You may be a year round, all weather rider, but if you prefer the warmer days, winter is the perfect time to give your bike some TLC. How often do motorcycles need maintenance?.. Keep your eye out year-round and make sure you check the following:
Get in the habit of checking your tyres before and after every ride, both for damage/wear and pressure. TYRES, TYRES, TYRES! During winter months, the pressure can drop by as much as 2psi for every 10°C drop in temperature.
Also, you might want to consider swapping your bike’s tyres for winter-ready rubber, as this will offer better grip and handling in wet and icy conditions.
Get your chain just right, not too loose but not too tight! Place two fingers under the lowest part of the chain and lift it. You are looking for approximately 1.5inches of play. Any doubts, check your manual or seek advice from a professional motorbike mechanic.
Before pulling off on a ride, quickly check your brakes are engaging. Ensure brake fluid is topped up and at the right level. Check the pads for any signs of wear, pitting or debris.
Riding in Winter? Keep your Coolant/Antifreeze topped up!
If your motorbike has a standard cooling system, make sure you keep it topped up with high-quality coolant/antifreeze. You need to use antifreeze with a low freezing point (preferably down to -30°C) so that it can’t freeze in the system when left parked outside.
Dirt, moisture, oil, salt and ice can really mess with your motorbike’s controls in the winter! Apply lube regularly to all moving parts to keep them working effortlessly. This includes the brakes, pedals and throttle control! On those wet road days, make sure you clean and lubricate the chain. Get rid of the pesky salt from the roads before it clogs up. Make sure all salt and dirt is removed to protect your chain from rusting!
Oil and Filter
Use a good quality engine oil to lube and protect moving parts. Winter can be the perfect time to spend quality time with your ride and give them the love they deserve. Why not change the oil and filter before winter fully kicks in to ensure complete protection for the engine.
If the battery’s down on power, charge it thoroughly before your next ride and keep tabs on its voltage. If it’s draining quickly, consider replacing it. If you're tucking your baby in to bed for winter, don't forget to stick it on trickle charge. If you are riding in winter, don't forget your battery is under more strain from working harder. (Cold starts, thick engine oil and the use of more electrics (lights, bar warmers etc.)) You can check the batter voltage, a healthy motorbike battery should be above 12.6 v.
Wash your ride
Cornwall is great, but that sea air can be a bitch! Along with the salt on the road, it is important to keep your bike clean! Ideally this should be done after every ride, but HEY! Nobody's perfect! Be sure to wash it down as soon after as possible. We stock Muc-Off and swear by their products.. they've made cleaning fun, oh and smelling great as well! Don't forget to get in to those tight areas.. the undercarriage, wheels and any gaps or crevices where salt and moisture might have crept in!
Clean the Lights Regularly
Seeing where you are going helps! With lower light in the winter, make sure you keep your lights as clean and free from dirt as much as possible. Shine bright!
F**K You Rust!
Don't forget to apply anti-rust and corrosion spray to vulnerable surfaces, like the brake discs, undercarriage and gear pedal sprocket after you wash it.
Storage and Safety Tips
Store Your Bike Inside Where Possible
Keeping your bike indoors will reduce the impact of the cold weather on your pride and joy. Reduce the effect on the battery and cooling system, as well as stop moving parts from seizing. Not got a garage? A secure shed or an armadillo covering could be an alternative. Other high-quality motorbike covers are available to protect your motorbike as much as possible.
Whilst the law only stipulates a helmet must be worn when riding a motorbike. We strongly recommend being protected head to toe. Make sure you are wearing an appropriate jacket, gloves, trousers and footwear. There are many different levels of protection to consider.. find out more in our detailed section of 'WHAT IS PROTECTIVE MOTORBIKE GEAR'
First things first... CBT. Compulsory Basic Training is required for motorbikes 125cc and under for you to be able to ride on the road. Some people prefer to have a few lessons before, but this is personal preference. Find a local training centre and enquire about their CBT's. We recommned that prior to riding, you get clued up with what to wear. Look at our advice on what to wear below.
Good to Know
The length of the trip will of course have an impact on what to pack, as well as what environment you are riding in. We recommend packing your essential bike gear along with a light weight waterproof that can be packed away when not in use. Pack water and snacks to keep you going.
BY RIDER'S FOR RIDER'S
Cornwall's Motorbike Lounge. Based in Newquay, we offer the perfect hub to plan your next ride, unwind with a coffee and a Cornish pasty or kick start your evening with a beer.
CORNWALL'S BEST ROADS
Cornwall's coastline and countryside offer great rides with epic views and some great pit stops. If you are new to riding in Cornwall or want to find our favourite spots, check out the link below.
Check out our bike maintenance tips. Motorbike maintenance workshops and talks coming soon.