or chain. If you see wear on a newer belt or chain, you might have a worn pulley or sprocket that can cause premature wear. J&P techs suggest installing a new sprocket for every two chains. If you have a swingarm model and want to check the final drive, you'll need the weight of at least one rider on the bike. Check your service manual for the proper specs.



License and Safety Stickers: Are they up to date and have you seen the cost of a ticket for failing to be current? That's a lot of wasted beer money, friends.

Cables: Use a lightweight lubricant like 3-in-1. If you want to make this super easy, check out J&P's Champions Choice Cable Care kit on page 540 of the new 2001 catalog. For $16.99 you get the lube and adapters to help get the lube into the cables with no mess. And unless you want to risk a big surprise after you run up to the red line, make sure your throttle cables return to the idle position cleanly and quickly.

Nuts and Bolts: Once around with the proper wrenches and sockets, please. You do have a service manual, don't you? That's where you'll find the proper torque specs.

And Finally: Here's something you might not think about: Get some solvent like rubbing alcohol and wipe down your chrome exhaust pipes. Any oily residue, including little things like fingerprints or stuff you spilled, is going to look real nasty when those pipes get hot, like frying an egg on an ungreased skillet. Except in this case you won't be scrubbing it off with a Brillo pad. 

Only published comments... Nov 19 2013, 11:23 AM by speedking72

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