It is finally getting cold; it is as if the weather gods have suddenly woken up and realized that they have accidently let the warm weather continue for too long and are now hell bent on making up for it. One day it was 16°c and the next morning it was freezing, and more than that, when it is not cold and sunny, it is wet and shitty. That yucky, horrible wet that makes you feel damp just looking out of the window at it.
This sudden change in weather means one thing….actually it means a few things but one thing I am going to concentrate on today and that is:
Preparing your bike for winter.
This is for those really lucky gits who like me have more than one bike and one of them happens to be a winter hack. It is for those of us less brave, fearless and handsome who put our bikes away and drive the car for the winter months, or, may the gods strike them down, take public transport! It is for those of us who don’t want our babies rusting away while the sun disappears.
Laying a bike up for the winter is not as easy as opening the shed, putting it inside, locking the door and forgetting it for a few months. Doing that is slightly better than just leaving it outside but not much!
It's an option I suppose
First thing I recommend doing is to give it a bloody good clean. If you are lucky enough to have a dry sunny day take it to the car wash but be careful not to use the pressurized hose to close to bearings, you really don’t want to risk forcing water into those by accident. Once you get it home check it over to make sure it really is clean and that it is dry. Now give the paintwork a polish and lube the chain. If you’re feeling keen you could now change the oil, it will save you having to put off the first ride of spring because of it.
Put the bike where it is going to be stored. Think about this, you don’t want to have to keep moving it to get to tools or the fridge. Now, here is a tip, block up the exhausts. A strong elastic band and a plastic bag will do, it just needs to deter small critters from deciding your pipe will make a nice warm home for the winter. Take it from me, this can happen, I had a mouse nest catch fire when I fired up my Zxr one spring, which was a surprise I can tell you, but probably more of a surprise for the mice!
Next take the battery off and store it somewhere warm. Cold and batteries don’t mix, and if you have a trickle charger it is a great idea to keep it topped up on charge once a week. Batteries are not cheap so it is worth a little effort.
Here's one I didn't look after earlier.
I would now make sure the bike is on a stand of some sort, be it a center stand, paddock stand or something that works like one of those. The reason for this is that tires can lose pressure and so come spring you can end up with a deformed tire if the weight is kept on them. Another thing that can happen is that fork seals can start to leak. I am not quite sure why but I guess it is something to do with temperature and rubber becoming less rubbery. All I know is that I had to replace the seals on the Triple after leaving it on the side stand over winter one year.
Now, lock it up, it is going to be here a long time and so make sure it stays there and then finally cover it up. A cover is going to protect it from little accidents, dust or if your storage is anything like my barn, pigeon crap! Make sure it is a loose breathable cover so any humidity doesn’t get trapped around your pride and joy.
Right that’s it, now it is time to go light the fire put your feet up and start planning next year’s big rides out.