Sunday, October 19, 2008

Winter Down Time

Got a email the other day asking if I had any winter storage tips. Yes I do. The email was from a BC member in Iowa. Does it snow there?

Tip #1 - I live in Central Calif., what the hell would I know about winter?

Tip #2 - If you leave your bike outside, in the snow, under a tarp, you don't deserve it. Send me the pink slip and I'll pick it up and give it a good home.

But seriously, if your bike will be stored for the winter they're a few things you can do to make springtime kickoff to road wars go smoother. There are two parts to prepping a bike for storage: the appearance / resale value of your investment and mechanical performance. Remember, these are thoughts that are in my mind (beware). If the way you do things works , keep doing them. I will not accept correspondence from any ones lawyer saying some asshole told me to do it like that.

Appearance: #1 Problem - Rust on chrome.

Wash and dry thoroughly. I have never washed a bike with a garden hose. I wipe the whole thing down with Windex (like I said: works for me). Next any rust on the chrome is removed with the #1 chrome polish used by detailers - #000 steel wool. Very cheap and long lasting. Do not use on paint, plastic or aluminum. Use on chrome and real glass only. Next all paint and chrome is waxed with Pledge/Endust. Again: cheap, works great. Very thin coat of wax stops oxidation. Waxes any paint I ever delt with. I would not use any wax on the new matte paint. Aluminum: I've found that Mothers and elbow grease works just fine. Leather bags/seat: I use a thin coat of plain old KIWI boot polish. Works for me. If you cover your bike use something that breathes. A bike cover, sheet, blanket. Don't use anything made of plastic, except one of those bike bubbles.

Mechanical Performance: #1 Problem - Fuel.

If the bike will not be started for a few months use a fuel stabilizer. STA-BIL w/injector cleaner is very good. Follow mfg. instructions. Close fuel valve / remove fuel pump fuse, run engine till it dies. If the bike is really close to due for service, do it. At the very least change the engine oil and filter. Pull the spark plugs, squirt a little engine oil in there, install plugs, crank engine for 2 -3 seconds. Lube everything. Steering, shift linkage, brake linkage all the moving parts. Check tire pressure, brake pads all that normal stuff you won't want to deal with when the day arrives to come out of hibernation. Hey, but if you ride all winter, like I do, disregard this whole damm thing and go have fun.

The best tool for all this cleaning and servicing crap is a bike lift. The one I've been using for years is the cheapo Sears Craftsman. Very stable, 1500 lb. capacity, foot operated up & down, 3 position lock bar, locking casters, leveling screws, around $100.00.

Santa Claus colors


Dean "D-Day" said...

The only things I can add are:

1. Pull the battery and keep it charged on a battery-tender for the winter months. Keeping the battery charged will extend its life.

2. During the cold winter months, rodents don't hibernate. They just look for better places to keep warm. Shredding the packing inside your exhaust to make a cozy nest is more common than you may think. Putting sandwich baggies over the ends of the pipes and using rubber bands to keep them in place works great to keep the critters out.

Willy D said...

"d-day": The battery I thought would go without saying, but that's me.

Now, cooking rodents in your mufflers... emergency road rations?

Ann said...

Winter in AZ: open garage, start bike, warm up, ride!

I'm so glad we don't live on the east coast anymore! :)

TRT said...

got the same lift, works great. No winter storage for North Texas either. Just some fuel stabilizer and a battery tender if its going to sit for a few weeks, probably don't even need that.