Park your motorcycle under covered space. If that isn’t possible, invest in a good cover and ensure it is built specifically for your motorcycle. This will protect it from dust, leaves, harsh sunlight, rust as a result of moisture, and acidic bird droppings which cause a lot of harm to the paint. Rodents are known to chew into cables and plastic components when a vehicle is stationary for too long. Park your motorcycle away from drain covers, sewage lines and other such susceptible areas.
Even if the motorcycle is covered, it is a good practice to have it cleaned thoroughly, once a week. Periodic cleaning will ensure paint quality and longevity of components is maintained. While you are at it, pay attention to any loose cables, fasteners, panels etc, and fix it if it can be done using basic tools. Identify if there is any damage to smaller components, which would otherwise go unnoticed.
If your motorcycle will remain unattended for a longer duration, follow the owner’s manual to disconnect the battery’s negative terminal for the duration it will hibernate. If you can access the motorcycle regularly, crank the engine once a week and let it idle for about 5 – 8 minutes. Doing this will ensure that the engine oil circulates to keep all internal components lubricated and the battery can recharge. If your motorcycle is fuel-injected, do not twist the throttle when you thumb the starter. The same also applies if it is carburetted and you are using the choke.
If your motorcycle has a centre stand, use it instead of the side stand so that the weight of the stationary motorcycle is centred and does not strain the tyres and the suspension. When deciding on a parking spot for your motorcycle, ensure the surface is sturdy and flat.
Clean the drive chain if it’s dirty and keep it lubricated to protect it from rust. Ensure you use recommended cleaning and lubricating agents and do not use food-grade or any such oil as a makeshift arrangement.
If your motorcycle has a puncture, fix it ASAP as the weight of the motorcycle resting on a flat tyre can damage the sidewall and lead to cracks. Check the tyre pressure every week and maintain the recommended values. If your motorcycle only has a side stand, move it fore and aft once a week and ensure the same spot on the tyres isn’t bearing all the load when you park it again. This will avoid flat spots.
Activating Controls And Switches
Once a week, activate the clutch and brake levers along with the throttle to avoid rusting and jamming caused due to lack of regular operation. This will also loosen any debris, dirt or grime which might have settled around these components.
In a situation where your motorcycle is going to be parked away from your residence, ensure it isn’t parked in an isolated area. In such a situation, it is advisable to keep the battery disconnected and the handlebar locked. For additional safety against theft, you may consider installing aftermarket anti-theft devices. For example, a robust clamp which locks the front wheel against the fork is easily available at a local motorcycle spares store.