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How to store your motorcycle for the next season

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There are several things you can do to make sure your motorcycle is ready for the new season in the best condition possible. This however, requires you to perform a couple of hours maintenance before you put your baby down for winter. In this article I will go over how to make sure everything runs smoothly when the weather starts to warm up again.

Firstly, you need to make sure you have to right supplies for the job. You’re going to need the following:

  • A battery charger that can be safely used for the length of time you are storing the motorcycle.
  • Cleaning supplies including bike cleaner and paint wax, engine cleaner, degreaser, chain cleaner, chain lube/wax, ACF-50, WD-40 and the necessary cleaning tools.
  • Fuel cleaning additive and stabilizer, this is to ensure the fuel lasts the winter.
  • A bike cover, even if the bike is being stored in a garage.
  • Oil and a new oil filter, for best results use an engine cleaner that can be added to your oil before you perform the oil change.
  • Brake fluid and clutch fluid.
  • Coolant
  • If you don’t have a center stand, paddock stands can be useful to lift your tires off the ground to prevent damage.

The first step you will need to do is to prepare your engine for storage. Use a fuel-cleaning additive to clean out your carbs or fuel injectors as per the instructions. This will make sure your engine is in tiptop condition. After this, either empty your fuel tank or run the engine till you are out of fuel. Then fill the tank up with new fuel and add a fuel stabilizer as per the instructions.

The next step is your oil, if possible, add an oil cleaning additive as per the instructions before you perform your full oil change, including the filter. If storing the bike for longer periods (i.e. over six months) remove the spark plugs and pour a table spoon of fresh engine oil inside, then turn the engine over a few times before replacing the spark plugs to spread the oil around, this will ensure your piston and cylinder rings don’t seize. Also ensure you change your brake fluid and clutch fluid at this point and bleed the entire system, as any moisture that may have got in could damage the system. Finally, change your coolant, as old coolant can form deposits within the engine.

Your next task is to clean the bike. You need to make sure than the bike is cleaned and dried entirely, as any moisture left on the bike can cause rusting. If you can, remove any fairings you may have and clean these separately. While you have them off make sure you give the engine a good scrub. Once you have dried the bike, give any metal parts a good spray with ACF-50 to prevent corrosion. Make sure you give the chain a good clean and lube so that it doesn’t corrode while in storage. Finally, apply some wax to your paintwork to keep it in the best condition possible.

One of the last steps is to connect up your battery charger. This can either be done whilst in the bike, or removed from the bike. If you have an acid battery, make sure the cells are topped up. Some battery chargers are able to recondition low batteries, so can be useful throughout the year, not just for storage. 

Finally, ensure your bike is in a safe place, if possible, using a center stand, paddock stands, or even blocks of wood, raise your tires off the ground to alleviate stress on the tires and suspension, also make sure your tires are at the correct pressure, as low temperatures can change the pressure in the tires. Then put your cover over the bike and say goodbye until next year.