Whether you’ll be storing your motorbike for the season or enjoy riding in wintry conditions, there are steps you can take to keep you and your bike safe.
As the cold weather draws closer, you should start thinking about preparing your motorbike for the winter.
Even if you’ll be storing it away, there are things you should do to make sure your bike stays in top condition until spring comes around.
On the other hand, if you enjoy the challenge of riding in cold and icy conditions, there are steps you should take to keep you and your motorcycle safe in the coming months.
Many riders put their bikes away for winter, but if you’re going to be storing your bike it’s important to do this properly if you want it to stay in good condition.
Before it goes into storage, give your motorbike a good clean to wash away any dirt and salt that can cause corrosion. Make sure any drain holes are clear of debris and that the bike is completely dry before you put it away
Prevent mice and other pests from making a home in your bike by blocking up holes like the exhaust pipe, airbox and intake ducts. Leave a note on the bike to remind you the holes are blocked before you try to restart it
Batteries don’t like cold temperatures, so if you’re putting the motorcycle away for winter you can either remove the battery completely (this may be unnecessary on more modern motorbikes) or you could use a trickle charger to keep it in good health
Certain parts of your motorbike are at risk of corroding when it’s not used for a while. So, before you put it away, spray the areas that need protecting with a preservation product
Try not to leave the bike with all its weight resting on the tyres. Instead, use paddock stands or a piece of carpet between the tyre and floor. Slightly over-inflate the tyres to help them keep their shape and rotate them regularly
If possible, store your bike in a dry, well-ventilated and secure garage or shed, and cover it to avoid damage and scratches. If you’ll be keeping it outside, protect it from the elements by using a sheltered spot and a waterproof and breathable cover
To prevent condensation forming, start your motorbike every few weeks - removing anything you’ve used to block up holes first. Let it get up to temperature and then make sure it’s completely cool before you cover it up again
Your bike still needs to be insured if you want it covered for hazards like theft and fire while it’s in storage. If you only want to pay for the protection you’ll need while it’s off the road, you could consider laid-up bike insurance
You don’t need to hang up your biking jacket and put your motorcycle into storage just because winter has set in.
If you want to continue to enjoy riding, there are a few checks and adaptations you can make to help you ride safely all year round.
Start by doing the T-CLOCS method before you go for a ride. This means checking your tyres, controls, lights, oil levels, chassis and stands.
To get your bike winter ready, you should also:
As well as taking steps to prepare your bike for winter, you might also want to consider doing some advanced motorcycle training.
This can give you the skills and confidence you need to ride in all seasons, and it may even lower the cost of your insurance.
However, if you want to stay off the roads in winter, you will want to get a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).
There are no road tax or MOT costs to pay and insurance isn’t compulsory, but it’s still worth considering a laid-up policy.
Finally, breaking down is never pleasant, but waiting on the side of the road in winter can be particularly difficult. Taking out motorbike breakdown cover can help you get your bike back on the road as quickly as possible.
Dress for success - Reflective clothing will make you more visible in adverse weather conditions, and warm clothing and gloves will protect you from extreme cold and help you ride for longer
Use a clear visor - A helmet with an anti-fog visor, or using an anti-misting spray, will give you a clearer view of the roads. Depending on your visor, you may be able to use a Pinlock insert which can also stop the visor fogging up
Keep your distance - You’ll need to increase your braking distance to give you time to react to hazards in wet or slippery conditions. Braking earlier and more gradually will help you avoid skids
Increase your visibility - Winter roads can be covered in wet leaves and debris which can pull our focus closer to the bike but scanning further ahead will help you spot dangers before you reach them
Think about your body position - Tight corners and roundabouts can be more dangerous in winter. In these situations, take them slowly and minimise the lean angle by leaning your body into the bend but keeping the bike upright
Know your limits - If the forecast is looking particularly ominous or weather conditions are poor, plan your trips around this and choose a different mode of transport if needs be