Winter Motorcycle Repairs

TAKING AIM by Chris Maida, Editor

TAKING AIM by Chris Maida, Editor

TAKING AIM, by Chris Maida, Editor

Here in the northeast, wintertime is when you tackle big projects, or ones that take a lot of time to complete, since the weather is not exactly the best for a motorcycle ride. Things like paint jobs, chroming, powdercoating, engine builds, and major chassis modifications require many steps and outside shops to do various sections of the repair/upgrade. Delays are also due to an outside shop having a long turnaround time, like a chroming facility or paint shop. This is pretty much the standard pattern in our favorite pastime. So why am I telling you this?

Wintertime is also when you should take care of other projects, like replacing a slipping clutch or fixing a failing starter system. Unfortunately, a common problem is the guy who waits until that first nice day to call a shop to get his clutch fixed or bald rear tire changed, and he wants it done right away. Really? Those repairs were needed back when he put the bike up for the winter. Actually, the repairs were needed before then, but he was able to nurse the bike along to get the rest of the riding season in instead of losing those last few days to the shop. That part of the deal is fine; glad he was able to do it. The problem is that he didn’t get the bike fixed when the shop was slow during winter. Once the nice weather is back, he wants his bike fixed right away. Unfortunately, so do 20 other guys who also waited to get their bikes fixed.

Don’t be that guy. Go into your garage with a cup of coffee, uncover the bike, and give it a good going over. How are the tires? Good to go with lots of tread, or almost bald? What about the brake pads? Doing the tires and pads at the same time can save you some labor cost, depending on the model. Check out the primary chain and rear drive chain/belt. How was the clutch working last season? Did the bike start easily or were there starter issues? Maybe a fresh set of spark plugs is needed? How are the bike’s electrics? Does the horn and all the lights work? Yeah, it might be a bad bulb, or it might be a short or broken wire. Change the bulb now and see if that does the trick. If a short has to be tracked down, it may take the mechanic awhile to find it.

The point is that it’s now the beginning of February. If your riding season hasn’t started yet, but soon will, get those repairs done now. This way, when those nice riding days show up, especially the ones that pop up unexpectedly on a weekend, you can just fire up the bike and go for a ride. That is, unless you like watching your buddies ride by as you load your bike onto a truck.

See you on the road.
Chris Maida

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