Motorcycle storage for winter is a sensitive topic in my household.
As the weather starts getting colder my friends and family start to talk in hushed tones around me... random pats on the back occur... my wife whispers "it'll be alright" in my ear... All signaling that they know my mood is getting worse because as winter weather arrives, my riding time will slowly decrease, until it stops completely when the ice hits.
Then, I will have to carefully prep my motorcycle for winter storage and put into its corner in the garage for the next month or so. All of this makes me a very, very grumpy person.
As painful as winterizing my motorcycle may be, there are four key things I do every season that has kept my motorcycle in top shape and starting first time every time I pull it out of storage.
Let's face it; getting a motorcycle ready for storage isn't fun. But, it is necessary. So the simpler and faster the steps are the more likely you will be to do something.
So, let's get to it. Here are four easy steps to get your motorcycle ready for storage over the winter - no matter if "winter" for your motorcycle is 3 weeks or 3 months.
If this list was "A One Step Guide to Motorcycle Storage," this would be the one step. I love fuel, it makes things go, and it makes things go fast. But, fuel can get old, funky, and thick fast.
As motorcycle fuel gets old and funky, it starts to clog up all the little parts of your motorcycle, and come spring when you try to start that your motorcycle up, you'll run into problems. Those problems could include forking over a couple hundred bucks to clean out your carburetor. I'm cheap, so I don't like those kinds of problems.
A fuel stabilizer slows down the process of your fuel getting old and funky. Filling your fuel tank reduces the space that moisture can form in your gas tank. It also makes it easier to figure out how much fuel stabilizer to use, because you know how much gas is in your motorcycle's tank.
Do both of these things, it'll take less than 2 minutes and cost less than $5 for the fuel stabilizer.
From personal experience, I think this is only necessary if you're not going to ride or even start the motorcycle for a month or more. If you don't do it, the worst that is going to happen is come spring your battery will be dead and you will need to buy a new one.
I do know that the nicer, more heavy duty, the motorcycle battery (= more money) the better your chances it will not die over prolong lack of use. If you're buying one of the cheaper ones from Walmart or the online generic sites, you better hook it up to a battery tender because it'll be dead quick.
I bought this one and have been happy with it.
If you've got a Harley Davidson motorcycle, it helps you avoid chrome pitting on all that darn chrome.
If you don't have a motorcycle that's heavy on the chrome it just helps you get all that gunk off before it hardens up over the winter and gets even more difficult to clean off. Have you ever tried to clean 3 month old bug guts off your motorcycle's windshield? If so, you understand the importance of this step.
My reason for doing this is more selfish than important for the bike, when the temperatures start to raise the last thing I want to do is clean my motorcycle. I want to take it out and ride. If I do it now, I don't have to do it then.
Look, if you can remember to stop at the store every week to stock up your fridge with beer, you can remember to start your motorcycle every few weeks.
You don't have to ride it around the block or anything (although that is a plus), just start it up and let it run for 5-10 minutes.
Frankly, throughout my 20's and early riding years, this is all I did for motorcycle winter storage. I did it for ten years with an old Harley Davidson motorcycle and didn't have a single problem with the motorcycle. Same with my old Suzuki motorcycle.
The only reason I didn't make this the only step is because some people don't have the luxury of doing this. Maybe you store your motorcycle in a storage facility that's not easy to get to. Or, you store the motorcycle behind so much crap in your garage; it's a major ordeal to get it out. Whatever the reason, not everyone can do it so it's lower on the list.
That's it. Do these four easy motorcycle winterization steps and you'll be set for getting your motorcycle ready for storage.
I generally can get all four of these steps done in less than 30 minutes. Depending on your definition of cleaning a motorcycle, it might take you longer or even less.
Ride safe, store smart.