Today for lunch I had a dozen chicken wings and a side order of French fries, all dipped in blue cheese dressing and washed down with a large Pepsi. So much for my New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier... If you are in the same boat and you’ve already blown off your own resolutions, there’s no need to feel depressed. You can redeem yourself with these new resolutions that are sure to make for a happier new year, ones for your motorcycle. That’s right, New Year’s Motorcycle Resolutions!
First off, I know you meant to winterize your bike this year, but with all the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season and the chance that there might be one more weekend of good riding weather, somehow your poor motorcycle has been sitting for a month collecting dust in a corner of your garage. So drop what you are doing and take the next hour to winterize your motorcycle. No need to stress out, just remember the four basics you need to address: gas, tires, oil and battery. Here’s your quick winterizing rundown:
Winterizing Your Motorcycle
Top off your gas tank with fresh gas and add Sta-bil. By running the motorcycle after adding the Sta-bil, you will at the least get treated gas into your fuel system which will make starting your bike a whole lot easier next spring.
While the bike is still warm, go ahead and drain out your oil. It’s best to go ahead and do a full oil change. Although technically you could leave your crankcase dry over the winter, it’s not worth the risk. Let’s face it, you did put off winterizing your bike already, are you really going to remember to add oil 3 months from now?
Tires should be filled with air and I recommend marking the bottom of your rear tire with a chalk line. Then every couple weeks, remember to roll your motorcycle so the rear tire has rotated 180 degrees. This will help with flat spots, especially if it’s a long winter season. Finally, connect a battery tender to keep your battery topped off. There are plenty of other things you can do to fully winterize your bike, but these are the basics.
Now that your bike has been put away correctly, it’s time to look at your riding gear. I don’t know how many times I’ve pulled a pair of moldy leather gloves or chaps out of my saddlebags that I was sure I had unpacked at the end of the last riding season.
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Try laying out all your gear in the middle of your garage to make sure it’s accounted for. While it’s out, it wouldn’t hurt to clean it up a little too. Go ahead and clean the bugs off your helmet (they are not going to come off any easier in the Spring) and maybe laydown a nice coat of RainX or FogX on the shield.
If any of your gear is leather, get out our favorite waterproofing product and slather some on. Personally I like a good bees wax based product which goes on nicely if you borrow your wife’s hair dryer to heat up your leathers first. Most textile gear can just be washed and you can even go all out by buying some Nikwax Tech Wash made for just that purpose. Once everything is washed and clean, make sure to store it in a dry location (not crammed in the corner of your garage for the mice to nest in).
Preparing For Sunny Days
With your bike and gear ready for a long winter’s nap, it’s time to focus on upgrades for the spring. A good friend of mine mounted a white board in his garage which he uses to list out all the work that needs to be performed on his motorcycles. A simple pad of paper or your fancy smart phone works too, but listing it all out is a must.
Since you just spent an hour winterizing your bike and another hour going through your gear, you probably have a good idea of what things need to top your list. If not, take another few minutes to really look over your motorcycle, checking all the major wear items like your tires, chain and battery. It also wouldn’t hurt to check out your owner’s manual and see what items you may have forgotten to service last year.
A good comprehensive list will help direct your time while working in your garage and make sure your bike is ready to hit the road as soon as the weather starts to warm up. If you need further encouragement, go ahead and plan a date for your first ride of the season. That will at the least give you a deadline to work towards. Nothing is worse than when you realize that riding season has arrived and you still have a few weekends worth of work needed to get your bike on the road.
If you follow these three New Year’s Motorcycle Resolutions, I guarantee that you and your motorcycle will be ready for a great season of riding in 2015. Plus it will give you an excuse to spend more time out in the garage. I just hope you have a heater…
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