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Storing over Winter

A review of correspondence from NOC-L

Some ideas on storing your machine over the winter months
(unless of course, you're going to ride it)


Winter storage tips

Basically dump/replace all oils (including fork oil); remove the battery to keep it charged occasionally; and either grease up all vulnerable surfaces (chrome/polished ally etc) or keep dry and periodically inspect to ensure no nasty is occurring, i.e. rust/leaks etc. You could also leave it on the centre stand to ensure no flat spots develop on tyres.

Martin Edridge (martin.edridge@rcn.org.uk) on NOC-L 20th. Oct 1998


Fuel tank additive

I would also recommend filling the fuel tank and adding a fuel preservative/stabiliser and then running the bike for 5 or 10 minutes to get the preservative throughout the fuel system to prevent the carburettors etc. from 'gumming up'.

Dave Pass (ldpass@teleport.com) on NOC-L 22nd. Oct 1998


Keeping your bike warm and dry

Assuming you want to be able to ride the thing at little or no notice, then I would strongly advise you store it in the house, or a room with some heating. If you want to lay it up for the winter, than you're into plugging the exhausts, changing the oil, filling the engine and gearbox with oil, and spraying all the brightwork with WD40 or wax.

Assuming it's the garage, then the biggest problem I have found, aside from keeping the battery charged and the bike out of any rain, is that of condensation. If you lay any large piece of metal up in unheated conditions, it will go cold when the weather turns cold, (not a big problem in itself) but will stay cold when the weather warms up, due to thermal inertia. As soon as it does warm up, any moist air will condense on all that metal and promote rust. At first I tried to keep the bike without a cover, assuming that this would allow the bike to normalise its temperature quickly; this did not work and it's surprising just how much dust and crap settles on the bike through the winter.

Then I tried a thick cover, a dust sheet and blanket. This worked better, but during long cold spells, the bike would still get cold, and it's hard to stop warm moist air from reaching the bike. This winter, I plan to use a greenhouse heater, a sealed tube with a low value 60 Watt heater, under the bike with a sheet on top. This should keep to worst of the cold off the bike, and offers a cheap solution, about £20 from B&Q.

There are a number of other solutions offered through the media such as a Vac Bag, or inflatable bubble, both of which are more expensive and probably won't last as long. Commando Dan, as I recall, used a plastic bag from a bed shop, and loads of silica gel, dried occasionally in the oven. Hope this helps; condensation is the real killer.

Peter Aslan (paslan@mdis.com) on NOC-L 22nd. Oct 1998


Using a fan to prevent condensation

An inexpensive and effective way to prevent the condensation you speak of is to keep a fan running at low speed, blowing air across the bike. I lived in North Florida for 15 years in what is perhaps the most humid climate in the US, and this was the only method I found to keep the bikes dry during their winter stay in the garage. A cheap ceiling fan or floor fan will work fine, and will cost a lot less to operate than anything that produces heat.

Stan Smith (sks3rd@aol.com) on NOC-L 28th. Oct 1998


Using a dehumidifier over winter

In the relatively cold/damp winters in Connecticut I have used an electric home/room dehumidifier, sold for the most part to keep basements dry. They work great in keeping your garage/basement a suitable place for motorcycle stowage and can be purchased for about $100.00 US. An old bedsheet thrown over the bike(s) keeps dust to a minimum. Also keep pets away; urine from any source is very caustic to wheel rims!

Jeff Bean (bucbean@pipeline.com) on NOC-L 7th. Nov 1998

 

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