from the Educator:

At our November meeting, we discussed winterizing our motorcycles. We had many offerings and opinions for the best way to do things. In short, not usual for me, here is a list of things to consider: fill the gas tank up to and just past, the bottom of the neck, of the tank. You should begin using some sort of Stabilizer for the gas to keep it from breaking down over the few months of storage. Even though you may take the bike out soon, the weather will dictate just how soon, so it could be a few weeks in between rides, so if you have the Stabilizer in at all times you won’t be caught without. On our wings, you really can’t easily get to the carbs to drain the gas, as is recommended for most carbureted bikes. So just run the stabilized gas long enough to make sure it is in the carbs, or disconnect the vacuum line to the gas valve and run it dry. On 1800’s, there is a small concern about the effect the Stabilizers will have on the fuel injection system. And if there is a need at all for Stabilizing this closed system. So for now, this is up in the air. Somewhere in the middle would indicate a maintenance level and not a storage level of Stabilizer might work. This is usually half the recommended amount per gallon. Batteries: make sure that they are full of fluid and put on a motorcycle designed charger. You can either pull the battery out of the bike or leave it in. If you leave it on the bike, make sure the individual caps are closed, and the vent hose is properly connected. Regardless, check the battery for loss of fluid and excessive heat every couple of weeks. Disconnect the charger if it is too warm to the touch, it should remain cool. Tires: if you can get the tires off the concrete and off the ground that would be ideal, however, placing them on a wood surface would be advantageous. Fill the tires to maximum riding pressure, or even a couple of pounds beyond that. This will help keep the tires from flattening out. But if you go for a ride during the storage season, remember that the tires should be rechecked and brought to normal riding pressure. Also, in extreme cold weather, the pressure will be much lower than during the warm months. So your tire will probably have a lower pressure than when you filled it, if the temps drop below freezing, Covering the bike with a breathable cover and putting on a good coat of wax and some light oil on the polished parts, like the wheels and chrome will keep the salt from eating them away. For a more detailed version you can check the web site for earlier articles on Winter Storage.

Riding in the cold weather: we touched a little on cold tires. When you start out a ride, especially in the very cold weather, the tires are not and will not be at operating temperatures for a little while. The down side to this, is that the tires don’t have the flexibility or the ability to grab, thus making cornering and braking less secure than you may be expecting. I have known a few folks who have gone for a ride and with in a few blocks of their homes, they go into a curve or turn, and down they go. Wondering, what just happened. The tires broke loose. An easy thing to do, other of course than making sure the pressure is right for each ride, is to do as the race car drivers do, when they drive the warm up lap. I am sure you have seen them do that side to side swerving, which is to help the warm up process of the tires occur faster. You can do the same thing, but of course all things in moderation, just a simple side to side lean, from one side of the lane to the other for a block or two will help warm up the tires. If this is done aggressively then you have defeated the purpose, so take it easy. I suppose we should also touch on the clothing of choice for the cold weather. The most common two words that you will hear, are LAYERS, and then of course ELECTRIC. You want to allow moisture to escape while keeping heat in. There are many types of fabric that can do that, depending on your pocket book. Two other things, DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE COLD TO ADD MORE LAYERS, remain ahead of your need for warmth. It is very difficult to recapture lost heat, especially when you don’t have the advantage of artificial electric heat. When you layer, don’t over layer to the point where you cannot move. If you reduce your ability to move your head or body, you are reducing your ability to operate the motorcycle properly and increasing your risks. Make frequent stops to warm up, and just like in the very hot weather, when you stop, stop long enough to recover the proper body temperature. Don’t leave before you feel good again. And finally, if you are going out and the weather is good, CALL ME, I want to go with.

David and Kathy Bierman