I was riding down a residential road today, humming loudly to myself (as I often do when I’m riding since I don’t wear headphones/listen to music), when I pulled over to the side of the road. Something had caught my eye, and I wasn’t sure of exactly what it was until it hit me: leaves.
The road is littered with them, all varying colors and shades, blowing carelessly in the wind. If you are a motorcycle enthusiast who lives in an area that experiences fall and winter, you know that familiar feeling that sets in the pit of your stomach. It’s the feeling that reminds you that soon your precious motorcycle will have to be parked and stored for a few months.
Prepping for Winter
Most of North America, as well as Europe, experiences winter. You know this, and I know this. Unless you’re part of that lucky group that gets reasonable riding weather year-round (damn you, Florida!), winterizing your motorcycle is a heartbreaking endeavor that requires due care and attention.
In a few days I’ll post an article about how to properly winterize your motorcycle, and in it I will get into detail. In a nutshell, winterizing your motorcycle involves:
Finding suitable storage – If you don’t have a garage or a covered place to store your motorcycle, the first thing to do is to find somewhere to put it. While covered storage isn’t necessary, it is highly recommended.
Replace fluids as appropriate – Change the oil, change your coolant, and check all other fluids.
Find a stand for the motorcycle – Tires, when in a stationary period for a long time, can develop a flat area where the tire makes contact with the ground. This is not very noticeable in a car, but can be a real problem on a motorcycle. A motorcycle stand will set you back a few hundred dollars, but believe me when I say that it is a worthwhile investment.
Remove insurance – While not necessary, most insurance companies will offer you a rebate/refund if you put parking insurance on your motorcycle before your term is complete.
Remove the battery – Batteries can lose their charge if left to deplete in the cold. Store the battery inside, and put it on a trickle charger before you put it back in the motorcycle in the spring.
Winter Isn’t Here… Yet!
With all that being said, winter isn’t quite here yet! Now is still a great time to get out and enjoy your motorcycle. However, remember that cooler temperatures (especially in the evening) can make traction an issue when cornering. Do yourself a favor and be easy on the gas!
Now’s also a great time of year to learn how to ride a motorcycle! As well, I should mention that while it is possible to ride your motorcycle in light snow it is not a good idea. Don’t do it.