Preparing your motorbike for winter
When the cold nights draw in and winter’s icy grip takes hold, most motorbike riders in the UK put their bike into hibernation.
With roads treacherous when snow and cold rain rolls in, it’s understandable why many riders shun two wheels, but despite winter storage being a common practice, many riders get it wrong.
Putting your bike in storage requires lots of preparation and if you get it wrong, your bike can suffer. We’ve pulled together this list of top tips to keep your bike safe and sound over winter.
Where should I store it?
Unsurprisingly, anywhere indoors is the answer to this one however you should also go for somewhere clean and dry, too. This will prevent moisture getting at your bike and causing any damage.
Also try to keep your bike away from windows and sunlight. This should not only deter thieves but it will also stop your paintwork from fading, as it would if you were to leave it in direct sunlight for a prolonged period of time.
Once you’ve finished your last ride you should thoroughly clean your bike, focusing on metal parts and linkages. This will ensure any salt or dirt accumulated will not fester over its time in storage. You should however ensure that the bike is completely dry once you have finished.
Waxes and anti-corrosive polishes are also advisable, in case any moisture gets under your bike’s cover.
Wrap it up
Bike covers are effective measures to keep your bike not just safe, but secure, too. Covers will hide your motorbike from any would be thieves and it will also prevent animals and creatures from taking up residence in your vehicle.
The cover you pick should be breathable. If it’s not you will trap moisture inside, which is not a good thing.
Your fuel system
If your bike is likely to be in storage for a few months, it’s worth completely draining your bike’s fuel system. This will prevent blockages within the system that will occur over time as fuel sits unused.
If your bike is only going to be stored for weeks rather than months, it’s worth using fuel stabiliser products – these help preserve fuel for future use.
Flat batteries are common when leaving your bike in storage and there are two options available to you.
First is to completely remove the battery and store it in a dry place. Second are trickle chargers, which will help to keep your battery’s charge topped up while it’s not in use.
Brake fluid absorbs moisture and if it’s left in the system over a long period of time this water will damage pipes and tubes. You should change the brake fluid before storing – the same applies to clutch fluid.
Keep it dry
Cleaning will take up a lot of time when it comes to getting your bike ready for winter, however almost as important is drying it.
Rust is one of the big concerns for any motorbike owner storing their bike over winter and nothing brings rust on like water and moisture. Dry your bike thoroughly, including around the forks and metal parts.
Brake pads can bond with discs if they’re left unused. When storing your bike it’s advisable to place a piece of cardboard between the pads and the discs to stop them from sticking.
Exhausts rust notoriously quickly so you should make sure it is completely dry and use products like WD-40 to stop moisture getting to it.