Care and Feeding of Motorcycles in the Winter

So, it’s November. For a hefty chunk of North America, this means winter is coming. Winter means cold and snow and ice, and it means motorcycles are put into the back of the garage until spring.

Some people (okay, like me) ride all year. But I no longer ride Curiosity (my 1981 Yamaha SR250) in the winter. It’s getting a bit up there in miles, and I want it to get a lot higher up there in miles. They use salt on the roads in Wisconsin.


So, while I am riding my RX3 in the winter, I am working on the Yamaha (hey, it’s been around, it usually needs something). I have a couple of parts bikes, but there are still things which break on a semi-regular basis or have fail over time. And there are cables to lube, chains to clean and oil – if you travel on a motorcycle you know this list.

The time not spent riding (during the winter, if you’re somewhere you can’t ride those dark and dismal months) you can use that time get some maintenance done. If nothing else, you are going to want to pull the battery and get it on a charger. If you aren’t pulling the gas tank off, fill it and then use some stabl to keep it fresh over the winter. Now, if you are only parking the bike for a month or so you don’t have to worry able the fuel additive – that’s just for storage of a couple months or more.

If you have an older motorcycle (like a 1981 Yamaha SR250) and you need parts there are a few places you can go to online. eBay is an obvious choice for used parts (or whole parts bikes), but you can also by new OEM parts from places like Bike Bandit. I usually get new parts when the cost isn’t prohibitive – I always worry about used parts from an unknown source, especially when I might not be installing them to see if they actually work for weeks.

That sprocket has miles left on it. Miles.

No matter what you are planning to do to your motorcycle this winter, remember one thing – upgrade things that are broken but don’t spend money to replace things that work, even if what you are getting as a replacement might be better. If it works then keep it until it breaks or stops working, then replace it. Safe the money for travel – because that is supposed to be the whole point.

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