It’s the time of the year every motorcycle rider hates; the time you can not ride anymore. Unless you live in an area where there’s no snow or ice during the winter, you’ve got no other choice but hibernate your bike.
The easiest thing is to leave it in the garage, but you’ll need to do some preventive steps if you want to be able to ride the motorcycle after the winter has melted away.
First of all, if you don’t have a garage, you’ll not want to leave your motorcycle on the road, especially if you live in an area where there is snow and frost. Your bike will not like it. If you do not have a garage, rent some space in a storage area, preferably one that is specialized in winter storage for motorcycles. These places are usually well adapted, and the good ones will assist you in preparing your motorcycle for the winter.
If you have your own garage, there are a couple of things you can do to make your bike hibernate properly:
- Service your motorcycle, either yourself or at the dealer. Make sure the oil is changed (leaving old oil in a bike’s engine is not a good idea).
- Fill up your fuel tank before storing.
- If you have a carburetor, block the fuel flow and start the engine until all the remainder fuel is drained from the fuel line. This way, there will be no fuel in the lines.
- Put fuel stabilizer in the fuel tank (if your dealer doesn’t have any, head over to the local marine supply store). No matter how full the tank is, after a while, condensation will form, and that can put a stop to you riding the following season.
- Clean your motorcycle throughout. Remove all dirt and grease.
- Degrease your chain (if you have one). Put oil (WD-40) on moving parts; joints and spray some inside the exhaust. The WD-40 will repel moisture from forming.
- If your garage is not weather-proof, ie, it can get cold and humid, your best bet is to put some Vaseline or other wax based products over your chrome and other noticeable metal bits, including the fuel tank. You can also use a good chrome polish. The last thing you want is to have rust forming on your bike.
- Preferably remove your battery, and place it on a dry surface (not the ground). But whether you remove the battery or not, connect a trickle charger to the battery. This will ensure that the battery is fully loaded and in good working condition for the day you fire up the bike again.
- If your motorcycle has a center stand, use it. If you really want to, place your bike on blocks. This will relieve pressure from your suspension and tires.
- Inflate your tires to the maximum pressure. It is going to get cold in your garage, so there’s no worry that the tire will inflate any further.
- If you live in an area where it really gets cold, make sure you have put anti-freeze in the radiator (that is, if you have one).
- Put a cover over your motorcycle. Do not put some plastic wrap, or anything but a special motorcycle cover, since proper covers allow the bike to “breath”, making sure humidity evaporates.
It sound like a lot of work, but it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes maximum, and this way when the riding season starts again, you can go straight for the ride instead of having to bring it to the dealer.
Your motorcycle will thank you.