Your motorcycle gear is a big investment. Caring and maintaining it is easily done and will get you the best value in the long run, for the money spent while ensuring it keeps its safety value. So, Preparing Your Motorcycle Gear for Winter Storage will help your gear live long. And as your motorcycle heads for its winter hibernation it’s also the perfect time to give your motorcycle gear some tender loving care. Time to give it a good clean and perhaps even repair before it goes into the closet another way to be ready to go when the new riding season arrives!
Below our basic guide highlights key points to preparing your motorcycle gear for storage. Remember to check the instruction pamphlets attached to your jacket /gear at time of purchase. They provide all the cleaning and care instructions. If you’ve misplaced these, read the inside lining labels. These will generally provide you the details on the materials and washing/cleaning instructions. You can also visit your gear brands website and generally find care instructions on-line too.
Cleaning the Outside
Use only water for cleaning your helmet. A small drop of soapy water can do no harm but cleaning agents such as Windex etc. will compromise the high-tech finishes on almost all helmets – avoid them! To tackle bugs or dirt, first wipe down the helmet with a soaking wet cloth. Use a soft toothbrush and clean the hard to reach areas such as ventilation holes.
It’s also important to lubricate the visor rubber rims and any underlining rubber trim with petroleum jelly or liquid silicone. Often your helmet such as ARAI will come with a small bottle of silicone treatment. This keeps the insulating rubbers smooth and prevents them from drying out and cracking.
After washing the helmet and visor treat it with a water-repellent product. This will cause water beads to form ensuring water disperses quickly when riding at speed.
Cleaning the Inside
Helmet interiors can be washed with a mild solution of baby shampoo, neutral or green soap – and warm water. Avoid laundry detergent type soaps as these will cause irritation if you have a sensitive scalp or face.
If the liner is not removable then use a wet cloth and clean the inside of the helmet; wiping it down. You can also use an automotive interior cleaner but again, be careful for irritants. If the material lining is removable it can be rinsed off in a bucket of water
Let the helmet dry at room temperature overnight or dry the lining thoroughly by hair dryer.
This is also the best time to buy a new visor for a clearer view of the road. These are rather inexpensive and surprisingly become worn quicker than we realize.
CLOTHING / GEAR
Whether you ride in leather or textile, all motorcycle clothing requires maintenance. Many cleaning products are just not suitable for cleaning motorcycle gear. Some detergents may even damage the gears’ special properties –particularly waterproof coatings, breathable membranes, Gore-Tex etc. Therefore using the correct cleaning and restoring substances is crucial.
Take into account things like the temperature that the jacket can be washed at and what substances can be used on the jacket (it may not say, but it’s worth checking) –the manufacturer knows the needs of your gear.
There are products specifically created for cleaning and maintenance of motorcycle clothing. Substances designed for cleaning leather suits and leather boots; products which make hydrophobic gear such as gloves; smooth, water-repellent. There are also products for the washing of technical underwear, breathable textile clothing and products which ensure that the water and dirt-repellent proofing for properties of the clothing will be restored.
Be sure to remove all the armour/ protectors from the garment including the back protector before cleaning your textiles. These materials cannot resist the variety of agents used for cleaning your gear.
Most of the membranes (GoreTex, COOLMAX, etc.) will not survive even a gentle cycle on your wash machine so always wash these by hand while following the manufacturers washing instructions. Never overheat them in the dryer and avoid wringing them out as this too will damage their qualities.
Use/purchase special textile soaps, such as REV’IT!’s Textile Wash specific treatments for these membranes will ensure these fabrics keep their breathable, wicking qualities.
After washing linings lay them flat on a large towel to dry. Hang pants and jackets over the bath to drip dry. Be sure both inner and outer materials are fully dry before hanging back into the closet for the winter to avoid attracting mould.
To accelerate the drying process – use a hair dryer. This is also handy for reaching inside arms and legs of pants.
Add a bit of silicone to zippers to keep them functioning smoothly.
Leather Motorcycle Clothing
Leather gear needs regular treatment and cleaning throughout the entire riding season and a good prepping for storage. Smooth leather can be cleaned with a soft brush and/or a damp cloth. Stubborn dirt such as dried-in flecks can be treated with specific leather cleaners or even saddle soap.
Use the same for cleaning leather gloves and boots. Regular and thorough cleaning of your leathers will keep up their performance and form plus extend their life.
Leather should never be dried in direct sunshine or near a heat source/ heater.
Once your leather is clean and dry, bring a protective coat over it to resist rain and debris. These treatments will actually close the pores of the leather.
Store your motorcycle gear in a dry environment and preferably at a constant temperate.
LINERS AND INSULATING MEMBRANES
All motorcycle liners must be cleaned carefully, otherwise you risk damaging their functionality and form. It is best to buy special detergent/products available and suitable for textile clothing.
Most can be washed in the washing machine at a very gentle cycle. Avoid a high spin dry cycle and don’t use the dryer, but hang to dry. And of course hand washing will ensure the most careful method.
If you do opt for a dry cleaner, be careful for these items as the chemical cleaning are harsh and will break down the materials.
GLOVES & BOOTS
Just as in above, both of these items need to be treated before storage.
Boots can be run under water of course doing your best avoid water to the inside. Once clean of debris and if applicable, take a fast drying high shine shoe polish to the finish and once dry follow-up with a repelling protective coating such as mink oil.
Gloves, if textile can be washed in the washing machine in a very gentle; no spin cycle and if leather, same procedure as in jacket or boots described above.
Once you’ve completed cleaning all your gear, fasten all closures such as helmet strap, jacket /pant zippers, clasps, and Velcro closures. This will help to keep the item’s form while in storage.
Cleaning and preparing your motorcycle gear for winters storage ensures a fresh and successful start to the next riding season – and of course, a long, safe life for your motorcycle gear!