How to prepare your bike for winter

If your idea of winter-proofing your bike is to wheel it round the side of the house and tuck an Aldi bag over the seat, you’re in for a nasty shock come the Spring.

If you’re not going to be riding in the salt and snow, there’s a right way to store your motor-cycle so it emerges almost better than when it went in. We don’t mean simply preventing corrosion and repelling moisture but actually giving your motor-cycle a few months of deep conditioning and lubricating to restore flexibility to joints, seals and moving parts.

Busy? Want it done professionally? Grizzly’s will come and pick up your Harley, give it a full winterizing treatment for you and deliver it back ready to store. £250 plus a reasonable delivery fee depending on where you live. Contact us for details.

Want to lay your bike up yourself? We can provide a winter DIY package at £150 that includes fuel stabilizer; oil, filter kit, corrosion protection spray, dielectric grease for protecting electrical connections and a high-quality scissor jack to lift your bike and prevent the flat spots that form on tyres from standing in one place for months. Just get in touch.

 

Here’s what we do

Surface clean. We jet wash every bit of bird lime, bugs, grit and salt off the bike, rinse it then – vitally – dry it thoroughly. (Water spots sitting on paint can damage the finish.) Wax paintwork, clean and polish all aluminum and stainless surfaces with the correct metal polish. We thoroughly cover all exposed metal finishes with an oil-based water repellent as a protective layer. (If you’re doing this yourself of course avoid discs and calipers.)

Fresh oil. Your engine will benefit from having fresh oil sitting in it than oil that’s broken down. Old oil’s chemistry changes and it develops acidity which can corrode deep in your engine. We change the filter too and put in a winter-weight oil to make it easier to start in the Spring. Moisture can build up on pistons and cylinder walls so we protect internal surfaces with a light coating of oil via the spark plug hole and work it through.

Protection: Moving parts need a deep lube – such as the chain drive, cables, controls, fork surfaces, and any other pivot points. We’ll coat these with a special long-term treatment that will just wipe off in the Spring. We coat inside the exhaust pipes to repel dampness and corrosion and lube the fork and other seals to prevent them drying out. All electrical connections are cleaned and protected with dielectric spray.

Fuel systems: We advocate storage with a full tank of fuel – this prevents the bare surface of the tank walls rusting from the moisture that will inevitably appear. We add a fuel stabilizer to keep petrol from breaking down over the winter months and run the mix through the system before storage. If you have carburettors we drain the float bowls and shut off the petrol feed.

Batteries: We make sure terminals are clean and corrosion free and give them a light grease coating ready for your trickle charger as the battery will slowly discharge over the weeks. Don’t have one? We can supply…

Pests: Mice love to move into motorcycles and can do a lot of damage. We’ll leave you with a pair of muffler plugs to prevent both pests and moisture getting into the pipes. Just leave a Post-It on your seat to remember to take them out when you start up again! We advise stuffing something bright and obvious into air intake scoops for the same reason – the brighter and more obvious, the less chance there’ll be to forget to remove them before starting the bike up.

Leather: Seats and other leather items can easily crack so we treat all leather articles with a deep conditioning dressing. Anything leather will come out soft, flexible and our conditioning treatment will add years to its life.

Cover: If you’re keeping your bike outside, use a well-ventilated cover. Bad ones trap moisture so make sure you get a breathable one with tie-downs. If you have a garage, just throw a blanket or sheet over it to keep dust off but still keep air circulating round the bike. We recommend Nelson-Rigg covers, starting at £25 depending on the size of your motor-cycle.

Tyres: Slightly over-inflate your tyres to store (remember to return them to correct pressures when you ride again). Use a scissor-jack to lift your bike (we stock good ones at £60) and store it with wheels off the ground. This prevent the flat spots that can appear on tyres after a heavy bike has stood in the same place for months. Failing that, stand the bike on a piece of carpet and move it, or rotate the wheels, every month.

Lastly, don’t stand the bike on bare concrete – it’s porous so mould and moisture will infiltrate under your machine. Again, stand it on an old rug or carpet with a tarp, plywood  or other waterproof barrier underneath.

To run or not to run? There are two schools of thought. We feel that starting up your engine periodically to ‘warm it up’ can lead to condensation building up again inside the engine from by-products in the oil. If you’ve taken the trouble to do a proper job protecting your bike for winter, our view is: don’t keep starting it up.

 

It’s Chriiistmaaas

It’s the time to get round to all the jobs you meant to do but were too busy riding. So research the parts you want to upgrade and replace by sitting by a fireside* and losing yourself in a parts catalogue from Grizzly’s. We can post out catalogues from our many suppliers at a reasonable cost so you can get a biking fix and dream of summer riding even when there’s snow on the ground. Just get in touch.

Before Christmas, circle your choices, turn the page corner down and leave it lying around right where your partner can see it.

(*Whisky not supplied).

Just call to book our professional winterizing service