Advice and Tips

Motorbike Winter Storage: Everything You Need to Know

Amelia S, Copy and Content Executive
Friday, 18 September 2020

When the nights start to get colder and the weather becomes more extreme, it’s time to start thinking about storing your motorbike away until the roads become safe again.

If you are wanting your bike to look in just as good condition as it did before you put it into hibernation, then it’s not as simple as putting it in the garage and forgetting about it until next year. Store your motorbike safely over winter and you won’t be disappointed.

Give your motorbike a good clean

We mean a thorough clean, not just a quick rinse down. This is vital to make sure nothing corrodes your bike that’s been left on from the road, especially if there is salt on the roads when you are preparing it for storage. You must also make sure that it’s completely dry before storing it away.

We’d advise using a spray on anti-corrosion protectant as well, this should help you avoid any damp. If you are unsure of which one to use then take a look at some of the reviews on the internet, but from experience we’d use something like the WD-40 specialist Corrosion Inhibitor or the XCP Rust Blocker.

After you’ve washed, cleaned and sprayed your motorbike, remember to re-grease any parts that would normally need grease to move. This includes things such as cables and linkages as you may have washed the lubricant off and you don’t want them to seize up!

Top up all your motorbike’s fluids

It’s not just the metal parts and the frame that needs attention, but the fluids.

Brake fluids can attract damp, and this can lead to bubbles in the braking system. Some motorbike owners decide to strap the brake lever to the bar to keep bubbles out of the system, but this can often damage the seals. We’d suggest re-bleeding the system before you take your bike back out again.

As with any vehicle if unused fuel is left in it for a while then the octane level decreases which will affect your motorbikes performance. You also need to be careful of fuel standing for too long as it can clog up the system and cause mechanical issues. However, you can put special additives such as Silkolene Pro FST into the fuel to try and stop this from happening.

We’d also advise to change the oil before storing your bike away for too long, as old oil contains acids and much like fuel the dirt will settle over time.

Filling up a motorbike's oil

Take care of your motorcycle’s battery

Batteries can go flat if they are unused or get too cold. As dead batteries are the #1 reason that recovery services get called out in the winter, we would suggest removing the battery completely to store it in a warm and dry place. You could also use a trickle charger to keep the battery topped up.

If you do decide to remove the battery to keep it somewhere warmer, please be aware that any alarm or immobiliser won’t continue to work whilst the battery is out.

Prepare your motorbike’s tyres

Firstly, slightly inflate them so that they keep their shape and stop them from going too flat. We would say only to increase them by about 3psi for storing them.

You also want to, if you can, lift both wheels off the ground. You can do this by using the main stand or two padlock stands. This might not be possible for everyone so try and find something you already have to lift them, an old carpet, a couple of small stools or steps or even blocks of wood can do the trick. Place them under each wheel to prevent the tyre’s from touching the cold ground.

It’s also a good idea to periodically rotate the wheels and also check the tyre pressure to make sure they aren’t getting too flat.

Stop damp getting to your motorcycle

I know we’ve mentioned it before, but damp is a big issue when storing your bike throughout the winter. This can cause rust and stop things from working how they should.

One way to stop this is by stuffing all air intakes, such as exhausts, with rags or something similar and equally as soft. Don’t forget to block the airbox too, some small animals have even been known to hibernate in there over the winter months.

A motorbike in a garage

Where to store your bike after it’s been prepared?

To keep your bike in it’s best condition, you should always store your bike indoors or in a decent shed or garage. This will help to stop the cold and most importantly the damp getting in. If you can, make sure it’s covered or out of direct sunlight, as sunlight can fade the paint which could devalue the motorbike drastically.

If you have to use a bike cover to store your bike, then you will have to repeat the above advice more regularly. Giving your bike a once over every few weeks will help you to keep your bike in the best shape it can be. 

If you are storing your bike inside, then you will still have to use a cover to stop the dust and damp getting in. If you haven’t already bought a good bike cover for storing it inside, then try using old blankets as they work just as well!

Storing your bike throughout the winter also means it’ll be left unattended for a while, so if you can afford to and don’t already have one, consider having an alarm or immobiliser fitted.

Amelia S, Copy and Content Executive
Bringing you information on how to look after your vehicle, save money and enjoy your life on the road.
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