Getting your motorcycle ready for fall riding is not nearly as complicated as winterizing it, but there are a few things to check as the season changes. Especially if you’ve ridden a lot during the summer—and we hope you have—it’s probably a good idea to take your motorcycle to a trusted mechanic for a tune-up. Ask him to check your brakes along with the exhaust and engine. You’ll also want to pay special attention to tires and lights.
Between slippery leaves and morning frost, autumn presents skidding hazards. And fall is also the peak time for dangerous collisions with deer. If you don’t take your bike in for a tune-up, be sure to check your tires. The wetter the road conditions, the more tread you’ll need. Tread-wear indicators tell you when your tires are definitely unsafe, but that may be too late.
Even if your tread is okay and you haven’t ridden much, your tires may need replacing. As they age, tires “outgas” the chemicals that help them cling to the road and become brittle and hard—and less safe. Most tires have a five-year maximum lifespan. You can find your tires “birthday” by checking the four-digit code stamped into the sidewall. The last two digits represent the year; the first two digits represent the week. For example, 3014 is the thirtieth week of 2014 and lets you know it’s time to replace those tires.
It’s safest to check tire pressure before every ride. Check it when the tires are cold to get an accurate reading. The easiest to use is the tire pressure gauge. It features a braided hose that swivels. Keep your tires at the level recommended in the owner’s manual for your motorcycle. The maximum psi number on the tire is the most pressure that tire can handle, not the best psi for your bike.
Night comes early and dawn comes late as we move into fall. Your commute might find you riding in low-light conditions. Or, that weekend ride might extend into a murky evening. So, the lights on your bike are important. Be sure your headlights and rear lights are clean and still shining strong.
Consider adding some LED lights both as bling and to make you and your bike more visible. We have an array of LED kits. And they’re all on sale!
Now that your motorcycle is ready for the new season, check out some of the great group rides that are coming up. You’ll find them on the Eagle Leather Ride Guide here.