Motorcycles – Rest in Winter Storage, or Withstand the Winter Weather?
Of course, the grit and wet conditions of the road are harmful to any bike being ridden during the winter seasons, but if you were thinking that when the weather turns bad, you can just leave the bike to hibernate in the garage and bring it out next spring in the same condition, you might be in for a shock. When spring rolls around if you haven’t made the proper storage preparations you’ll find there’s a lot of work to be done before you’ll be running smoothly again. But a bit of work before the bike goes into hibernation can ensure that you have the minimum of fuss when you bring it back out again.
Always give the bike a final and thorough clean before it goes away – tar, grease, and dirt can all be slightly acidic and eat away at the bike frame, fairings and fittings if left in storage. Don’t use household products, which may be abrasive, leave residue or contain salt – there are plenty of specialised cleaning products by the likes of Rock Oil and Motorex that are made for the job.
Once the bike is clean, lubricate all the parts that need it (chain, cables, kickstand, and so on) and coat the bike with an anti-corrosion formula, such as ACF-50. ACF-50 displaces water and leaves a clear film to protect the surfaces from corrosion and rust.
Preventing Motorcycle Battery Failure
All lead-acid batteries naturally discharge. The charging system on the bike will generally keep a motorcycle battery at or near full charge, so motorcycle batteries generally aren’t designed to withstand a deep discharge. Lead acid batteries have a large number of very thin plates to maximize plate surface area, which gives them great power for their size but also makes them very vulnerable to sulphation. When sulphation – the build up of lead sulphate crystals on the lead plates – occurs, this can prevent the battery from holding charge and cause battery failure.
When the motorcycle is not in use, Wemoto highly recommends keeping the battery on an intelligent ‘trickle’ charger. A good quality charger will keep the battery topped up without the risk of overcharging or overheating which means you can plug in and leave, even for months on end, until it’s time for the bike to come out.
Poor winter storage can cause trouble in spring, but a bit of elbow grease now ensures that you can get the bike out with the minimum of fuss and enjoy the first bit of spring while everyone else is trying to clear the rust and revive their failed batteries.
For more winter tips, click here.
Information correct at the time of publishing