5 Creative Ways To Keep Your Motorcycle Warm In The Winter


Keeping your motorcycle warm during the winter is a high priority because of the harsh consequences that cold weather can have on your machine.  I have lived in cold, harsh winter climates for most of my life and below I have listed the best ways to keep your motorcycle warm in winter.

The best ways to keep your motorcycle warm in winter are:

  • Motorcycle engine block heater
  • Garage overhead heater
  • Heavy electric blanket
  • A motorcycle air flow heater under the cover
  • Electric heater blowing on the engine block before startup

There are many reasons why keeping your motorcycle warm in the winter is a good idea.  It will prolong battery life, reduce chances of condensation causing rust, help tires last longer and not become brittle, will help the motorcycle start up much faster, and will extend gasket life. Keep on reading to learn more about these benefits.

Motorcycle Engine Block Heater

Engine block heaters are typically small rectangular pads with a metal face that magnetize to metal components and emits heat.  They are widely used throughout the motorcycle community to pre-heat certain components on a motorcycle before going out for a ride. They are effective and not expensive.

I’ve seen them used on engine blocks, carburetors, oil pans, and fuel tanks.  Their most common use is being placed on the side of the engine in order to pre-heat the cylinders to help with combustion.  A cold engine really struggles starting in the middle of winter, so having a small electric heater emitting heat on it can make all the difference.

The second most common place to see an engine block heater is the bottom of the oil pan.  If you ever go to a motorcycle race you’ll probably see this on every single motorcycle unless it’s on a really hot day.  Pre-heating your oil will reduce cylinder friction and improve the overall quality of how well the motorcycle will run.

It’s also not uncommon to see them stuck to the carburetors or side of the fuel tank.  Heating up the fuel a few degrees can help the engine start a lot easier, especially on really cold days. These engine block heaters are an easy way to keep your motorcycle warm in the winter.

Garage Overhead Heater

This is my preferred method of keeping my motorcycle warm in the winter. Overhead hanging heaters are not expensive and provide a large amount of heat that is evenly distributed throughout the whole garage, not just one part on your motorcycle.

Overhead heaters make a huge difference in spending time in the garage.  I have lived almost all of my life in Utah and Idaho, and winters there are harsh and cold.  Trying to work on my motorcycle when it’s 10°F outside is miserable; it freezes your hands and nothing seems to go right.

Having an overhead heater makes all the difference.  I can spend hours out in the garage in just a t-shirt and jeans and be perfectly comfortable.  On top of that, it keeps the entire motorcycle up to a more acceptable temperature where parts won’t get damaged from the cold.

Winter is the best time to get all those motorcycle projects done that you wanted to do all last summer but never had time.  But if the garage is freezing cold, you aren’t going to be motivated to do it, so buying a heater big enough for a two car garage (or whatever size shed or garage you have) is the perfect fix.

Heavy Electric Blanket

I have seen this done by several motorcycle owners.  Those who like to go out and ride their motorcycle occasionally during cold weather, or at least like to start up their motorcycle and let it run for a while, will frequently use this method.

Electric blankets are pretty cheap, and if it is wrapped around the engine and carburetors of your motorcycle right, it can help it start right up when you need it to.  If any of you have tried starting a carbureted motorcycle when it’s below freezing outside, you know that it’s nearly impossible unless you heat up the engine block somehow.

If you’re going to try this method, get the largest and heaviest blanket you can so that the blanket stores more heat and transfers as much of that heat as possible to the metal of the engine.

Just as a disclaimer, don’t use your spouse’s electric blanket and promise them you’ll wash it off.  It’s going to get really dirty, so if you’re going to use this method, get your own electric blanket!

Motorcycle Cover Air Flow Heater

Another really cool gadget that can keep your motorcycle warm in the winter is a motorcycle cover airflow heater from Bike Barn.  It’s a 60W heater that sits on the ground below your motorcycle and blows warm air up inside the motorcycle cover, keeping it warm in the winter.

Through my research, I couldn’t find any other companies that were selling these small disc-looking heaters.  Bike Barn sells them for $50 USD plus $15 shipping.

This method works best if you use their Bike Barn tent. It’s possible it may work with your particular motorcycle cover, just ensure to check on it frequently.

Small Electric Space Heater To Blow On Engine

The most budget-friendly approach to warming up your motorcycle in the winter is not one that should be used every day, but can work if you’re in a bind.  I have done it many times myself when I’m in a pinch and need to get the motorcycle started on a really cold day.

You can do this by placing a small electric heater next to your motorcycle engine and let it blow hot air on the engine for 20 minutes or more.  This will raise the metal temperature enough that a carbureted motorcycle should be able to start.

This is not a long-term method to keep your motorcycle warm all winter, just a trick that I’ve learned along the way that can be used almost instantaneously.

Also a disclaimer, do not ever use one of the open flame heaters to blow hot air on your motorcycle.  Your motorcycle is full of combustible fluids, and no open flame should ever be used around it. Only use small electric resistance heaters if you’re going to use this method.

Conclusion

If you own a motorcycle and live in a place with cold winters, life is just much easier when you have ways to keep your motorcycle warm in case you need to use it. These suggestions are great ways to get your motorcycle warmed up and ready for your ride.

Always be cautious when using sources of heat near a motorcycle. Let us know if you have any experiences with this of if you have any other ways to keep a motorcycle warm during the winter!

Related Questions

Do motorcycle engine block heaters work on aluminum engines? Most engine block heaters for motorcycles only work on engine blocks that have iron in them, but a way to get around this is to find some iron component on the engine.  For example the oil pan, cylinder head, or exhaust header. Putting it in these locations will help keep the engine warm.

How cold is too cold to ride a motorcycle? It is not recommended to ride a motorcycle when the temperature is below freezing (32°F or 0°C). Ice will form at these temperatures and motorcycles are more susceptible to ice since they are smaller vehicles. Click here for more info.

This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.

Kyle Cannon

Kyle currently works as a mechanical engineer and graduated with a minor in automotive engineering. He loves restoring motorcycles, has a vast knowledge of how they work, and has sold his restoration projects to customers from all over the United States.

Recent Posts