Our resident expert of all things bikes answers your questions.

Hi Dave, 

A few months ago I acquired an old Honda Dominator 650. e bike had been dry stored for a few years and looks in quite reasonable condition, just the usual wear and tear marks, but little rust. It was running well when parked up. My plan is to use it as a winter hack to save my new bike from winter’s worst. However, the electrics are dead. I tried jump starting it and it turns over, but there are no signs of life. Where do I start? 

John.

A. Bikes or any machine don’t like sitting idle for so long, they need regular use. The obvious first purchase will be a new battery, the old one has probably sulphated and is unlikely to accept a charge, but before you fit the battery a few jobs will need to be carried out. 

The fuel system is the first place to start. Modern petrol only has a short shelf life and will need to be drained from the tank and replaced with fresh petrol. Check the fuel supply pipes to the carb, they may have perished and we wouldn’t want a pool of petrol forming under the bike! If a filter is fitted it would be best to replace. 

Now for the carb itself, this is where it’s gonna get tricky. Modern petrol, when it evaporates, can leave a very sticky and gummy residue, this is extremely difficult to clean out. Stripping the carb down to it’s component parts, take a few pics to help reassembly, soak the jets in some thinners or similar then make sure they are thoroughly clean by blowing out with an airline. If the passages in the carb are blocked a longer soak and clean should do it. If this proves impossible ship the carb off to a specialist who can sonic clean it, that’s the last resort before shelling out for a new one.

The rest of the bike will need a good service. Grease wheel bearings and drive chain, check, grease and adjust headstock bearings. Drain engine oil and replace the filter and fresh oil. Remove the throttle and clutch cables and lube for a smooth action. If the tyres are old it would be best to replace to avoid potential roadside flats, and replace them. Check all electrical joints for corrosion, clean and pack with a silicone grease, worth doing to keep moisture out on any bike. 

After all this connect the battery, hit the starter and listen to it run perfectly. 

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