Lower Mainland riders are able to ride almost all year long due to moderate seasonal temperatures, but just in case you need to store your motorcycle… here’s some tips…
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These general storage tips that go with your specific model information from your Owner’s Manual and or Service/Technical Manual to maintain the highest level of safety and preparedness to preserve the value of your investment.
Thoroughly wash and dry the motorcycle, dirt and bug remains retain water and can be acidic and cause corrosion to alloys. Polish and wax all chrome and painted surfaces. Spray unpainted castings with S100R Corrosion Protectant. Always refer to your Owner’s Manual as to the specific cleaning needs of your motorcycle.
It is recommended that the engine oil and filter be changed prior to long periods of inactivity. Follow your manufacturer’s recommendations on oil viscosity and type as well as an O.E.M. oil filter. Once the oil has been changed, start and run the engine to allow the clean oil to circulate throughout the engine for approximately three minutes. If the motorcycle will be stored for longer than 6 months, drain and replace all other oils such as, gearbox, driveshaft, rear differential, fork oil. Run the motorcycle for approximately three minutes, using several gears to ensure proper oil coverage in transmission and rear drive. This will reduce the risk of any moisture or contaminants damaging vital internal components.
Brake and Clutch Fluid
Review your motorcycle’s brake and clutch fluid requirement for renewal and if these fluids are overdue or close to their renewal, it is advisable to change these fluids since contaminated fluid will cause corrosion and deterioration to the hydraulic systems for clutch and brakes. The fluids should be clear and amber in colour, dark or cloudy fluids should be flushed and the renewed.
If your motorcycle has a drive chain, it is recommended that a specifically formulated spray cleaner be used such as Motul Chain Cleaner be used. Gasoline, Varsol and WD40 are not recommended to clean drive chains with o-rings in them. Do not clean the chain with the motorcycle running. Spray washing a drive chain is also not recommended. A soft brush or cloth may be used to wipe excess lubricant and cleaner off the chain. A specifically formulated quality chain lubricant is recommended.
Drain the fuel tank to remove any moisture or contaminants from the fuel tank. Refill the fuel tank with fresh fuel to prevent rusting. Fresh fuel in a large quantity remains more stable than in small quantities. Should a fuel stabilizer be considered, ensure that any fuel stabilizer products are approved by the manufacturer prior to use.
Drain the carburetor float bowls of fuel prior to storage. Smaller quantities of fuel are less stable and tend to break down over time, draining the float bowls will prevent build up of fuel deposits in the carburetor circuits, jets and needle and seat assemblies.
The greatest cause of battery failure is insufficient battery care during storage periods, which can be recognized by cell sulfation. Review your Owner s Manual on all Warnings and safe procedures when handing the battery prior to doing so! Batteries should be removed and stored in a warm, dry place but not on concrete. Maintain the proper electrolyte level, adding distilled water as necessary, Ensure that the battery case and terminals are clean, Follow the owner’s manual to recharge the battery periodically, generally for 10 hours every 2-3 weeks with a maximum output of 2 amps, Consider installing a Battery Tender with quick connections for ease of charging if the battery is left in the motorcycle.
Park the motorcycle on the centre stand for the storage period to remove all weight on the tires. In lieu of a centre stand, blocks of wood can be used to support the motorcycle. Inflate the tires to the recommended tire pressures. Remove all gravel, dirt and other road contaminants from the tire treads. Now is the best time to measure your tire depths to see if new tires should be on your gift list!
Lubricate the side and centre stand pivots with grease if grease fittings exist. Where no grease fittings are available, lubricate with CRC5556 or WD40 – clutch and brake lever pivots, rear brake pedal and linkage pivots, throttle body or carburetor linkage, stand pivots, seat hinges and all lock mechanisms in the ignition, steering lock, fuel cap, seat and saddlebags. Spray lubricant into the handlebar switches and operate them with the ignition off. Allow the excess lube to drain and/or evaporate prior to operating with the ignition on.
Use a vented cover that allows moisture to escape Remove any motorcycle cover while charging the battery in a motorcycle to avoid accumulation of explosive gasses Select a storage area that is free from dampness and high humidity Do not store the motorcycle in direct sunlight. Ensure adequate ventilation and do not store near open flames or sparks. Always refer to your Owner’s Manual for the specific needs of storing your Motorcycle!
Many of today’s modern BMW motorcycles are air and water cooled. When we say that an engine is water cooled what that really means is that it is actually cooled with combination air, water, and antifreeze. As coolant goes through the heat cycling process it looses its ability to carry and shed heat as effectively. It also collects sediments from within the cooling system that are formed during the heat cycling process. It is important to the life of the engine to always have the system working at its maximum efficiency. This means that the cooling system should be flushed periodically.
BMW’s recommendation varies from model to model. However we feel that you should perform this service every other year as a minimum. This will keep your engine’s cooling system working at its optimum efficiency at all times. Always be sure to use a coolant that is formulated for motorcycles and is mixed at the proper ratio. Contrary to popular belief coolant actually works better mixed with distilled water than it will if used straight! We recommend BMW coolant always be in your motorcycle to ensure the correct type. Some automotive type coolants will have silicates added to help clean the cooling system. This type of coolant is NEVER to be used in a motorcycle as it will cause damage to the seals in the system.
Valve stem caps are more important than you think. Frequently we see motorcycles come in for service with missing valve stem caps. This is potentially dangerous if you are a fast rider, as at very high speeds you can lose air from the valve stem valve unless you have the valve stem cap in place. You do NOT want to experience a deflation at triple digit speeds because you neglected to replace a missing valve stem cap. (We have seen it happen, this is no laughing matter…)
It is a good idea to use a battery charger occasionally, especially with LT’s & RT’s with radio-stereo systems. Even if you ride your bike often, you will have longer battery life and avoid the chance of being stranded with a low battery. The right method is to use either a battery charger for a limited time (12 hours or so) or use a “battery tender”, which is regulated and cannot overcharge the battery, and can be left on indefinitely. Remember that no matter how often you ride, charging your battery will insure long life. And if you ride your LT infrequently, and for short rides, it is absolutely essential that you get a battery tender and use it to keep your battery in a fully charged state, as there is more drain on the battery from radio & alarm than with other bikes.