In Denver, the first snowfall usually hits around Halloween and most riders consider this a good time to winterize and store their bikes. If you're planning on storing your bike for the season, it is critical that you properly store it. Fuel will sour over the winter months, varnishing over jets, and even minute amounts of water in the tank and engine will cause rust, resulting in permanent damage.
Living in Denver, our fickle weather presents many opportunities to ride through the winter months. Riding your bike will prevent rust damage, "exercises" seals and springs and helps keep tires from cracking. Replacing fuel and circulating oil prevents gumming and sludge.
If you plan to ride through the winter some extra maintenance may be necessary:
- If your tank is metal, be sure to keep it full and add a fuel-stabilizer if you do not plan on re-filling the tank at least once per month
- Batteries require charging, especially in winter. A smart-charger, such as The Battery Tender will prevent sulphation and give you extra cranking power to help start your bike
- Refer to your owners manual and be sure to use the correct weight of oil to accommodate for the colder temperatures
- Keep your bike clean. Be sure to keep a coat of wax on the paint and wash off any salt off of paint metal and leather
In addition to preparing your bike, it essential that you dress appropriately and use common sense when winter riding. Hypothermia is extremely dangerous and can cause a reduction in reaction time and a severe loss of judgment.
- Too many layers can restrict movement. Thermal underwear and a cold-weather riding jacket are a better option. Also, be sure to wear appropriate gloves
- Heated clothing and heated grips (or gloves ) can make an otherwise uncomfortable ride, extremely enjoyable
- Consider a full-face helmet, not only are they warmer, they are much safer than ¾ or ½ helmets
- Never ride in snow or slush. This is Denver, a sunny day is right around the corner
Extra care must be taken when starting a bike in the winter, be sure to review these Cold weather starting tips.