Its getting to be that time of year. The leaves have been falling for a few months and the temperatures are starting to dip into the 30s. Unfortunately the motorcycle riding season ends for many of us in the northern half of the United States, and we have to start thinking of winterizing our motorcycles.
When to Winterize Your Bike
Most riders put their bikes away for the year in late October and early November, however depending on the climate where you live, you could ride longer. There are a few things to consider when deciding to end the season.
First, can you comfortably ride in the cold weather? Some motorcycles come with heated handgrips, seats, and other features that make cold weather riding easy. However, the majority of motorcycles don’t have these features and may not even have a windscreen to protect the rider.
A second factor to consider is driver awareness. Many drivers aren’t very attentive to motorcyclists in general and their awareness for riders goes down in the late fall months.
Lastly, some places put salt out on the road to deal with the snow or ice. When the ice melts, the salt is still there. Riding your motorcycle on salted roads could cause accelerated corrosion of your motorcycle.
Step 1: Find A Place To Store Your Bike
While this step is obvious, its also essential. Storing indoors in a heated garage is best, a non-heated garage is next, and worst case is storing it outside. Storing the motorcycle outside will expose it to the elements which is never good for your ride.
Step 2: Ride Your Motorcycle and Fill it with Fresh Gas
Gas can start to go bad within 30 days of no use. This can lead to gum and varnish deposits which is awful for your motorcycle’s internals, especially if you have a carburetor. This is why its important to put fresh gas into your bike before you store it away for the winter.
Step 3: Add Stabilizer to the Gas Tank
Adding fresh gas to your bike isn’t enough, you need to add stabilizer too. Be sure to measure out the correct amount of stabilizer for the amount of fuel in your gas tank.
Step 4: Change the Oil and Filter
Changing the oil before winter is good for your motorcycle because it will remove all the contaminates that would otherwise sit in your crankcase all winter long. The main reason you should change the oil before winter is that oil that’s been ran through an engine can become acidic over time due to engine blow-by. This acidic oil can damage seals and gaskets on your engine.
Step 5: Remove the Battery
Removing the battery for the winter is good for your motorcycle, but placing that battery on a battery tender is even better for your battery’s lifespan. Some batteries require distilled water. If yours does, be sure to add the correct amount of water before storing the battery. To learn more about how to increase your battery’s lifespan check out our article here.
Step 6: Check Your Tire Pressure
You should regularly check your motorcycle tire pressure, and checking it before winterizing is a good idea too. For more info on tire pressure, checkout our post here.
Step 7: Perform Any Other Necessary Maintenance
Now is the perfect time to perform any other maintenance tasks, since you are done riding for the year. Now would be a good time to check the engine air filter, chain lubrication, chain sprockets, or even the brake pads for wear.
Step 8: Wash and Wax
Washing and waxing your bike is a good practice for end of the season. This will help protect your paint job. Its also a good idea to polish chrome and add leather protectant to your leather seat. This will keep your bike’s appearance like new for years to come.
Step 9: Covering Your Ride
The last tip for winterizing your motorcycle is covering your bike with a motorcycle cover. This will protect it from dust, moisture, or it can even keep critters from nesting in or around your bike. If you’re in need of a motorcycle, check out Revzilla, they have broad range of motorcycle covers for almost any bike! To see their selection, click here.
Winterizing your motorcycle will help keep your bike fresh for next season, and it will improve your bikes lifespan. The critical steps are changing your oil and air filter, washing and waxing your bike, and placing your battery on a battery tender. What process do you use to winterize your motorcycle? Let us know in the comments below.