How preparing your motorcycle for winter avoids nasty surprises
Winter is coming, and we need to look out for our bikes. Few people will want to ride in icy cold weather and snow-lain streets. It is a time when most of the UK’s motorbikes go into hibernation and require extra maintenance to brave the streets. Preparing your motorcycle for winter, even if it means storing it away, has to be done correctly. You don’t want to be wasting sunny days tinkering away at your bike. So, here’s a winter guide for those who want to rest their bikes and those who want to ride anyway.
Being mindful of the battery health
The cold weather and your bike’s battery don’t get along so well. If you are prepping your bike for winter storage, remove the battery and store it in a warm, dry place or trickle charge. A trickle charger enables your battery to remain charged for long periods of inactivity with a low and steady stream of electricity. Your battery must maintain a resting voltage of 12.6v.
When the roads turn into slush, your tyres need a good tread depth for safer riding. If your tyres have worn out, replace them with new ones, or get silica-based sporting ones. They should also be inflated well before riding because colder temperatures reduce tyre pressure and under-inflated tyres are no good at gripping. For bikes that have to idle away for prolonged periods, their tyres will develop flat spots by losing air through the pores and being weighed down in one position for too long. It is where paddock stands come to the rescue. They keep your bike’s weight off its tyres.
Petrol loses its octane over time and turns into oxidised fuel with impurities and deposits from the chemical changes oil goes through. It causes engine corrosion and fuel tank varnishing. Before putting your bike in storage, drain all the oil from the tank. However, a topped-up tank can stave off rust. You can refill the tank with new fuel and drain it off every month. If you are only letting your bike sit for weeks and not months, add a fuel stabiliser. After adding the stabiliser, fire up the engine and let it run for a few minutes to allow the stabilised fuel to reach all areas of the fuel system.
Used engine oil too can be corrosive if left to sit for a long time. Drain the old oil and refill with fresh oil before you store your motorcycle. Replace the oil filter to avoid damage from harmful carbon deposits.
Darker winter months need maximum performance from your bike lights. Clean them to remove dust and grime. Adjust headlights for optimum main beam and dip. If you’re considering front fog lights or LED indicators, make sure these are high-performing ones.
Properly covering the bike when storing
It is important to protect your bike from damp and tiny creatures looking to nest when storing it away. Choose a breathable bike cover that does not trap moisture inside. Block all air intakes with rags. Spray a light oil or anti-corrosive to the exhaust ends and drain holes to protect it from corrosion.
Thoroughly cleaning and drying before storage
To prepare your bike for storage, cleaning the bike should be the first step. Wash off the dirt and clean the grime. Use anti-corrosive polishes, sprays, and dispersants on the metal parts. Lubricate the chain, sprockets, cables, and linkages stripped of lubricants during cleaning. Dry it thoroughly, wiping away any moisture. Make sure your bike is dry before covering it.
Allocate an appropriate place for storage
Somewhere indoors, such as a garage or shed, is the best place to store your bike in winter. Just make sure you can lock it securely, and it is dry.
Winter can be harsh for any vehicle, and they require proper maintenance to run or store them safely. We hope these tips will keep your bike in top condition, so when spring and summer come, you will have a ready bike rearing to go. Shop for a range of electric and petrol dirt bikes and pit bikes from Mini Bikes Off Road.