When the priests sealed the door on King Tut’s tomb, the Pharaoh was left to sleep for the next 3,000 years. Spring often feels that far away in late December, as the sun dips low in the sky, the night coming faster and colder.
The bikes rest in the garage for the long sleep, like Tut.
When the days begin to lengthen and the warmth returns, they will be ready. Tut’s priests left their king unattended for his long sleep. I am a more devoted priest than they. Each bike has been prepared for the long sleep – but not left alone for the long sleep.
Each was, like Tut, made ready for the sleep prior to being tucked in. They were washed and polished and waxed. Engine oil drained and filled with fresh. Then run with the fuel tap set to Off, so as to burn off the fuel in the bowls – so as to avoid the fuel turning to goo inside the carbs during the long sleep. If your bike is fuel injected, this form of pre-sleep care will not be needed as there are no fuel bowls to empty. But emptying the tank might not be a bad idea, either way – if you intend to leave the bike asleep until the spring. Gas is not what it used to be and even when it was still gas – and not 90 percent gas plus 10 percent ethanol alcohol – leaving it sitting for months in the tank risks feeding your machine soured gas come that first start-up attempt in Spring.
The first is to drain the dank, which will assure it isn’t full of soured gas come Spring. The second is to dose the gas in the tank with fuel stabilizer and fill the tank – so as to reduce condensation formation within the tank. The next thing to do after that is make a commitment to start the bike’s engine once a month during those dark and cold months.
Let the engine fully warm up. If the bike has a center stand, you can run it through the gears, a hint of actually riding it. Do this for 15 minutes at least (especially if the bike is water cooled, so that it definitely reaches normal operating temperature). Then turn the tap off and let the engine return to sleep. You will have circulated fresh (treated) fuel through the system and fresh oil through the engine and transmission, too.
I keep my charges on the charger, as well.
This assures the batteries will awake at the end of the long sleep – and so will the bike. If you have multiple bikes, as I do, having enough trickle chargers for each is also a sound investment as each of the latter costs a lot less than a new battery – or several – and by using the trickle charger religiously you will get more life out of each battery. I managed to get 12 years out of my ’03 Kawasaki’s original factory battery. But if you rotate the trickle charger religiously – never leaving any bike unattended for more than a couple of weeks, maximum – you can probably get by using just one trickle charger.
Which reminds me of something else I do that Tut’s priests didn’t – because they didn’t need to. Pharaoh doesn’t flat spot even after a 3,000 year sleep. Motorcycle tires will, if you leave a bike standing in place like a statue of Pharaoh for the long sleep. The lethal combination of weight and time. The weight of the bike pressing down on the tires – in just the one place, that relatively small contact patch – compounded by the probability, during a long sleep, of the tire losing pressure, gradually, imperceptibly – leads to a bike that doesn’t roll as it should come the Spring.
So I roll mine around during the sleep. Once a month, religiously.
They are not awake and probably do not know. But I know that by shifting them around, all the weight does not rest on that one spot. It also give me the chance to check the tires and inflate them, if low. This procedure assures the bike will be ready to roll, come the Spring.
Tut’s priests understood the value, too. It is why Pharaoh was so well-preserved after his long sleep. For the same reason, I shroud each bike for the long sleep – using a soft old bedsheet. These are easier to deal with than a motorcycle cover, which can be hard to wash. A dirty cover is as unwanted as grime on Pharaoh. You want him shiny when the cover comes off, as if it had been only yesterday when he was put to bed and not 3,000 years ago – which is how long the sleep feels when it’s only just begun and there are at least three months yet to go before the Spring.
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