Is your motorcycle prepared for the winter?
So you’ve decided you’re going the brave the cold this winter and use the bike. Well done! The temperature is bound to drop, so unless you live in the middle east or somewhere nice and warm, you will need to follow these steps to ensure your bike is at its best. Preparing for winter riding can often be a laborious task that we all hate. However, it’s one that needs to be done if you’re planning to ride throughout the winter. With a few hours of effort you can make your winter riding a lot better and safer.
Firstly, make sure your bike has a decent service; you will need to at least change your oil and the filter. It is also a good idea at this point to change your brake and clutch fluid if it’s due, and also change your coolant. If your bike uses antifreeze make sure that this is topped up and at the correct ratio, maybe even change it if you think it’s necessary. Replace your tires as soon as possible if necessary, you do not want to be riding in wet or icy conditions on brand new tires, this is very dangerous. If they don’t need replacing, make sure you check their pressure as cold weather can cause it to decrease.
The next step is to check your battery. If it is old, the first step will be to replace it. New advances in battery technology means sealed motorcycle batteries are readily available. These often provide higher amperage for better cranking in cold conditions, and they also last a lot longer when not used for a while. If you choose not to replace your battery, make sure you clean the terminals and apply some terminal grease. Make sure your terminals and connections are all secure. It may also help to cover the battery terminals in a smear of Vaseline to protect from the cold weather.
Check all available electrical connections for wear, damage and corrosion. Make sure to repair any damage found. At this point also check all your instruments and lights. If it’s been a while since you replaced your headlights and they seem a bit dim, replace them. It is always best in case they do blow while you’re riding, which can be especially dangerous during the dark winter nights. At this point check your fuses are all in good condition, also check all of your backup fuses and top them up if necessary. At this stage it is recommended to get a battery charger, this will ensure that during the cold your bike will start without fail, and if it won’t you can always use them for a quick boost to start it.
The next few steps are to ensure your clutch and brakes are all in working order. Lube up your clutch cable, as winter riding is known for letting grit and water trapped in the cable causing corrosion and damage. Your clutch is the last thing you want to break when riding.
Finally, give your bike a good clean. This will need to be done at least once a fortnight to ensure a build up of muck does not damage the bike. Also ensure your winter kit still fits, is comfortable and is warm enough for the weather you’ll be riding in. Oh and a new set of Motorcycle Fairings might be a good idea as well.