Well even though the folks down here in Florida can ride all year long, most of us put away our bikes for the winter. After a long winter it’s really nice to get that leather motorcycle jacket out and all the gear, go over it and get it ready for riding! Storing a leather jacket over the winter can be very easy or very harmful to it, depending on how you store it.
If you cleaned it good and conditioned it before putting it away in a cool dry place, chances are you don’t have to do anything to it. But lots of times we tend to throw our leather jacket in a corner somewhere, thinking we will get to it later. Then later becomes when you take it out in the spring!
Two of the most common problems you see when storing a leather jacket for the winter are drying and cracking, and mildew. The first problem comes from storing it in a hot and/or too dry place. The second comes from storing it in a damp and wet area, or putting it away with dirt on it. Winters seem to have both conditions in the same house!
So the first thing you should do when getting out your leather motorcycle jacket is go over it very well and see how it looks. Check for any mildew, discoloration and tarnished hardware. Bend the leather all over and look for cracks or lines, which means it dried out. Look for buildup of oils in corners and around hardware.
Check to see if the zippers work well, the buttons snap together good. Even if it looks great, I would play it safe and give it at least a light cleaning to remove any built up oils, especially around snaps and other hardware. Then give it a LIGHT coat of conditioner, rubbing it in well and making sure to wipe off all excess.
If you see that it has dried out and has cracks, I would apply a light coat of conditioner, then hang it up overnight. The next day apply another coat and really work it in. If you see it has mildew remove it using these instructions. Finally top it off with a LIGHT coat of sealer. Do the same with any leather apparel or leather item you have.
Now your ready to work on the bike and get that baby primed up for cruising! Spring and early summer can be damn cold for riding, at least I think so depending on where you live. But it’s hard not to want to get that bike out and take that first refreshing trip out on the road after that long winter, have fun!