Proper storage of a motorcycle in winter is the basis for its efficient performance in the next season. Taking care of all the details related to the cleaning and maintenance of the motorcycle guarantees no unpleasant surprises during the first spring ride. One of the important aspects which should be considered are the tyres.
Let's start with the maintenance of wheels and tyres. First of all, both elements should be thoroughly cleaned using a good and safe product, e.g. a car shampoo and a soft brush. You can also use a special foam that cleans, maintains rubber and gives it a shiny look – such a spray will cost at least about a dozen GBP. The wheels need to wiped dry to protect wheel rims from corrosion and all objects that got stuck in the grooves of the tread must be removed. It is particularly important to remove stones from the tread – even the small ones will deform the tyre.
Proper storage of the motorcycle in winter will protect it from damage.
Proper winter storage of tyres is also an important factor when it comes to their wear life. Good motorcycle storage conditions out of season can slow down the process of rubber aging and losing its traction properties. However strange this sounds – in the case of motorcycles the latter (traction properties) is much more important than in the case of a car because there are only two tyres connecting the vehicle to the road surface. The key issue is the storage of the vehicle – the best, of course, are closed and dry rooms where tyres are not exposed to the destructive influence of water. Therefore, a garage will always be a much better place than even the best-kept outdoor parking (even if we use waterproof motorcycle covers).
Tyre life and storage in winter
Large variations in temperature have an adverse impact on tyres (experts advise that the temperature should oscillate around 10-20°C) as does excessive heat that can cause irreversible changes in the molecular structure of rubber after prolonged standstill. Therefore, it's not a good solution to place the motorcycle next to a heater, furnace or even central heating pipes. If the motorcycle is supposed to stand on tyres, it's recommended to separate it from the ground with a piece of wood or cardboard. This way we will, at least partially, protect it from the possible contamination with grease or fuel.
Choose your motorcycle tyres
This way we came to the issue of what impact the motorcycle position during the winter standstill has on tyres. Owners of motorcycles equipped with the central base have an easier task because the only thing they have to do is to reduce tyre pressure (to approx. 1.5 atmosphere). Isolating the motorcycle from the ground is important and preferably it should be placed in such a way that both wheels are hanging freely in the air. This way we'll avoid the deformation of the tyre carcass, which can be caused by a standstill lasting for several months. The lower the pressure in the tyre, the more probable the deformation. This is why you should inflate the wheels to the pressure a little higher than recommended by the manufacturer for driving if you leave the motorcycle on wheels and the side support. In this situation we should also keep one more thing in mind: every two to three weeks it is necessary to roll the motorcycle by 1/4 of the wheel's turn in order to change the load putting pressure on the tyres.
Motorcycle tyre life depends to a large extent on how it is stored in winter.
A popular solution is also to buy a stand before the winter, on which you can mount the motorcycle, separating the tyres from the ground. For a set (for the front and rear wheel) you will pay, depending on the manufacturer, size, material, and capacity from over 30 to 250 GBP.
Local parking lot, garage or rented storage space?
And finally, the place of storing the motorcycle in winter – some people rent a garage for the off-season period as a group (spread costs are relatively low), a relatively new idea is also using Self Storage spaces but the most comfortable solution may be relying on the services of companies dealing with storing motorcycles in winter season.
This type of services is connected with maintaining the motorcycle in good shape and, what's most important, in good and safe conditions: stable, warm temperature, away from dangerous substances, in monitored, insured and protected warehouses. Usually the offer of such companies includes such treatments as washing the motorcycle, overall maintenance and inspection, and warm-up. After initial recognition of the market we can conclude that in the case of smaller cities that services cost around 8-13 GBP per month. In larger cities, e.g. in London it is approx.16-25 GBP (although in the case of, e.g. small scooters up to 50 cm³ the price is of course lower and amounts to about 8 GBP). Some companies extend their offer with, e.g. coupons for a free oil change or a discount on tyre change.