En­sure your bike is ready

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage -

Cold kills dodgy bat­ter­ies 1

Make sure you have the right bat­tery, and get the best you can af­ford. Test it with a mul­ti­me­ter, too – with the ig­ni­tion off and the bike not con­nected to a charger for at least an hour the bat­tery should give at least 12.6v. You should get a read­ing be­tween 13.5v and 14.5v when the bike is run­ning and charg­ing the bat­tery. Check the fluid in re­fill­able lead-acid bat­ter­ies – they’re clear with up­per/lower level lines.

Back off the sus­pen­sion 2

If your year-round ride has firm, sporty sus­pen­sion and a se­lec­tion of ad­justers, don’t just leave it set for a grippy road in the height of sum­mer. Main­tain­ing weight trans­fer and not over­load­ing the tyres is the aim. Ex­per­i­ment with back­ing ev­ery­thing off a touch – a lit­tle less preload front and rear with softer damp­ing so the sus­pen­sion moves and responds. Note your base set­ting so you can re­set if needed.

Pro­tect the vul­ner­a­ble 3

A de­cent rear hug­ger and maybe a front mud­guard ex­ten­sion are a great start to con­tain the dirt flung up by your bike’s tyres. Elec­tri­cal con­nec­tors should be pro­tected with Vase­line, and you should fit pro­tec­tive grilles to ra­di­a­tors and cool­ers to pre­vent grit dam­age. Any pro­tec­tive cov­ers or wa­ter seals on elec­tri­cal parts should be in­tact and in place.

Steel your­self 4

Steel down­pipes have been the scourge of all-weather rid­ers for years. Con­sider spray­ing them with pro­tec­tive high-tem­per­a­ture paint to pre­vent any fu­ture dam­age. If you can re­move the ex­haust, take it off and clean away dirt and loose paint. Pre­pare, spray and cure as per the in­struc­tions, then re­fit, not for­get­ting new gas­kets and cop­per grease on the fas­ten­ers.

Plug pro­tec­tion 5

Pro­tect low-volt­age con­nec­tors with Vase­line. Seals on plug caps that pre­vent wa­ter en­ter­ing the plug tun­nel should also be tight and fully seated – reg­u­lar treat­ment with a wa­ter dis­per­sal spray is a wise move, es­pe­cially on V-twins. Some plug tun­nels have a wa­ter drain chan­nel – make sure this doesn’t clog and al­low mois­ture to build up.

Say no to cor­ro­sion 6

The tough­est form of pro­tec­tion is thick grease – some use nor­mal grease, but ded­i­cated cor­ro­sion-block­ing for­mu­las are avail­able. Th­ese are ideal for nooks and cran­nies that are hard to keep clean – just ap­ply once then clean off at the end of win­ter. Look for one that isn’t wa­ter-sol­u­ble for easy clean­ing – rain and spray will rinse it away.

Paint preser­va­tion 7

On a ba­sic level, care­ful clean­ing fol­lowed by wax pol­ish will add a pro­tec­tive layer. A tank pad is an easy ad­di­tion, but you can also get clear vinyl or pre-shaped fair­ing pro­tec­tion pan­els in all sorts of de­signs to pro­tect the vul­ner­a­ble ar­eas. Want to get re­ally se­ri­ous? A full vinyl wrap com­pletely cov­ers the orig­i­nal fin­ish. A fully faired bike can be cov­ered for around £300.

Brake care 8

Re­move and clean all fas­ten­ers and fit­tings, adding a very small amount of cop­per grease to the threads, and rub­ber-friendly grease un­der rub­bers on slid­ing calipers. Re­move and clean the pis­tons and seals, plus the grooves the seals fit in. Rub red-rub­ber or sil­i­cone grease all over the seals – not only will this keep them mov­ing, it will also help pre­vent cor­ro­sion.

Ser­vice, please 9

An en­gine wears more when it’s cold, so don’t ne­glect ser­vic­ing. Clean oil will pro­tect bet­ter as the mo­tor takes longer to warm. New plugs will pro­vide a strong spark. Syn­chro­nised/cleaned throt­tle bod­ies (or carbs) will of­fer more pre­dictable re­sponse on damp roads. Coolant/anti-freeze re­placed at the cor­rect in­ter­vals will safe­guard against freeze dam­age.

Bikes hate win­ter so get ev­ery­thing ready for the worst of the weather

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