Winter can be cruel to both a bike and its rider. Until the Big Thaw comes, here’s what you can do to put the machine into storage.
CLEAN IT Give the bike a thorough wash and wax. Don’t just wax the paint—apply wax and/or polish to all the metal areas, especially the chrome. You’re trying to defend against moisture here. Dirt attracts moisture and reacts with it. The result? Rust.
PARK IT It’s time to keep your machine indoors. If you don’t have a heated garage or can’t park in the kitchen, find a place protected from rain and rodents.
DEAL WITH FUEL Fill the tank, add a fuel stabilizer, and run the engine (ride several miles) to let the mix work through the fuel-delivery system; this method is best with fuel injectors. Or drain all of the fuel and run the engine dry—with carburetors this can help keep the system from varnishing. If you have a metal fuel tank, spray inside it with WD-40 or other rust inhibitor.
CHANGE THE OIL Change it before you park the bike, and again before you begin riding. Moisture from condensation gets into the oil and compromises it. Oil’s cheap; new bearings aren’t.
PREP THE ENGINE Ride briefly to warm the bike. Then remove the spark plugs and squirt engine oil (25cc or so) into each hole. Slowly turn the bike over with the plugs out (put the bike in gear, raise the rear wheel, and spin it a few times). Replace the plugs.
PROTECT THE BATTERY Disconnect it and store it where it won’t freeze. Or, put it on a trickle charger.
SAVE YOUR TIRES Put the bike on stands front and rear (at least the rear) to get both tires off the ground.
USE ANTIFREEZE With a liquid-cooled bike, make sure it has the correct ration of antifreeze in the cooling system. Check with a hydrometer.
SHIELD YOUR PIPES Keep critters out of the airbox or tailpipe with plugs or a sheet of plastic stretched over the openings and secured with rubber bands.
COVER IT UP You’ll prevent scratches and keep your clean bike cleaner, even indoors.