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Storing a Bike over Winter


Guest Dreadstorm
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Im thinking of doing my CBT on the otherside of winter (dont fancy being a rookie in harsh weather) but i hear winters the best time to buy. Some questions

1)If you store a bike without using it could you possibly run into problems when you bring it out- battery run down, struggle to start etc

2) whats the best way to store a bike (in a garage obvs) and keep it in good nick.

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if its in a garage then just make sure it's dry when you put it away and once a week or so just run the engine for 5 mins to keep the battery charged, should nt have any problems with it

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Storage over winter is included in the back of a Haynes.

The problems that can arise from running the bike periodically without using it, is you run the risk of emulsifying the oil.

ie, it gets moisture in it. So the best bet is either don't run it, and use a battery tender. Or, if you do run it, makes sure you leave it running long enough that any moisture is removed by letting it get hot enough.


Plenty of schools of thought on this.

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Proper chargers that are "automatic" detect when the battery requires charge and charges it. A trickle charger just puts a low charge into the battery all the time and can end up over charging the battery and evaporating the electrolyte and bending the cell plates.

Not charging at all risks dropping the charge level so low thet the plates in the cells get sulphated, covered in a thin layer of sulphate salts which is difficult to reverse and ends up with a lowering of battery performance or even total failure.

I have had batteries over wintered on automatic chargers for years and not had a single battery problem. (optimate III)

As for running engines at weekly intervals, not good if full engine temperature is not reached and sustained for a considerable period to get the oil hot. Each cold start will be run on rich mixture (choke) This rich mixture and cold conditions creates internal condensation in the engine inlet combustion chamber and exhaust. A certain amount will find its way into the crankcase. The condensate is corrosive and will damage alloy components and attack ferrous components as well. The best way to store the engine overwinter , i have found is Change oil and filter before storage (clean oil will not damage engine components) Specialist preserving oil is available but I have not found it necessary if the bike is kept in a garage or similar where temperature changes are not sudden (condensation). Spark plugs out and a small squirt of clean oil on the pistons rotate engine a few times to spread oil onto cylinder walls. Re fit plugs.

Either drain fuel completely or add a fuel stabiliser. I would recommend the stabiliser and fill the tank to the brim. This will stop condensation forming on the iside of the tank and making it rusty. Thats if it's made of steel. Plus any seals incarbs or FI system will be kept wet and won't dry out and crack. For liquid cooled ensure anti freeze is up to strength and the correct type with corrosion inhibitor.

Keep tyres off concrete, the alkali in concrete reacts with tyres causing hardness of the compound and in extremes cracking.

Cover discs with card board or similar, helps prevent moisture collecting on discs, Spray all over ( not brakes) with The blue spray stuff by scottoiler or similar corrosion protection fluid and coat battery terminals in petroleum jelly.

Plug air intakes with duct tape and end of exhaust with duct tape. does not stop mice but if they do get in at least you know they have.

Cover bike with old clean wooly coats and a water resistant outer cover. The wooly stuff wont keep the bike warm but it will stop the bike suddenly changing temperature and prevent condensation forming.

Keep a note on the ignition keys of what you've done so you dont forget to remove tape, cardboard , blow oil out of cylinders etc before attempting to start up.

The day after you've got it all mothballed will be the warmest sunniest day ever known in winter and you wont be able to ride in it.

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'Mighty Mariner'

That advice for storage is quite simply, fecking awesome.


Can I just ask you one more thing? Supposing I followed your advice to the 't', how long would you say I could leave my bike standing like that? a year? more?

How longs a piece of string?

If it's in a decent garage possibly although even with inhibitor the fuel might go off and I would recommend preservative oil instead of normal engine oil 'cause it's stickier.

I would check out about tyres whether to keep them pumped up or not with the manufacturers.

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Thanks for the reply's guys, very in depth from MM, but made me realise how much stuff there is I dont know about bikes, im not at all a tinkerer and having never owned a bike, or even a car, most of that went a bit over my head.


Is this going to be expensive and complicated?

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I bought my bike 7 months before I passed my test - if a good deal comes up (which it does tend to in winter - find a desperate dealer) go for it! Take most the petrol out the bike, take it off both or one wheel (centre stand maybe) get an optimate charger - just plugs into the battery then plug into the wall and keeps the battery healthy (http://www.busters-accessories.co.uk/pr ... w=optimate something like that - £50 but you can use it even when the bikes up and running), declare the bike off the road. Then when you get it up and running, pump up the tyres, stick some petrol in it, lube the chain, tax it and off you go!:)

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Or you could just have a good ride once a month ? :lol:

Exactly what I was thinking ..there is gonna be at least one chance in a month to give her a blast I am pretty sure and this is how I plan to get through the winter.

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