For motorcycle owners who live in cold climates, winter is the worst. It means trading the bike in for a sled and dreaming of hitting the open road come springtime. When the harbingers of winter start rolling in, you need to determine what you’re going to do with your motorcycle. You can risk your safety and drive on icy roads, ship it someplace warm, or keep it tucked away in storage.
While you shouldn’t even consider the first option, the next two are plausible. Many snowbirds will choose to transport their motorcycle, as they typically have the time and funds to do so. If you’re thinking about using a shipping company, take the time to research some essentials for motorcycle hauling before you commit. For those looking to store their bike, here are some tips for storing a motorcycle in winter so it’s ready to go come spring.
Use a Battery Tender
Any battery will lose its charge if left to sit long enough. When a motorcycle sits in storage for five to six months, this leaves plenty of time for the battery to die. Thankfully, this is not the end of the world—it will just take a little extra work to get your bike moving again. Buy a battery tender and hook it up all winter. It will keep the battery charged without overdoing it.
Prep the Fuel System
Before you store your bike away, make sure it has a full tank of gas. Add a fuel stabilizer to the tank—this will stop moisture from forming in the tank. This way the gas doesn’t gum up the carburetor or injectors. On the last ride of the season, fill the tank and add the stabilizer so it mixes in on the ride home.
Protect the Tires
If your bike is going to sit on concrete all winter, put something under it such as a piece of wood or cardboard. This will prevent rotting and flat spots on the tires that occur due to the concrete drawing out moisture from the tires. You could also invest in bike stands that lift the tires off the ground. Short of that, roll the bike every couple of weeks so the tires are sitting in a different position.
Cover the Bike
Get something to cover the motorcycle to protect it from dust and debris. Every motorcycle make and model has custom covers made specifically for them. These specialized covers provide a snug, secure fit, so you can rest assured they won’t slide off. However, in the event you’re unable to obtain a custom cover, blankets and tarps will work just as well. Just secure them using bungee cords or rope.
Plug the Pipes
Little critters are always looking for someplace to shelter for the winter. Exhaust pipes on a motorcycle are prime real estate for mice. If allowed, they will crawl in there and make a nest for the winter. Custom plugs are available, but a dirty sock will do just as well. To ensure you don’t forget you plugged the pipes in the spring, put a bright bag on it as a reminder.