Now's a great time to do all the bike maintenance.
The AMA just sent out a press release called “Let’s Prepare Now to Ride Again Soon,” and that’s pretty much exactly what we here at RideApart have been stressing over the past couple of months. This global coronavirus pandemic is pretty stressful for everyone, and different stay-at-home orders in different parts of the world affect motorcyclists differently. That’s, of course, on top of whatever riders feel comfortable doing, because some of us may or may not feel like it’s a great idea to be out right now, even if it’s not explicitly against our local laws.
For the most part, the AMA’s advice here is sound, if a little late in coming. For those of us living in places where harsh winter seasons mean we might stay parked for several months anyway, doing a quick refresh with this free MSF instructional material certainly can’t hurt. That’s a great way to get our minds back in shape, but what about our bikes?
Some people prefer to do a whole bunch of maintenance when they’re tucking their bikes in for a long winter nap, and that’s cool. Right after your last big ride of the season is a great time to do things like change your oil, coolant, and brake fluid, check to see if you need new brake pads and tires, maybe change your fork oil, and so on. If you’re not someone who does that at the end of the season, then you’ve got some good hands-on work ahead of you while we’re all on lockdown.
If you have a chain-driven bike, now’s a great time to do some chain maintenance to get ready for the upcoming season. Some of us do this regularly over the course of a year, and it’s always a good idea to have a regular schedule for cleaning and lubing your chain to keep it in its best possible condition. Now, precise opinions on the best ways to clean and lube your chain are about as varied as opinions on what oil or coolant is best to use, so I’m not going to go into that here. What I think we can all agree on is that you need to figure out your preferred cleaning/lubing plan and stick to it on a regular basis, right? Right.
Going deeper into it, now is also a fantastic time to think about lubricating all those parts on your bike that can use a little TLC, but are so often ignored. Axles and wheel bearings may not be things you regularly delve into, but when you don’t maintain them, you can have truly scary problems. While you’re off the bike for a bit, why not take the time to tend to your steering head bearings, too? If you’ve never done them before, now is an excellent time to learn!
Time off your bike doesn’t have to mean time away from your bike, and if we take care of them, they’ll take care of us when we’re all back out and riding regularly again.