Prepping Your Bike For The Winter Months

by Felix Ray

Winter often signals the end of riding season for motorcycle enthusiasts. The combination of icy roads and cold weather make rides difficult to enjoy and dangerous to take. That means, for most people, winter is the time when motorcycles need to be stored.

Whether you're keeping your motorcycle in a warm garage or out in the driveway, there are a few steps you'll want to take before your motorcycle goes into storage. These steps will ensure that your transition back into riding season next year is simple and free of unexpected expense.

Step 1: Clean Your Motorcycle Thoroughly

Whether your storage options are outdoor or indoor, you'll want to give your motorcycle a thorough washing before storing it. Any dirt or debris that is on your bike runs the risk of becoming caked on over the winter months. This can cause damage to your paint and can make spring cleaning difficult.

Always remember to use soft sponges and non-abrasive soap when cleaning your bike. Also, it's important to completely towel-dry the entire surface of your motorcycle. Water spots left for months are difficult to deal with.

Step 2: Change Engine Oil and Lubricate Moving Parts

Winter is notorious for dry air. After months of storage in dry conditions, your engine may not be properly lubricated to perform at its best. When combined with broken down engine oil, this situation can cause your first ride in the spring to damage your motorcycle.

To do this, you'll need to remove the spark plugs from your engine. If you don't feel comfortable doing this yourself, a mechanic like Thunderbird Harley-Davidson can easily help you. Then, place a few tablespoons of engine oil into the holes. Finally, start the engine and rev it a few times. This will spread the oil throughout your engine.

Step 3: Elevate Your Bike

Months in a stationary position can damage the tires on your motorcycle. The weight of your bike can cause flat spots to develop--creating a hazardous ride for you. To avoid this, you'll want to keep your motorcycle off the ground when you store it.

The easiest way to accomplish this is with motorcycle stands. If you don't have access to those, try using lumber to accomplish the same effect. If all else fails, remind yourself to wheel your bike every few weeks and to store it in a different orientation to avoid stress on any single part of your tire.

That's all there is to it! By following these steps, you can greatly increase the chances that your first ride in the spring will go off without a hitch.