For many of us, Labor Day ushers in the “Unofficial” end of Summer, and that seems to signal the start of the ritual of “Storage Preparation” so our bikes can have a restful winter. With the Laundry List of steps to take, we may forget one or two and not perform a complete Post-Season prep. K and G Cycles (www.kandgcycles.com) wants you to cover 5 of the most important steps when readying your ride for the off season. If you ask 100 people you will get 100 different answers on the best ways to prepare your bike for winter storage and they will range from simply putting the bike in the corner of the garage, clearing a spot out in the shed, or bringing the bike in the house. While that may be good for some, there is much more to consider. Below is a list of steps, when done prior to storage, will help keep your bike healthier and ready to go when called upon.
1) Detail the bike as you would any other day, making sure you apply an extra coat of wax or two. Using a good quality wax will yield much better results with longer lasting protection. You may think “Why would I detail it now, when I am just going to have to do the same come Spring?” Simple answer – It will need just a quick wipe down and then you’ll be ready to start the new season with a bike that stands tall. Plus, when the temps are downright miserable and there’s no chance of a ride, you can always go out to the garage and do some spot detailing.
2) Plug it in. A battery tender that is. Tenders keep the battery fully charged and since most of them are using smart technology you don’t have to worry about it being over charged, swelling, or boiling. Battery tenders have circuitry built in that monitors battery charge percentage and will maintain peak levels. Riders often report when using a tender, they will get an additional season or 2 out of their battery. Another added bonus is a lot of companies offer the tenders with a harness that bolts to the battery terminals as well as one with alligator clips so you can actually service 2 batteries.(If we go out of town over the winter months we will hook it up to the vehicle we leave behind with the spare harness.)
3) Don’t let the fuel sour. Adding a fuel stabilizer to a full tank of gas prevents gasoline breakdown during storage, and cleans, lubricates and maintains fuel pumps, carburetors, fuel injectors and compression rings.
4) Feed your sleeping giant. Check and top off your fluid levels if needed. This topic seems to have different sides 1) Service the bike before storage so you know all the fluids are fresh and topped off or 2) Service your ride in the spring so you start the season fresh. Neither belief is wrong, but a piece of advice if your ride is ready for a service, get it done early so you don’t have to fight the rush at the beginning of the season. A lot of Service Centers offer incentives to those that make their appointment early. For those of you interested there are oil stabilizers available that help prevent oil breakdown too.
5) Lastly, you will want to cover the bike for its lengthy slumber. A good indoor storage cover is a great investment, usually made of soft cotton, it won’t scratch like that old vinyl tarp you use to use. Additionally most have an elastic band, and integrated bungee eyelets that will keep the bottom snug, virtually eliminating dust and dirt intrusion. During the off season it is never a bad idea to remove the cover to install a new piece of chrome or a new accessory. I know it helps me battle Cabin Fever
Sure this isn’t everything you can do to store a motorcycle, but it is a great start and should have you ready to roll the first nice day of the new season. One last piece of advice, as tempting as it is, avoid going out to the garage and starting your bike to hear it or let your buddies hear it. The main reason for this is the charging system on most bikes doesn’t come alive till 2200-2500 rpm’s, so all you are doing is draining the battery. If you need any help with Post Season Preparation supplies, contact K and G Cycles (www.kandgcycles.com) and we’ll be happy to help.