I'm going to be putting a bike in storage for several seasons. What should I do to prevent damage?

Volumes have been written on this subject, with opinions all over the map. So I'll just tell you what I would do if I was going to store a bike for two years (the time period matters here) in a dry, non-heated storage space. (This is a common situation for people who rent U-Store-It type spaces to keep their surplus toys in.)

In some semblance of order, I would:

Wash the bike. Then rinse it thoroughly. Ride it 3-4 miles on a dry day on clean roads to get it up to full temp so that it's fully dry. Return to the storage place and drain and change all the oils, replacing them with SYNTHETIC oils, regardless of what type of oil I normally would use for running them. This oil will get replaced before the bikes go back in service.

Remove the battery and battery holder/box. Wash the box and dry it, then spray it with CRC 5-56 , Kal-Gard 30/30, or WD-40. From here in I'll call those "anti-rust spray." Drain the battery and flush it out, then store it with the caps off. it's going to get thrown out in two years, but it's handy to have it available so you remember what the number on it was, or what the dimensions are. Wash and keep the battery hold-down, vent hose, etc, also. Don't let this seemingly insignificant stuff escape.

Drain the fuel system completely. Remove the fuel line(s) and run a piece of tubing from one petcock to the other (if there are two.) Then fog the inside of the tank with the anti-rust spray, or remove it, pour in a pint of the storage motor oil and turn/slosh it around fully. Work the petcocks through all positions to work the oil or spray into them.

Remove the carburetor float bowls,and spray a good fuel system cleaner like Gumout up into and through all jets and passages. then spray in the anti-rust spray. Reinstall the bowls.

Pull the spark plugs, put the bike in top gear and use the rear wheel to turn the motor slowly while spraying the anti-rust spray liberally into the cylinders. Doing this while cycling the engine assures that spray gets into the ports and on the valve seats, stems and guides.

Drain and replace the brake fluid. Really flush out the old stuff well. Spray anti-rust into the master cylinders behind the pistons (on the lever side) while squeezing the levers. If you can prevent corrosion in the master cylinders, they may survive.

If the bike has a radiator, drain it and refill it with pure antifreeze/coolant that is marked for aluminum engines.

Coat all painted surfaces with a liberal coat of good quality wax, and leave it unbuffed.

Use a syringe or squirt can to put a couple drops of clean oil into each lock assembly on the bike.

Coat all rubber and plastic surfaces with liberal doses of Armorall.

Wax the windscreen if the bike has one. Leave the wax on.

Put oil on the chain liberally. If the bike has rubber
drive belts, DON'T treat them, it will cause them to deteriorate.

Armorall the tires.

Spray the outside of the engine and all exposed metal and chrome with the rest of your anti-rust spray, even the brake discs.

Use foil to seal off the engine air intake to keep rodents from taking up residence.

If insect nests are a problem in your area, fog the shed a couple times a year. Insects like to devour wire insulation.

Unless you have a safe-deposit box, store the keys WITH the bike. Otherwise in two years you'll be buying new locks when you can't find the keys.

You should be good for two to three years with this method. Figure on spending some time and money to put the bike back into service. You'll probably need a battery, brake pads (they delaminate over time) and a full oil change. Also figure on a new air filter, oil filter, spark plugs and brake fluid. (Don't be tempted to run the fluid that was in storage.) You'll
have to replace the coolant, too.

Make detailed notes on everything you did putting it in storage, and store a copy with the bike, and another copy at home.

If all of this seems like too much bother, do it the way I do. Just kick the shed door shut and plan to spend a lot of money in a couple years.

The first plan works better, and I've tried both.

-Tom Cutter

(Originally posted to the Airheads list)