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How to Winterize Your Dirt Bike

02/09/2024

As the last leaves of autumn fell, a rider stood in their garage, a slight frown creasing their forehead. Their gaze was fixed on a dirt bike that had been a constant companion through countless trails and adventures during the warmer months. With winter approaching, it was time for a different kind of journey—preparing the bike for the cold months ahead, ensuring it would emerge in spring ready for new adventures.

Why Should I Winterize My Dirt Bike?

Winterizing your dirt bike is an important step in maintaining its longevity and performance. It's not just about storing the bike away but ensuring that every component is protected against the harsh winter conditions. It’s a process that helps avoid costly repairs and keeps your bike in top condition for when the trails call again.

Step 1: Cleaning and Inspection

Begin with a thorough cleaning to remove any dirt, mud, and debris. This step is vital for preventing rust and corrosion. After cleaning, inspect your bike for any signs of wear and tear. Addressing these issues now can prevent bigger problems later.

Step 2: Engine & Fuel Tank Care

Change the oil and replace the oil filter as old oil can damage the engine over time. When it comes to gas, we recommend filling your tank completely with non-ethanol fuel and adding your preferred choice of fuel stabilizer (Sta-Bil, Seafoam, Heet, etc.). The benefits are two-fold: Keep moisture out of your tank and lines, and to keep the fuel from degrading during its dormant period and potentially harming the system. Let it run for a few minutes or ride it for a bit to make sure that it's fully circualated.

Step 3: Battery Maintenance

Remove the battery and store it in a cool, dry place. Ideally, keep it connected to a trickle charger to maintain its charge. It’s a simple step that preserves your battery’s longevity, saving you money and hassle.

Step 4: Protecting the Exterior

Apply a coat of wax to protect the paint and metal surfaces. Lubricate all pivot points, including the chain, to prevent rust. Cover the exhaust pipe to keep moisture out.

Step 5: Elevated Storage

We always recommend storing your dirt bike on a dirt bike stand to not only prevent tire damage such as flat spotting, but also to reduce stress on the suspension. Don't have a stand? Consider building your own dirt bike stand in the interim.

Step 6: Covering Up

Cover your bike with a breathable cover to protect it from dust and moisture. Choose a dry, temperature-controlled storage location if possible.

If you plan on storing your dirt bike outdoors, choosing the right cover should not only keep your bike dry but still allow air to properly circulate to reduce condensation and moisture build-up inside the cover, which can lead to mold, rust and additional issues.

Maintenance Through the Winter

Even though your bike is in hibernation, it doesn't mean it should be out of sight and out of mind. Regular checks are essential to ensure that the winterization efforts are holding up and to address any issues that might arise during storage.

  • Battery Care: If you have removed the battery and connected it to a trickle charger, check it periodically. Ensure the charger is functioning correctly and the battery is maintaining its charge. For batteries left in the bike, it's crucial to inspect them regularly for signs of corrosion or leakage. If possible, start the bike briefly every few weeks to keep the battery charged.
  • Tire Maintenance: If the bike isn’t stored on a lift, rotate the tires periodically to prevent flat spots from forming. This is especially important for long-term storage. Also, you should regularly check the tire pressure and inflate them to the recommended levels if necessary. Changes in temperature can affect tire pressure.
  • Fluid Levels: Check the levels of oil and coolant. If you notice any significant drop, it could indicate a leak that needs to be addressed. Also, you need to inspect the brake fluid level and quality. If the fluid appears cloudy or dirty, plan to replace it before you start riding again.
  • General Inspection: Regularly inspect for any signs of rust or corrosion, especially in areas that are prone to moisture accumulation. It’s also wise to give some attention to your bike’s moving parts, like the chain, levers, and cables if they start to look dry or if you live in an especially damp climate.
  • Environmental Considerations: The environment where the bike is stored can significantly impact its condition. Keep an eye on temperature fluctuations, as extreme temperature changes can affect various components of your bike. High humidity can also lead to rust and corrosion. If you notice increased moisture in your storage area, consider using a dehumidifier.

Getting Your Bike Ready for Spring

As winter recedes and the signs of spring emerge, thoughts turn back to the thrill of riding. The effort put into winterizing the bike ensures it's ready for the season ahead. This proactive care means more time on the trails and less time dealing with avoidable maintenance issues.

Get the Gear You Need Store Your Bike the Right Way

the rider in our story prepares to uncover their bike with the arrival of spring, they are reminded of the importance of the winterization process. It's a ritual that not only preserves the bike but also symbolizes the anticipation of future adventures. Winterizing your dirt bike might seem like a tedious task, but it is an investment in the many journeys that lie ahead, ensuring that each spring starts with a roar, not a whimper.

How can you make the process easier? Consider investing in quality gear specifically designed for dirt bike maintenance and storage. Black Widow Pro’s lifts and ramps are critical for proper storage and maintenance—it can make all the difference in the care of your bike.

Have any winter dirt bike storage tips of your own? Let us know in the comments!

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