Winter Storage

That time has come here in Ontario.

Some have already stored their bikes, some keep it ready for any final decent riding days.

Buck has already mentioned a fantastic service for storing your bike through the winter here. This post is for those who, like me, will store the bike themselves.

I don’t claim to be an expert on this, but I’ve done quite a bit of research and am providing you with the info I intend to use for my storing process.

First off, I’ve heard some complaints about ‘Stabil’, the fuel additive that keeps gas fresh through storage. Not that it doesn’t do the job but that bikes stored with ‘Stabil’ run ‘crappy’ after the winter. As an alternative ‘Sea Foam’ apparently works great. It is a fuel additive that, among other things, cleans injectors and carbs, adds lubricity, restores power, removes moisture, cleans carbon, stabilizes fuel, smooths rough idle, and assures fast starts. I’ve had trouble finding it so far but when I do I will post the source (you can check some stores in the shops section of the sidebar).

The instructions for storage using ‘Sea Foam’ involves adding 1/3 of the bottle, filling up the gas tank, and riding for about 5 minutes after warming the bike up before parking it.

I also suggest removing your battery and putting it on a trickle charger throughout the winter. This will insure battery power for the spring so you won’t have to wait to get back on the road again!

If you have a chain driven bike, I suggest thoroughly cleaning and lubing it before storage. Again, this will reduce any work come the spring and get you back on the road immediately.

I’ve read it is a good idea to change the oil for storage. Used oil has certain acids and contaminants that leech out during prolonged idle periods. It has been suggested you put in cheap oil to store throughout the winter, then change with your usual oil and a new oil filter come the spring. See our oil changing video tutorial here.

Another idea is to wrap bags over the exhaust pipes to keep the moisture out.

I’m storing my bike in my clean and dry garage this winter. Ideally you should put something under the bike to keep it off the concrete – like a blanket. I also wrap it in a blanket to prevent any dust and moisture that might occur. I plan on doing some work on it throughout the winter so having access to it will make the work that much easier.

I also like to clean my bike before putting it in storage. I always say, ‘A clean bike is a happy bike!’.

Hope this helps out and if you have any tips of your own please do share in the comments!

Also, keep checking in to Rubber on the Road for work updates and general bike talk throughout the off-season!


Final ride of the season: Night Time Odyssey Through Western New York

Both my bike and I having been idle in Toronto from any long trips for over a month, I decided that I would take the upcoming holiday weekend (thanksgiving in Canada and Columbus day in the states) to take one more trip before it got too cold, and it would probably be my last chance so I was going to go no matter what, premature winter be damned!

So I booked off the necessary days from work with the plan to head from Toronto to Oneonta, NY to visit my brother at college. I also invited my girlfriend along, letting her know of course that she would be signing up for nearly 800 miles in 3 days in very cold weather.

The trip turned out to be very intense, but just the type of adventure I needed. We left at 7pm on Saturday night after I finished my shift at work with the plan to drive two hours to Niagara where we would spend the night and then finish the trip on Sunday. Well it turned out that virtually all of the hotels in western New York were booked from Niagara to Elmira. So 10 hours later, after sub freezing weather, thick fog, rain, and many hotel desk clerks with bad news (some very friendly and helpful, some complete assholes, and some just plain weird) we pulled into the Mark Twain Motor Inn in Elmira at 5am. I was incredibly impressed with how my girlfriend held up, only starting to get frustrated at about 3 or 4 in the morning when the rain was freezing on our clothes and the condensation on the bottom of my visor was forcing me to tilt my head down to see my control panel, leading my poor passenger to think I was falling asleep.

Needless to say, the next two days were boring in comparison. Having done most of the drive the day (night) before, Sunday was a leisurely 100 mile day into Oneonta and a much less sketchy hotel (bath water did not come out yellow). Even doing the full drive back on Monday was relatively easy, other than long lines at the border, cold at first but we made good time and were able to take the necessary rejuvinating breaks.

It was overall a much welcome exclamation mark at the end of my sadly abbreviated riding season this year. Hopefully it will hold me over for at least a couple of the months that my bike is sitting in storage. Now I can’t help but look forward to that first thaw of next year!

That time of year again: bike storage for the winter

WinterSadly, especially with living in Canada, with the last quarter of the year comes the tracking of the daily temperature highs and lows. I will typically put off storage until the cold really becomes unbearable and my Sportster starts to voice is frustration with being started up in near freezing temperatures, last year waiting until somewhere around the middle of November. This year however, a good opportunity for storage came up and I figured that with being busy with school and work, it was probably better to put the bike away.

A friend of mine clued me in to a very good deal for winter storage, and for anyone who lives in the Toronto area, I highly recommend it as well. SOAR Services offers winter storage until May 1st, pick up and drop off, as well as an oil change for $250. For me, that will work out to less than $50 per month and that’s not even counting the oil change and transportation. Their website can be found here and the phone number is 905-697-3174. The service is run by Ken McAdam. Definitely worth checking out. Of course, indoor storage is a very good idea and SOAR provides indoor, temperature controlled facilities with 24 hour security, much better then being left in a garage and certainly better than outside under a cover.

Now I guess I just have to bunker down for the winter and wait it out. Even though I just packed it away into the trailer this evening, seeing the empty space in the driveway is already a little difficult to bare. However, I told Ken that as soon as I started to see the temperatures holding steady above 5 degrees celsius, I’d be giving him a call!

Google Street View now in Toronto and surrounding area …

A couple weeks ago my girlfriend and I were driving up Brock Street in Whitby when we saw a small car with a tripod mounted on the roof and several cameras pointing in all directions. It took about .002 seconds for me to realize it was a Google car taking photos for Street View. Sure enough, today I found Google Street View up for Toronto and surrounding area, and there we were:

Not ashamed to admit I wasted an hour or so scouring the maps trying to find myself or anyone close to me. If you find yourself (or your bike) be sure to post a link!