Winterising your bike

Merry Christmas to you all, Sorry it’s been so long since my last “Garage” update. With the Home Secretary reducing the amount of “Plod” out on the streets I’ve been called upon to complete various tasks such as driving van loads of “ninja” cops to London during the recent disorder. I have also been completing assessor rider training because Thames Valley Police have finally signed up to the Bike safe initiative.

Anyway it’s been remarkably mild for the time of year! I recall last year I put my Blackbird to bed around October time just prior to the horrendous winter we had with the heavy snow arriving in November. I didn’t manage to get my first ride in until late February, what was that all about? At the time of writing this report (Boxing Day) I rode into work on my trusty CBR600F this morning with no thermals, no neck warmer and not even a hint of warmth required from my heated grips. The roads are clean and salt free with no pot holes to dodge or climb out of and the air temperature is around +10 degrees. Compare this to last year!

If you are planning to bed your bike down during this winter though, you might want to consider completing the following tasks, also quite a few of you have written in about winterising your machines including the following question from “Ironhead Al”.

Al Shriver has asked the following.

“How about a saferrider.org Update on winterising when you might only ride once every six weeks in the winter, given that the new fuel with 5% ethanol alcohol attracts water and causes serious misfires (or no-starts) after about 6 weeks of non-running storage, and ruins fuel lines, gaskets, fibre glass tanks, and carb parts. It also forms a white gel-like acidic gunge that clogs and eats away fuel lines, filters, carb venturis, etc. How best to winterise (fuel systems) if weather only allows infrequent riding? Thanks, Ironhead Al”.

 Seeing as though Al has brought up the subject of fuel degrading, I’ll focus on this subject first.

Through experience and looking on various web sites I would always recommend “brimming” the fuel tank in other words fill the tank to the max especially if you are going to store your bike outside. As Al correctly states fuel these days has a percentage of ethanol in it (same ingredient as anti-freeze) which is basically alcohol. Alcohol attracts moister partials from the air which will eventually start to corrode the inside of the fuel tank and foul up the fuel system. If you fill the tank with fuel, there will be no air gap at the top which in turn means no place for moisture to collect. Leaving a bike for six weeks is not an issue at all and try out a fuel additive such as Putoline® fuel stabilizer (£5.95 for a 200ml can). http://www.bitzforbikes.co.uk/-ref-12951-350.htm

Putoline Motor Treatment is a 100% pure petroleum product thatsafely and effectively cleans internal fuel and oil system components, helping your engine run cleaner and more efficiently.  Putoline is an EPA-registered product, and will not harm engine components, seals, gaskets, catalytic converters or oxygen sensors.

Putoline liquefies gum and varnish deposits or internal engine contaminants, removing carbon deposits, freeing sticky valve lifters and rings, improving idle quality, pinging and hesitation problems.  By using Putoline to eliminate varnish and carbon buildup, you can more accurately diagnose mechanical problems that may exist.

As a fuel system additive, Putoline will clean carburetors, fuel injectors, clean carbon, gum and varnish deposits, add lubricity to fuel, stabilize fuel for 2 years and control moisture.

As an oil system additive, Putoline controls moisture, gum, varnish and residue deposits.

I hope the above has answered you query Al?

The other items to consider before lying you bike up for the winter is:

  1. Lubricate the chain thoroughly especially if you are keeping the bike outside even if it is going under a cover.
  2. Purchase a quality battery optimizer to keep the battery in tip top condition or better still, remove the battery all together and store it in a dry mild area and connected to a battery conditioner.
  3. Give the painted surfaces and plastics a good old polish with pledge or a water dispelling product such as WD40 (remember not to clean the seat).
  4. If you’re parking the bike up on a concrete surface, get an off cut of carpet and place it under the front and rear wheels. Concrete surfaces hold the cold compared to all other floor surfaces and will decompose a tyre caucus in time.
  5. Finally whatever you do don’t be tempted to nip out once a week and warm your bike up. Although you think you are doing the best thing for your bike’s engine you’re not! Engine wear is at its highest during the first few minutes of start up. The engine will also create moisture into the oil and exhaust system when it cools down and all you’ll be doing is pouring water into the exhausts collector box which will sit there and rust it.

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