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How to store your motorbike over the winter

How to store your motorbike over the winter

If you put your motorbike into hibernation for the winter, you want it to come out ready to ride in spring – no corrosion, no flat battery, and no need for an expensive service before you get back on the road. For a bike that wakes up in top condition, follow our tips.

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
minute read
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Posted 17 JULY 2020

Remember to insure your motorcycle over the winter

It’s easy to forget about your bike over the winter – but that doesn’t mean thieves will. Find great value motorbike insurance with Compare the Market so that you and your bike can rest easy until spring.

**50% of people could achieve a quote of £288.00 per year for their bike insurance based on Compare the Market data in May 2020.

10 tips for storing your bike

1. Change the oil. As you ride, motorbike oil accumulates gunk that can cause corrosion or settle around your oil filter. Changing your oil and filter before winter keeps your bike gunk-free and means it will come out of storage ready to ride.

2. Wash and protect. Moisture is the enemy of a motorbike over the winter. Give your bike a thorough wash, dry it off as best you can and leave it for a few hours to dry completely. Then give it a coat of wax, spray some anti-corrosion protection (e.g. WD-40) on the exposed metal, and lubricate the moving parts.

3. Top up your fuel tank. Empty space in the fuel tank lets moisture enter, so a full tank is best for your motorcycle. But petrol begins to degrade and gum up the engine over time, so add some stabiliser to your fuel, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Run the bike for a few minutes to work the fuel and stabiliser through the engine.

4. Find a safe, dry space out of direct sunlight. A shed or garage is just fine. If your only option is to leave your motorbike outside, you could consider renting bike storage for the winter. Even with a good-quality cover, a bike left outside and inactive is at risk of corrosion. And while you’re at it, make sure you have decent motorcycle insurance in case of theft from your storage space.

5. Get the tyres off the ground. Tyres can develop flat spots if left in one place for too long. Ideally, get both wheels up with a couple of paddock stands. If you can’t, don’t worry too much – you’ll just need to rotate the wheels once a week while the bike is in storage so that a different point is sitting on the ground.

6. Trickle-charge the battery. Batteries go flat when they’re not used, especially in the cold. Trickle chargers keep them topped up. The usual method is to remove the motorbike battery and attach it to a trickle charger – though this means you’ll need to reinstall the battery every time you run the engine. You can also install quick connectors to the battery and charge it while it’s installed.

7. Block up intakes and exits. This keeps the moisture out and stops bugs and small creatures making a home in your motorbike. Block up your intakes and exhaust/mufflers with some cloth or plastic bags. 

8. Cover the bike. Covers protect the bike from dust, dents and scratches. You can buy motorcycle covers reasonably cheaply, but if your bike is inside a dry shed, any sheets, rugs or blankets will do just as well.

9. Run the engine once a month. Reinstall the battery and unblock all intakes and exits, then turn on the motorbike engine for five minutes. This helps keep everything running smoothly. Leave the engine to cool, and then remove the battery and block everything back up again.

10. Change your brake fluid before you get back on the road. Brake fluid attracts water. It’s almost guaranteed that after a couple of months in the garage your brakes won’t be feeling up to scratch, and that’s one area where you should never take chances. Change the fluid – and while you’re at it, check that everything else about your motorbike is as it should be.

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