Don’t store up trouble over-wintering your motorbike

Many riders take their motorbikes off the road for winter but this year they need to take extra care when storing it to avoid potential problems.

The advice is to leave metal tanks full of petrol to help prevent rust forming inside. Plastic fuel tanks should be drained as petrol can deform their shape.

With the launch of E10 standard unleaded petrol, which contains up to 10% ethanol, it advisable to take a couple more maintenance measures.

Ethanol is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts water from the atmosphere. It makes E10 fuel more corrosive to engine components.

Petrol left in the tank also deteriorates and E10 petrol will go off more quickly.

So it is even more important to add a fuel stabiliser to help prevent the fuel going stale quickly, potentially causing starting problems.

As well as fuel stabilisers, we now also sell Putoline E10 Fuel Fighter which was developed to protect the fuel system against the harmful effects of E10 fuels. The fuel additive is said to:

  • Protect the fuel system against corrosion
  • Improve the lubricating properties
  • Reduce internal friction in the engine
  • Reduce fuel consumption
  • Clean injectors and valves for optimum combustion

If you are storing your bike off road for winter, general manager Dave Forster also advises filling the tank with higher-octane super unleaded petrol. That remains E5, so only 5% ethanol, but you should still add fuel stabiliser. Super unleaded petrol costs a few pence more a litre but it will only be one tankful.

Other over-wintering tips for your motorbike include:

  • Clean it, dry it, protect it. Give your motorbike a really good wash to remove any muck and grime. Get rid of any moisture by taking the motorbike for a ride or using a special blow-drier or airline. Then give it a coating of anti-corrosion spray such as Muc-Off Motorcycle Protectant, ACF-50 or Scottoiler FS 365 which we also sell.
  • Clean and lubricate the chain, and moving parts such as the footrest pivots and levers.
  • Keep the battery charged. We stock several compact OptiMate maintenance chargers which are easy to connect and keep the battery topped up in optimum condition.
  • Paddock stands are a good way to keep tyres off the ground to avoid flat spots. Or you can regularly rotate the wheels to change the tyre contact point. Keep tyres up to pressure too.
  • Do not be tempted to start and stop the engine because it will create condensation. Ride the motorbike only if it is going to get up to full operating temperature. Let it cool outside in the fresh air to help avoid condensation forming.
  • Protect the motorbike with a dust cover to keep it clean.
  • If you’re not renewing your road tax remember to register it with the DVLA as off the road with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

Visit our parts department or online shop at to see our range of cleaning and maintenance products.