A Guide for Preparing Your Motorcycle for Riding Season
Posted by Lisa D. on March 31, 2016 in Auto Focus

Spring is in the air, and if you are a motorcycle rider, you know what spring means—it’s riding season! You have been chomping at the bit all winter and are ready to get back out on the open road with the wind in your face and the pavement under your feet. But, before you get your bike back on the road, there are a few important items to check on to ensure your bike is ready.


We interviewed Alex, Service Manager at Tytlers Cycle in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to provide you an expert’s opinion on the best ways to prepare your motorcycle this spring.


Acuity: What is a good way to start preparing your bike for riding season?

Alex: One of the best times to start preparing your bike for the new riding season begins when you put the bike away for the winter. By preparing your motorcycle for winter, you can keep it healthy for spring.

Acuity: What are some common services that riders should have performed on their bikes before they start riding this spring?

Alex: As the weather begins to turn warmer and riding season approaches, it is a good idea to take a walk around your bike and inspect it. Check for leaks and inspect the tires, including air pressure, to determine their health. A few weeks before you plan on riding is a great time to work with your local dealer to get the parts and service your bike needs, so you will be ready to hit the road when the weather is suitable. Make sure the following items are checked:

  • Measure the tread depth of your tires. The minimum tread depth specification for a motorcycle tire is 3/32 of an inch. If the tread on your tires does not meet those specifications, it is time for new rubber. Pro Tip: You can check this by using a penny. Stick a penny in the tread of your motorcycle tire with the top of President Lincoln’s head toward the tire. If you can see any space between the tire tread and the top of President Lincoln’s hair, it is time to change your tires.
  • Inspect the tires for any wear, damage, weather checking, or cracking.
  • Check the tire air pressure to make sure it is within the bike’s recommended specifications provided on the motorcycle’s tag or in the owner’s manual.
  • Check the engine oil level and quality.
  • Check the battery voltage.
  • If your motorcycle is chain driven, check for corrosion then clean and lube the chain.
  • If your motorcycle is belt driven, inspect the belt for damage, such as weather checking or cracking, as well as tension, to determine any driveline maintenance needs.
  • If your motorcycle is shaft driven, inspect the driveline for leaks.
  • Check the lighting system, including headlights, brake lights, turn signals, etc.
  • Check the brake pads and inspect the brake system for leaks.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing any of this on your own, your local motorcycle dealer can perform the inspection and safety checks for you.

Acuity: Does it matter if the bike is kept in a cold- or warm-weather state? Is there any year-round maintenance that changes?

Alex: In cold-weather states, even if your bike is stored under a cover in your garage, it will be exposed to temperature changes and other winter elements as you open and close your garage door. Storing your motorcycle in a temperature-controlled garage will reduce the impact of temperature changes throughout the winter months. Cold weather is harsh on things like gaskets, tires, and belts, which is why it is important to check your motor and driveline for leaks.

Acuity: Are there any checks that should be performed while riding for the first time of the season—things to watch out and listen for?

Alex: In addition to the safety checklist above, it is good to take your motorcycle for a check ride. A check ride is a short ride around your neighborhood to listen and feel for anything that might seem out of the ordinary. This ride will help you see if there are any sounds such as clicks or ticking noises that may be cause for further inspection. While you are on your test ride, take an opportunity to fill up your motorcycle with fresh non-ethanol fuel. With the fuel sitting for a few months, it is best to get a fresh tank of non-ethanol fuel as soon as you can.


Besides your motorcycle, there are two other major areas to review before your spring ride—your gear and yourself. Check to make sure your gear is ready for the new season. Look at things like helmets, gloves, jackets, pants, and riding boots. These can make a huge difference in an emergency situation and keep you safe. Things that seem small, like a fogged or scratched visor on your helmet, can reduce visibility. Also, just as your bike sits in storage all winter, so does your riding skillset. Don’t be afraid to sign up for a riding skills course as a refresher.


As you prepare your bike and get ready for the riding season, don’t forget about motorcycle insurance.  Contact your local independent insurance agent and ask about Acuity’s motorcycle insurance. 


Lisa D.
Lisa D. has almost 20 years of experience in the insurance industry, including over 15 years at Acuity. Before starting at Acuity, she obtained her P&C license and sold personal insurance. She keeps a pulse on industry trends while continuing to specialize in developing and updating personal auto insurance products. On top of that, Lisa has her Association in General Insurance (AINS) and Associate in Personal Insurance (API) designations. Outside of work, Lisa enjoys cooking, photography, and spending time with her family. The last two go hand in hand, as she takes pictures of her kids every day.

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