Motorcycle Winter Storage
Its that time of year in the UK when Winter is upon us. Dark evenings, Dark Mornings, frost, ice and even snow on the roads, if not, then huge mounds of grit along with pot-holes the size of craters. So for those that don’t fancy that and don’t rely on 2 wheels for work or commute its time to start putting your bike away for what seems like an eternity until the warmer days return.
But to keep your bike in perfect order its best to follow a few tips to ensure come spring your all good to go.
Before you tuck your baby up for the winter, give it a good clean. Leaving dirt, mud and general road gunk on your bike will only attract rust, especially if you are storing the bike outside. So give it a clean and dry it thoroughly.
We all know that metal rusts, and even stainless steel can get the pitting rust spots, so once you have cleaned and dried it, protect the metal with a corrosion specific product such as SDOC100 from S-Doc. If not WD40 will do but you will have to reapply every few weeks. Just use common sense and keep it well away from brake pads and discs.
Full or Empty
It depends on whom you speak to as whether you fill up your fuel tank to the brim or completely empty. Either way its best to do one or other, as moisture in the tank along with the ethanol can cause corrosion in the tank, along with corroding rubber parts within the fuel system. Hardcore owners with naturally aspirated engines will completely drain the tank, fuel lines and carburettors. Personally, with my fuel injected engines, I fill the tank to the brim and give the bike a start every couple of weeks.
Get it off the ground
Tyres don’t like being kept in the same position with weight on them, so after a while, this can cause flat spots, which can cause degradation of the tyre walls. Try and get your bike on a paddock stand or model specific stand. If not place the tyres on something soft like a carpet offcut. Over inflating the tyres slightly will also help prevent flat spots. Just remember to reinflate them to the correct pressure come spring.
Lead/Acid and Lithium batteries are all enemies of the cold. If you are keeping your battery connected to your bike it is essential you have it permanently connected to a trickle charger. Depending on where you store your bike this could be difficult, so it may be worth removing the battery and bringing it inside. Either way, you will almost certainly be looking at buying a new battery if you don’t. If your bike has any form of parasitic drain ie: an alarm/immobiliser combined with colder weather, your battery will be flat in a matter of weeks. And with a lithium battery once that battery falls below 5 volts, that’s it game over permanently.
Block the Holes
Us humans are not the only ones who feel the cold. Mice, spiders, rats and numerous other creatures look for warmer places to call home in winter, such as exhaust pipes, air intakes. So block up those holes.
Cover it up
Again this depends on where the bike is being stored, but obviously if its outside gets yourself a waterproof cover. Personally, I use a combination of old duvet covers directly over the bike, a ground sheet on top of that, then a cheap and cheerful bike cover and finally some rope to tie it all down. I use the duvet cover to keep the abrasive ground sheet away from the paintwork. The only downside to this is you will need to remove the cover every week to dry out the duvet, as it can get damp if it is cold, but as I use the groundsheet which is 100% waterproof it doesn’t get wet.
If your storing the bike inside I would still advise covering it with something. Anything is better than nothing.
Goes without saying, we all know the situation in the UK with bike theft, so lock it, bolt it, ground anchor it, whatever you can get, lock that baby up.
Many people still today cancel their motorbike insurance policy over the winter months. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you are on a first name basis with your home insurer, because in the let’s be honest, possible chance your bike gets nicked from your property I am sure your home insurance company will do their utmost to try and not pay out.
There are always those jobs that need doing on your bike that you never get round to doing. Winter is the perfect time to get them done.
If you have any tips for motorcycle winter storage we would love to know. Get in touch and let us know and we might add it to the list.