Storing your motorbike safely over winter

If you want to ensure that your bike makes it through the winter without rust and corrosion, then there are several precautions that you will need to take1. You want to be sure that your bike remains in top condition to take to the road again next spring.  

Before storing your motorbike, you should change the brake fluid and hydraulic clutch oil, which are vulnerable to moisture. As for frost protection, you will not need to worry if your bike has an air-cooled engine, as there is nothing to freeze. However, you will need to use antifreeze on water-cooled engines, to prevent the coolant freezing. If you’re still unsure, drain the coolant out and refill with the right strength.  

It is also important to remove the battery and keep it in the house or garage if there is a danger of it freezing elsewhere. Starting a petrol engine that’s not going to reach its 80 degree optimum temperature can lead to condensation and corrosion.  
In addition, it is essential to keep your bike clean. Dirt and grime are not only aesthetically unappealing: mechanical problems can also result from them. Moisture can be harboured by dirt, leading to rust and corrosion. So before you store your motorbike, clean it well with warm water, a sponge and possibly an old toothbrush for hard to reach areas and then allow it to dry.  
You can spray a light mist of WD40 on the bike to help avert moisture, and you can also lubricate the rear drive chain with a chain spray lubricant if it is exposed. Be careful to avoid spraying the brake components, however, as you do not want it to seep down to the brake pads.  

Store the bike in a warm garage if you can, or cover it with a specially designed cover so that air can circulate around it. You are also advised to try to keep the tyres off the ground, perhaps by using its centre stand – if you have one – to pivot the bike so that its wheels are in the air. If you have the more common side stand, you could prop it up with blocks to reduce the strain on its tyres and suspension.  

You should also make sure that you have good bike insurance over the winter. As tempting as it may be to save money by cancelling it, you will need cover in case of fire or if your bike is stolen or accidentally damaged.

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