For most of us, the cold season means two things: less riding, more garage time. If you’re one of the unlucky souls to live in the Northern hemisphere with no chance to escape South, winter months equal little saddle time if any. But then, this is the perfect opportunity to work on your two wheels – whether it’s just basic winter motorcycle maintenance or a serious bike build, now is the time to roll up your sleeves.
Whether you’re planning to modify your bike, get some farkles, rebuild it completely, or just make sure it’s in good shape before you park it for the winter, it’s always good to start with a basic bike health checkup. You’ve probably abused the bike as much as you could during the riding season, so even if it runs well and feels good, this is the perfect time to give it a once-over. Clean and replace your filters, change the oil, check spokes, bearings, chain, and sprockets, take a look at the rims and levers, and check your fluids.
Next up, see if your brake pads need replacing, and if your bike has a carb, now might be a good time to drain it – or rebuild it.
Finally, make sure your battery won’t drain, clean the bike, put a cover on it, and store it away. When spring comes, it’ll be ready for new adventures.
If keeping your bike in good shape and waiting for the spring is all you want to do, it’s time to put your feet up, tune in to Lyndon Poskitt on YouTube, and pray your soul doesn’t wither away until the riding season starts again.
On the other hand, this may be a golden opportunity for some mods on your bike. Whether you’re an adventure rider, a dirt bike maniac, or a rally hopeful, you know as well as we do that there’s always something you could modify on your bike.
Not sure where to begin? If your bike is completely stock, chances are, you could use a better suspension. Good suspension is by far the biggest game changer, and as a rule of thumb, stock suspension isn’t always great – regardless of what you ride. You may choose to go all out and order yourself a custom-built, fully adjustable rear shock, forks, and springs, or you may simply want an upgrade – either way, you’ll definitely feel the difference.
Ride hard enduro and dream of Romaniacs? Consider getting better rims. Lighter, sturdier wheel rims (think Warp9 Racing) will last longer – and your bike will shed some weight in the process.
If you’re thinking of building a rally bike, you’re probably considering a roadbook navigation tower. It doesn’t need to be an entire rally tower kit, mind you – a simple roadbook holder and bolt-on handlebar mount will do, too.
Finally, consider getting yourself a pair of rally footpegs. Even if you don’t actually race, rally footpegs are going to make life on two wheels much easier: wider surface means more comfort for your feet, replaceable studs will ensure good grip, and the position of the rally footpegs – a little lower and a little backward – is designed to give you more control of the rear wheel. In other words, rally footpegs can actually improve your riding (and make it safer – these things don’t break or slip).
Bling and Farkles
Not everyone is a born mechanic, and not every bike needs modifications. But let’s face it – customizing your ride a little is just pure fun, so even if you aren’t expecting any major changes, installing a few farkles feels good. Which ones and why?
Handguards are always a good addition – think Barkbusters, for example – and they’re dead easy to install, even if you aren’t mechanically minded. If you love covering longer distances on your bike, a higher windshield (or a windshield, period) will save you some neck ache when riding. Auxiliary lights (like Denali) are a good idea on an adventure bike: not just for your own visibility, but so that you’re more visible to others. Finally, look at a skid plate and some crash bars if you’re planning to start ripping up some more dirt next season.
What’s the difference between bike bling and modifications? One man’s farkle is another man’s mod, as they say, so it’s entirely up to you and what you’re hoping to do on your bike when the spring comes. One thing’s for sure, though – working on your motorcycle during the winter months helps fight the riding withdrawal!
What mods or bike builds are you planning on working this winter? Share in the comments below!