Basic Pre Ride Motorcycle Check For My 1936 Harley EL Knucklehead

For various reasons I am not able to ride each of my classic motorcycles as much as I’d like to, and sometimes it is months between rides on a specific classic Harley. So I have a basic pre-ride check schedule I go through on bikes I know are in basically sound and dependable riding condition before heading out on the road.  

Classic 1936 Harley-Davidson EL OHV Knucklehead

Above is a photo I took of my 1936 Harley EL this morning after a short Sunday morning breakfast ride. I have not started this classic Harley (one of my all time favorites) in a few weeks but I knew it was well sorted and basically sound when I last rode it.

Knowing I was planning on riding it this morning I connected the battery to a Battery Tender smart charger last night so the battery would be fully charged and ready to go this morning. I check the acid levels in the battery every few months and top them off as needed.

Last night I checked and added to the tire pressures. I also checked the engine oil level and condition (it was clean and at the right level) and the transmission fluid level (1″ wrench to pull the filler cap – the level was low – as usual). The rear and primary chains were good (feel for too much play) and well lubricated.  

So, this morning when I pushed the first-year Knucklehead out of the garage and into the mild autumn weather I knew I was ready to go. All I had to was top off the gas tanks and hit the road. And that’s what I did.

When I got back from my ride I turned off the fuel petcocks and let the bike continue to run until the Linkert carburetor and float bowl ran dry. I do this so I don’t have to worry about the gas going bad in the carb. I also spray the rear chain with some lube while it is still warm. And I look the bike over for anything coming off, missing or needing my attention. 

I know this is all pretty basic, but I thought someone might find this helpful.

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