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The following is a super list of suggestions for a safer spring return to riding. There's more to the Spring tuneup then just the bike. Over to you Bernie..........
I know I'm old and crusty, but sometimes I have something good to spew! A few reminders for the new, the old, the silly! If you know them, pass this by. Postitive additions are always welcome.
1) tire pressures. CHECK THEM! Use a good gauge, not the one with Mickey Mouse in plastic. Check yours with a known good expensive one for calibration, it makes Mickey happy!!!. The pressures printed in your manual, under the seat, or on the swingarm are the starting point. When in doubt, stick with stock, unless the tire manufacturer says otherwise.
2)the ground (read; pavement) is still very cold, even if the air is warm. It's months before the asphalt gets warm enough for good traction. And, as it hasn't rained that much, there is a ton of debri just off the edge, so don't wander there.
3)your tires are now one year older, so maybe give them a second look, and think about how much money is really left in them, and how much dropping you bike costs. Averages say $600 a set, less than 10k a set, therefore just more than $60 for 1000km. The last $60 can be expensive. Get someone to check them out.
4)related to #3, wet weather requires deep tread depth. Penny pinchers should stay home when it's wet!
5)cars and car drivers require retraining in the spring! It takes a bit of time for them to remember to look for you. If you play the 'they should see me, judge my speed, realise I'm coming up the inside, turn down their stereo, really look before they change lanes, actually give a sh*t about other road users' game, well good luck. That kind of perception is a lot to ask of a 60 year old person who has never ridden a motorcycle. Being right doesn't make the bones heal any faster!
6)shaded visor guys, remember that the shadows are still long, stay later and happen earlier this time of year, especially in the mountains. At least give the 'shades inside the helmet with a clear visor' a try once. You can reach up and drop them down for the dark corners. I find it easier than riding with the dark visor up because you went from blinding sun to dark patch in 1 second (i.e.in the mountains and valleys). The high defintiton visors might also be something to consider. Anyway, after another winter of getting knocked around the closet, take a really good look at the one you have. It's amazing how the scratches can add up. Visors might not be cheap, but they're a hell of a lot cheaper than a spill.
7)your own skills might be a little rusty as well. Oh no, not you, but that other guy you ride with!!!
8)I help the stupid car drivers see me, and know what I'm doing. Or I avoid them, or take myself away from their 'zone of sleep' as quick as I can. The more you rely on you, the less you curse them.
Who's at fault doen't mean diddly when your sliding down the road.
9)My horn doesn't work! I will fix it, just because I should, but I really never use it. If the car or truck driver is that stund/ignorant/criminal/asleep/whatever, I refuse to believe that they will wake up in time to save my life! You are on your own for the most part.
10) Springtime is new rider time.
Remember, not everyone in your group may be up to your speed. Ride with the group in mind, or pick a meeting place down the road so someone new or rusty doesn't have to push their limits keeping up to a much faster rider with more experience. I choose to impress new riders by showing them a great, safe, relaxing ride, and the great restaraunts I know, not how fast I can scare
the shit out of them.
11) Has someone who really knows what they're doing looked at your bike lately? A quick check-up, or 1/2 hour with your favorite mechanic could save you some trouble if you're not sure what's what. If you are in the know, spend a few minutes and share some smarts with the guys men and woman you ride with. I want the person behind me to have lots of brake pads!!! Cables require lube and adjustment, steering bearings need checking, and sometimes a trained eye is worth a few bucks. Cheap insurance to some.
12) It's easy to forget, but rubber ages. Time, air exposure, sun exposure, heat, they all harden rubber. What worked well last year might not be so awesome this year. Don't expect your tires to do exactly what they did last year.
13) Your cables need periodic lubrication, just like your chain. Not as often, but cable are essentially steel rubbing on plastic or teflon, and require cable lube occasionally. Not chain lube (some harden and restrict cable movement, which is extremely hazardous), but cable lube. Teflon, silicone, lubes that don't congeal. The spring is a good time to lube them, or get someone else to do it.
14) Brake pads, like rubber products, harden with heat exposure. In other words, they work best when new, and get progressively worse with age. If you're a braking demon, maybe it's time to buck up and get some new pads. This is NOT a place to safe cash. Yes, exactly like tires, cheap skates exit at the first crash sight. When in doubt, check it out !!
That's all from Bernie so far but I'll add more as he comes up with them.
I'd like to add one for folks with 6 year or older bikes. And a reminder for newer bike owners.
15) Grease the rear suspension linkage points. Most newer bikes like my 9R have grease fittings on the linkage points. Use them. If your bike is 6 or more years old then perhaps it's time for someone to re&re your rear suspension linkages. My older bikes that I've done this to have all badly needed it. For example I found badly dried and caked grease and some early signs of rust in my 10 year old F2. This F2 is not a high mileage bike either.
More to come I hope........