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Wednesday Edition

Tips For Prepping Your Bike for Storage

from Cycle Trader

By Cycle Traderi and Bandit with photos from Barry Green and the Bob T. Collection

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• Enjoy One Last Ride - This may sound like a no-brainer, but putting the bike away for the season sucks - yeah, we said it. Enjoy one last long ride of the season and savor every moment.

• Prep the Exterior - Before storing your bike, you’ll want to make sure it has had a detailed cleaning. That means breaking out the brushes and sponges to get into those hard-to-reach areas of the bike. You don’t want mud, or who knows what else, to tarnish or corrode the finish. When you’re finished washing your bike, you’ll also want to make sure that you dry the bike thoroughly, and throw on a fresh coat of wax so you can avoid rusting.

Try to eliminate any mud or rust build-up. It will only expand during the winter season. Cover your bike.

• Fill Up Those Fluids - You’ll want to make sure after your last ride of the season you’ve filled up your gas tank completely. A half-empty tank can cause major issues in the long run - including rusting. You’ll also want to treat your fuel with a good fuel stabilizer before storage as well. Last but not least, make sure to check your antifreeze levels.

This may sound odd, but an empty tank, unless completely flushed is more dangerous. It’s like a bomb.

• Change the Oil - Even if your winter season doesn’t last very long, it’s still important to change your oil before any type of storage. Dirty oil can increase your chance of corrosion, which can lead to engine wear. So, run your bike until the engine warms, then drain the old oil, change the filter, and refill it with fresh oil. Once spring rolls around, you’ll already be ready for your first ride.

• Lubricate Moving Parts - Keep the moving parts of your bike lubricated during the winter months to avoid rusting or binding. Any basic chain lubricant from PepBoys or somewhere similar should do the trick.

• Battery Protection - We recommend removing your battery before winter storage to avoid any damage the cold could cause or parasitic drain which will kill most battery in a couple of weeks. If your bike has a security system, keyless ignition, or most any electronics, it is draining the battery even with the ignition turned off and the key removed.

We also suggest investing in a trickle charger that will provide a low, steady stream of electricity to your battery, which will allow it to stay charged during long periods of inactivity. It is still best to remove the battery for long stretches. Think about it. If your battery is constantly under a slight load then the battery charger is working. For no good reason you’re paying for the additional power to your home, and wear and tear on the battery, plus it’s a fire hazard.

Pop the battery out of the bike, charge it and leave it until you’re ready to ride again. Then charge it once more and put it back in the bike.

• Don’t Forget Your Tires - Tires can be easy to forget when it comes to storage, but they are important to protect through the winter. Grab a motorcycle stand to put your bike on so you can keep your tires off of the ground to avoid flat spots. If you can’t invest in a motorcycle stand, we suggest rolling your bike around slightly every couple of weeks.

It will also be necessary to check the pressure from time to time, if you can’t elevate the tires. Just sitting, a lot of tires will seep air and damage the sidewalls.

• Cover Your Ride or Find Shelter - If at all possible, the ideal place to put your bike in hibernation is in a heated garage or storage facility. If that’s not an option, an unheated garage or shed will work. Avoid leaving your bike out in the elements if you can, but if this is unavoidable and you have to park in the street, invest in a high-quality cover for your bike - you won’t regret it.

There are several ways to deal with humid or wet conditions. Marine stores carry safe heat bars. They keep the moisture down inside a boat or a garage. There are other ways such as an open coffee can full of rice or an absorbent material.

Don’t forget to secure your bike with a chain, cable lock, and security system or alarm system. If you use a chain you might run it through an old innertube or something to protect it from damaging your paint or chrome.

One more shop tip. If you are parking any vehicle for an extended period make sure you have flow around it. You don’t want to bang into, run into, open the door against your pride and joy. Make sure there’s a lane around your puppy.

--Cycle Trade


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