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Bikernet Trike Riders

Winter Storage Tips for your Third Partner

Man, Woman and Wheel. A Threesome Report on Winter Romances.

Ujjwal Dey
12/13/2017


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It is Christmas and hope all of you are charged up for adventures and fun in the New Year. Snow fall has started at many areas and people are getting ready for Winter even though Game Of Thrones fanatics will tell you Winter is Coming with new episodes only in 2019. Winter is here and some of us still ride while others prefer to saddle up on the couch with loved ones in tow. However, if you are spending your family time in these festivities, don’t ignore your Third Partner, the third entity in your loving relationship with your old lady, the one you take on the road – your Trike, Sidecar Motorcycle or Autocycle.

Winter is tough time for motorcyclists as we are exposed to harsh elements. On the plus side, a Three-Wheeler has better footing on snowy landscapes and slush filled roads. Those on the East Coast know winter is inevitable but that doesn’t mean you lock away your Prize for three months or more. Either move (preferably on your Three-Wheeler) or deal with it by our wonderful Storage Tips.

I keep my rides available for year-long riding. After all, in my Biker Fiction I always brag about my Enfield being an All-Terrain War-Certified Vehicle.

But it is completely acceptable to go into hibernation, usually from November through March, contingent on weather and the fat accumulated on the tummy. As a Lover at heart, I perform all maintenance by experts while also trying to learn it myself.

 Pirsig’s book on Zen and Motorcycle Maintenance made me impotently aware of my inability to take care of my Third Partner. A man should be able to provide and also to maintain. The importance of properly storing and maintaining motorcycles is realized truly when the Biker Spirit takes possession of your Soul and suddenly all of your friends and you are riding cross-country on an unplanned trip decided last night outside a bar.
 
A Biker should be ready to ride at the drop of a hat and for such adventures you need to take care of your Third Partner in a relationship of man-woman-Ride.
 
 

I will suggest a simple and practical storage checklist that anyone anywhere can use irrespective of changing times, temperatures, moods and climate change. Follow the simple rules and every spring your riding season will begin without nagging issues, unlike the nagging old lady. While prepping the Enfield for winter storage, I once again relied on this checklist, which should make things easier for all Bikernet.com fans, readers, subscribers and minions.

Following these winter motorcycle storage tips, soon the spring riding season will throttle into action without problems. Simply uncover the bike, give the it a good once-over, check tire pressures, start and ride. The tips are also in order to make things flow as easily as possible. Read up and see you soon on a Ride. 

Go for a Long Ride

Winter is about to hit you. It’s the last time you will ride before the season takes over with an icy blanket on your fiery passion for the road. So go out and ride. Make it fun, even if it means being a Road Hog.

 

Fresh Fluids (Oil, Clutch, Brake, Coolant)

Many riders don’t believe its necessary. But I recommend that you change all fluids – oil (with filter), clutch, brake and coolant – before every winter storage. Of course it also depends on how long ago you’ve changed your fluids. If it’s been just a month and a few hundred miles after a clutch/brake fluid change, I would only change the oil.

Many don’t invest much money on maintenance. I change my brake and clutch fluid twice a year, this saves a step in the beginning of the riding season.

Why bother? Simply put – changing the fluids keeps things fresh. All fluids, especially used oil, contain contaminants from normal operation, quickly becoming a corrosive bath of fluids. This can destroy rubber seals rather quickly.

Wisdom says that when you are changing brake and clutch fluid, bleed two full reservoirs before topping it off. This makes sure all the old, nasty fluid is out. And remember to use correct coolant; if your bike is stored in extremely cold temperatures, radiators/lines can bust, ruining not only the riding season, but spraying corrosive material all over your Trike.

 
Spectro recommends dumping brake fluid from the master cylinder, filling with new and using the system to pump it through the brake calipers. You might do this before the winter and check it after the season has passed.
  

If your Trike is going to be in storage for more than four months, it’s not a bad idea to remove the spark plugs and spray the inside of the cylinder walls with oil. Remember to also bump the ignition to spread the oil on the cylinder walls for preservation.

Throughout my years of riding, I’ve never encountered any mechanical breakdowns, and I continue to hammer my engines daily. This is a result of normal maintenance and using fresh fluids ahead of storage. It costs money, yes, but lot less compared to buying a new Trike after just a few thousand miles.

 

Scrub, Wash, Dry & Wax

Start scrubbing and cleaning and begin with the dirty parts, such as the chain and brakes. Use a grunge brush and an O-ring safe degreaser for the chain, and disc cleaner for the brakes.

A good tip is to save yourself some steps for the spring season and inspect everything while cleaning.

Wash and thoroughly dry the motorcycle, especially if you’re doing this before covering it. Water means moisture, and moisture is the evil that creates lifelong problems, causing rusting, corrosion and mold.

Wax or treat the paint as usual. Don’t forget to treat your motorcycle’s chrome if your Trike is chromed. It offers the further protection when you put away the ride and also provides a shimmering temptation to feed your hunger for riding at the end of winter. You should also treat the leather seats and other leather items before storage. You will be sitting on it for a long time to come, so consider your saddle when you store them inside for the winter. Keep it fresh for next season.

Wax and Lubricate Chain

Besides cleaning and waxing and lubricating your Trike chain throughout the season, you can also extend the life of your chain by treating it before storage. Thumb rule for chains is grease every 500 miles for street; every 200 miles for adventure/off-road. So make sure you clean the chain. Remember to get the chain warm by riding it briefly for say five miles before lubing/waxing. This allows the lube to dissolve quicker and enter the O-Ring chain for proper lubrication. Wipe off all excess wax/lubricant.

For those with a final-belt drive, you lucky bastard, go to next tip instead. Don't forget to oil your clutch and throttle cables.

 

Gas Treatment

For fuel injection systems, fill the tank with fuel, add fuel stabilizer, run it for a few minutes, and shut it off. This allows the stabilizer to get throughout the fuel-injection components. This simple process has been a reliable trick and come summer you can rip things apart for cleaning the fuel system to find that all parts have remained relatively gunk free.

For carburetors, shut the petcock off and either drain the fuel float bowls, or run engine until it is starved for gas. Fill up fuel tank and add stabilizer to keep the inside of the tank moisture-free.

That’s the key reason we top off the tank, to keep moisture from building inside, which causes rust. As for the fuel stabilizer it does its job to stabilize the fuel so this fuel doesn’t go bad. Bad fuel can ruin a motorcycle’s induction components quickly.

Exhaust Preparation

Once the exhaust is clean, spray a very small amount of WD-40 into the end of the pipes, making sure no excess gets outside of the outlets. The “WD” stands for “Water Displacement,” and this helps further protect the inner exhaust and engine from moisture, which can turn into rust.

After that, use a plastic bag to insert into the pipe and then wrap the access around the outside of the pipe, securing it to the tip with a rubber band. This keeps vermin out, since they like to nest inside the exhaust during the winter months.

Battery Maintenance

Storage charges such as a Battery Tender Junior are affordable nowadays. Make your battery last for years with a small investment. You can actually go an entire decade of riding without a battery change, with such care / precaution.

Either remove the battery, and keep it on a trickle charger, or insert a pigtail on the battery. Just use the pigtail on everything. The pigtails on the rides allow for a simple hookup to a trickle charger.

It's not recommended to leave battery chargers on and leave town. The best is to disconnect the battery or remove it. Then you are not dealing with any constant drain. You can charge it after the winter one time, hook it up and you're ready to go. 
 
I don't like to leave chargers connected over night, if possible. They are a fire hazard.
 
 

Inflate Tires to Correct Pressure

Tires need to retain their proper shape. So inflate them to the correct pressure before storage. Also, if you are storing the trike on the tires, rotate each wheel once a month to prevent flat spots. Own a good gauge. Cheap gauges give awfully incorrect measurements.

Store on Stands if Possible

If you can get the Three Wheels off the ground, this would provide the most optimal situation for storage.

This techniques keep the tires off the ground, preventing the need to rotate to reduce flat spots. It also keeps the suspension unloaded, which helps suspension longevity. But you still need to inflate to proper pressure to retain shape of tires.

Use the Correct Cover

Never use plastic to cover your motorcycle during storage because it traps moisture, causing corrosion, rust and mold issues. Many cover makers now offer breathable covers that are affordable. Take corrosion seriously and take the extra step, there are covers such as the Zerust Motorcycle Cover which will guarantee protection in storage.

Store in Well-Ventilated Area with No Open Contaminants Present

The most ideal location to store your Trike is a well-ventilated area anywhere indoors. This keeps air circulating, and no moisture will build up underneath the cover. Make sure there are no open fertilizers or other chemicals around the Trike, especially if your garage is used as a man cave for tinkering with man toys that extend beyond riding. Such chemicals can speed up corrosion.

Forget These Storage Tips

Hell Yeah! Just forget I said anything at all about storage and winter. Convince the significant other that the Third Partner needs to reside in the living room. If you’re one of the few lucky ones, this is the most ideal situation for any beloved riding wheels.

Do you have some time-tested, Grandpa guaranteed, family recipe to take care of your Trike throughout the year in varying seasons. Tell Bikernet.com about it – email us at wayfarer@bikernet.com or just drop us a comment below.

 

 
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