If you are not fortunate enough to live in an area where you can ride your motorcycle year round then you are going to have to do something with the bike over the winter. Leaving it in the back yard covered in snow is probably not a good option.
Pay someone to take care of it
Lots of motorcycle dealerships and other shops offer winter motorcycle storage. For a fee they will hold your bike in their garage for the winter. As part of the price they may winterize the bike for you and possibly provide an oil change or other service. I’ve seen these range in price from $100-$300+. This would be a good option if you don’t have an indoor storage spot for your motorcycle or you are not comfortable winterizing it.
If you are going to store your motorcycle yourself the first thing you will want to take care of is your battery. Over time batteries slowly discharge and the cold temperatures speed up the process. If your bike is going to remain unridden for the winter you will want to put your battery on a trickle charger. The most popular brand among motorcyclists is the Battery Tender Junior
. To hook your battery up to the charger you can either remove the battery from the bike or you can leave the battery in the bike if it is in reach of a power outlet. If you are removing the battery you will simply hook the supplied alligator clips from the battery tender to the terminals on your battery. If you are able to park the bike near an outlet you can simply attach the provided battery harness to your battery while it is still attached to the bike and plug the harness into the battery tender. You only need to do this once and you can leave the harness on the motorbike year round.
The other step you need to take if you are going to leave your bike setting for a long period of time is to put an additive in the fuel so it does not go bad. STA-BIL is the brand most people use for motorcycles. To add the sta-bil I usually go to the gas station and fill my tank with gasoline and then add the appropriate amount of Sta-bil (the directions on the bottle will tell you how many parts sta-bil to gas) and then drive home. The drive home will be enough to mix the sta-bil and gasoline together and get a good amount into the engine.
Some people do things different and that is okay. Some people prefer to empty their fuel tank instead of treating the fuel. Some people perform an oil change before putting the bike away and/or lubing all the parts. I’m sure none of those things would hurt to do but I have never done them and have not had problems.