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The Custom Chopper Report, Issue #17 -- Spring Check Up
March 19, 2005

Getting Your Bike Ready...

Ready to ride this spring?

If you live in an area where it's not warm all year, chances are your chopper
has been hibernating with the bears over the winter. But now that spring has almost sprung, riders everywhere are getting ready to hit the road. But, sometimes it's not as easy as opening up the garage and firing the engine. There are some things that need to be done to get your bike prepped for riding again.

Fuel System

The first thing you should be concerned with is your bike's fuel system. If you left gas in the tank, well- it might not exactly look the way you left it. Gasoline is a mixture of chemicals that when left untreated for months at a time, parts of it could evaporate. The stuff that is left forms a brown gunk, or the varnish we just mentioned. This clumpy fluid can actually clog the tiny jets inside your carburetor. For you, this could mean sluggish performance from your chopper. That is, if it starts. The clogged jets can make starting the chopper difficult, or prevent it from starting altogether. Before you ride then, you should clean out the carb. To do this, you will remove the float bowl so you are able to drain the gas, which will get rid of all the liquid residue. Then, you can clean- or even scrub- out any remaining residue with a carb cleaner like Gunk. You may also want to clean out the gas tank itself by draining it and replacing with a full tank of fresh gas.

This step could be prevented if before storing the bike for the winter you add a small dose of a fuel stabilizer to the tank. Run it through the engine for a few minutes so the mixture gets up to the carb. Then, your bike is ready to be stored!

Battery

Did you ever go to start up your car after a few weeks in the cold, without you driving it only to find a dead battery? This can happen often in cold weather, and can also occur when starting your chopper after being dormant for a season. When your battery is dead or near dead, the distilled water in the acid solution probably has evaporated. To being this level back up to normal, you should remove the battery and replace any lost distilled water. Then, you can use a slow charger to get the battery back up to speed. You can use a hydrometer- a small tool that reads gravity levels- to tell when the battery is fully charged. These instruments are easy to use, as they are color-coded.

Tires/Brakes

Finally, before you hit the road, you should definitely make sure that your tires contain the recommended amount of air-pressure for your specific tire. That way you're ride will be smooth and safe. And, speaking of safety, you should also make sure your brakes are working properly.

Those tasks may take the better part of the afternoon- but your bike will be in great shape, safe, quenched with new fluids- and ready to roll!


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