MXA WRENCH TECH: HOW TO STORE A BIKE FOR WINTER
It’s that time of year again, when Old Betsy gets tucked in for a long winters sleep while the skis, snowshoes and snowmobiles get ready to be worked out. But what’s the best way to take care of Betsy? Without a doubt the best way way of winterizing a bike is to ride it. If that isn’t possible start with these steps:
CLEAN IT: Wash the bike thoroughly, then start it and run it long enough to evaporate any moisture. It would be good to ride the bike (even around your driveway) to help dry up moisture in the wheels and linkage.
LUBE IT: Once every part of the bike is spotless, spray the chain with a water dispersing lubricating oil. Wipe off the excess lube oil and then spray chain lube on the chain (spinning the wheel in both directions). Next, take the lubricating oil and spray the footpeg pivots, shock threads, shift lever and any other folding, moving or bending parts.
AIR IT UP: Fill the tires up to 15 pounds of pressure.
FUEL AND FUEL STABILIZER: If you can, fill the gas tank all the way to the top and add fuel stabilizer (after you add the fuel stabilizer you should run the engine long enough to get the stabilizer throughout the fuel system’s lines and carb). Why should you fill the tank to the top? Because a full tank has less room for condensation to form.
CHANGE THE ENGINE OIL: Change the engine and tranny oil with new oil for storage.
CHANGE THE RADIATOR WATER: Although this isn’t a must-do, it is smart to drain the water from the engine and replace it with fresh coolant.
BRAKE FLUID: Brake fluid is prone to collecting water over time and your best defense against this is to make sure that all the master cylinders are full?if it is old fluid replace all of it.GET THE WHEELS UP: Make sure that the tires are off the ground when you store your bike. It doesn’t hurt to spin the tires once a week or so, just to spread the lube around. Don’t cover your bike with a sheet of plastic, but instead use an old blanket or cloth tarp.
START IT UP: Any time you get a chance to start your engine up during the dead of winter, do so. But be sure to let it run for as long as possible. Running the engine is good for it, but running it for five minutes is not going to get it hot enough to achieve the sealing and lubrication effects you want. If you can’t start it and let it run for a reasonable time, don’t start it
GETTING IT READY TO RUN: Once you decide that winter is over, follow these steps before riding your bike:
(1) Drain the fuel out of the float bowl so that fresher fuel can come down from the fuel stabilizer gas tank.
(2) Change the engine oil again (yes, we know that you didn’t get it dirty, but it is best to change it after it has collected moisture over the winter).
(3) Air up the tires (they will have lost pressure over the winter). Re-lube everything that you lubed before you stored it (and check under the bike for any signs of leaks) it is best to do this after you do a warm-up of the engine). Be prepared to change any fluids that don’t seem up to snuff on the first ride.