Motorcyclists around the UK are rearing to hit the road however due to the current COVID-19 situation, most of us have delayed our annual spring time ritual of pulling off the dust cover that was keeping our motorcycles warm in the winter!
If you are going to be turning wheels after a prolonged period of motorcycle hibernation, we strongly recommend that you give your ride a thorough check over. But, what does that entail?
We asked our Workshop Supervisor at Kawasaki Motors UK, Ross Symons for tips on general maintenance and some of the items to check before breathing life into your motorcycle again.
In each issue of our Club Kawasaki members magazine, you get to know a member of the Kawasaki UK team. In our latest issue we interviewed Ross Symons, Ross shared what it's like to work at Kawasaki and how he got to where he is today.
Safety checks, general checks and more checks
- Do your lights function correctly, including warning lights and horn?
- Note that the bike needs to be running to check headlamps.
- Check tyre condition and pressures, which should be listed on the drive chain guard or in your owner’s manual.
- Adjust the drive chain if required and lubricate chain well.
- Front and rear padock stands will make this job a lot easier!
- Do the brakes bind? This is simply where the wheel does not turn freely. This could occur when the bike has been parked with water in and around the brakes from riding or washing, especially if road salt is present and has caused corrosion within the brake caliper area. If they are binding, this will likely require dealer inspection and repair.
- Check fluid levels including, engine oil level, engine coolant level, brake fluid levels (front and rear).
- Check for any loose nuts and bolts.
- Check the steering turns from lock to lock smoothly.
- Does the throttle grip operate smoothly?
- The clutch lever must have the correct amount of free play and operate correctly. Some bikes are now equipped with hydraulic units. Cable operated bikes require 2-3mm of clearance however not every model is the same so refer to the owner’s manual or your Kawasaki dealer for assistance.
- Check the side stand and or centre stand operate smoothly and returns fully to the “up” position – lubricate as required.
- Is the MOT valid or due? Same goes for insurance, road tax, tax/sorn etc.
Ross Symons also explains why customers should go in for a service based on length of time and not only mileage travelled, saying, “All of our models have service intervals that relate to mileage and time, and should be serviced on which ever unit comes first. One example is brake fluid and if we take the Ninja H2 SX for instance, this should be first changed at 15,200 miles or after 2 years. Brake fluid absorbs moisture over time which can affect the braking performance and therefore is required to be changed both on mileage and time.”
Remember, if you feel that anything mentioned above is beyond your skill set or you don’t have the tools required, please take your motorcycle into a Kawasaki dealer for a check-up (when it is possible). The tips mentioned above are generalised and each model will have a specific way to address inspections and maintenance – if required we recommend that you refer to the owner’s manual or your Kawasaki dealer for assistance.
Finally, the last item on the check list is to enjoy the ride and be safe when you are out on the road again!