If you live in the north hemisphere like us, you might be forced to take a pause during the winter. And if your bike won’t run for a period longer than four weeks, you should consider to winterize it.
The temperatures are dropping and you should make the inspection you haven’t done in the summer because you just wanted to ride. Now it’s the moment to take care of your machine. Also, it’s better to get a bit uncomfortable now to have a ready to ride bike on the first beautiful spring day. Or even a winter day, who knows.
To begin this end of season ritual you should start washing your bike carefully like you’ve never done the whole year. Try to get rid of all the dirt even in the hidden parts, it will prevent corrosion and will keep your motorcycle parts functional.
After you’re done with cleaning you should take a ride. Not a short one, I’m talking about bringing the engine to the highest working temperature. You need to get rid of all moisture from every part. Once the bike is really dry in every part you can go back to the garage for a coffee.
Coffee, coolant and other fluids…
This part is very Zen and meditative. So make yourself a hot drink and prepare all the oils, fluids, and spare you need for your bike. And of course some time.
#1 Drive (chain or shaft) – After you come back from your ride it’s the right time to clean and lubricate your chain. If you have one. For shaft drives you could change the oil, most of them can last for 20,000 km. The last BMW models come with a lifelong oil. Something like magic oil or so…
#2 Engine – This is pretty obvious. Change the oil and filter. Check the bolts with a torque wrench.
#3 Cooling system – Replace the coolant. If you haven’t done it in a while, probably it might be a good idea to flush all the system with a special product.
#4 Air filter – Clean your air filter or check if it’s time to replace it.
#5 Tires – It is important to store them with the right pressure to avoid deformation from standing for so long. If you have the possibility to put your bike on a jack it’s even better.
#6 Fuel – Fill the tank to the top in order to keep air out which would destabilize the gas. You can also add some fuel stabilizer.
#7 Brakes – Time to bleed them and check if it’s time to replace the pads. If you have ABS it might be more complicated with the requirement of special tools.
#8 Battery – If you don’t have the possibility to connected to a charger you should at least disconnect it.
#9 Wax – This is the final touch. Giving it a thick film of wax and oil will protect your motorcycle for the whole winter.
#10 Cover – I’ve heard different opinions about using a cover or not. I would use it to keep it clean and protected but some might say that moisture coming from the ground might condense and remain inside the cover like a hothouse. If you leave it on the street I suggest to use it, especially in the summer because sunlight can be more damaging than rain on color and plastic parts.
That’s it, we covered how to winterize your motorcycle in 10 steps. And if you get hit by the winter blues, you can come here and read some stories. We’ll get through this winter together.