Riding in winter can be great, and if we haven’t already convinced you of that then you're the one missing out. But, if we really can’t convince you to ride in winter then we're here to help make sure you store your bike the proper way.
The truth is winter salt will do its best to eat your bike alive and turn all its fasteners furrier than a Yeti’s bellybutton. Black ice and freezing rain can make driving conditions hazardous to say the least. Yep, when there is a foot of snow outside sometimes it is better to simply admit defeat and store your pride and joy somewhere safe. But what is the best way of ensuring your bike survives winter and more importantly will start again in summer? Bennetts Bike Social reveals its top ten tips to storing our bike over winter.
1. Get it off the ground
Tyres don’t like to be left with all the bike’s weight on them for a long period of time as this can cause flat spots so if possible suspend your bike off the ground on paddock stands. If this isn’t possible put a layer of old carpet between the tyre and the cold concrete floor of the garage and remember to rotate the wheels every few weeks.
2. Trickle charge
Batteries hate the cold, which is why winter is such a busy period for recovery services. You can either chose to totally remove the battery from the bike or simply install a connector to the terminals and a trickle charger to keep it topped up. If possible go for the trickle option as it means you don’t have to break out the tools every few weeks when you want to start the bike.
3. Start me up
Condensation in the air can find its way into the exhaust pipe, causing it to rot from the inside out, so it is always a good idea to start the bike and give it a good warm up every few weeks. You don’t have to take it out of your garage, just ensure there is good ventilation so you don’t gas yourself and let it get up to temperature. A good tip it to let it tick over until the fan kicks in, that is more than warm enough. Remember to allow the bike to cool before covering it up again, blankets melt onto hot exhausts leaving a horrible mess that is a nightmare to remove!
4. Top up
There are two schools of though when it comes to petrol tanks – full or empty. A full tank will prevent the inside of the tank rusting over winter however some insist that it is better to drain it completely. Bennetts Biker social reckons a full tank is the best option as long as you start the bike regularly. Modern petrol quickly loses its octane and leaves a gunky mess that can block injectors or carbs if you don’t flush it through by starting the bike up. If you are running the bike’s motor every few weeks you will be fine.
5. Block the holes!
First of all write a big note saying ‘holes blocked’ and put it on the key or ignition barrel, somewhere you can’t miss it. Right, this done now insert some cloth into areas such as the airbox intake scoops and exhaust pipe. Mice love setting up a winter hibernation home in airboxes and sucking a sleeping Mickey into your motor isn’t conclusive for smooth running…. Neither is sucking in a cloth, hence the warning note!!!
Water dispersing oil (WD40 or a similar product) works wonders when it comes to protecting the finish on engine cases or vulnerable parts. Apply it liberally using the can’s spray function to areas that need protecting but be very careful to avoid the brake discs and calipers. Spray a bit onto a cloth and wipe it over the wheels and chain rather than standing back and blasting the oil at the discs. Don’t worry about the smell as it burns off when you start the bike, after a while you will come to enjoy it…
7. Cover up
There is no need to splash out on fancy bike covers, simply get a load of old blankets, curtains, duvets or rugs from the spare room (check you have permission from an adult first!) or a charity shop to keep your bike toasty over winter. Watch out for buttons or any scratchy items on the covers, these can damage paintwork when you pull them on and off.
8. Insure it!
Just because your bike is off the road doesn’t mean you can cancel your insurance. Thieves are still active at winter and the cold weather can cause roofs to fail and there is always the chance Father Christmas may knock a box over onto your tank. For the sake of a few quid it is better to be safe than sorry.
9. Top up tyres
It’s not a bad idea to slightly over-inflate your tyres over winter to help them keep their shape. This is an especially good thing to do should you be storing the bike with its wheels on the ground. Just remember to return them to the correct pressures in summer.
10. Do those jobs you have never got around to…
Finally, remember that spare key you have been meaning to get cut? That hugger you have thought would be a good idea to invest in? The taller screen to make the commute easier? Now the bike is off the road it is a great time to do those silly jobs that you never get around to doing in summer. Search auction sites for a new fairing panel to get rid of that scratched one, look out a good pair of rearsets at a bargain price or simply just sit on the sofa with the dog and watch some great biking movies to get your two-wheeled fix.