Motorcycling: start your riding season right
Bob Coupland
by Bob Coupland
Head of Bike Claims

20 March 2023

Motorcycling: start your riding season right

The days are getting longer. The weather is (hopefully) improving.  And, perhaps most significantly, the MCN London Motorcycle Show has been and gone! 

The signs are unmistakable: spring is sprung and, if you’re anything like the bikers here at Biker-SOS, you’re itching to get riding again.

But not so fast!

If you’ve had a long layoff over the winter months (or even longer), don’t get carried away and head out at the first opportunity.

Take a bit of time to check your bike and rub off the riding rust mentally so you can look forward to a much safer and more enjoyable motorcycle season ahead.

Here’s are 9 top tips to help you do just that…


The first and easiest check before you get your bike out of hibernation is simply to walk around it and take a good, hard look. Any leaks? Any obvious signs of wear and tear that you’d forgotten about when you put it away in the winter? Have the mice nibbled the cables since then? Any parts that should be moving – but don’t? Put the key in the ignition, check if it turns, test the horn, turn the lights on. They’re tiny checks in themselves but they give you a good opportunity to sort out any obvious issues first.


You should drain the petrol tank and change the fuel if it’s been sitting there for more than six weeks. If it’s been kept in a sealed container at a stable temperature, it’s good for about six months. Check the oil too, even if it was topped up before you put the bike away for winter.


This is also the time to check that you’ll be able to stop once you get going! Check your pads, lines and brake fluid and replace anything that’s worn or cracked. It also a good idea to test front and rear brakes separately so you can identify and deal with any potential issues. You might miss them if you’re only applying both brakes at the same time.


A dirty air filter can labour your engine, increase fuel consumption, spew black smoke out of the exhaust, and cause a loss of power and throttle response. Check the filter and decide whether it just needs a good clean (using compressed air) or whether replacing it completely would be the better option.


You did remember to remove the battery before storing the bike for winter, didn’t you? If you didn’t and you find it’s as dead as the proverbial doornail, you’ll need to get the charger out. In fact, even if you’ve removed the battery for winter, it’s a good idea to keep it on a trickle charger so that it stays at 100%  and you’re ready to roll when the weather improves. 


Speaking of doornails, is there maybe one stuck in your tyre that you managed to overlook when it was dark and cold and you just wanted to get indoors as quickly as possible? Tread depth and tyre pressure will need to be looked at as well. And don’t just think “is it legal?” – reassure yourself that it’s safe too. Borderline tread depth, any cracks or signs of rot ─

they’re all telling you that it’s time for new tyres.


Modern O-ring chains may need a lot less maintenance than the unsealed chains found on older bikes, but they will still need a clean and lube if the bike was put away dirty or accumulated grime or corrosion during storage.


Don’t neglect to check the most important working component on your bike: you. A winter lay-off means that it’s more than likely your observation and hazard perception skills won’t be as sharp as they were last summer. So ease yourself back into it. At the very least, maybe do your first few rides on familiar roads without too much traffic. Better still, think about taking a Rusty Rider course with a school that you trust or an assessed ride with an IAM instructor. It’s like a short cut to sky-high confidence and safer riding!


Finally, accidents. Nobody wants them, nobody needs them, but they happen anyway. And you don’t want your new riding season marred by a collision.  That’s why a <previous blog> from Fletchers looked at three practical ways you can stack the odds in your favour for avoiding accidents in the first place and how our BIKER SOS service can help you if the worst should happen. 


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