If you’re putting your bike away this winter, making sure it’s done correctly will make your life easier when spring rolls back around and you get out to ride once again.
Where to store your bike
When it comes to storing your motorbike or moped over winter, the first thing you will need to consider is where you’re going to keep it. There are a few options for storing your bike, from garage to garden and driveway storage solutions.
Indoor storage in a garage is the best way to keep your bike protected in the colder months. Not only are garages a great way of keeping your machine away from the elements, but storing your bike in a garage is one way to keep your bike safe from thieves.
If you don’t have an indoor storage option, there are still plenty of ways to keep your bike protected and secure. If you have a garden, there are some great alternatives from ordinary sheds to purpose-designed steel motorcycle storage sheds such as Asgard, that you can pop up in the winter or use all year round.
If you tend to park your bike outside your home, there are also options for keeping your bike away from the elements. Investing in a quality waterproof cover is the best bet if you absolutely cannot find space off the road.
Start with a deep clean
No matter how long you’re planning to store your machine for, the first thing you’ll want to do is give it a deep clean. There’s nothing worse than uncovering a dirty bike when you’re eager to get on the road. Once your bike is squeaky clean, you also want to make sure you dry it well - a puddle of water on a stored motorcycle is a recipe for rust!
For our tips for making your bike shine, see our Step by Step Guide to Cleaning your Motorcycle or Moped.
Maintenance tasks and oil changes
Once your machine is clean and sparkling, now is a good time to complete those maintenance tasks you’ve probably been putting off. Whether it’s replacing the tyres, changing the oil, or checking your spark plugs, take care of those neglected jobs. Not only does this ensure your bike will be in the best shape for storing, but it also means you’ll be ready to get back out there as soon as the temperatures rise again.
If you don't know where to start with motorcycle maintenance, head over to our new season motorcycle maintenance guide!
Lift it off the ground
When storing your bike for long periods, it’s a good idea to raise it off the ground. If a bike is left on the ground during storage it can cause flat spots in the tyres, meaning you’ll need to replace them before setting off when the weather warms up. A great option for this is to use motorcycle lifts and workbenches, which can also come in handy for those interested in tinkering and motorcycle maintenance.
If you don’t have a motorcycle lift and don’t feel like investing, there are still options available to prevent damage to your tyres. The simplest option is to slightly over-inflate your tyres to help them keep their shape, but make sure to not exceed the limitations of your tyres. If you opt for this solution you will need to move the bike every few weeks, or flat spots may still be a problem. Just remember to return them to the correct pressures in spring!
Keep it covered
Whether you’re storing your bike inside or outside, we would recommend putting a cover over it. If it’s outside, you’ll want to invest in a quality waterproof cover, as mentioned above. If you’re storing in a garage, feel free to cover with whatever you like - providing it won’t scratch the metalwork. Anything from old blankets to duvets. The main thing is to keep the chill away as much as possible while storing.
No matter how hard you try, condensation will find a way to your bike - even in the very best garages. You can reduce the risk of this by simply spraying on some corrosion control or water dispersing oil (such as ACF-50 or WD40). Spray onto areas such as engine cases to prevent rusting, while avoiding the brake discs and calipers. If you need to protect your wheels, you can spray the oil onto a cloth before wiping on the wheels, avoiding the brakes.
Trickle charge the battery
If there’s one thing batteries don’t like, it’s the cold. And if there’s one thing we strongly dislike, it’s when we go to start our bikes to then realise the battery is flat. To keep your battery from draining over winter you have two options.
Firstly, you might choose to completely remove the battery and store it in a warmer place in your home. This is great for stopping the battery from suffering as it would out in the cold. There are a few issues with this method, however. As you will need to start the engine every few weeks, you will need to keep replacing the battery when this is required. And it’s likely you will still need to recharge the battery periodically.
The second option, and our recommendation, is to use a trickle charger such as the Optimate to keep your battery topped up while it’s connected to your bike. These are relatively inexpensive and means you don’t have to worry about disconnecting and reconnecting the battery.
Fill up the tank
Unless you’re looking to store your bike for longer than 3 months, we recommend filling up the tank while it’s hibernating for winter. Filling up the tank will prevent it from rusting on the inside. However, it’s important to bear in mind that petrol loses its octane over time, meaning the remaining fuel has a higher density and can block your injectors. To keep this from happening, simply run the bike's motor every few weeks.
Block any holes
It’s common for mice to use your bike while you’re not. Your motorcycle’s air filter is the perfect space for small rodents to hibernate for the winter. Keep your machine rodent-free by blocking up any holes, such as the airbox intake scoops and exhaust pipes.
Make sure you don’t forget you’ve stuffed these holes though! As you’ll be running the engine every few weeks, you’ll want to make sure to unblock these areas before you do. You might want to leave yourself a note as a reminder.
Lock up your bike
Whether you’re keeping your bike in a garage or outside, we would always recommend securing it with multiple locks. Winter is a prime time for opportunist thieves, especially if you’re working away from home. For more tips and advice on bike security this winter see our tips for keeping your bike safe from thieves.
Remember what you’ve done
If you’ve blocked up the holes on your bike, removed the battery and overinflated your tyres for winter storage, you’ll want to make sure you reverse those changes when it comes to riding season. Keeping a note of what you’ve done will ensure you don’t forget to unplug holes, check your tyre pressures and generally prepare for getting back on the road.
When you are ready to jump back on the back of your bike take a look at our preparing your bike for riding season checklist.
Consider keeping your bike on the road
If you’d prefer to keep riding this winter, there’s no reason why you can’t. But it’s important to prepare yourself for a slightly different ride. To help you out, we have an article outlining how to prepare your bike for winter and some tips on the best winter motorcycle gear.
Long term storage
At times, you might feel the need to store your motorcycle for longer periods. If this is the case, you would want to look at long-term bike-preservation tactics. If your bike is going to be stored for a year or longer, it’s important that you keep it insured. We offer laid-up motorcycle insurance to cover you at times like these.
Whether you are an all-weather or fair-weather biker, it is incredibly important to maintain and store your motorcycle well during the winter period, and we hope you’ve found this advice helpful. If you have any questions or recommendations about how you’re storing your bike this winter, let us know in the comments below. We’d love to know other people's valuable tips and tricks for their own bikes!
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