Wrench Tip Wednesday: Winter Riding or Store It
It’s pretty evident winter has made it presence here in Missouri. Although, blizzards are rare and extreme negative temperature don’t happen often, some people put there bike up in the winter but a few “crazy” people try to ride. Two questions, how do you prep a bike for winter storing or what is it like to ride.
If you don’t plan on riding during winter, follow these steps so hopefully you will have less headaches come the first nice day in the year. First, give the bike a good wash, like really good!! Scrub it!! Love on it!! Gas goes bad in 4-6 weeks so add a fuel stabilizer to help it. Run the bike for a few minutes, that way the fuel can go through the system. Turn the fuel off and then drain the carb. If it is an EFI bike, try really hard to keep fresh gas in it. Change your oil, important because it lubricates. Make sure the coolant is full and double check that is rated for subzero temperatures. Disconnect the battery. This is extremely important for EFI bikes especially. Bad battery, low voltage, and ECU do not mix well together. It would not hurt to go ahead and throw it on a battery tender.
To the brave souls who plan to bare the cold temperatures and embrace winter riding, prepare yourself. First off, make sure you have the proper attire for cold weather riding!! I like to layer and use a Fly cold weather jersey. Or in extreme cases bibs and a Carhartt coat!
Now what to expect with the dirt bike. It will most likely be hard to start. Don’t freak out about this but also do not continue to crank the electric start. Make sure the gas is on and have it choked. Sometimes it helps to lay it over on its side and let gas run out of it. Obviously, the last few steps are for non fuel injected bikes. Poor quality coolant can freeze. Or what about that one race, water was poured in to get by, did it get forgotten about? Another reason why keeping track in your dirt bike diary is important.
The suspension might not act the way it normally does when you start to ride. Fork fluid needs to get warm, so do not go adjusting the clickers or cussing it right away. Ever heard of a cold seized engine? This is very possible in our area. A cold seized engine is similar to running a bike with no oil. The bike needs to be properly warmed up. Start it up but do not go revving the crap out of it immediately. Keep the RPMS low so the oil can heat up. Sometimes the clutch will not be working properly right away. POINT IS a cold bike does not act the same as warm bike, so relax and let everything get warm.