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Five Things for Storing Your Motorcycle for Winter

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Five Things for Storing Your Motorcycle for Winter

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It’s that time of year… The time when a lot of riders put away their babies for the cold, icy and snowy months. There could be many reasons for this. Perhaps you just don’t like riding in the cold. Hey, 50 MPH in 30 degrees has a wind chill of 12 degrees Fahrenheit. Burrrrr. I’m cold just thinking about it. That being said, there is a ton of gear out there to keep you warm including heated gear, but it just isn’t for everyone – not to mention the expense for the gear.

Then you have those who don’t want to risk the ice. I’ve hit my fair share of black ice. It will scare the living crap out of you I will tell you. It will completely catch you off guard. Then of course there is the snow and ice that comes with winter in general – not fun to ride in. Some do, some have the tires for it, but it isn’t for the faint of heart. Along with it of course comes the salt, which will make you cry to just think about it on your baby. Or worse, that pre-treatment stuff that eats everything it touches. Here in PA, they use cinders too. I could go on a whole rant about what a waste cinders are – they chip everything up, they really don’t give you any more traction than a good salted road, and when the snow is gone, they are everywhere and you are dodging them like crazy – just a lot more random gravel patches to watch out for.

You may live an in area that just gets way too much snow to even try riding – you need four wheel drive, not one wheel drive and just two wheels on the ground. I hear you, and I do not look down on any rider who decides to winterize their bike and hang up their helmet until the beautiful Spring weather hits. Heck, I stop riding around October around here because of deer! Yes, you heard me, I stop riding even though there are seventy degree days if there is any chance I would get stuck in the evening hours. Any time after evening is bad too. Let me tell you, the deer are crazy. I’ve hit sixteen deer! Not with the bike, thank goodness, but that is not a good track record, and in the country – they are in abundance. I will get out for a few afternoon rides, just be back by five.

In any case, when you decide to pack your bike away for the winter, there are several things you need to do in order to ensure it’s wellbeing and that she will be happy to see you in the Spring and run perfectly for you.

Wash your Motorcycle

Number 1: Clean your bike! Yes, clean it. You may be one of those who cleans her every day before you ride, or you may be one where your bike has never seen the gentle soothing soap bubbles that leave her gleaming in her glory. No matter which one you are, give your bike a bath. Get all the bugs, tar, paint and any other road grime off that has accumulated. If you don’t want to give her a full bath, at least clean the chain and lube it. That chain goes through a lot, and you need to take care of it.

Fuel Stabilizer

Number 2: Put fuel stabilizer in the tank, fill her up and run it for five minutes. This is very important, especially if you cannot find gas without ethanol. Gas gums up, pulls in moisture and can break down into some very nasty stuff in a couple months. There are a bunch of fuel stabilizers out there. I used to use Sta-Bil. It did the job, until my Camaro. It would run like absolute garbage in the Spring. Popping, surging, you name it. Now my Camaro is built, it needs the best fuel it can get, and even with Sta-Bil, it was not happy. That’s when I started using Seafoam and it has never been happier. Not only does Seafoam put Sta-Bil to shame in terms of longevity (ahem – 2 years) – it cleans your fuel system too! It helps with the moisture and ensuring the gas is ready to go in the Spring so you have a very happy lady. It comes in 16oz bottles which is more than enough for your motorcycle. 1oz per gallon as a stabilizer. Did I mention it cleans your fuel system? That’s right! Your injectors, carbs, pump, filter and all will be so happy you added that come Spring. If you don’t want to use Seafoam, that’s fine, but make sure to get a quality stabilizer. Do not skimp on this! If you do, you will eventually have a very angry lady and a very expensive bill.

Battery Tender

Number 3: Battery tender! That’s right, you need to get a battery tender on your bike. Some people just unhook the battery, pull it and put it on a shelf. Lead acid doesn’t do well with just sitting. If you have a lithium battery, DO NOT let it freeze. Those of you with normal led acid, agm, etc – just hook up a battery tender – just make sure it is made for your battery. A lot of them support all types of batteries now, just make sure to set it right so you don’t overcharge an AGM, etc. I use a CTEK 40-206 and it works great – plus it will recondition your battery. You can hook a connection right up to the battery and run it to a convenient spot. My Ninja 1000SX I have run up under my rear seat. Plug it in and forget it – well, until you go to take the bike out, you don’t want to start riding off still hooked up!

Number 4: Paddock Stands/Motorcycle Lift. This really depends on your bike. Sport and sport touring bikes will want to be on paddock stands. Cruisers, tourers, etc may have center stands, but may also require a different kind of stand. Do your research, pick what works for your bike, and get those tires off the ground. This avoids flat spots in the Spring. Good quality tires will eventually have those flat spots smoothed out, but with the sticky compound used on sport bikes and such – you don’t want them sitting in one spot too long. If you don’t want to have it on stands, make sure to move it around into different positions every couple weeks.

Motorcycle Cover

Number 5: Cover her up. Get yourself a cover, a sheet, anything. Keep the dust and other bugs off of it and avoid any scratches while you are searching for your long lost 10mm socket one day. If you have kids, a cover is a must, at least with my kids lol.

Stay safe, stay warm and see you in the Spring!

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