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Robin DeanMar 11, 2014 (Updated Nov 28, 2020)CommentShare

Wake Your Motorcycle From Winter Storage

Here I thought that composing refined, go-to instructions on how to de-winterize your motorbike would be as simple as reversing the winter storage process. That’s definitely not the case. Fortunately, our writings weren’t too far off and changes are easy enough to implement.

Excited about riding before the snow has even melted, I found these inefficiencies by following my own steps. All bikes being different, my goal is to provide a basic, semi-universal approach for independent use. With that, consider the motorcycle winter storage commonalities (or lack thereof).

Oh, how my Bandit must envy my Seca. Manufactured in ’82, the Yamaha XS400RJ Seca is a naked UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle). Removing it’s gas tank is as simple as disconnecting an exposed fuel line, popping two nubby plastics and pulling a single bolt.

I wish I could say the same for my Bandit. Even with just a half-fairing, she flat out screams “designed to pay dealership for maintenance”. A lot of modern bikes are like that, making a first start up after winter storage a more lengthy process.

Waking From Winter Storage Starts At The Tank

To pull the tank from the Bandit, I must disconnect the breather hose, remove the petcock knob, unscrew two bolts from the tank base and place a 2″ slat of plywood underneath it toward the seat. The plywood gives me just enough room to access two of the four hoses (not to mention a gas gauge metering line) which must then be disconnected using 15″ bent nose pliers. These two hoses are deep-seated by the spine of the frame for “maximum unnecessariness”. I’m to do all this without scratching any of the surrounding surfaces, all of which are painted, including the engine.

Winter Storage Tank Removal

Are you kidding me?

This is only half of the process, so you can see where your motorcycle winter storage execution might require personal notes. Writing about the Bandit’s tank is making me angry. Let’s move on.

Why Is Our Bike’s Wake Up So Tank-centric?

Before winter storage, one of the final steps I take is to coat the painted metals with turtle wax. When de-winterizing, it makes sense to wipe the wax from the tank (and only the tank) before pulling it to gain access to the air intake which is covered in plastic wrap that must be removed. That way you can leave the wax on elsewhere should the process be interrupted by, well … life.

A body in motion tends to stay in motion, so my edits aim to keep things efficient; less time consuming; schedule friendly. That’s why there’s so much activity between the application and removal of Gunk degreaser. I also turn the suspension/stationary tubes to an accessibility sweet spot so “all things wiping” can be over and done.

When spring approaches, that to-do list can get lengthy. Allow three days to get one bike ready. Smile big should you get it done in a single-session.

How Do You “Brake” Your Bike Out Of Storage?

If your winterization process is different, your de-winterization process likely is as well. What methods to you employ? Why? Your input is invited. Post an article!

This is the end!
Robin Dean

About Robin Dean

Motorcycle advocate, enthusiast and traveler. Founder, The Riding Obsession (2014). MSF RiderCoach credentials: BRCu, BRC2u, MSRCu, ARCu, 3WBRCu ~ Spotify Playlist

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