Winter Storage

With the Long summer days becoming a distant memory and the Winter season rapidly approaching it would be a prudent man, or woman, who will be considering the task ahead, Winter Motorcycle Storage. There is nothing more simpler than to put your Motorcycle under a blanket, turn the fuel off and hope for the best. We have all been there and paid the penalty; flat battery, flat tyres, the chain has gone inexplicably tight and the bike won’t start. A little preparation will go a long way to save a lot of money and time.

Before you take your motorcycle off the road thoroughly check it over making sure that all the electrics work (including Headlight, indicators, brake lights,horn etc), tyres and pressures are correct and are within legal limits (Motorcycle tyres require a minimum tread depth of 1 mm and mopeds require a visible tread), fluid levels (eg oil, coolant, brake fluid etc) are within parameters, brake pads are in good condition, sprockets and drive chain are lubed and aren’t too loose or too tight and your motorcycle is mechanically sound which will give peace of mind at the beginning of the next riding season.

On what will be your last day of riding fill your tank with fuel, the reasoning being that; the inside of the tank is less susceptible to corrosion, the fuel doesn’t go off as quick (because there is a smaller air gap) and your bike won’t need filling up on the first day of good riding weather. Turn your fuel if possible; to the off position (for gravity fed carburettors; the positions are generally On, Off and Reserve), to the On position if it is a vacuum tap (these tap positions are generally On, Reserve and Prime) and some fuel injected bikes can be turned Off or disconnected under the fuel tank, and if possible disconnect the fuel supply to the carburettors and temporary blank the carburettor inlet fuel pipes for long term storage.

Wash and clean your bike down prior to winter storage to remove any road dirt and grime, which would start the corrosion process, and apply a good corrosion protector ideally ACF50 but WD40, Silkolene All In One or GT85 will suffice. A final clean and generous lubrication of the chain, an application of grease on the fork stantchions, nuts and bolts (Wurth dry chain Lube is ideal, as it is in spray form, clear and has proved to be extremely good at protecting metal surfaces) which will keep the affects of moisture away for the duration of its storage.If it is possible, try to keep both wheels off the floor ideally with a centre stand, if fitted, so that the wheels can be turned regularly preventing tight spots in the drive chain, will maintain better tyre pressure and which will inhibit corrosion on the discs, caused by moisture forming between the brake pad friction material and the disc rotors (if you are mechanically minded push the brake pads back so they are not in contact with the discs).

Don’t leave your motorcycle on paddock stands, unless stated it is safe to do so by the manufacturer, as they are liable to be knocked or fall over. Keeping your battery in tip top condition is imperative especially if it has a motorcycle alarm which can be easily charged using an ‘intelligent battery charger’ such as an Optimate Charger which is easily fitted, won’t need the seat or panels to be removed constantly and will keep your battery at its optimum performance level. Alternatively the battery could be removed and charged in a warmer environment where it is less susceptible to the cold and damp. If you have a traditional lead acid battery, check and adjust the acid level before storage and then periodically throughout the year (you can see the acid level in the battery through the opaque plastic casing).

A top tip for winterising or for long term storing your bike is to check that all the locks work correctly (tank, seat and ignition), lightly grease the key when testing the locks and cover the ignition lock with a suitable bottle top to stop water ingress (you may have to raid the food pantry; a soya sauce bottle lid is a perfect fit over a Suzuki ignition barrell). Finally physically lock your motorcycle witha chain, ground anchor and make it as difficult as you can for a thief, and put the keys somewhere safe; there is no point in spending this much time on your motorcycle and coming back in early spring to find that your love and joy has gone.

Whilst on the subject of Motorcycle storage don’t forget your clothing and helmet; a good wash, feeding or re-waterproofing will all pay dividends for the new riding season. Check that your helmet is safe, the visor is clean and the inside can be cleaned with a good helmet sanitiser such as the Shift-It Helmet sanitiser which will leave it cleaner and more hygienic ready for the new season. Your gloves, which may begin to humm through the summer months, can be put into a sealed bag and put into the freezer overnight, which will kill the bacteria the cause of bad smells, before feeding or waterproofing. Lastly don’t forget your documentation is up to scratch and make a note of the renewal dates e.g Mot, Tax or Sorn, insurance and Driving Licence etc.