My shop is in an over-sized two-car garage attached to my home. My work is a calling, in the theological sense of the word. Ethical and moral questions arise every day – they are hard, sharp, unambiguous and unavoidable.

A note on winter/long-term storage.

Posted: November 16th, 2011 | Author: Administrator | Filed under: Engine, Fuel & Air, Motorcycle Repair | No Comments »

Greetings fellow motorcycle owners,

Do the right thing for your two-wheeled companion – do a few simple and inexpensive things now so that your bike is ready to ride on the first great day of spring.

Or you could wait until that first warm day only to find that your battery is dead, the fuel in the tank gone bad, the carbs gummed up from sitting full of untreated fuel for months, the chain rusty and the sprockets shot – and every bike shop in the known world is booked for weeks out with work for other lazy-ass motorcycle abusers just like you. Is there really a choice?

So here’s what you do:

A. Take your bike to one of the several shops in the area for a winter-storage prep.
B. Do it yourself.

Either way, this is what should be done.

Have the following material ready to hand:

Oil and filter
Stabil brand fuel treatment
Cable lube
Chain lube
Fork oil
Cleaners and polish

1.) Ride your bike until you have to switch to Reserve.
2.) Add the specified amount of Stabil to your fuel tank for its capacity – directions on the back of the Stabil bottle
3.) Fill the tank to the brim and ride it for five miles or so – enough to ensure that the fuel in the carbs is treated fuel.
4.) Top up the tank.
5.) While the engine is still hot/warm from your ride, change the oil and filter.
Change transmission oil if separate from the engine oil – shaft-drive oil too if you have one.
6. Clean/lube/adjust the chain.
7.) Pinch the chain between your fingers at the 3 o’clock position on the rear sprocket.
If you can pull it more than 1/3 the way up off the tooth, the chain is stretched and will only trash your sprockets if they are still good – which they probably are not.
The teeth on the sprockets should be symmetrical – not worn more on one side than the other or hooked. The ends of the teeth should be squared off – not pointy.
You will need to remove the front/countershaft sprocket cover to examine the teeth.
Worn sprockets will trash a good chain and versa vice. Ideally, they are replaced as a complete set – chain and sprockets.
8.) Replace the chain and/or sprockets as necessary.
9.) Examine your brake pads/shoes – replace if worn.
10.) Replace brake fluid.
11.) Flush and change coolant – if your bike is a water-pumper.
12.) Drain and replace the hydraulic fluid in the front forks. Consult your manual for the right type and amount.
13. Replace the fork seals at the same time if there is any evidence of weepage.
14. Remove all the control cables. Using a pressure luber, run cleaner and then lube through them. Replace and adjust.
15.) Change/clean the air filter.
16.) Replace the tires if worn more than 1/2 way.
17. Remove the battery and marry it to a trickle/float charger someplace that does not freeze.
18. Clean and polish your bike. Clean/treat plastic/rubber with Armor-All.
19. Put it on its center-stand or some other stand – take the weight of the bike off the springs and the tires’ contact patches.
20. Cover it with a dust sheet if stored inside – the best cover you can afford if outside.
21. If the bike is to be stored outside or in an unheated garage/shed, spray the whole thing down with WD-40 or some such to prevent condensation corrosion.
In the spring, spray it down with a cycle cleaner like SS-100 and hose off.

Now for the pay-off.

On that first day of spring, install your battery, turn the key, and go riding.

This public service announcement is brought to you by Existential Motorcycles on behalf of all the WNC motorcycle shops.

Chris Finlayson
Existential Motorcycles
Alexander, NC 28701
TEL: 828-683-9289

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