The icy and wet weather condition during winter is not ideal for your beloved bike. You may be lucky not to encounter a road mishap but your motorcycle will definitely take a beating during your ride.
To winterize your motorcycle is to store your bike until spring. You would like your motorcycle to be ready for rollout again after winter so ample protection is needed to avoid corrosion during the storage period.
To make sure that your bike will survive the cold season, below are some of the steps to winterize your motorcycle.
Give your motorcycle a thorough cleaning. An unclean motorcycle will corrode faster. The collected grime and dirt in your bike exposes the metal to corrosion. A detergent and water with the help of a sponge will suffice. A used toothbrush will also do the job for those hard-to-clean cracks and crevices. Clean the mufflers but avoid getting water inside as it may result to internal corrosion later on. Once finished, hose down and use a dry chamois to dry the bike.
Apply protective oil. To protect the vehicle from moisture, protective oil will do the trick. Apply some oil on the unpainted metallic areas that are most likely to rust. Also, lube the chain as this is an easy target for corrosion. Just avoid the disc brakes as this is not intended to be greasy, and might end up not working. A non-working brake poses serious threat on the road, so keep this in mind. Reapply the protective oil as needed especially during a prolonged winter season. Just remember to clean it first before the reapplication.
Keep the motorcycle covered. The idea is to keep the bike as far away from the harsh elements as possible. This is to keep the bike dry and clean and ready for the spring or summer. If you have limited storage facility, make sure that the motorcycle is fully covered. A waterproof covering would be ideal so that it can also be protected during the rainy season. Use the center stand (if you have one) to elevate the bike from the ground. If your place is infested with rodents, plug your pipe with rubber to keep them away. They will look for a place to hibernate and your bike's exhaust pipe is one of their targets. If you cannot avoid using your bike during winter, just remember to clean, protect, and cover it when not in use. This way you will prolong the life of your bike.
Once winter is over and you are about to ride your motorcycle, do not mount it just yet. Check for leaks or rust that developed during the winter. Have your bike tested first before going on a trip. You may find problems now that you ignored before. Maybe this is the best time for an oil change and routine check for your precious bike.
If you already tested your bike and working A-OK, then go ahead and proceed with your trip. Always wear your helmet and have a safe trip.