Motorcycle Classics

It’s Time to Start Thinking About Winterizing Your Motorcycle

As fall approaches, we’re covering the basics of winter storage.


Sponsored by Battery Tender

Riding season isn’t over yet – in fact, late summer and early fall offer some of the best weather and scenery of the year. But what happens when your knuckles start to freeze and it just becomes too uncomfortable to enjoy the ride? If you’re in the northernmost parts of the U.S., you’re likely storing your bike for a major part of the year. As motorcyclists, storage means less time enjoying the road, but it doesn’t have to be a somber send-off ’til next season.

Appropriate storage prep for your motorcycle is the best way to guarantee a great riding season every year. If you’re riding an older bike, the winter season offers a great opportunity to refresh components or restoration for the more ambitious. But regardless of the age or condition of your bike, it’s important to prepare your motorcycle for its sedentary state with a few basic practices.

Over the years, we’ve discovered the first thing to go when you start storing your motorcycle is the battery. It’s easy to keep a battery charged, but it can often be difficult to replace – with most bikes requiring a small disassembly to get the battery out of the frame. A good battery charger can keep your battery powered, without doing any long-term damage. Battery Tender® is the best brand in this arena, as they’ve been making chargers and maintainers for more than 60 years.


Depending on your specific needs, the Battery Tender® Junior is often the best solution for a one motorcycle garage. It’s compact and powerful and offers a 12-foot cable that makes it easy to reach power in your garage.

If you have more than one bike, though, you may need something that has the ability to charge multiple batteries. Take it from us – it’s much easier to have one charger that can maintain two or more motorcycles, dirt bikes, or really anything else that may be in your garage than it is to have multiple single-vehicle chargers plugged in.

Battery Tender® has this figured out with a variety of options, from a two-bank charger and maintainer to 4, 5, or even 10 bank units for those of us who really have a problem.

Fuel stability is another challenge with idle motorcycles. As fuel has more exposure to oxygen, it begins to deteriorate. Unless you’re planning to keep your bike off the road for multiple years, or you’re beginning a long-term restoration project, you’ll want to store your bike with a full tank and a high-quality fuel stabilizer. This strategy preserves the integrity of your seals and prevents corrosion.

However, if you have an older, carbureted motorcycle, you may want to consider draining your fuel to avoid any potential damage – especially if you don’t trust any of the components in your fuel system.

For some situations, fuel leaks while storing with a full tank can result in significant damage to your bike. Every motorcycle is different and you’ll need to determine what’s best for you and your bike.

There are a few other steps you’ll want to take to winterize your motorcycle. We’ll cover those indepth in parts two and three of this series. For now, just start thinking about where you’ll be storing your bike, and make sure you have things like a quality fuel stabilizer and a good battery charger to get started.

  • Updated on Sep 14, 2021
  • Originally Published on Sep 1, 2021
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