HOW TO GUIDES

WINTER? TO RIDE OR NOT TO RIDE, THAT IS THE QUESTION?

A WINTER GUIDE TO MOTORCYCLING – PART 1 – IF YOUR BIKE DECIDES TO HIBERNATE FOR THE WINTER HERE ARE SOME THINGS TO REMEMBER...

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Yes well autumn is actually here whether we like it or not, the denial finally has to stop and it's time to start thinking about whether to put the faithful two-wheeled friend snugly away for the winter or to keep riding on through. There will still be some perfect riding days despite the season, days with crisp, chilly sparkling sun, but some days will just be non starters – let's not think about those in too much detail – they belong to the weather lottery that is living in Britain!

If you have decided that discretion is the better part of valour and your motorcycle is destined to sleep the winter away in a nice cosy garage or shed or under a motorcycle cover, here is a to-do list which might help you.

1. Spick & Span
Ok so you've covered a fair few sun drenched miles on two wheels over the summer, but now it's time for your bike to have a bit of well earned R&R. The first thing to do is to examine it carefully all over to see if it has sustained any minor damage over the summer. The roads are already getting gritty and dirty so inspect your bike, particularly the chain and cables for dirt and general grot and give everything a good clean, oiling where necessary. There are lots of specialised motorcycle cleaning products out there so invest in the right cleaners  – resist Vim and a scourer!  It's also worth inspecting things like the Cush Drive Rubbers  in the wheel hubs too for wear and tear, as they are easy to replace if necessary and may save you a chain in the long run. Check things like the bulbs  as well, to make sure that they are still working and if any need replacing do it now so that you are ready to roll come the spring.
Cleaning Products
Fluids & Aerosols
Cush Drive Rubbers
Bulbs

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2. Tyred Out
Have a good close look at your tyres to check for sharp objects which might be embedded in them from the road and give them a good clean. Look for any excessive wear as well to make sure they are still in good nick – if you need new ones now is a good time to get them. Once you've established that they are good to go, fully inflate them and make a note to check them from time to time and re-inflate when necessary over the winter, changing the bike's position occasionally to distribute the weight on different parts of the tyres over its winter sleep. If you have a motorbike stand that's idea but if not then a simple wooden plank will keep the bike raised off the cold concrete to help preserve the integrity of the tyre rubber. A tyre gauge is always a good investment, if you haven't already got one, so that you can keep a check on your tyre pressures.
Tyre Accessories
Tyres

3. Be Kind To Your Battery
Take your battery out and give the terminals a good clean. If yours is getting temperamental, invest in a new one. Batteries can be sensitive little Prima Donnas, they like to live in nice warm dry places and can turn nasty if not looked after properly. It's a good idea to use a battery charger to make sure that your battery remains fully charged. There are a lot of good chargers out there, smart trickle chargers keep the battery ticking over and happy all winter, ready for the off once the days get warmer.
Battery Chargers
Battery Care Guide
Battery Accessories
Chargers
Batteries & Chargers

4. Smooth As Silk
Once you've checked and cleaned your motorcycle, then it's time to think about lubricating and oiling everything that needs it. This will protect it from damp and condensation thus ensuring that everything comes out after the winter, rust free and in good working order. Lubricate the chain, the cables, the stand – basically if it moves lubricate it – apart from the abrasive brake parts obviously. ACF50 anti-corrosion formula is a great protective option for winter maintenance and will prevent corrosion eating the metal during the winter. Check your manual to ensure that you are using the correct lubricant on the correct parts of your bike.
Lubricants
Chain Lubes

5. Petrol Heads
Ok so you're not going to be riding anywhere over the winter but, strangely enough, this is the time to fill your tank and add a fuel stabiliser. This simple tip will stop moisture from condensation filling up your half empty tank causing rust and general crud to build up in your tank. Note here though that some bikes are sensitive to fuel going off in the float bowls so be aware if this could be a problem for your bike in which case you will need to empty them before you restart your bike.
Fuel Additives
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6. Oil Together Now!
Oil's well that ends well, so time to change the oil, draining off the old dirty oil which could turn acidic if left in the bike over the winter. Clean or replace the old oil filter and fill the bike with nice clean oil to keep it happy in hibernation.
Service Guide
Oil Guide
Oils Etc

7. Got It Covered
Invest in a good quality cover for your bike – think of it as a quality winter coat! Cover your bike and try not to leave any access points for determined creatures who might be tempted to overwinter on your bike and snack on cables or seat covers.
Covers

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A Stitch In Time...
Saves nine! It might seem like a chore to have to do all this work on your motorcycle when you aren't even going to be able to get out on it until those happy days of spring arrive, but you will be saving your future self a world of pain. It's much better to leave it safe and sound and correctly stored, with all the proper maintenance done, so that it will not deteriorate over the winter and will wake bright eyed and bushy tailed, come March, ready to vroom into action.

Posted by Lucy England
for Wemoto News on 19 November 2020 in How To Guides

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