You spent a lot of money and time on your motorcycle and you want to make sure that it stays in the best condition for as long as possible. To do this, preparing your motorcycle and storing it during winter is something that you need to take care to do in order to keep your motorcycle in the best condition possible. There are specific tools that are required for this task, but these are great investments into ensuring a longer lifespan for your beloved motorcycle and avoiding costly repair bills.
Figuring out Storage
Before you can even prepare your bike for the winter storage, you need to figure out where you are going to store it. It is preferred to store your motorcycle inside a heated location, whether it is inside of your own garage or at some commercial storage location. You may even have a friend with extra space in their garage that is willing to help you out. If not, the dealership where you purchased your motorcycle may offer this service for a fee. If this is not an option, you can store your motorcycle in an unheated garage or shed. If this is also not an option, you can leave it outdoors. Just remember that if you do this, make sure the motorcycle is covered up, and preferably raised of the ground.
The Preparation Stage
You may think that it is an easy process to store your motorcycle. This is not true. In fact, there is a long process that is actually involved with preparing your motorcycle for winter. Here are the steps that you need to take in order to make sure your bike is ready for winter:
Change the oil
Once you have ridden around on your bike for the last time for the riding season, you need to change the oil. This will help ensure that your bike is ready next time you take it out for a ride. In order to change the oil on your bike, you will need to pay close attention to the instructions in your owner’s manual. This manual will have information on the type of oil that is needed, the size of the filter, and any additional information that is relevant. For this step, you need to make sure that you have the following items:
- The right oil filter
- Motor oil
- Socket wrench
- An Oil pan
- A funnel
The owner’s manual is absolutely necessary here. If you do not know how to change the oil, it is a basic process that you can find online.
Wash the motorcycle
Washing your motorcycle before storing it is the best way to ensure that the dirt and grime on the bike will not ruin the finish during its storage in the winter. If you have ridden your bike during autumn and early winter, you may have ridden on roads treated with grit and salt, and therefore effective cleaning is very important. For this step, this is what you need:
- Soap (use a recommended cleaner and not washing up liquid)
- Hose or pressure washer on a low setting
Put the sponge in a bucket that is filled with the soap and water. Use this to clean off all of the dirt and debris from your motorcycle. Then use the hose to rinse it off. Allow the bike to dry off in the warm sun before storing it.
Clean and lubricate your chain
Although maintenance of the chain should be part of the regular maintenance process, cleaning and re-oiling the chain prevents any corrosion forming on the chain while the bike isn’t being used. Also doing this step as part of the winter preparation means that the oil will have less chance of coming off the chain when the bike is ridden again.
Also consider covering the chain with an old rag or cloth to prevent the chain oil coming in to contact with the inside of your bike cover.
Fuel tank and fuel system
Due to the ethanol and detergents in modern fuels, you should consider preparing your fuel tank and fuel system when placing your bike in to winter storage. For more information on fuel, please read the fuel article here.
Putting Your Bike in its Storage Location
If you are placing it in your own storage location, turn off the bike when you get it inside of your garage or shed and let the engine and mufflers cool down before moving onto the next step. If not, drive it to the warm and dry location that you are taking it to and proceed as above with cooling off your bike.
Covering the Exhausts
Exhausts are a place spiders and bugs like to nest, and also exhausts are more susceptible to rust when a bike isn’t being used due to trapped condensation. For this step, you will need:
- Motorcycle exhaust plugs (recommended) OR
- Plastic bags and rubber bands
Place the exhaust plugs in your exhaust. If you do not have this item, which is highly recommended, put a plastic bag over it and use a rubber band to hold it in place.
Connect Your Battery to a Charger
A trickle charger is something that is incredibly useful to you. It will offer a steady stream of current to the battery, which will allow it to stay charged even during its inactivity. While the charger is unplugged, place the red connector on the positive and the black connector on the negative. Then, you can plug in the charger. For this step, you will need:
- A trickle charger
- Electrical outlet
- Your battery
Remember to check and top-up your battery with distilled water if you have an unsealed battery.
Finally, Cover your Bike
After all of this, you can finally cover your bike. This is a necessity when storing your bike outside but it is definitely recommended even for indoor storage.