The outside of a motorbike engine seen up close near the exhaust

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Winter Proofing Your Motorcycle

Tip Date - 04 January 2017

Winter is coming.... oh no scrub that...winter is here.

With it comes wet bikes covered in dirt and even worse the dreaded salt. I told myself I would use my Keeway RKS 125 as my winter hack. He has already been through a few winters so my new Kawasaki Z250SL could remain tucked up in the shed, warm, dry and salt free. Well...errrrr...that was the theory...however temptation called and I am bad :-( Christmas Day saw Zen the Keeway out on the roads but Boxing Day saw Envy the Kawasaki getting dirty and salty as well. 

Oh sod it life is too short. If I want to ride the Kawasaki then so be it. I will just have to continue to do my best to keep rust at bay the best way I can by ensuring I keep up with the cleaning of the bikes and the addition of protective sprays. Bikes are not made of sugar. They will not - contrary to some peoples belief - melt in the rain but they will if not cared for and protected in some way suffer under winter's harsh conditions. So how can you help you bike battle Jack Frost and  Russel Rust? How can you try and winter-proof your motorcycle?

Protective sprays are a good start in your armour. 

So far my choice of protective spray has been  Muc-Off's Motorcycle Protectant. However I also got Muc-Off's MO-94 free with their cleaner so I have been using that along side the other protective spray as well. There are many bike protectants available. The choice is yours to make which one you choose but I would highly recommend that you use one as a vital part of winter-proofing your bike. 

2 tins on Sharon's seat - Muc-Off protectand and MO94
Muc-Off bike protectants

Below is a brief description taken direct from Muc-Off's own website.

Looking for an all round wonder spray? Look no further! Muc-Off MO-94 covers all the bases with its incredible PTFE formula to quickly and effectively penetrate moisture, lubricate moving parts and leave a long lasting protective film. MO-94 prevents dirt adhesion and also drives out excess water to keep rust and corrosion at bay. MO-94 isn’t just for bikes, motorcycles or cars. Nope. It works on just about anything. Whether you’ve got a squeaky door hinge, a rusty lock or a bolt that you just can’t turn, MO-94 is all you need.

Motorcycle Protectant
If you are looking for an all-round motorcycle protectant for your motorbike - then this is it! The high concentration of P.T.F.E helps prevent dirt adhesion between washes. Motorcycle Protectant has been developed so it can be used all over your motorbike, and has an after wash corrosion inhibitor which drives out moisture and leaves a non-sticky protective layer smelling of fresh Vanilla! It’s safe to be used on the frame, chain, metal parts, plastics, rubber and of course the paintwork itself.

The question is do they work? I believe so and I will show you why.

Both bikes have been cleaned and sprayed with protective spray since the beginning of winter. As they both had been out the last few days they had accumulated a fair amount of dirt and unfortunately salt. I know users of ACF50 generally apply it once at the onset of winter and then wash it off come the spring. I simply could not do it. It would drive me nuts so I prefer the Muc-Off as it is designed to be re-applied and is therefore less sticky than the ACF50. So after a few days of being out and about I am happy to wash the bikes down with the hosepipe.  

Because I am not always thinking ahead I washed the bikes down before taking photos but please dear reader just use your imagination. I  am sure you are all too well aware what a dirty bike looks like. Sort of brown and mud splattered. Plus that horrible white glistening sheen over everything if it has also been out on salty roads. Ok so the bikes were dirty and salty and  I hosed them down and * ta-da! * took photos for you this time to see the results. The photos below show the bike after a hose down only. No rubbing with cloths etc just a spray of water. The protectants claim to prevent dirt adhesion. Well it does not prevent it as such, dirt does not fly up near your bike then flee away in terror because of the sheer power of the protectant's force field. What it does do however is make the dirt much more easy to remove. 

The Keeway RKS showing the clean engine and tank
The clean side and suspension on the 125
The Kawasaki Z250SL showing a clean side and engine
The opposite side of the clean kwakker with the rear wheel exhaust and engine in viewBoth bike's dirt and salt washed off with a quick hose down. 

So getting rid of the dirt becomes a much quicker job thanks to the protectant. Most of my time was then taken up having to dry the bikes. Not an easy task in the cold weather with just a towel and elbow grease at your disposal. But putting your bike away wet in the cold is simply not an option if you have any hope of keeping it as rust free as possible. Wet is your enemy. Once again this is where the protectant becomes your friend. Any moisture you failed to remove will be driven out once you re-spray the bike with the protectant. 

I give the chains on both bikes a wipe over and clean so I am able to inspect them for any signs of rust. Another thing I do to winter-proof my bikes is to ensure the chains are generously lubed, both before and after every journey.  I was happy to see no rust on the Kawasaki chain and only a tiny spot here and there on the Keeway's which wiped off easily.

A rust free and lubricated chain on Sharon's 125
The clean and rust free chain on the 250SL
The rear sprocket on the 125 is still clean save for a few marksKeeping your chains well lubed can prevent rust on your chain even in harsh winter conditions.  

After the inspection both chains were re-lubed with my home made lube. A combination of gear oil and grease. 

All that was left to do was now re-apply the protectant. I apply liberally, by spraying straight from the can, onto the engine parts. When I need to be more careful on parts near the tyres and brakes (obviously you do not want a slippery lubricant on your tyres or brakes) I  first spray it onto a soft clean cloth and then wipe it over the parts. That was that...job done. All clean and shiny ready for me to throw some more dirt and salt their way again. I must be mad.

The Kawasaki Z250SL and the Keeway RKS125 both shiny clean at Sharon's place
Sharon's RKS125 looks immaculate in the winter sun
The green Z250SL also glistens in the winter sunThe grubby duo restored to their shiny best. The way I like them.

Reader's Comments

Del said :-
Nice article, some great advice. I use AFC-50 anti corrosion spray on my bike.
09/01/2017 18:22:38 UTC
Eva said :-
Pretty good article, I'm much the same when it comes to keeping my Diversion rust-free, except I use the Scottoiler FS365 instead. Heard of it at the beginning of winter from Delboys Garage (youtube channel^^) and been using it for a few months now, glad to say the bike is still mint!
12/01/2017 09:36:46 UTC
Bob said :-
+1 for ACF50 - miracle juice.
17/01/2017 09:53:54 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
OK so Bob works for Scottoiler and ACF50, Sharon works for Muc-Off. And yet no-ones paying ME!
17/01/2017 12:42:36 UTC
pocketpete said :-
You can come and clean my bike. Its black instead of the nice shiny red colour when I purchased it. But Apart from the last week (I ve had Manflu) it has taken me to work every day so quite pleased. Maybe you can do a bike cleaning video.
20/01/2017 21:32:55 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Manflu? Oh Pocketpete, my deepest condolences you poor poor thing.

Sharon is available for bike cleaning and even detailing but she is very expensive. £50 for a basic clean, £150 for a detail and £300 if you want her to do it dressed as a naughty French Maid.

We could do a video, I've still to do the chain adjustment video first. If the video is to include Sharon dressed as a naughty French Maid that will be pay-per-view only.
21/01/2017 06:10:44 UTC
Sharon said :-
Excuse me!!!

I will set my own prices thank you. ??

21/01/2017 13:39:44 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Phwoar! Wish I had a bird like that.
21/01/2017 18:03:22 UTC
Pocketpete said :-
I used acf-50 last year to protect the cb500x. It worked pretty well but the bike looked crap all winter covered in runny gooey muck.

When washed it off in April I used it all winter. There were a few spots of rust in pkacezand some slight corrosion marks. It was a total pain cleaning it.

Now I'm firmly in the Sharon camp. I use all the same products and the mu94 is vastly superior to acf50. It cleans and protects but just make the bike so much easier to clean. Once you have cleaned it. Spray on and then once it gets dirty again it's simply to wash it down quickly with a hose pipe and a bit of muc off cleaner. Looks like new.

Then reapply the spray simple great results but I don't wear a maids outfit whilst cleaning.
27/09/2017 21:16:22 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I just ride 'em.
28/09/2017 09:31:05 UTC

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