Another riding season is drawing to a close and we should be getting ready to say goodbye to our bikes for the winter. Some of us, though, enjoy riding even during the cold winter months. But to be able to do so safely, we need to get our motorcycles winterized. These are the things you need to do if you want to ride your bike through the snowy part of the year.
Check Your Battery
The battery is one of the most sensitive, if not the most sensitive, parts on your bike to cold weather. In the old days, people used to take them out of their vehicles during the extremely cold night to preserve them. While modern ones are better equipped to deal with frost, they are still vulnerable and can be easily drained or even damaged if left unattended during the winter. Make sure that you check it regularly. The voltage should be at least 12.6 v or higher. If it is below, charge it before using the bike. If the voltage keeps dropping and you have to charge it frequently, you might want to replace it with a new one, especially if you are using the bike for long rides in the wintertime. If not, you are running a risk of it dying on you in the worst possible time.
Wash The Bike After Every Ride
Yes, we know this sounds like a chore and it probably is, especially when the temperature gets really freezing and you have to stand outside in the driveway, hosing your bike down. Unfortunately, this is almost unavoidable, especially if you ride your roadster motorcycle in cities with heavy snowfall, as city authorities use a lot of salt on the roads. Naked bikes like roadsters are especially vulnerable to salt build-up, as they have no plastic cowling to protect the inner parts. Salt is the biggest killer of vehicles’ metal parts during the winter and it is incredibly corrosive. The only way to prevent it from eating up your bike is to wash it after every use. That way you will prevent rust and corrosion from ruining it. Make no mistake, just a single winter season will wreak your motorcycle unless you maintain it properly.
Change Oil and Oil Filter
Many experts recommend changing oil and oil filter before winter, even if you aren’t due to replacement yet. This will make starting the bike in cold mornings easier and be gentler on the engine.
Check The Tires
This should be done after almost any ride, but many people neglect this vital operation. Depending on the surface you ride and the road conditions, even new tires can develop sudden defects that can seriously endanger you. During cold winter months, tire pressure needs to be monitored regularly and air added in necessary. In cold weather, the pressure in your tires can drop as much as 2 psi and you can end up ruining them if you don’t pay attention. Additionally, you should swap your regular tires with winter models, which provide a better grip in snow and wet conditions.
If your bike has a water-cooled engine, make sure that you put cold-weather antifreeze in it. Regular coolant can freeze in cold weather, ruining your engine. Specially designed winter antifreeze will prevent this from happening. Water, especially tap water, should never be used in the cooling system, except in case of emergency, and even then should be replaced with coolant as soon as possible. Various impurities in the water can damage your cooling system and your engine, not to mention that it is very susceptible to freezing.
Consider Hand-Warmer Grips
Even with gloves, winter rides can be rough on your hands. Adding hand-warmer grips will allow you to use your hands when you get off your bike, instead of spending the next hour trying to warm them up. They are easy to install and are powered by electricity from your bike. Make sure that the power consumption ads up, so you don’t end up draining your battery in the process.