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Five Motorcycle Projects for the Off Season

As a motorcycle enthusiast, the off season can be a great time to work on projects to improve your bike or get it ready for the next riding season. Here are a few ideas for motorcycle projects you can tackle in the off season:

  1. Clean and Wax: The off season is a great time for a good full detailing. Clean your motorcycle with detailing spray, since it is too cold for a hose. Polish out any blemishes and put on a few nice coats of ceramic wax. Remember to wait 24 hours in between coats of ceramic wax. This is also a good time to give your gear a good cleaning. Most gear can not go in a washing machine, but you can use leather conditioners and cleaners to clean off bug splats, etc. Give your helmet a good cleaning to make it look like new. You may choose to wax your helmet, but be careful as it makes it slippery so a lot easier to drop, and a dropped helmet becomes a display piece and should no longer be used for riding.
  2. Maintenance: Winter is a great time to give your motorcycle a thorough tune-up. Check the spark plugs, fluid levels and, if equipped, external fuel filter. You can also take this time to take the tank off and give it a good cleaning. Make any necessary repairs, get tires changed if they are due, change the brakes, chain and sprockets (remember, they must be changed together), change the coolant and, if equipped, external fuel filter, if it is due. When the weather starts warming up is a good time to do your annual oil change and change the brake fluid. You don’t want to change the oil and brake fluid in the heart of the winter unless your garage or area is environmentally controlled as condensation will be absorbed. Doing these things will help ensure your bike is in top condition when the warm weather rolls around.
  3. Customization: If you’re looking to put your own personal touch on your motorcycle, the off season is the perfect time to make modifications. Whether you want to add some gadgets, upgrade your exhaust, or paint your bike a new color, the off season is the perfect time to get creative.
  4. Restoration: If you have an older motorcycle that you want to restore, the off season is a great time to get started. You can take the bike apart, clean and repair each component, and put it back together again, giving it a new lease on life without losing any riding time.
  5. Safety upgrades: Winter is also a good time to consider adding any safety upgrades to your motorcycle. This could include installing new lights, adding reflective tape, upgrading your brakes, adding a better horn and more.

No matter what project you choose to work on, the off season is a great time to get your hands dirty and make your motorcycle even better. Just be sure to follow all safety guidelines and take necessary precautions when working on your bike. Happy wrenching and keep the rubber side down!

Motorcycle Riding Tips for the Winter/Cold Season

Hi Everyone! Riding a motorcycle in the winter can be a thrilling and enjoyable experience, but it’s important to take extra precautions to ensure your safety. So these are five tips to help you safely enjoy cold season riding.

  1. Dress Appropriately. Now this may seem like an obvious one, and I know you aren’t going to go out in a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops. Even squids aren’t that crazy in the cold season… or are they?  You want to wear warm, waterproof gear to protect yourself from the elements. Layering is key, as you’ll want to be able to remove or add layers as needed to regulate your body temperature especially as the temperature changes throughout the day. Make sure you have a base layer that has the armor and protection you should always have while riding. Of course you wear a helmet normally, right? For winter riding a lot of helmets come with a air dam that will help keep your face warm. You can also wear a thin face mask underneath to help keep everything much warmer. Your gloves should be non ventilated and thicker. Heated grips are nice, but the outside of your hands can get cold, so heated gloves would be a nice investment. You can also wear glove liners to help keep your fingers toasty on those cold weather days. You want good boots, possibly even heated boots, with thick socks. The important thing here is if your feet sweat your socks will get wet and your feet can get really cold, so make sure to keep extra pairs of dry socks. The most important thing is to do what you can to keep your extremities warm and protected.
  2. Check your motorcycle. This is another one which should go without saying and should be done before every ride, but you need things to be in the best condition possible. Being stranded on the side of the road because you forgot to check the chain and sprockets and a failure happened is bad enough, but when it is freezing temperatures outside it can be brutal. Make sure your bike is in optimal condition including the tires, tire pressure, chain, sprockets, brakes, fluids and full tank of gas. Ensure everything is in proper working order.
  3. Take it slow. I know one of the big thrills for riding any type of sport bike is to go fast, but when it comes to the cold season you want to take it much slower. Road conditions can be slippery and unpredictable in the winter. You have sand, salt, cinders, ice, snow and much more things to look out for than normal. You want to be sure to give yourself plenty of time to react to any hazards and avoid making sudden moves or sharp turns. Take extra caution when braking and accelerating. It is also important to note your tires take much longer to warm up in the cold, and they don’t stay warm as well, which means they will be less sticky and have less traction. If you need to warm them up for some extra twisty roads, remember braking and accelerating are what cause motorcycle tires to heat up, so do so on a safe, dry and debris free surface and take things slow.
  4. Stay visible. While this is something that we strive for all year long, visibility is a bit more complicated in the colder season. You have fog and snow which greatly impacts the ability for other drivers to see you. Cloudy, murky days where things have less contrast and appear more gray and flat can make it much harder to be seen. Wear reflective gear, even if you have to get one of those bright green or yellow vests. Always ensure your headlights, taillight and signals are all properly functioning and clean any dirt off the lenses to help their intensity. Keep in mind it will be harder to see others out there as well, so keep a keen eye on everything. A lot of people drive in bad weather without headlights on, this time of year is definitely no exception.
  5. Watch for ice. Ice can be a major hazard when riding a motorcycle in the winter. Keep an extra special eye out for black ice – as it can definitely catch you off guard and put you in a risky predicament. Even if the weather turned nice and it is fifty degrees out, black ice can be hidden in shady spots that don’t get sun. Always avoid riding on frozen bodies of water, you never know how thick the ice is and if your tire suddenly breaks through it can flip you over the handle bars or cause you to lose control. If you do come across ice, take it slow and try to maintain as much control as possible. It is always best to hit ice head on and in a straight line, so try to avoid turning on the ice.

Those are the big ones. They may seem obvious, but I feel it is a good idea to have a gentle reminder every year when full-time riders hit the cold weather season. Just remember to always use caution and be aware of your surroundings, and you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of winter on two wheels.

Stay safe and keep the rubber side down.