Tips to Winterize Your Motorcycle

For those of us in Connecticut, the early fall means more time to ride. However, as the days get colder and the calendar approaches December, you’ve got to think about winterizing your motorcycle. While you might be tempted to park it in the garage or throw a tarp over it, how you store the bike now directly influences its quality and rideability come springtime. Ultimately, a lack of preparation could mean a rusted, gummy bike with lumpy tires.

So, where should you begin?

When to Store?

man performing maintenance repairs on his motorcycleAlthough there’s no set timeline, those in the Northeast often retire their bike toward the end of October or whenever the temperatures turn noticeably cooler. On the other hand, some people extend it until there’s no more sun. Through a combination of these factors, your bike should be prepared and covered before the season’s first snowfall.

Pick a Location

Never leave a motorcycle bike outdoors, exposed to the elements. On a basic level, keep it covered with a secure tarp or in a portable garage. In either instance, the polyethylene material prevents water from building up and rusting the exterior and blocks UV damage. However, make sure the cover doesn’t completely seal off the bike. Otherwise, moisture trapped inside could result in mold, mildew and corrosion. Even inside your garage, a cover prevents dust from accumulating on your bike’s surface.

In an ideal situation, the garage should be a temperature-controlled spot – one that doesn’t get too cold nor too warm. No matter how you monitor the temperature, be wary of condensation and freezing. Condensation invites rust and can damage the tank, while freezing temperatures can result in cracked parts and rodents nesting in your bike.

Make a Maintenance Checklist

So your motorcycle remains in good condition during its time in storage, be sure to have the following done ahead of time:
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5 Winter Motorcycle Storage Mistakes to Avoid

In New England, the start of winter marks the end of motorcycle season for many riders. When there is snow and ice on the ground, commuting on two wheels can become even more dangerous. While most motorcyclists are reluctant to store their bikes away for the season, it’s important to take the necessary steps for proper storage.

We list five winter motorcycle storage mistakes to avoid.

1. Storing the Bike Dirty

storage garage Throughout the motorcycle season, our bikes see a lot of wear and tear. Sometimes you cannot avoid hitting that pile of mud and, before you know it, your motorcycle could use a good wash. When winter rolls around, it’s especially important to clean all debris from your bike prior to storing it away to prevent paint corrosion and rust.

2. Neglecting to Change the Oil

You may not think about it, but what happens to your bike’s oil when it’s not in use? The oil becomes stagnant – unmoving – and can cause problems when you rev the engine come springtime. To keep it from deteriorating over several months in storage, drain the old oil and add fuel stabilizer to the new.

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Signs Your Motorcycle Engine Needs Repairs

Owning a motorcycle requires a lot of work, including regular maintenance. Motorcycles are more likely than cars to need repairs to the engine. While many motorcycle owners enjoy tinkering with their bikes in their spare time, not every rider has the mechanical skills to fix serious problems.

If you own a motorcycle and notice the following signs, it may be time to bring it to a professional mechanic for a repair estimate.

Loss of Power

motorcycle shock absorberMany riders will know right away when their bike is running at a lower performance level. You can feel this loss of power, which indicates a problem with the internal workings of the motorcycle engine. These issues can range from simple to complicated, but as soon as you notice your bike experiencing a loss of power, get it to a repair shop. The sooner you act, the better chance you have of preventing a more serious problem in the long run.

Strange Noises

Similar to cars, a problem with your motorcycle can be identified by the unusual noises the bike starts to make. When you’ve owned a motorcycle for several years, you will come to understand the sounds of a healthy engine, as well as the sounds that indicate a problem. Hissing, backfiring, popping and knocking are all signs that there may be a problem with the engine’s combustion flow.

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Spring Motorcycle Maintenance Tips

When spring weather arrives in Connecticut, there is one group of people who are more excited than anyone else. These would be motorcycle owners, who have waited patiently for warm weather through snow and cold weather, so they could once again enjoy their passion: riding motorcycles.

Getting back on the road after the long winter is a great feeling, but before you go full throttle, there are necessary steps to ensure your bike is ready to ride.

Here are some simple maintenance tips every motorcycle owner should know when getting a bike ready for spring riding.

Test the Brakes

man performing maintenance repairs on his motorcycleIf your bike has been in storage over the winter, there is a chance the brakes may have seized up. This can lead to fluid absorbing moisture, which can make the brakes feel spongy. Before you hop on, it’s a good idea to walk your bike around the driveway and test the brakes. The last thing you want is suddenly realize your brakes need repair when cruising on the roads. It is also recommended that you clean any surface corrosion from brake discs so they are in top form.

Check the Fluids

Many bikers will put a fuel additive in their tanks before storing a bike for the winter. In the case you did not, there is a chance that the fuel injectors could be clogged. It is a good idea to fill the tank with fresh fuel and new fuel filters after a thorough cleaning of the injectors. Also check the oil and, if necessary, do a full oil change to ensure no moisture got into the system.

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Motorcycle Maintenance Tips

Like cars and trucks, motorcycles can last a very long time if the owner takes good care of the bike. If you simply fill your motorcycle with gas and ride, eventually parts will fail, fluids will run low and other dangerous mechanical breakdowns may occur.

You don’t have to be a professional mechanic to spot check your bike! While it helps to familiarize yourself with the main components of a motorcycle, you will certainly know when something isn’t right due to how the motorcycle sounds and handles.

We want everyone to be safe on the roads, so here are a few tips for maintaining your ride.

Schedule Yearly Professional Maintenance

man performing maintenance repairs on his motorcycleEven if you are a seasoned mechanic, it is recommended that you have your motorcycle fully inspected on a yearly basis; a professional may identify problems you don’t see. It is also a good idea to have a mechanic check on the important components of your motorcycle, including the engine, tires and brakes.

Change the Oil on Time

When it comes to changing the engine oil, follow the same rule that applies to cars. The general timeframe is every 3 months or 3,000 miles. Use this as a reference point; you’ll likely need to change the oil more frequently during peak riding season (spring through fall) and less during the winter, but it makes sense to always be on top of the oil. When you put your bike away for the winter, make sure it has been filled with fresh oil.

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Tips for Winter Motorcycle Storage

For some riders, December 1st is the cutoff date for the riding season. While others will battle the cold and wind during January and February, many consider winter to be off-season.

If you plan on waiting for the return of warm weather before riding again, you have a decision to make regarding bike storage. Unless you have a garage or basement with room for your cruiser or street bike, you’ll have to find a way to keep your bike safe from the hazards of winter weather.

Here are a few ideas for motorcycle storage this winter.

Garages

motorcycle covered for the winter It can be costly, but a covered garage space is ideal. Winter in Connecticut often includes blizzards, ice and sleet storms and heavy winds that can harm your motorcycle. With a reserved spot in a well-maintained and secure parking garage, your bike will be protected from the elements.

Motorcycle Covers

If a garage is too expensive or not available in your area, another solid option is an all-weather motorcycle cover. These durable covers are often made of heavy duty polyethylene and are resistant to wet weather conditions. Available in several sizes, these covers can be used when blizzard warnings arise in the forecast and easily removed if you feel like revving the engine when the first warm day arrives.

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Preparing to Ride your Motorcycle in the Fall

We have good news and bad news. The bad news is that summer is almost over. However, the good news is that extremely bad weather likely won’t arrive until mid-December. So, you and your friends have plenty of time left to enjoy motorcycle road trips before snow and icy wind make riding difficult and dangerous. While you still have time to soak in the sun and enjoy warm summer nights riding, now is a good time to start preparing for fall. With the foliage and Indian summer weather, fall trips in Connecticut and New England are some of the best around.

Motorcycle Maintenance

two men riding their motorcycles in the sunshine Chances are you’ve used your motorcycle quite a bit during the summer. This means it is probably in need of a solid tune-up. Now is a great time to take your ride to a mechanic you trust and get a thorough tune-up that will prepare your ride for fall. Have your brakes checked, as well as the exhaust, engine and tires. Knowing that your bike is in great shape will make fall riding much more fun.

Fall Safety & Riding Tips

Check The Weather & Wear Seasonally Appropriate Gear

While September and October in Connecticut can be fairly warm, you always want to be prepared for that sudden cold front. To ensure you and your body are protected from the cold, start looking for high-quality leather biker jackets, gloves and eye protection that will fend off sudden cold spells and allow you to enjoy the beautiful scenery while riding.

Additionally, wearing the proper gear gives you an important second layer of skin to protect against severe road rash or prevent serious injury in the event of a fall.

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Winter Maintenance Tips

For motorcycle owners, winter can be one of the longest seasons of the year. Dangerous weather conditions and cold temperatures often leads to putting your baby away for several months. For any die hard rider, this can cause a serious case of the blues. However, instead of longing for spring and the chance to get back on the road, make use of the winter months by performing necessary maintenance on your bike. This will keep your motorcycle in good condition and ready for use come springtime.
 
Here are a few suggested tips for winter motorcycle maintenance:

Pre-Storage Cleaning

blog_closeupMany motorcycle owners will have a storage plan for their bike. From portable garages to all-weather tarps, there are a variety of storage options that will keep your bike safe from the elements. Before putting your ride into storage, it is recommended that you give it a final and thorough cleaning. Getting rid of mud, dirt and other debris can reduce paint corrosion and prevent rust. You may also want to consider a wax and polish job to deter damage from moisture.

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