We are now fast approaching the season of plummeting temperatures and increasingly unpredictable winter weather. Only a few bikers continue to use their bikes when the weather turns grim, most will store their bike until more pleasant conditions arrive with spring. It’s not as simple as locking your bike away in the garage for a few months though. You need to make sure the bikes not exposed to damp, cold and decay due to a lack of use. Here are some storage tips to keep your bike in tip top condition during the winter:
To avoid exposure to the elements, you need an indoor space like a garage or shed. Keep the bike away from windows, drafts and direct sunlight to avoid paint fading. You should still cover your bike, an old blanket will suffice, to protect it from dust and moisture.
Before storing, give your bike a thorough clean and dry, spray some WD40 onto metal parts to protect from damp and re-grease those moving parts that have had the lubricant cleaned off.
Batteries don’t like to be sat unused, especially in the cold. The number one reason for recovery callouts is a dead battery. To get around this problem, you can remove the battery and store it somewhere warm or you can run a trickle charger to top up the battery levels from time to time. That way, you can enjoy the open road again when the sun returns, complete with all your Summer Motorbike gear without worrying about needing a recovery service.
Look after the liquid
The brake fluid, oil and fuel are just as vulnerable to harsh winter conditions as the rest of your bike. Damp can get into the brake fluid causing air bubbles, requiring a re-bleed come the spring. Fuel degrades as well, affecting the performance and clogging the fuel system. It’s best to brim the tank before storing your bike to help prevent moisture build-up. An oil change before going into storage is also recommended as old oil gathers dirt and sludge when left standing.
Block any holes
When left static for any length of time, air intakes should be blocked with towels or rags. This applies to both the exhaust and the airbox. Not only does this prevent damp damage but also means no small furry critters can make a winter home in your airbox.
When left standing, tyres can suffer if left for a period of time. A way to help avoid this is to just slightly overinflate your tyres before storing, to help them retain their shape. The ideal scenario would be to have both wheels lifted off the ground on a main stand or two paddock stands. If you don’t have access to a stand, laying an old piece of carpet or lifting the wheels onto a couple of wood blocks with also help to protect from contact with a cold, stone floor.