According to HBO and George RR Martin « Winter is coming », according to me it is already here ! The nights have drawn in the temperatures struggle to get above 44°F and the roads are constantly covered with a sort of wet, muddy, rotten leafy slime that rarely disappears. Oh and it rains, 5 days out of 7, and snow is threatening , and when it is not raining it is foggy, and when it is not foggy it is freezing and…oh you get the idea
I know, but I love this meme.
As I see it there are two options, option one is put your bike away for the winter and option two is ride through the winter. Either way is perfectly reasonable, and depending where you live sometimes one is the obvious and only solution. However if you live in a not too warm, not too cold place like me then both are viable and both need a little thought and today’s thoughts are all about option one.
If you are going to go for the sensible, reasonable and wrong option then deciding to put your bike away for the winter, properly, means as much of a commitment as continuing to ride it. First you need to make your bike is clean and dry before you put it away. This is easy if you have a decent heated garage or even a non humid one but if you don’t the very least you can do is put it under a waterproof cover. Oh and if you have to do that make sure there is some airflow, otherwise humidity will build up and all your hard work will be in vain. Humidity is your enemy, and you can do a lot worse than coating your now dry and clean pride and joy with a thin layer of oil, especially all those shiny bits. And don’t forget the switch gear when doing this, a spray of WD40 can make the difference between having indicators that work when you put the bike away, and indicators that work when you start it up next year.
Talking of which, batteries, if your bike is stored undercover but outside and things in your part of the world get cold then best bet is to take it off and bring it inside….actually best thing in that situation is bring the whole bike inside but not all our better halves are as accommodating as Mrs Ratso. Whether the battery comes in or stays out on the bike it is best to use a trickle charger on it occasionally a make sure it is kept well charged. Oh and while you are at it grease up the terminals, yep, humidity again.
Chain and sprockets, clean them, properly, get all the grit and grime and crud out of them and then lube them up properly. Oh and while you’re at it clean up the brakes as well and if there is any piston exposed (there shouldn’t be, it should be enclosed in a rubber boot) grease that up to protect it as well. Polish the paintwork, make sure it is protected and it wouldn’t hurt to put a soft cloth over it to keep the dust and accidental scratches off.
If you do start it up, make sure you take the covers off first !
I would also recommend making sure that the tires are off the ground or at least that most of the weight is supported on a centre stand type affair. A few months sitting on them shouldn’t cause a problem but if your tire pressures are a little low then they can get deformed and you wouldn’t want that.
Apart from that , check the coolant, if it is a few years old change it just to make sure that all is good with it and it can handle the low temperatures and then, relax…your bike should be ok to make it through the winter….although I would be tempted to go out and fire it up every week or so, just to keep the engine well lubricated and to dry some of that humidity off it.
See easy peasey putting a bike into hibernation…next week we will look at option 2