Properly storing your bike is important if you want to save yourself a headache when it comes time to ride again. Whether you live in a cold climate and need to park the bike for winter, or you plan to be away and won't be able to ride for an extended period, the actions outlined in this article are the same. Once that times comes and you are ready to ride again, make sure that your bike is turn-key and ready for the road ahead.
In this article we will cover the following:
- How to properly stabilize or drain your fuel tank
- How to properly maintain your battery
- Additional actions that we recommended prior to long term storage
Note: The article relies heavily on the work of our friends Ari Henning, Zack Courts, and Spenser Robert. Their pioneering work at Motorcyclist Magazine through their video content series, MC Garage, is referenced throughout this article. We thank them for their knowledge and expertise. You can view the relevant content below.
How to properly stabilize or drain your fuel system
If you plan to store your bike for an extended period of time, you MUST address any fuel that may be left in the tank. For carbureted Triumph's (pre-2008 Modern Classics for instance), you are able to drain the fuel via the petcock. If you are storing an EFI bike (2008-present Modern Classics), you do not have an easy way of removing the fuel from the tank and therefore, a full tank with a quality fuel stabilizer is your best course of action.
- With the petcock in the OFF position, identify the fuel line that connects the petcock to the twin carbs and remove on the end that is attached to the carbs.
- Place the open end of the fuel line in a designated fuel container and put the petcock in the ON Position.
- Drain the fuel from the gas tank
- Drain the fuel from the carburetor float bowls
Note: Do not skip step 4 or you may be cleaning carbs come riding season.
- Fill the fuel tank with fuel. This will lessen the amount of air in the tank that can cause corrosion AND you'll be fueled up for your first ride when the time comes.
- Mix in a high quality fuel stabilizer to neutralize the ethanol in the gasoline and stabilize the fuel for long term storage.
- Run the bike for a few minutes to distribute the stabilized fuel throughout the fuel system.
How to properly maintain your battery
The traditional lead-acid battery found in your Triumph will self-discharge over time, potentially leaving the battery without enough voltage to start the motorcycle when you are ready for your next ride. You can avoid this with proper battery maintenance. To accomplish this you will need a smart charger or "trickle charger" that automatically feeds current to the battery when it needs it. If you have a lithium ion battery, you will only need to disconnect the negative terminal for safe storage up to 1 year.
For the win: Additional Recommended Actions
Beyond the base requirements of stabilizing your fuel system and placing your battery on an automatic charger, there are a few other steps that we recommend when storing your bike long term.
Wash Your Bike
A clean bike is nice right? They sure are fun to make dirty, but it is nice uncovering a clean, ready to ride bike and firing up the engine after a hibernation.
- Start with a Spray Cleaner (like Motul Moto Wash). Apply on a dry bike and be careful not to drag remnants from the road across your paint job. A light touch is called for.
- Prior to rinsing, make sure that you plug the exhaust pipes and cover or avoid electrical components.
- Thoroughly rinse the bike to ensure any debris is removed and the bike is prepared for soap
- Liberally apply soap and water, then rinse.
- Make sure to dry the bike with an air blower or a micro fiber towel to prevent water sitting on the bike. Water left on the bike could lead to corrosion.
Alternate Method: If you're bike is clean already, the Motul Spray Wash & Wax is a great product for keeping your bike pristine.
Protect Metal & Plastic Surfaces
To protect your Gas Tank and Fenders, apply a coat of Carnauba Paste Wax. It will leave a long lasting protective finish on painted parts.
For any plastic panels or components on the bike, use Bel-Ray's Sillicone Detailer and Protectant Spray. This will put a layer of protection on the parts bike that are susceptible to fading.
Clean & Lube Your Chain
Keeping your Chain clean and lubricated is standard protocol at all times. Put your bike away ready to go when your next ride comes.
Change the oil
Fresh, clean oil in the bike is important. If you have changed your oil recently, a top off should do, but if not, make sure that you put fresh oil in the bike and replace the filter.
Take care of your Tires
Letting your bike sit for an extended period of time is very bad for your tires, potentially resulting in flat spots and dry rot. Two things that you can do to protect them are as follows.
- Inflate your tires to the prescribed air weight
- Elevate your bike on stands to take the load off of the tires
Cover your bike
Lastly, you should seal all openings and cover the bike. Special care should be taken if the bike is to be stored out doors.
- Seal your mufflers and airbox with a plastic bag and rubber band. This will prevent any insects or rodents from getting it the bike, and stop moisture from building up and corroding the metal on your bike.
- Cover the bike with a synthetic bike cover. If storing out doors*, invest in a heavy duty outdoor cover that is waterproof and can be properly secured.
*If storing out doors, remove the battery for charging indoors.