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Discussion Starter #1
Well here is a thought experiment for everyone.

I live in DC. Last year we got over 32 inches of snow, but that is never going to happen again. We typically get 3-5 inches the whole season and the average lowest temperature is around 30 degrees.

I am going to cover my bike and leave it on the street (with an emergency plan should 32 inches come), but should I winterize the bike and leave it til March in a couple months?

I am a crazy person that bicycles to work all year round unless it is raining so I wouldn't mind riding it occasionally. If I were to forgo winterizing- what would I need to do to keep the bike happy? I remember a friend telling me that the battery only recharges on a bike if you get it up to 4k rpms. I don't want to drain my battery by going out once or twice a week and just running it for a little or taking a short drive since I won't get up to that rpm limit.

What do you guys think?
 

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I never "winterize" my bike, because even durring the winter here there are always several good riding days. Last winter we had snow of course...but not alot and there were quite a few days in the 50's and sunny. Only near the end of the season did I go more than 4 weeks without riding...and most of that was due to rain...not snow or the cold.

I have no problem riding in temps down to freezing...just as long as the roads are dry. I think it is silly to "winterize" your bike unless you live in the far north.

See my soon to be posted thread on winter/cold weather gear in the Equipment section.


KM
 

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X2 to what KM said. Would add you ought to keep the tank topped off to minimize condensation. If you are worried about the carbs, keep some Sea Foam or your stabilizer of choice in the fuel.
 

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Rider on the Storm
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Like KM, and for the same reasons, I do not winterize in SW Ohio. I do keep my bike in a dry garage with my battery on the Battery Tender Junior. I also put Seafoam in the always-full gas tank. If there's a long no-riding stretch, I'll cover the bike and maybe put something in the exhaust pipes to discourage critters.
 

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Old Twistie Sticks Rider
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I never "winterize" my bike, because even durring the winter here there are always several good riding days. Last winter we had snow of course...but not alot and there were quite a few days in the 50's and sunny. Only near the end of the season did I go more than 4 weeks without riding...and most of that was due to rain...not snow or the cold.
I have no problem riding in temps down to freezing...just as long as the roads are dry. I think it is silly to "winterize" your bike unless you live in the far north.
See my soon to be posted thread on winter/cold weather gear in the Equipment section. KM
I'll 2nd the first part but I don't ride under 50* if I can help it...lol... I did have to work in all kinds of weather but I don't have to play in it...
I think my blood has got too thin, in the 50s I used to muskee fish when I had to stick the rod in the water to get the ice out of the eyes, can't stand that crap no more... More power to y'all there...lol...:beerchug:...:beerchug:...
BTW-Its a bit after 4pm and 82* and I just got in from a nice 165 mi. twisty ride with so many bugs on my face shield that it was like a sun shade...lol...
And I am one tired old man, but the forcast is the same thru Sunday...Whopeeeeeeeeee.........Yankees-- "Come on down"...lol...:beerchug:...:beerchug:...
Have a good one...Old Dog...
 

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Old Twistie Sticks Rider
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It is also a good time to check the anti-freeze (coolant) and make sure it is rich enough, I have always liked to keep mine at a 3:1 mix, just in case I have to add water when I don't have access to coolant...(bikes & autos)...
Have a good one...Old Dog...
 

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Last year we got over 32 inches of snow, but that is never going to happen again. We typically get 3-5 inches the whole season.
You're tempting the weather gods with that "never going to happen again" forecasting. According to NOAA , D.C. averages 16-22 inches of snow a year.:wow: (http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/online/ccd/snowfall.html)

I would be more worried about the snowplows and salt trucks with my bike on the street.
 

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It is also a good time to check the anti-freeze (coolant) and make sure it is rich enough, I have always liked to keep mine at a 3:1 mix, just in case I have to add water when I don't have access to coolant...(bikes & autos)...
Have a good one...Old Dog...
A 3:1 (antifreeze/coolant) is too rich and will reduces the coolant systems performance. More antifreeze = less ability to transfer heat = higher potential for overheating. Stick with a 50/50 mix for optimal cold/hot weather protection.
 

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Linkmeister Supreme
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If you are NOT GOING TO RIDE for several weeks or months, change the oil and DO NOT start it up occasionally through the cold weather. Water vapor from the combustion gases will condense in the crankcase because the engine will not get warm enough to drive them off when just idling and not riding. The water will combine with other combustion byproducts to form acids which will attack the bearings.

Keep the battery inside the house on a battery tender or at least check the voltage every month or so.

OD, a 50:50 mix of antifreeze to water typically is sufficient down to about -30*F. I have used mixtures up to ~60% antifreeze, (which is protection down below -50* F), on cars and trucks where we can get temperatures below -40*F up here in Canadian winter. Any mixture over 60% actually gives less protection from freezing or boiling than the correct strength. Check the back of the jug for precise percentage mixtures for your product.
 

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Old Twistie Sticks Rider
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A 3:1 (antifreeze/coolant) is too rich and will reduces the coolant systems performance. More antifreeze = less ability to transfer heat = higher potential for overheating. Stick with a 50/50 mix for optimal cold/hot weather protection.
Hmmm, thats funny, on the back of my "Prestone" (antifreeze/coolant) jug it reads
(Quote) "50% = -34* & +265*
70% = -84* & +276*" (End Quote)..........

I'll admit 50% is good enough for our part of the world and what most folks use, but if you loose a bit and need to add water and don't have antifreeze/coolant you have another story...
I'm just not smart enough to argue with the makers, or to do much percentages in my head, but the 3:1 I can measure and work out pretty easy, and 75% is close enough to 70% for me...:rockon:...:rockon:...
Have a good one...Old Dog...
 

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I drain and fill annually or sooner on the antifreez.
 

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The best way to have extra antifreeze is buy the unmixed and get another 1 gallon jug, put half the anti freeze in the empty jug and fill both with water. Our systems take what a half a gallon+? That leaves a gallon and a half to top off with periodically. Plus if you are paying say $10 - $12 for premix it is cheaper to pay $8 to $9 for a gallon of the straight and then have 2 gallons of mixed.
 

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Old Twistie Sticks Rider
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The best way to have extra antifreeze is buy the unmixed and get another 1 gallon jug, put half the anti freeze in the empty jug and fill both with water. Our systems take what a half a gallon+? That leaves a gallon and a half to top off with periodically. Plus if you are paying say $10 - $12 for premix it is cheaper to pay $8 to $9 for a gallon of the straight and then have 2 gallons of mixed.
I have never bought the 50/50 mix due to the cost, and the fact that china-mart & Advance auto usually have a deal like buy 1 get 1 free, but I hate mail in rebates now, because I never got mine from Advance that I sent in about a year ago, so the 2 Gal cost me regular price...
Having a bit at home is nice but usually the needing to add happens when you are on the road somewhere, or always did with me anyway...lol...
Speaking of autos here when I used to drive 30+k yearly...
Years ago when antifreeze was cheap I drained and flushed annually 2 or 3 times and had bad luck with the flushes loosing a water pump in the process, now I just run strong, check annually and drain & flush about every 3-5 yrs. ...
I'm not saying what I do is best, its just what I do...
Have a good one...Old Dog...
 

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Having a bit at home is nice but usually the needing to add happens when you are on the road somewhere, or always did with me anyway...lol...
Have a good one...Old Dog...
Yeah I hear you there. What I do on my snowmobiles and if my bike ever develops the need....I take a 20oz soda bottle full of mixed antifreeze with me (Plus if a fellow biker ever needed a top off is very helpful as well). Plenty to top off with if needed but if that isn't enough I'm thinking there is a problem that needs looking into. lol
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Heh, thanks for the discussion guys. I guess I just won't let it sit long. Unfortunately it has to stay on the street cause off street parking is quite rare around here. I am not worried about plows or salt because in 4 years I have only seen plows during last year's snowpocalypse and I'll make sure the cover is snug.

I think your 20+ inch snow totals a year must be for the DC metro area. 5 miles away in MD and VA they can get 6-8 inches but when it crosses the Potomac we get 1. Probably all the chemicals in that thing (it was literally illegal to swim in it until 2007).

I am not worried about the coolant. It is currently topped off after I fixed a small leak and I'll change it in the spring. Any thought on charging? It would be annoying to haul the battery from my house to the bike every time I wanted to start it up if I was using a tender cause I wasn't able to get enough rpms to charge it riding in the city.
 

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Hmmm, thats funny, on the back of my "Prestone" (antifreeze/coolant) jug it reads
(Quote) "50% = -34* & +265*
70% = -84* & +276*" (End Quote)..........

I'll admit 50% is good enough for our part of the world and what most folks use, but if you loose a bit and need to add water and don't have antifreeze/coolant you have another story...
I'm just not smart enough to argue with the makers, or to do much percentages in my head, but the 3:1 I can measure and work out pretty easy, and 75% is close enough to 70% for me...:rockon:...:rockon:...
Have a good one...Old Dog...
50% is recognized as 'optimal' for both hot weather cooling (increased boiling point of approx. 230F) and freeze protection (down to approx. -30F). A 70% antifreeze mix is the recognized as a maximum for most manufacturers and (I'm quoting from the link below) "the beneficial effect of raising the boiling point ends with about 70-percent antifreeze. During the summer, engines will run warmer to hotter; therefore, as the percentage of antifreeze increases, heat transfer decreases because antifreeze has a lower specific heat than water". The maximum 70% mix may be good for someone living above the Arctic Circle, but overkill for the Lower 48 and probably a bad idea (based on the science) for those folks living in hot climates.

Here is a link to the scientific mumbo-jumbo (see explanation of figure #3).
 

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Old Twistie Sticks Rider
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50% is recognized as 'optimal' for both hot weather cooling (increased boiling point of approx. 230F) and freeze protection (down to approx. -30F). A 70% antifreeze mix is the recognized as a maximum for most manufacturers and (I'm quoting from the link below) "the beneficial effect of raising the boiling point ends with about 70-percent antifreeze. During the summer, engines will run warmer to hotter; therefore, as the percentage of antifreeze increases, heat transfer decreases because antifreeze has a lower specific heat than water". The maximum 70% mix may be good for someone living above the Arctic Circle, but overkill for the Lower 48 and probably a bad idea (based on the science) for those folks living in hot climates.

Here is a link to the scientific mumbo-jumbo (see explanation of figure #3).
I've done what I said for years and will stick with it, but due to the overflow systems now on vehicles it is probably not as neccessary... (my opinion only)...
Have a good one...Old Dog...
 

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I guess it's a location thing. I worry more about mine in the summer than the winter. Of course, winter is about 4 weeks here. And not in a row. I'll ride down to 34º, and if it's not raining on the way to work. Other than that, they expect to see my helmet (in it's bag) sitting on my desk.

As far as winterizing goes, I'll change the anti freeze out. Not so much for the cold weather, but because I just rode through a summer of 100º + temps in traffice here.

Put Seafoam in about every third tank, keep the oil changed and keep an eye on the rest of the bike for minor maintenance needs and I'm set to go.
 

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....... Any thought on charging? It would be annoying to haul the battery from my house to the bike every time I wanted to start it up if I was using a tender cause I wasn't able to get enough rpms to charge it riding in the city.

If you have an AGM battery you really only need to charge it every 4 weeks if you are not riding. If you fear it has not got a good charge from a short ride through town, yeah, bring it in.

A fully charged AGM can handle those 4 weeks without a trickle charge, but if somewhat drained to start with, it be best to at least check it with a battery tender.

You can take out the rear bolts that hold the back of the seat and leave them out...the seat should stay on OK without them...makes pulling the battery in and out alot less of a chore.

Make a strap to go around the battery so it is easier to pull out... and replace the "ring" type terminals with "U" shaped ones so you only have to loosen the terminal bolts to pull off the wires.
(Am guessing since it is parked in the street it would be risky running an extension cord out to the bike to charge the battery)


I would suggest NOT going out just to start the bike on a cold day unless you are actually going for a ride. You are just putting wear on the motor and not running the bike long enough so the battery charges properly. Also, you have to get the oil hot enough to burn off any water condensation, so short warm-ups sitting still just push that water into more parts of the motor.

You should of course have a bike cover on the bike at all times if you park on the street....some even have grommets you can run a cable through to lock the cover on the bike.

KM
 
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