WINTER STORAGE – Store that motorcycle right!
I grew up in the lumbercamp country of Northern Canada where winters were long, brutal and just plain nasty.
As kids, we basically froze our asses off most days from October to May. To make matters worse, we could not ride motorcycles for that whole period…Yes, I hated winter in Canada and it hated me. I therefore set my sights, lazer-beam style, on southern California and got here “legally” at the age of 33…been riding 360-days a year long ever since…There is a God!
For those of you riding and racing your motorcycles on ice this winter, you can ignore this post.
The rest of you bikers bound by ice, snow and sleet, I suggest you read this post and follow the storage tips my brother and I learned during those long, cold and dark Canadian winters.
Winterizing your motorcycle is an important part of your overall maintenance plan. Read on…
1. Clean your bike. Lubricate metal surfaces.
Dirt will begin to corrode and damage metal surfaces if left on your bike for long periods of time. Make sure to clean your bike before putting it in storage.
Have a chain? Lubricate it. Lubricate all moving parts such as cables. Make sure you also lubricate the underside of the frame and engine. This will take care of any rust exposed by scratches.
2. Check your tires. Prepare them for storage.
Prepare your tires by taking out any moisture that may be in them. Simply deflate your tires and then inflate them with clean compressed air. It helps if you have your own compressor.
If at all possible, consider elevating your bike so both tires are not under any load. Use blocks under the frame instead of bottle jacks or motorcycle lift. Lifts and jacks have been known to lose pressure and fail under prolonged period of load time. Double-check your bike to make sure it is secure.
3. Change your oil and add a quality fuel stabilizer.
This step is really important. Residual fuel and contamitants in the gas and oil can oxidize over the winter months and ruin your engine prematurely.
Change your oil to remove all the dirt and particles. Put in a good fuel stabilizer and run it through your engine for about 10 minutes.
4. Prep the battery. Get a good charger.
I recommend disconnecting and removing your battery from your bike for the winter. Clean the battery cables and battery post connections. Once cleaned, put a fine film of grease on the posts to seal and protect them. Simply remove the grease next spring.
Double-check your battery for cracks and damage. I like battery tenders since they don’t overcharge your battery. Simply hook up a specialized and quality battery charger and let it do its thing all winter long.
Note – I was introduced to the CTEK Charger brand by Valerie Thompson Racing while at Bonneville 2011 Speed Week. I don’t always buy new battery chargers but I did once I found out how fine and solid these chargers really are. Top quality product for sure.
5. Park it and Cover It.
The type of cover you use to protect your motorcycle while it is in storage matters. You’ll want to select a mildew resistant cover.
Also, it’s a good idea to cover the openings of your exhaust pipes unless you want to deal with rodent nests in the spring. This actually happened to me one winter while my bike was stored in an outdoor shed. It was quite the furry blowout when the bike was first started in the spring. Scared the hell out of them little chipmunks.
6. Review your insurance policy.
Some insurance companies offer reduced rates for motorcycles that are stored during the winter months. Check with your insurance agent for specific details.
Collision coverage can make up anywhere from 22% to 35% of your annual premium so savings can be significant. You can delete the collision coverage if you feel that your bike is stored in a very safe location and is surely not to be exposed to the possibility of any collision.(i.e. your teenager running their car into your bike while stored in the garage.) This is not an option for everyone but sure is worth considering.
7. Spring Time Will Come Again. 🙂
Gearing down for winter can be an emotional experience for bikers who live in cold climates. I use to actually get depressed not being able to ride free for seven months a year. Spring time is always around the corner they say. Protect your motorcycle right and it will be ready for that first ride in the spring.
Special Note: Please inspect your motorcycle before that first ride. Look for any loose wires, bolts, connections and mechanical problems before starting your bike. Double check tire pressure. Review any notes you may of made before putting your bike up for the winter.
Finally, check your leathers, gloves and helmet. Polish that baby and ride off knowing that your bike is ready for the summer riding season.
There you have it. A perfectly stored motorcycle.
If you live in the cold, wintery parts of this world, you gotta follow the motorcycle storage suggestions above. Me, I live in sunny southern California so I’m riding this weekend…
Ride Safe Out There.
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