The Rhode Island Retreads are committed to rider safety. We understand that riding a motorcycle takes more skill than driving a car and has more risks involved. No matter how long you ride, there are skills you can improve and new tips you can learn to reduce the risk, and increase your enjoyment of the sport.

This page includes some information you’ll want to know if new to the Retreads, or just want to brush up on your knowledge. Featured articles will change periodically so visit this page often.

If you have a topic you would like to see featured, or some information to share, we would love to hear from you.

Please Note: The RI Retreads Guide for Safe Group Motorcycle Rides is available.

It is a must-read, and full of great information on how we ride as a group. Click to download / print the guide.

ride-smart-blue-red-logo_1Pre-Season Motorcycle Check

There are few things more frustrating for a winter weary motorcycle rider than discovering that their motorcycle won’t start on the first good riding day of spring. One thing that surely tops not starting is having a mechanical breakdown a few miles into that first ride. These frustrations, and the expensive repairs that can accompany them, can be avoided.


What Can Go Wrong During Winter Storage


It might seem that nothing should break while a motorcycle sits parked. The ravages of time, the effects of winter cold and simply sitting still, however, can have a surprising impact on a motorcycle’s roadworthiness. Here is a partial list of some things that can go wrong:


  • Gasoline goes bad, especially if it contains ethanol
  • Condensation in a partially filled gas tank causes rust and/or contaminates fuel
  • Fuel injectors or carburetors become clogged
  • Fuel lines decay – ethanol causes some rubber compounds to deteriorate
  • Tires dry rot
  • Fork seals and other gaskets dry rot
  • Batteries discharge completely and will no longer take a charge
  • Rodents build nests in intake and/or exhaust systems
  • Rodents chew electrical wiring


Start the Riding Season Right


Many of the possible ill effects of winter motorcycle storage can be minimized or avoided by proper preparations before storage. Whether you properly prepared your motorcycle for storage or just parked it after the last fall ride, it’s wise to perform a thorough preseason inspection before starting your motorcycle. Here’s a few things to check:


  • Look for signs of leaks on the motorcycle and beneath it
  • If the battery was stored in the motorcycle, remove it, inspect for leaks and recharge
  • Look for signs of rodent nests in the exhaust pipes
  • Remove the air filter, look for rodent nests and replace if the filter is dirty
  • Examine the tires – look for cracks in the sidewalls, check tread depth and inflation
  • Perform the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) T-CLOCS inspection


The last item on the list, the MSF T-CLOCS inspection, should be done before every ride. (T-CLOCS stands for tires and wheels, controls, lights and electrics, oil and other fluids, chassis, and stands.) After enjoying the first ride of the new season, consider treating your motorcycle to some preventive maintenance. Doing the basics will go a long way toward keeping your motorcycle running smooth.