Some riders go to great lengths to winterize their bikes, when in reality just 6 simple actions are all that is necessary to maintain a bike for winter storage.


(1)     Fill the tank with gas:

Not only does this help avoid rusting of the gas tank (by leaving no room for condensation and water), but you’ll know how much fuel stabilizer to add based on the full tank measurement for your bike.


(2)    Add the proper amount of fuel stabilizer.  STA-BIL was used in my case, which specifies 1oz of STA-BIL per 2.5gal of gasoline.  (Run your bike for about 10 minutes after adding the stabilizer to ensure you have treated fuel sitting throughout your fuel system).

The FJR has a 6.6 gallon tank, so took a little over 2.5 ounces of STA-BIL.

The SV650 has a 4.5 gallon tank, so took almost 2 ounces of STA-BIL.


(3)    Wash your bike.

This is a critical step, as all that road grime, bug splatter and bird droppings will have all winter to react their acids with your bike’s paint job if left in place.


(4)    Lubricate and check fluids.  (Some folks go through and change their oil before the winter, but I think it’s more appropriate to do this in the spring before your first ride of the season).

If your bike has a chain, then clean and lubricate your chain to prevent rusting.  This is a good chance to lubricate any other areas of your bike that need it.  You should also take this opportunity to check all the fluids on your bike (brake fluid front and rear, clutch fluid, oil level, and most importantly the anti-freeze).  If you race, you will want to ensure that your coolant has anti-freeze components, as water itself will freeze and can crack the engine block as it does.  –see your M.O.M. (Motorcycle Operating Manual), for specifics of your bike-


(5)    Isolate, or periodically use.  If you’re not going to run the bike at all for 3-4 months of winter, you will want to put the bike up on stands to avoid flat spotting the tires (which will lose air).  You will also want to disconnect the battery, and possibly store the battery indoors, or utilize a ‘battery tender”.  Consider a bike cover if you are keeping your bike stored outdoors, however, be aware that while it will help keep dirt and rain off the bike directly, it will still trap moisture inside the cover, causing the potential for accelerated rusting.

I prefer to start and run my bikes every 2-3 weeks.  Not only do I maintain the tire air pressure, but I move them around so they don’t sit on the same spot of the tire.  I also start the bikes and let them idle for about 15 minutes to circulate fluids and keep the battery charged.

(6)  Contact your insurance company and reduce your insurance coverage for the winter.  As an example, Progressive insurance calls this their “Winter Layup” program, and my rates reduce from $33 per month to about $3 per month to simply maintain comprehensive and minimum liability insurance while the bike is in storage.


That’s really all you have to do to winterize your bike!


Have a great holiday season!  -Matt

-Now see:  Springtime Motorcycle Prep Steps!