Prepare Your Victory or Indian Motorcycle For Spring.
Before hitting the road, you need to do a thorough inspection of everything and anything that might need changing or replenishing. Everyone knows that a small problem in the beginning can quickly flip into a bigger (and much more expensive) issue later. Trust us, a couple hours or so of checking out your bike to make sure it's fit for the road now can save you weeks of hassle later. Spend some time (and a few dollars) and set yourself up for a great riding season ahead. We created a checklist of some important things to look out for. Ride Safe!
If you kept your bike on a battery tender over the winter, your battery is likely in good shape to start the season. Turn on the kill switch and make sure your headlight's low beam and high beam functions both work, as well as front and rear turn signals and brake lights. Lights in your instrument clusters should be in good working order, as well. If anything isn't working as it should, now is the time to replace affected light bulbs before you get out on the road. If nothing comes on, your battery needs to be jumped or possibly replaced.
You should check your tires every single time you ride. On four wheels, you might be inconvenienced by a flat or a slow leak in one of your tires. But when you're relying on only two wheels, you absolutely need both those tires to be properly inflated and to not be damaged, because your life depends on it. Check the info on your bike (it's often on the VIN plaque or the side cover) to find out proper cold tire pressure, no matter what rubber you choose to stick on your bike. Your bike has been sitting in one place all winter, so it isn't surprising that your tires might be a couple pounds low. Replace your rubber, if it's damaged, badly squared off, or too worn down.
Check Your Fluids
The last thing you want on a nice day of riding is to find out that your fluids are either no longer performing like they should, or that you don't have enough of them in your bike to do their jobs. If you don't already have a solid maintenance schedule set up where you're checking and changing out all three of these fluids on a regular basis, now is a great time to start.
If you just bought a bike on the used market and have no idea when any of these fluids were last changed, start your bike season out right and change them all. Then get a notebook or binder and start keeping a dated and detailed maintenance record. This will not only save you the hassle in the future -- it could help you make a little more money if you ever sell the bike later on. Complete service histories instill buyer confidence -- especially if you're selling an older or high mileage bike.
Check the Belt:
Spring is an excellent time to check your drive belt for cracks and general wear. The bike's service manual should have specific manufacturer instructions for what wear & tension is acceptable, as well as how often you should expect to replace your drive belt as a matter of course. Any sign of cracks or uneven wear is unacceptable on any model, and you should replace any belt showing such damage as soon as possible.
Check Cables & Lines:
Over time, Cables, lines & hoses can become damaged and cracked, which can lead to leaks. Even if you have nice braided stainless steel lines for your clutch and brakes, check to make sure all bolts are properly tightened. Better to find out you have a problem before you hit the road, have catastrophic problems, and have to get towed.Make sure to check your intake throttle body boot as well as vacuum lines. They are notorious for going bad on Victory models.
You've probably heard stories about cats climbing up inside cars to stay warm in the winter, right? Motorcycle air boxes are very inviting places for mice and other small animals to do the same thing. Actually, a bike air box is usually a better proposition for rodent tenants, considering that you probably won't be firing it up for months when it's cold. Check your air box for surprise small animal residents before you go out for your first ride. While you have it apart, now's a good time to either change or clean your air filter (depending on the type you have), too.
Hopefully you filled your gas tank before you put your bike away at the beginning of winter. (Why? A full tank leaves less room for condensation to build up, and less possibility of freezing water in your gas tank. It's good practice to help prevent rust. Even if you did that, though, your bike still sat idle for a few months. That means the fuel system may be gunked up simply from not being used. Get a bottle of your favorite motor treatment, such as Star Tron, and use it according to the instructions the first time you fire your engine up for the season. This is especially important if your baby is an older bike.
Check your frame (and fairings, if you have them), torque everything properly, tighten screws -- basically, look over every square inch of your bike. Check that things like your fork seals aren't cracked, and that your forks aren't weeping oil. Isn't your bike beautiful? Oh wait, what's that crack on the frame? Phew, it's just dirt. Better to know that now (and wipe it off) than to find out that it's a serious piece of damage that puts you in danger when you're going 110 mph.
Stock Up On Spares:
With today's economy and slow delivery times it might be a good idea to stock up on some of the maintenance items you may need. better to have them now then have to wait weeks or months when its perfect riding weather.
On the Road Tool Kit:
Depending on your particular level of DIY-ability, your tool kit might be as simple as a credit card, a AAA card, and your cell phone. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you might have an entire tool kit full of allen keys, socket wrenches, a mini torque wrench, zip ties, a tire plug kit with tire slime, electrical tape, and super glue. No matter which way you choose to roll, have a plan in place in case something goes wrong while you're out riding. If you're comfortable making repairs on the road, assemble or replenish your tool kit as needed. If not, renew that AAA membership and make sure your bike (not just your car) is on the policy.
Add Your Bike Back on The Insurance:
If you don't ride your bike during the winter, you probably called your insurance company to take it off the policy when you stored it for the winter. That's a great way to save money for new parts to trick out your ride, but you'll want to make sure you're fully covered if anything bad happens, now that it's spring.