With winter on the horizon, for many it signals the time to start the ritual of “Preparing for Hibernation” so our bikes will have a restful winter. We may not think it, but there is a laundry list involved in getting our bikes ready for the long slumber. 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. As that may do for some, there is much more to consider. Below is a list of some things 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 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 go with a bike that is standing tall.
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 level and will maintain peak levels. One 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. Service the bike before storage so you know all the fluids are fresh and topped off or service it 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 in the fall so you don’t have to fight the rush in the spring. For those of you interested there are oil stabilizers available that help prevent oil breakdown too.
5) Lastly, 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 a vinyl tarp will. Additionally most have an elastic band keeping the bottom snug, virtually eliminating dust and dirt intrusion. During down time it is never bad to remove the cover to install a new piece of chrome or new accessory.
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 spring day. 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 Hibernation Preparation supplies, contact K and G Cycles(www.kandgcycles.com) and we’ll be happy to help.