Riding a motorcycle in the conditions that winter inevitably brings can be tricky, and doing the jobs on your bike to deal with the winter salt and dirt can take up valuable time. If you are venturing out, make sure you check out our winter motorcycling page. If that’s not for you, make sure you store your bike the proper way. Here’s our top tips to storing your bike over winter.
Batteries hate the cold, which is why winter is such a busy period for recovery services. You can either choose to totally remove the battery from the bike or simply install a connector to the terminals and use a trickle charger to keep it topped up. If it’s 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.
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Exhausts and silencers can start to corrode quite quickly when a bike is not being used so make sure they are properly protected for winter. Before putting your bike away just after final use, (when cool enough to touch) spray a light oil or better still, a specific corrosion protectant such as ACF-50, XCP Rust Blocker, SDoc 100 Corrosion Protectant, ACS TC200 or Scottoiler FS365 into the ends and drain holes, then cover with an open weave cloth or rag to let it breathe.
Condensation in the air always finds 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) and let it get up to temperature. A good tip is to let it tick over until the fan kicks in, that is more than warm enough. Remember to allow the bike to cool before re-applying corrosion protectants and covering it up again.
There are two schools of thought 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. 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.
Did you know, around 80 motorcycles are stolen each day and less than a third will ever be re-united with their owners?* If your bike’s not being used for a while, it’s vulnerable. Fit a good lock (preferably with a ground anchor) and, ideally, an immobilizer/alarm. Check out the series of tests BikeSocial carried out on the top products on the market to see which one may be best suited to you.
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. It’s better to be safe than sorry and stay insured. We will search our panel of insurers to find you our best price for your motorbike with the cover that meets your needs. Click to get a quote here.
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 jobs that you never get around to doing in summer.
If winter proves just too long and you have the urge to get back on two wheels, make sure you check out our winter motorcycling tips on winter riding and winter bike maintenance.