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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this has been discussed ad nauseum, but I'll be honest; I have never paid attention before because I have never had to winterize a bike before. Well, unfortunately, the time has come. I put in for a leave of absence at the hospital and won't be riding much, if at all, until Trina gets better and I go back to work.

So please tell me what you do to winterize your bike. I have heard to add something called Stabil to your gas. Anything else? We have a fairly mild, humid climate here. It can be cold at times, but rarely breaks below 25 degrees or so. Most of the winter is between 35 and 45 degrees and wet.
 

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Fill the tank as much as possible, without risking overflow if it warms suddenly. Make sure the additive (stabil, seafoam, etc.) is compatible with ethanol, as not all are. If you have carbs, drain the fuel (and pour it back into the tank) after treating the tank, and refill from the treated tank. Change the oil. Check the brake and clutch fluid; replace if over 2 years old and flush through the bleeders. Raise the pressure in the tires to the maximum on the side walls, or put the bike on a lift and drop the pressure to about half normal; leave a note on the seat to check tire pressures before riding. Stuff something in the exhaust pipes, to keep small critters out; think about the air filter intakes, for this, too.
 

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Nevah!! RTS!
 

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Wintersol pretty much covered what I do - definitely make sure the carbs are empty. If I'm putting a bike down for an extended sleep (beyond just the Winter) I'll drain the fuel, fog the tank and cylinders also.

I also have the ability to keep a couple bikes inside my semi-heated shop - those I'll drain of all gas prior. I also like disconnecting and removing the batteries.

Do you have the ability to keep your bike inside?
 
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Yeah, if you think it'll be more than 3-4 months, extended is the description. If your storage space had power, a battery tender would be a good idea, even if you have an AGM battery.
 

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I’ve winterized every bike I have ever owned, other than during the years I lived in San Antonio and rode year round. Takes me about 6 minutes. I arrive home with a full tank of gas. I add Stabil, run the engine for 5 minutes than shut it down. I stuff some rags into the pipes to keep pesky critters from nesting there during the winter. I hook the Battery Tender to the battery. Then I put the cover on the bike. Come Spring, I pull out the rags in the pipes, disconnect the Battery Tender, and start up the bike. I do check tire air pressure before the first ride. Sometimes I change the oil, sometimes I let it wait until the normal miles between changes. Never had a problem. The bike sits on a concrete garage floor, and never had a problem with the tires come Spring. Simple process. The hardest part is covering the bike. That makes it real that I am done for the season. I shed a few tears, drink a few shots of Jack Daniels, then wait for Spring.
 
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Just about everything has been covered but I'll add this. If there is a chance you can ride the bike for 20 miles straight and least once a month then complete winter storage isn't needed. Fuel stabilizer and battery maintainer is about all you need. If you have a radiator(Don't think you do) always have good antifreeze in it. But that 20+ mile ride once a month and maintaining a full fuel tank with stabilizer and battery maintainer is about it. Now if you just want to button it up and never look at it then the full routine is needed.
 

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Here in the land of ice and snow I don't do anything special.

At the end of the season the oil gets changed. I check the brake pads. Clean them. Either remove the battery or put on a maintainer.

5 months is not enough time for the gas to go funky. I have been doing this for 30 years of owning and storing classic cars and bikes.
 

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A good healthy dose of Stabil in the full tank of gas, a short ride ( 10 miles) to get it through the whole system, plug in the tender and that's about it. I never worried about tires, if you are concerned and it might be a really long time then but it up on blocks or a jack or just roll it a few feet every 2-3 months.

Might as well change the oil before that last short run too, get fresh oil everywhere, but I honestly don't think that's nearly as big a deal as some people make it, unless the oil is filthy I seriously doubt it would do any harm leaving older oil in there for a while.
 

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Here in the land of ice and snow I don't do anything special.

At the end of the season the oil gets changed. I check the brake pads. Clean them. Either remove the battery or put on a maintainer.

5 months is not enough time for the gas to go funky. I have been doing this for 30 years of owning and storing classic cars and bikes.
So, you don't have 10% ethanol in your gas?
 

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Here in the land of ice and snow I don't do anything special.

At the end of the season the oil gets changed. I check the brake pads. Clean them. Either remove the battery or put on a maintainer.

5 months is not enough time for the gas to go funky. I have been doing this for 30 years of owning and storing classic cars and bikes.
So, you don't have 10% ethanol in your gas?
I've spoken of this before.
Even though we don't have the type of winter weather you guys are talking about here in the Houston area...
With the pump gas we are forced to use it only takes 3~4 weeks (or less) for the fuel to 'gum up' in the carburetors.
Sta-Bil in the fuel helps a little, but not by much.
F I systems last MUCH longer.

If you're forced to use Houston / Ethanol type fuel you'll need to remove ALL fuel from the system for long term storage.
With a carbureted machine gaskets and such will dry up in long term storage. Been there, done that.

When we put a carbureted bike in long term storage I fill the carburetors with full strength Sta-Bil and coat the empty fuel tank with oil.
This has proven to work for two years. Vented Sta-Bil (in carburetors) will at some point turn to gel but it takes longer than two years or so.
There's more that needs to be done but this covers the basics of the fuel system for LONG TERM storage in Houston and the surrounding area.

Of course riding the bike regularly is preferred but if it has to go in LONG TERM storage... See above.
 

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I suspect the St. Louis ethanol type fuel is not very different from Houston - we are one of the many 'special' EPA zones, too. And now, we'll probably start getting 15%; guess I'll have to start going out of town to a pure-gas station for my small engines and bikes.

Perhaps Canada doesn't have our problems with ethanol?
 

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No, I do not! I usually can find real gas without ethanol, and that's definitely what I prefer to use.

There is a website called pure-gas.org that is regularly updated and helps to locate non-ethanol gas stations. Yes, I pay anywhere from 30 cents to sometimes as much as 75 cents more a gallon, but to me it's well worth it. It's not like I'm filling a 40-gallon tank on some huge truck or SUV, or that I'm not getting 50+ MPG.

There are also smartphone apps to help locate non-ethanol gas. If you have other, smaller gas engines, this can be critical! If your having problems with your gasoline lawn mower, we destroyed two of ours before we figured out it was the ethanol.... using non-ethanol gas we haven't had any more lawn mower problems.

Ethanol is bad for the environment - the overall negative effort to the environment is worse than for fossil fuels! The primary benefactors of ethanol usage are those who profit from it, including politicians. I support Smarter Fuel Future to work against the factions that want to force us to use products that we don't want, and that aren't beneficial to consumers and not good for the environment.

So, you don't have 10% ethanol in your gas?
 

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I just listed a new station just south of Bryson City with that site; it's a great resource. We also used it to find a station in WV, near where we were camped. Unfortunately, the nearest such station to me is nearly 40 miles in the wrong direction, no matter where I'm headed.
 

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If you have other, smaller gas engines, this can be critical! If your having problems with your gasoline lawn mower, we destroyed two of ours before we figured out it was the ethanol.... using non-ethanol gas we haven't had any more lawn mower problems.
At the end of the season, I fill my small engines, and bikes, with AVGAS from the local small airport. AVGAS is still pure leaded gasoline with NO ethanol.
(ethanol is not allowed to be used in airplanes)
It can be rather expensive, but it's worth it to keep ethanol out of my engines for the winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Fill the tank as much as possible, without risking overflow if it warms suddenly. Make sure the additive (stabil, seafoam, etc.) is compatible with ethanol, as not all are. If you have carbs, drain the fuel (and pour it back into the tank) after treating the tank, and refill from the treated tank. Change the oil. Check the brake and clutch fluid; replace if over 2 years old and flush through the bleeders. Raise the pressure in the tires to the maximum on the side walls, or put the bike on a lift and drop the pressure to about half normal; leave a note on the seat to check tire pressures before riding. Stuff something in the exhaust pipes, to keep small critters out; think about the air filter intakes, for this, too.
Alright! This sounds excellent, thank you!

I have to ask, how do you drain the carbs? Is it simple?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wintersol pretty much covered what I do - definitely make sure the carbs are empty. If I'm putting a bike down for an extended sleep (beyond just the Winter) I'll drain the fuel, fog the tank and cylinders also.

I also have the ability to keep a couple bikes inside my semi-heated shop - those I'll drain of all gas prior. I also like disconnecting and removing the batteries.

Do you have the ability to keep your bike inside?
Yes, I keep it in the garage. It isn't heated but I doubt it would freeze in there. It occasionally freezes outside here
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yeah, if you think it'll be more than 3-4 months, extended is the description. If your storage space had power, a battery tender would be a good idea, even if you have an AGM battery.
I have a tender on it 24/7, so I'm good there, thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I’ve winterized every bike I have ever owned, other than during the years I lived in San Antonio and rode year round. Takes me about 6 minutes. I arrive home with a full tank of gas. I add Stabil, run the engine for 5 minutes than shut it down. I stuff some rags into the pipes to keep pesky critters from nesting there during the winter. I hook the Battery Tender to the battery. Then I put the cover on the bike. Come Spring, I pull out the rags in the pipes, disconnect the Battery Tender, and start up the bike. I do check tire air pressure before the first ride. Sometimes I change the oil, sometimes I let it wait until the normal miles between changes. Never had a problem. The bike sits on a concrete garage floor, and never had a problem with the tires come Spring. Simple process. The hardest part is covering the bike. That makes it real that I am done for the season. I shed a few tears, drink a few shots of Jack Daniels, then wait for Spring.
Well, I have it on my list to change the oil anyway, as the previous owner said he hadn't done it since last year. I also have a new set of gas shocks and some adjustable fork caps to install so it will be a fun day in the garage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just about everything has been covered but I'll add this. If there is a chance you can ride the bike for 20 miles straight and least once a month then complete winter storage isn't needed. Fuel stabilizer and battery maintainer is about all you need. If you have a radiator(Don't think you do) always have good antifreeze in it. But that 20+ mile ride once a month and maintaining a full fuel tank with stabilizer and battery maintainer is about it. Now if you just want to button it up and never look at it then the full routine is needed.
It's highly likely that I can do that. My concern is that with it not being part of my regular routine, and with all Trina is going through, I will forget.
 
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