The impact of lockdown restrictions, either regional or national, plus the increase in working from home, riders are more likely to be storing their bike away for longer over winter. Below are some of our top tips to make sure you store your bike the proper way.
However, if you are going to be riding, make sure you check out some of our other expert tips for motorcyclists:
1. Wash your bike
Sounds obvious, but after that last ride before hibernation, give your bike a really thorough wash. You don’t want to risk any water or salt eating away at the metal. And a clean bike is something that can be admired, whether you're in the garage or out riding.
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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.
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.
You can find all our Bennetts BikeSocial reviews on corrosion protectant products here.
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.
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.
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Your motorbike insurance covers you for more than riding, so even if you are off the road for longer than expected you shouldn't cancel it. 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, and comprehensive policies will cover your bike if it is stolen or damaged by fire, accidental or malicious damage, with Third Party Fire & Theft (TPFT) policies covering if your bike is stolen or damaged by fire.
At Bennetts, we will search our panel of insurers to find you our best price for the cover you need. Get a quote direct with us today.
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.