For many of us, Autumn is on the way, and that means packing away a 50cc moped or
scooter, and probably going back to the motorcar for the winter.
I have tried using my moped all through the winter season in the past, and although
it's ok most of the time, there are times or weeks when it is really hazardous to depend
on two wheels.
A few years ago, when my moped was my only form of transport, I was forced to use
it daily during the winter to ride to work. It wasn't a very good idea and before long I
slid and came off. It's not so much the coming off that was the problem, it was the
huge queue of traffic travelling at speed behind me that had to brake suddenly to
avoid running me over. It was a cold and slippy day, and I have a vivid memory of the
car behind slamming on his brakes, but sliding closer and closer to me. Luckily he
stopped about 10 feet away but if he hadn't, I might not be writing this article now.
My advice, pack your 50cc moped away for the Winter, of course there may be warm
weather at some point, but as a general rule it is best to rely on four-wheel vehicles
during the coldest of weather.
The first thing I do is give my bike and oil change. Clean the filter and I may actually
invest in some winter oil. The reason for that will become apparent later. This isn't
vital, but I do recommend this as a good time of year to do an oil change and filter
Next I do the usual B.O.L.T checks, but perhaps a little more thoroughly. The rubber
around brake cables, the seal around your headlights and rear lights, and any small
bits of debris in your tires, can become a problem in the four or five months until you
next get your moped out.
Personally, I spend a bit of time trying to avoid getting condensation on my bike by
lagging with an absorbent material around places like the handlebars, spokes, and any
metalwork around the exhaust and electrical system. Again this isn't compulsory, but
it does help. Make sure whatever you lag your bike with his absorbent, simple plastic
tape will actually trap moisture in and will be a real problem next spring. So this
activity is best done when you're sure that your 50cc moped is completely dry.
I've got an outhouse in my back garden, and this serves as a decent place for my
moped during the winter. My children use it as a playhouse in the summer, but
keeping my moped warm in the winter keeps it safe from the worst of the weather.
Snow will stay on the exposed surfaces of you 50cc moped for days, gradually
oxidising any metal underneath. So get your bike out of the elements.
I don't advise a plastic bike cover for the whole winter. Temperature changes can be
quite sharp, and these bike bags can become condensation traps, and actually make
any rust problem even worse.
As I mentioned above, there may be times during the winter that you feel like riding
your bike and the weather seems decent enough to give it a go.
So to make sure everything is fine, about every two weeks pop out and start her up.
Let the engine tick over for five minutes and recheck the bike for any issues that may
In the worst case scenario, I have seen a decent moped in Autumn, turned into a
complete wreck by the following Spring. There is no need for this to happen, and if
you prepare for the bad weather properly, your bike will be ready and waiting for you
when the weather improves.
Take care of your bike, and it'll take care of you.