It’s dark in the mornings, your mesh jacket hasn’t been seen in weeks and if you have them, your heated grips are left in the on position. Winter is officially around the corner and it’s almost time to put your bike away until next season…… a sad day indeed. After you get out for that one last ride, here is what you need to do to get your bike winterized.
If you’re going to be staring at your bike all winter making engine noises under your breath, it might as well look nice. Getting the bug guts and other crap off the plastics and metals will help prevent corrosion and discoloration. For stubborn grime try Motul Motowash, it successfully got rid of 2 year old stains on my KLR seat.
Dump some fuel stabilizer in your tank and let it idle or take the bike for a little rip, allowing the stabilizer to mix in and run through the entire system. Adding a stabilizer like this one will save you from bad gas and a gummed up fuel system. The container will tell you how much to put in your bike, depending on fuel capacity. I like to top my tank off (ethanol free) but remember to leave some room for expansion.
After the bike is warmed-up it’s time to change the oil. Grab a filter, some oil, and an oil pan and change out that old oil so the bike is ready to ride in the spring. This is a good time to check your other fluids like brake fluid, coolant level etc. Find great prices on fluids here.
For chain drive bikes, clean and lube the chain to avoid buildup of corrosion over the offseason. The Grunge Brush works wonders with a can of chain cleaner. Click here for more Cheap Motorcycle Tools that Actually Work.
Ideally the bike will be parked in your own garage, but we are not all that lucky. A buddy’s garage is great too or a shed. If your wife is as cool as mine is, just put the bike right inside the house, that way you keep an eye on it and have all winter to do Mods in the warmth of your own basement.
Worst case scenario is that it stays outside, just make sure you have some form of security like this Disk Lock, and cover it up. If it is left outside keep in mind that mice and other rodents might try to make it their home. Plug the exhaust with a muffler plug like this one, or some steel wool. Take off your seat and throw it inside, the last thing you need is a mouse nibbling a hole in your seat cover.
Even when it is stored inside keep the bike covered to keep the dust off it. Click here for a great cover at a great price if you need one.
Batteries will discharge over time especially if left connected to the bike. You can leave it connected to the bike and put a battery tender on it like the linked one, but it’s best just to remove it altogether and take it inside. Prep the battery a few weeks before spring by hooking it up to the tender on a low draw.
Keeping the weight off the tires to avoid “flat spots” from developing is often overlooked. Whenever possible, get the bike up on its centerstand or stands like these. Both tires should have the weight removed from them, not just the rear. If you are too cheap to buy stands, get some plywood under the tires to avoid moisture seepage, and move the bike forward or back a few times during the winter.