Since it feels like Summer lasted a whole five minutes. However, it’s time to think ahead to the Winter season and how to winter-proof your motorcycle. You need to make sure you’re prepared for the long, dark and cold months ahead. It’s certainly not most motorcyclists favourite time of year to be riding on their bikes.
Some riders keep their motorcycles tucked away for winter in their homes. However, for many, it will still be their daily commute. Whatever you decided to do, it’s important to prepare your motorcycle for winter. Read on to find out how you can winter-proof your motorcycle with Ant on a Slant.
Option 1: Ride the Winter months out.
Riding the winter months is going to require some serious winter-proofing. This is especially true for those who will still need their motorcycle for their daily commute. However, the bad weather doesn’t need to ruin your bike.
Tip 1: Winter-proof your bike by giving it a deep clean
It’s essential to give your bike a proper deep clean if it’s required changing the filter and oil are also important.
Doing services at regular intervals helps to encourage things to run smoothly when the cold front hits. Using WD40 or GT85 as well as a cable oiler is a good way to keep the moisture out after cleaning the bike, not forgetting to wet lube your chain.
Tip 2: Winter-proof your bike from grit corrosion
Protecting your motorcycle from the salt and grit from the roads is essential. You can do this by spraying it with a corrosion inhibitor/protector, an example of a good one to use is the ACF50, note that you should not spray this onto any brakes, handlebars, tyres or footpegs as it is a lubricant as well.
Making sure that you check all the essential components of your motorcycle once you have cleaned, lubricated and protected it from the weather; lights, coolant (ensure that it has antifreeze mixed into it), electrics (frays in cables and burnt out terminals), battery (above 12v), tyres and brake pads.
Tip 3: Replace any worn parts immediately
If you do find that any of the essential components aren’t in as good a condition as they should be, you must replace them immediately, making sure that any other little bits that need a bit of TLC get taken care of as well.
It is in your best interest to prepare now, rather than being stuck on the roadside in the biting cold.
Tip 4: Check your motorcycle battery regularly
Using a voltmeter to check your battery charge or hooking it up to a smart charger is a good way of keeping the battery fully charged. The reason your battery is extra important to keep a regular eye on is that you’re using it to keep heated grips charged and or other heated garments from the motorcycle.
Tip 5: Check the condition of your tyres
Arguably, the most important thing to consider is the condition of the tyres. This is because they’re the only part of the bike that is in contact with the tarmac.
If currently, they’re two-thirds worn you should replace them. Use a set that is more suited for colder/wetter conditions, for example, the Michelin Road Pilot 5’s. Furthermore, make sure that the tyre pressure is at the recommended value before proceeding to ride the bike.
Tip 6: Keep on top of your cleaning regime
Finally, it is very important to keep your motorcycle and its chain clean, be sure to pay extra attention to your brake callipers. Washing the salt and grit off the motorcycle with warm soapy water at least once a month will aid in protecting the pistons and seals from damage. This can save you from having to rebuild the brake callipers in the Spring.
Once you have ensured that all the checks have been carried out with care, you’re all set to ride your motorcycle. Always ride safely. Keep an eye on the condition on the essential components throughout the winter months, be vigilant.
Option 2: keep your motorcycle tucked away until spring arrives
Some people simply put the bike on its side stand and wrap an old bed sheet around it and hope for the best, doing this would result in a 50/50 chance if the bike starting again come springtime as the weather starts to warm up. Is that a chance your willing to take?
Tip 1: Should I remove my motorcycle battery?
Isolating the battery so that it does not drain over time as well as removing all of the petrol from the tank is the bare minimum that is recommended before covering it with a synthetic cover. Motorcycles that are fuel injected will be a stressful mission to do this. You can use an aftermarket fuel stabiliser to fill up the tank and then let it run for a few minutes, doing this ensures that the whole system gets treated fuel.
In order to isolate the battery all you need to do is hook it up with a smart charger (a trickle) this is easier if you have plug sockets in your garage as you need to hook it up to the mains. However, if you don’t have mains electricity in your garage, then carefully remove the battery and use a smart charger to charge it from a plug socket in your home.
If your motorcycle has a lithium-ion battery, all you need to worry about is disconnecting the negative terminal as it will hold its charge for up to a year on its own.
Tip 2: Should I fill up my tank?
By filling up the tank with fresh petrol, it stops any oxidation occurring within the tank; furthermore you won’t have to think to take a jerry can with you to fill up since you’ll be able to simply hop on and go.
Tip 3: Give your bike a deep clean
Some further things you can do to ensure that your motorcycle is kept at its best: thoroughly cleaning your motorcycle before locking it away, removing any built-up muck that can corrode it.
Waxing the paint once its dry is definitely recommended furthermore spray a silicone protectant onto the plastics. If you want to go that extra mile with the cleaning process, then use a clean rag and spray it with an aerosol lubricant and proceed to wipe down any polished metal surfaces to stop any risk of corroding or rust, remember not to lubricate the brake disks!
The chain will also benefit from a good quality lubricant as it is one of the more likely parts to rust over the winter. Use a brush to really work in the degreaser then wash away the dirt and re-lube it with wet chain lube, the more lube, the better. We recommend using the ‘Muc-Off ultimate cleaning kit for this.
Tip 4: Should I empty out the coolant in my bike?
This is entirely dependent on the likely temperature conditions and coolant configuration. Proper coolant should not freeze and crack the coolant hoses however if you use water then you should remove it as the water expands when frozen which may cause cracks in the coolant hoses. Flush it out with an antifreeze/coolant dedicated to motorcycles.
Tip 5: Should I change my engine oil for winter?
If you find that the oil in your motorcycle is somewhat murky or if your due an oil service then drain it out and fill up with some fresh oil. It is important to check your manual to find the correct type of oil for your motorcycle.
Cover the exhaust with plastic bags and use elastic bands to secure them. For the extra mile, remove the spark plugs and spray some fogging oil in order to prevent corrosion within the engine cylinder walls.
Tip 6: Should I change my motorcycle tyles?
If you’re storing your motorcycle for winter, use paddock stands, or a centre stand to raise the front and rear tyres as this helps prevent flat spots and deforming of the tyres.
Tip 7: What Motorcycle cover should I use?
Finally, be sure to use a synthetic motorcycle cover to keep moisture/dust off your motorcycle. Don’t opt for an old cotton bedsheet at cotton attracts moisture and can cause rot.