We’ve all started to put the central heating on, which, can mean only one thing, we’ve either reached an age where we wake up in the night to take a piss or its just bloody cold outside.
Winter is here folks, a sad time for some bikers, especially those who ride rice burners with their knee down. The roads are like brittle toffee, pot holes are getting worse, leaves are turning the road surfaces into compost and it’s freezing cold out there. Soon the shotblasting machines will out and about gritting the streets, even the weather men and women are announcing the annual big freeze on a weekly basis. Milk, eggs and bread will be rationed and fights will break out in the mini supermarkets over who gets to take home the last Malt Loaf on sale.
For some of us, we still need to use our bikes, or want to use our bikes, whether that’s to commute to work or you just need our weekly fix riding to Starbucks on a weekend.
But with all this weather turning sour how can we prepare our bikes and make life more conformable for ourselves and our beloved machines.
Give your bike a thorough wash
Get some warm water and some decent bike wash, ideally with no caustic chemicals and give your bike a really good seeing to, use a soft brittle brush, like your kids toothbrush (they don’t use it anyway) to get the stubborn hard to reach dirt off. Dry it off with an compressor and an airline, leaf blower or your wife’s dressing gown, to ensure all the water and moisture has been mopped up. Then apply a liberal coating of ACF50. Get yours here https://amzn.to/2KjfBss
ACF50 on your tyres or brakes may cause death, so it’s not a good idea. It is however, a good idea to cover your tyres and brakes when applying this stuff, as its as slippery as Donald Trumps Lawyers
Once you’ve coated the bike, plastics and all, give it a light wipe with a lint free cloth, not too much, you want to just smear it all around, like you’re coating Megan Fox in chocolate rather than rub it all off.
The secret to this is not to wash the bike now until spring, or at least all the salt on the road has been washed away. If you really can’t cope with a dirty bike then just use a hose to rinse the dirt off. Don’t use a jet wash. By doing this, you’ll protect the bike from the ingress of water and corrosive, aluminium eating salt particles.
Storing Your Bike
If you don’t intend to ride your bike again until the rabbits start shagging their brains out in springtime then the ACF50 coating will also do a good job of protecting it during storage.
To keep your bike in good nick whilst it hibernates you may want to consider these tips.
- Fill the tank to the brim with fuel, this is harder than it sounds due to the temptation to go for a blast after. Filling the tank with fuel will reduce condensation in the tank building up and prevent water getting into your filter.
- If you have to store the bike outside do the same above, then use a raincover over the top to keep water away. Make sure you’ve topped up your brake fluid to prevent or reduce condensation building up
- Believe it or not, rats or mice can destroy a bike. Some water hoses and, foam or plastics on the bike have corn in them, it’s true, and the pesky feckers will gnaw away. When you come to starting the bike next spring, it’ll look like your bikes pissing in the wind. Ensure that these are dealt with sensibly, traps work but if you’re a lover of animals, then try some deterrents that are harmless to creatures.
- Someone once said to cover your brake discs in oil or grease to stop them rusting. If you want to try this make sure you have really good insurance cover. Even when using a dozen cans of electrical cleaner or brake cleaner you will never get the pads free of grease or oil as it gets soaked in. A guaranteed way to get one of those free robotic arms or legs they supply in hospitals.
Buy a trickle charger
Cold kills batteries, we should all know that. Unless you have a lithium ion battery, plugging a trickle charger in will keep the battery in good health ready for the first spring run. Here’s a good one… https://amzn.to/2pkz0lF
Make sure your chain is thoroughly waxed. You don’t want that getting rusty and seizing up on you by the time spring comes around.
You can buy winter tyres for cars but what do you do for bikes? Well, nothing really, just ride as you normally would and take extra care in the cold and wet. Cold tyres, cold roads, or wet roads can be lethal, so stay off the white paint and manhole covers and take it steady on roundabouts, especially those on or very near petrol stations as you may find overspill of diesel caused from lorry drivers who don’t know where the fill line is in their tank.
You may even have to check your tyre pressure, the cold may will definitely have an affect.
Wintery days can turn nasty
Yes they can. You could head off to work in the morning and by the time you leave your paid prison cell, it could be snowing, icy, or wet. Make sure you take wet weather gear to keep you dry and warm.
Unless you’re a riding god, don’t ride on very icy roads or in freezing cold weather.
Consider a night riding tinted visor, or those yellow glasses for night driving. You’ll be amazed how much your vision improves wearing these and you’ll look like the owner of a stud ranch.
Most importantly, if you are mad enough to continue riding through winter, you’ll probably have the experience to stay upright. If it’s your first year riding through winter weather, take it steady, plan your trip, check the weather and make sure you can be seen on the road by wearing reflective clothing. If you’re not a fan of hi-viz, this alternative is more stylish… https://amzn.to/2XcBJKr