Getting Your Motorcycle Ready for Winter
1.Give it a final wash & clean
Letting squashed bugs or rain spots sit on your paint and chrome can corrode the finish. Wash your bike and dry it completely to get all the moisture off the surfaces, then add a coat of wax, which will act as a barrier against moisture and rust.
2.Tend to your Battery
Out of sight, out of mind. Your battery is a vital part of your motorcycle. While you may not think about it much, you’ll quickly become aware of it when it’s not functioning properly. Proper maintenance and storage will help you get the longest possible service life from this critical and costly part of your bike.
Check the battery fluid level. (This step applies only if you have a lead acid battery with the screw-on type caps on top.) Low battery acid causes sulfation that can lead to a short between the internal plates. This is a common failure for this type of battery, and it’s the result of neglect. If you never check the fluid level until there’s a problem, by that time, it’s usually too late to restore the battery.
Maintenance-free batteries are not exactly as the name suggests. While the fluid level of this battery cannot be adjusted because it is sealed, these batteries still require upkeep in the off-season. Warm storage and periodic charging will provide you with the longest service life from your battery.
All the bikes at Skeleton Towers are fitted with Optimate battery tenders, which are plugged in every time after a ride. They’re a small investment for real peace of mind.
3. Fill up your petrol tank.
A half-empty petrol tank can create major, expensive issues over the course of time. A full tank helps prevent rust from forming inside it
Fuel can degrade too, for a couple of reasons. One being the octane level reduces over time, which will affect performance, the other being that while standing, fuel can gum up and clog the system. Use special additives such as Silkolene Pro FST to help prevent this.
After using the additive, be sure to take your bike for a short ride after adding the product, to get the treatment completely into the fuel system before storing the bike.
Carbureted motorcycles need special consideration, even if the fuel is properly treated. Carburetors vent directly to the atmosphere, which means that the fuel left in them will evaporate, leaving behind a thin film that will restrict the flow of fuel through the small jets and other fuel passages. The best preparation for carbureted systems is to run fuel treatment into the system, switch the petcock to the “off” position (if it’s not a vacuum unit), and then drain the carburetors. For vacuum petcock systems, you only need to drain the carburetors.
4. Check your brake fluids.
Brake fluids attract damp, which can create air bubbles in the system. Some owners strap the brake lever to the bar to keep bubbles out of the brake system, but this can damage the seals. Better to be aware of the problem, and re-bleed the system come spring.
Your machine’s tyres can suffer if left stationary over prolonged periods, but you can avoid this. Tyres are porous & will loose air whilst being stored. A soft or flat tyre can develop a permanent flat spot if left weighted in one position for an extended period of time.
Slightly over inflating your tyres will help them keep their shape.
Ideally both wheels should be lifted off the ground by either using the bike’s main stand, two paddock stands or a motorcycle lift.
If this isn’t possible, put a piece of old carpet under the bike, or blocks of wood under each wheel to prevent contact with the cold floor. You should also periodically rotate each wheel slightly to prevent deformation.
6. Cover it up
If the bike is going to be static for any significant length of time, we’d recommend blocking the holes your exhaust. Left exposed they’re a potential winter holiday home for small rodents. Air filters are another favourite nesting location. Word of warning, if using polythene bags to cover the holes, don’t forget to remove them before your first run of the season.
A properly fitting motorcycle cover provides both outdoor and indoor protection. Indoors, it will protect your bike’s paint and body from abrasive dust as well as minor impacts that can occur when a bike is in storage. It will also keep moisture out so it doesn’t get trapped underneath and create corrosion or rust.
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