Winter storage: 6 tips to prepare your bike

6 tips to get your motorcycle ready for winter storage

Unfortunately, everything comes to an end, and so does the 2022 motorcycle season. And before the hardy riders shoot out of their tights, we don't mean you, of course. Although, of course, you may well put your beloved summer two-wheeler in its stable and whip out the brine iron. This blog is for all motorcyclists who are putting their motorcycles into winter storage for the first time this year. But also, for experienced riders who may be forgetting something.

#1 Put the motorcycle inside for winter storage

The most important thing about winter storage is that your motorcycle is dry and protected from extreme cold and weather. Therefore, it is best to put your motorcycle inside. In the shed, garage or just the living room. (And yes men, there really are women who prefer to put their bikes in the middle of the living room during the winter). 

Not everyone has a shed, garage or living room at their disposal, of course. But that doesn't have to be a disaster. Several parties offer winter storage including dealerships. Many dealers offer a pick-up and drop-off service whereby the motorcycle is returned in the spring with the correct tire pressure and a full battery. And of course, you can also choose to rent a storage box to keep your motorcycle warm and dry during the winter. 

If even that is not an option, of course, try to store the motorcycle as sheltered as possible and still follow as many of the above steps as possible.

#2 A good cleaning before it goes into winter storage

Your motorcycle is precious to you, especially if you have a café racer, so put it away nice and clean. This not only saves you from having to clean it in the spring when you prefer to get on and ride away. It also prevents dirt (or brine) from staying on the bike, which can corrode it. Give some extra attention to the fork legs and dry them after washing to prevent corrosion. Which is disastrous for your seals. Finally, you can protect the motorcycle with a layer of silicone spray, but make sure it does not get on the tires and brake disks. Otherwise, the first turns and traffic lights of spring will be a very exciting affair.

#3 Put it away with a full tank

Of course, it's nice when you can literally get up and drive away from spring without having to think about the fact that you still need to fill up. But putting the motorcycle away with a full tank is especially important to prevent condensation from forming. In fact, condensation in the tank can cause quite a bit of rust which can cause a lot of problems. 

It is best to use premium E5 (Euro 98) gasoline with a low Ethanol content. The more Ethanol in fuel, the more it attacks rubber and aluminum alloys. In addition, Ethanol also attracts moisture, which can cause rust in your tank and cause the gasoline to age quickly. If you do use E10, always add a fuel stabilizer for E10 fuel (you can also use this stabilizer in E5 gasoline, by the way). 

If you have an engine block with carburetors, it is also wise to drain the float trays when preparing them for winter storage. This prevents clogged nozzles due to deposits in the float trays.

#4 Remove the battery

It is best to hang your battery on the trickle charger once a month. When the bike is heated, you don't need to remove the battery. If it gets really cold where your bike is, it is best to keep the battery inside until spring. This way you keep the battery healthy and avoid standing on the terrace (or in my case the jumbo) in the spring with a broken battery.

#5 Prevent flat spots

Preventing flat spots in the motorcycle tire can be done in several ways. Most motorcycles are put away on the center stand, this takes the weight off the tires to prevent a flat spot. But then, of course, you must have a center stand. 

If you don't have one, you can choose to rotate the tires regularly, but that still remains a risk. Another option is to increase the tire pressure by half a bar. Just make sure you return the tires to the correct pressure when you take the motorcycle out of winter storage. 

#6 Cover the motorcycle during winter storage

The last step to really get your motorcycle ready for its winter hibernation is to cover it with a motorcycle cover. You have a variety of indoor and outdoor motorcycle covers. I must admit that I have always used outdoor covers. These also ventilate and are a bit thicker. This protects me a little better than a thin indoor cover when I let something fall out of my hands. Even though I try to take the best precautions when storing my café racer, I am a clumsy arse with a natural talent for dropping things. So I prefer to give by BMW K100 café racer a bit of winter padding just to avoid crying over my ow stupidity later.

Winter storage preparations in short

  • Bring your motorcycle inside
  • Give it a good cleaning
  • Make sure the tank is filled and prepped with a fuel stabiliser
  • Take out the battery
  • Prevent flat sports in the tires
  • Cover it with a motorcycle cover or blanket

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