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Dragging your bike out of the shed for the first time since November? Read these handy hints first, which may save you from a crash.

 

Clean the bike thoroughly, using WD40, or similar, to lubricate all cables, carb linkages, and the drive chain. Then gently clean the chain and lube it with spray, or grease, or gear oil – depending on your taste. Check it for about 1 inch of slack at the halfway point and adjust if need be. Spin the wheels whilst the bike is on its stand too – this is to check if the brake pads are sticking.

 

Occasionally, if the pads are slightly sticky, this sometimes won’t show up until you ride about a mile or three, and then friction expands the disc slightly, resulting in the brakes suddenly locking on – nasty! So ride very, very slowly at first – then stop and check the bike carefully.

 

Does it feel slick, fluid handling, responsive in its braking and acceleration? If not, there could be a variety of causes, so don’t hammer the thing up to 120mph and hope for the best.

In a nutshell, your bike can suffer when not being ridden and it’s well worth spending about 10 miles simply `bedding in’ yourself and the machine, before giving it any sort of grief. Tyres in particular can lose a bit of their grip over winter, so even when the tread looks fine, make sure you `run them in’ once again on that crucial first ride.

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