Thursday, November 29, 2007

Winterizing your motorcycle below the 38th parallel

How do I winterize my motorcycles?
I don't. Winter in the Washington metro area (~38th parallel) will have enough occasional ridable days that I keep my bike ready to go. The extended winterizing procedures required for folks living where winter is more severe are sufficiently drastic that I probably wouldn't want to take my bike out of hibernation just for one day. So, I don't do the full up winterizing.

The closest I come to winterizing is attaching a Deltran Battery Tender "smart" battery charger. Keeping your battery charged is important because lead-acid batteries can lose as much as half of its voltage through self discharge during the 3 or 4 months of winter disuse. If your bike is parked longer, or in the weather, then an unattended battery completely discharging is not uncommon, especially for casually ridden bikes during their second winter. The Deltran charger, and other "smart chargers", will not overcharge your battery because of built in circuitry to reduce or shut off the charger depending on the voltage of the battery. It's beauty is that you can connect it to your battery and literally forget about it. I keep a quick disconnect (it comes with the Deltran) on the battery at all times with the connector peeking out from under my seat. This makes it very convenient to connect the charger.

The only other step I sometimes take is using fuel stabilizer if it looks like a long cold spell is going to keep me from riding. I'd rather take this, probably overkill, precaution than to have to deal with crudded up fuel lines and carbs or injectors. I pour the requisite amount into the tank, then start my bike and let it run for a few minutes to ensure the stabilized fuel is throughout the entire fuel system.

Keep on riding!

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