Winter can be tough on your V-twin cruiser bike, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get it out for a ride every once in a while. Of course, you’ll need to follow some necessary maintenance procedures if you want to ensure your motorcycle can withstand the challenges in winter. Depending on how tough the winter conditions get in your area, you have two options:
- Park your motorcycle away and protect it from the winter cold
- Keep your motorcycle ready to go for a ride once in a while
Either way, you have to take good care of your bike. Here are some maintenance tips for winter motorcycling to keep in mind.
Check Your Battery Health
Winter conditions can be harsh on your battery, especially if you won’t be using your bike throughout the cold months or if you’ll be making lots of short trips. Ensure your battery terminals are perfectly clean, the battery is topped off, and you’re frequently charging the battery. Also, keep an eye on the battery voltage and the charging system of your motorcycle in winter.
Consider investing in a battery maintenance kit that features a smart monitoring system that charges your battery only when needed. Simply connect it to your motorcycle battery, and it will be fully charged and ready to fire up when you want to hit the road.
Take Care of Your Fuel
One of the main concerns for motorcycle riders is the increasing levels of ethanol in gas. Ethanol absorbs water from the atmosphere, which can cause trouble during winter. When you park your bike during winter, the water settles in the gas tank and fuel system, creating problems for your bike’s fuel tank. The fuel ends up degrading over time - which is one of the potential reasons why your motorcycle won’t start after winter storage. To prevent that, use these tips:
- Add gas preservative or fuel stabilizer during each fill-up
- Don’t forget to add antifreeze to the cooling system to avoid the radiator overheating
Check Your Tires Before Every Ride
The condition of your tires matters most during winter when traction is minimal. Look out for proper tire pressure and tread depth. Inspect your tires each time before you ride your motorcycle in winter. Tires lose pressure due to cold air inside. Opt for winter-ready tires if you can when roads get slippery. Most of all, ride cautiously.
Change Your Oil and Filter
Combustion in the motorcycle engine often creates lots of unwanted byproducts, which is what we call gunk. During warmer months, the gunk burns off as the bike’s engine warms up. But during winter, frigid temperatures and short rides may prevent the engine from warming up sufficiently to ensure the gunk evaporates. Accumulation of gunk contaminates engine oil, causing problems.
Solution: Change your oil and filter at half the recommended interval during harsh winter months. This is especially critical if you’ll be storing your motorcycle in winter.
Lubricate Moving Parts
During winter, ice on the roads is usually melted with salt. While it’s necessary to ensure safe road use, the combination of these salts and water can get to the chain and other moving parts like brakes, pedals, and throttle, making them rust. That’s why you need to regularly clean and lubricate these parts to prevent dirt or salt from accumulating and causing damage.
Keep Your Motorcycle Clean
Due to the increased moisture during winter, the exposed metal on your bike tends to accumulate more moisture, creating the perfect environment for corrosion. This can cause damage to your bike over time. One good tip for winter motorcycling is to ensure you wash, dry, and wax your motorcycle frequently if you’ll be using it in winter.
Doing this will protect it from corrosive damage and ensure it maintains its shine even during freezing temperatures. Also, apply an anti-rust spray to areas most vulnerable after washing your V-twin motorcycle to provide maximum protection. Clean and wax your bike regularly, too, even if it’s in storage, as corrosion can still occur.
Ride Safely During Winter
During winter, roads are more slippery, visibility is lower, and most car drivers have their windows up and radio on. Unfortunately, most of them don’t expect motorcycles to be on the road during harsh conditions, so ride more cautiously, reduce your speed, keep a safe distance between your bike and the car in front of you, and wear a reflective helmet and jacket.
Safety should be your top priority when riding a motorcycle in winter. If you’re looking for riding gear for winter or need aftermarket parts or accessories for your V-twin cruiser this winter, get started at West End Motorsports. Order online or get in touch with our experts for help.