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different trains
weekend warriors
time and patience
hurricane season
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city dwellers
Storage In The Off Season
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Storage In the Off Season

It's almost that time. The dreaded non riding season (well for the northern American states anyway). The weather is about to become unpredictable, cold, rainy, windy (hurricane season) and most people will be putting away their "toys" (vs horses) for a few months. This is when you find out who the lifers (often called "ride or die", "hardcore" or "REAL/true" riders) and the hobbyists (aka "weekend warriors", "posers" or "fake" riders) are. Hmmmmm sounds like a "-vs-" article in the making. I'll have to see to that but anyway, let's get started talking about "Storage in the Off Season".

Storing a motorcycle is more...

...than closing the garage or shed or just throwing a cover on it and not thinking about it until the sun comes out on a warm 70 degree day. Well you could but it can end up costing you a pretty penny when you want to ride again. You'd be lucky if it stayed running....or started at all.

In a perfect world..

...every "bike owner" would have a climate controlled personal garage but most garages and/or storage areas are not climate controlled and most city dwellers don't even have garages. If you don't start it periodically then you may end up having to get the battery recharged or even worse, buying a new one when you do decide to ride again. So what can reduce the chances for any of these things happening?

Further proof that riding is an expensive hobby.

Now I myself have never done any of the things that I'm about to mention. Not because they are not important but because I've never not ridden due to the change of seasons (more on that in the "-vs-" article previously mentioned. Stay tuned). But here we go;

  1. Look into purchasing a battery tender or trickle charger (there is a difference). If you're the "set it and forget it" type of person then this will save you time and patience when it comes time to fire up your beast when it gets warm. It keeps your battery ready to go at a moment's notice.
  2. FLUIDS! There are two different trains of thought on fluids. Some say drain any fluids possible, especially gas. If you are smart you are only using high octane gas (93 or better) that rarely causes a problem if it sits for a while but play it safe if you can. Oil should be changed at the beginning of the season anyway (more on that in the "Pre-Season Drill") so take it out before it becomes a problem. AND NEVER REUSE OLD FLUID! You will regret it. Others say to change and fill all fluids and put in fuel stabilizer so condensation doesn't get in and possibly cause problems. Again, I've never done either but in my research the percentages were 50/50 on either. I suggest you do which you feel more comfortable doing, what you think is best for the area that you live in or better yet, in this case do what your regular mechanic suggests.
  3. If at all possible your bike should be stored in a warm (climate controlled) dry location. Bikes should NEVER EVER EVER be left out in the elements for months at a time. If this means that you should rent an inexpensive storage unit (with electricity for your tender) then so be it. But if you must leave it outside then ya might not want to put a cover over it to avoid condensation (I know it sounds crazy but it really does make sense).
  4. Cold weather generally condenses air pressure within your tires so it's a good idea to use a bike stand so tires can maintain their shape (this will also relieve pressure off the suspension). Filling tires to max capacity will help but lifting it is better. Get a couple of friends and lift up onto wood chocks if you don't have a center stand or bike stand.
There are many other processes... be done when a bike will be stored for extended periods of time (more than a few to six months or more) and there are numerous places on the internet to find the details. But this should give you a good start and hopefully one day you won't need storage in the off season because you will have graduated to an all season "lifer". Until then...


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