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Not riding in the winter months can be hard on you, but it is just as hard on your motorcycle. Motorcycles are made to be ridden and without regular use, they deteriorate faster than when they are being ridden regularly.
If you live in an area where you cannot ride during the winter, it is a good idea to do a few things to properly store your motorcycle in a way that will protect it during the tough winter months.
Here are some steps that you can take to help preserve your bike and ensure that it wakes up happy, fresh and ready to ride again as soon as spring rolls around:
Fill up your gas tank and add a fuel stabilizer like Sta-bil or Star Tron. Run the engine for a few minutes, giving the fuel stabilizer enough time to circulate through your carburetor or fuel injection system and run though the engine a bit. This will prevent your fuel system from gumming up and preserve the fuel in your tank through the winter. A full tank will help prevent moisture damage to the fuel and to your tank. Plus you will be able to head out on the first ride of spring without having to stop for gas first.
Always use a battery tender or similar float charger when your bike will be sitting for more than a few days. Plug it in and leave it plugged in all winter.
The off season is a perfect time for routine maintenance. If your oil is even close to the end of its life cycle, now is the time for fresh oil and a new oil filter. Storing your motorcycle with fresh oil and a new filter will help reduce the amount of particulates that will settle in the bottom of your engine and prevent sludge from forming.
Clean and oil or replace your air filter before storing your bike. It will be one less thing to cut into your riding time when the weather changes.
Clean and lube your chain. Make sure to spin the chain enough for the lube to penetrate thoroughly. If your bike is shaft driven, you may want to change the gear oil in the drive shaft. Spraying all pivot points and bare metal surfaces of your motorcycle with WD40 will also help prevent rust and corrosion from attacking.
Tires don’t deal with extreme weather conditions too well. If your tires need replacing, you might want to wait until spring is about to arrive to change them instead of doing it before storing your bike. But before you store your bike for the winter, make sure your tires are inflated to the proper air pressure and place your bike on the center stand if you have one. If your bike doesn’t have a center stand, it is a good idea to roll your bike around a few times during the off-season to prevent flat spots from forming on your tires.
Hopefully you are storing your motorcycle in a warm dry place. If you are, it is still a good idea to use a quality motorcycle cover even if your bike is garaged. If you are forced to store your motorcycle in a carport or outside, it’s a good idea to cover your motorcycle with insulated blankets and then cover it with a waterproof cover, while making sure to uncover and check on it when weather permits several times throughout the winter.
Treat your motorcycle like it is your baby. No loving parent would put their baby to bed on an empty stomach without a bath un-oiled, un-powdered, wearing a dirty diaper with no blanket and expect her wake up in a good mood. Your motorcycle deserves to be properly cared for. Take good care of her and she will wake up happy and ready to ride.