The best thing you can do for your bike
in the winter is ride it.
GETTING READY FOR WINTER
After my first summer of racing,
I am getting ready to store my
RM-Z250 in the cellar for the winter.
My friends have all sorts of advice,
but I want to do it right. What is the
best way to store a bike? Our tracks
don’t open again until April of 2015.
Since the MXA wrecking crew
lives in sunny Southern California,
we never have to put our race bikes
in storage; but, before we were
MXA guys, the wrecking crew lived
in New York, North Dakota and
Washington, so we know a thing or
two about cold weather.
The best way: Without a doubt,
the best way to winterize a bike is
to ride it. If that isn’t possible, start
with the following steps.
Clean it: Wash your bike
thoroughly, then start it and run it
long enough to evaporate any moisture. It would be good to ride the
bike (even just around your driveway) to help dry up moisture in the
wheels and linkage.
Lube it: Once every part of the
bike is spotless, spray the chain with
a water-dispersing lubricating oil.
Wipe off the excess lube and spray
chain lube on the chain (spinning
the wheel in both directions). Next,
take the lubricating oil and spray the
footpeg pivots, shock threads, shift
lever and any other folding, moving
or bending parts.
Air it up: Fill the tires up to 15
pounds of pressure.
Fuel and fuel stabilizer: If you
can, fill the gas tank all the way
to the top and add fuel stabilizer
(after you add the fuel stabilizer, you
should run the engine long enough
to get the stabilizer throughout the
fuel system’s lines and throttle body).
Why should you fill the tank to the
top instead of draining it? Because
a full tank has less room for
condensation to form.
Change the engine oil: Replace
the engine and tranny oil with new
oil for storage.
Change the water: Although
this isn’t a must-do, it is smart to
drain the water from the engine and
replace it with fresh coolant.
Brake fluid: Brake fluid is prone
to collecting water over time. Your
best defense against this is to make
sure that all the master cylinders are
full. If it is old fluid, replace all of it.
Get the wheels up: Make sure
that the tires are off the ground
when you store your bike. It doesn’t
hurt to spin the tires once a week or
so, just to spread the lube around.
No plastic: Don’t cover your bike
with a sheet of plastic; instead, use
an old blanket or cloth tarp.
Start it up: Any time you get
a chance to start your engine up
during the dead of winter, do so, and
be sure to let it run for as long as
possible. Running the engine is good
for it, but running it for five minutes
is not going to get it hot enough to
achieve the sealing and lubricating
effects you want. If you can’t start it
and let it run for a reasonable time,
don’t start it.
Getting it ready to run: Once
you decide that winter is over, follow
these steps before riding your bike.
(1) Change the engine oil again
(yes, we know that you didn’t get it
dirty, but it is best to change it after
it has collected moisture over the
( 2) Air up the tires (they will have
lost pressure over the winter). Re-lube
everything that you lubed before you
stored it. Be prepared to change any
fluids that don’t seem up to snuff on
the first ride.
( 3) Warm it up. If it has been sitting for a long time, start it up and
let it run for a couple minutes. Then,
check for leaks of any kind. Look
at the radiator hoses for cracks and
cycle the brakes a couple of times
before riding the bike.