ABR’s resident expert of everything bikes answers your questions…
Hi Dave. After a typically British summer, winter’s coming all too quickly! How do I prepare the bike so that it survives until the spring?
Rob Nicholson, Bristol
Great question, though it depends entirely on how you plan on approaching this coming winter; are you going to be leaving the bike in storage so that it can be pristine for the riding season, or are you planning on riding throughout the cold days and dark nights? To save you answering that, I’ll look at it from both angles.
If you’re going to be locking your bike up for the winter then the first thing you’ll want to do is give it a good deep clean to make sure there’s nothing corrosive left on to blunt the appearance of your ride. Any exposed alloy or chrome surface is best treated with a corrosive inhibitor, there are plenty on the market that you can simply spray on.
WD40 is well known but there are alternatives worth considering as well. Make sure you don’t get any of this on the brakes though, else that first run out after winter might cause a brown trouser moment when you grab a handful of brake only to realise it’s not there!
A good car wax/polish will protect the painted or plastic parts (alloy wheels included as most are painted or lacquered). Mechanically lubing the cables with a good, light oil, such as 3-in-1 will ensure that they’re still nice and smooth in use when you start riding next year and make sure you oil the chain if your bike has one.
Modern petrol has a shelf life of about three months and I’ve been informed that it can go off over the winter, so it’s best to buy some fuel stabiliser. This can be bought from mower dealers, boat handlers or, of course, the internet and you simply add it to the fuel system to help prevent it going off. Make sure you add this into the fuel before the last run of the winter so it’s well mixed into the fuel system.
Keep your tank topped up to prevent corrosion from forming inside.
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