Long Winter’s Nap: Taking Your Motorcycle Out Of Storage

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By Evans Brasfield

Waking your bike from its long winter’s nap is one of those good news/bad news moments. The good news is that, if you prepared your bike for the winter, getting back out on the road is pretty darn simple. The bad news is that, if you didn’t, you could be in for a bit of work (or more) before your motorcycle is ready to ride. While it may seem counter-intuitive, leaving your bike idle without preparing it is actually quite stressful on it. The volatile components in gasoline will separate and evaporate. The chemicals used to store electricity in the battery self-discharge. The air in the half-empty gas tank forms a microclimate in which any moisture has a chance to work its oxidizing magic on the exposed metal in the air pocket. Any corrosive materials left on a dirty bike get to gnaw away at it unchecked. Ozone will age the rubber parts. All of these are bad things.

Prevent Metal-on-Metal Violence

If you didn’t before the winter off-season (and even if you did), now is a good time to change your oil. Most of the crud in the oil has settled down into the oil pan, so you can get it out by draining it before you start the engine for the first time. The oil will be thick, so let it take its time in draining. Once you’ve added the new oil and filter, take it easy on the engine’s first start. Don’t crank up the choke or fast idle. Just let it run at the minimum rpm that it will idle smoothly. Remember, until the oil gets pumped back up the high points in the engine, there is the potential for metal on metal contact – which is a Very Bad Thing. Run your engine until …read more

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