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 Motorcycle Safety
 Technical/Maintenance
 Maintenance - Before or after the riding season
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rayg50
Male Moderator
2082 Posts
[Mentor]


NYC, NY
USA

Honda

Shadow Spirit 750DC

Posted - 11/02/2013 :  10:30 AM                       Like
Here we have a riding season. I personally ride year round but when the weather hits temperature extremes I tend to do quick rides once or twice a week, weather permitting, to circulate the fluids. Once a year I take my bike in for servicing. I have all the fluids drained and replaced. I have them check the plugs and wires, and change anything that may be questionable.

I know this doesn't follow the recommended maintenance schedule (at X miles check...) but it is what I have done for years for my cars. On the bike if I hit a mileage milestone I will take it in to have the checks done but the clock will have reset based on the mileage at the time of yearly maintenance.

Long winded background but critique is what I seek.

Here is the actual question. As winter approaches I have the annual replacements done, usually around Thanksgiving. My thinking is that if the bike does have to sit for a while I would rather it be with fresh fluids. Is this the "best" way or should I be doing it just before beginning to actively ride in the spring?

Your thoughts would be appreciated. I've had great success with this method with my cars but that does not mean it translates to bikes.


SteveS
Male Advanced Member
1207 Posts
[Mentor]


Toronto, Ontario
Canada

Harley-Davidson

FLHTK 2012

Posted - 11/02/2013 :  11:07 AM
quote:
Originally posted by rayg50

Here we have a riding season. I personally ride year round but when the weather hits temperature extremes I tend to do quick rides once or twice a week, weather permitting, to circulate the fluids. Once a year I take my bike in for servicing. I have all the fluids drained and replaced. I have them check the plugs and wires, and change anything that may be questionable.

snip....

Here is the actual question. As winter approaches I have the annual replacements done, usually around Thanksgiving. My thinking is that if the bike does have to sit for a while I would rather it be with fresh fluids. Is this the "best" way or should I be doing it just before beginning to actively ride in the spring?

Your thoughts would be appreciated. I've had great success with this method with my cars but that does not mean it translates to bikes.




I like the before and after, especially the engine oil. So I change or have changed at the end of riding season then again at the beginning. A few $ more but I do have a sizeable investment in my bike.


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Magnawing
Male Senior Member
281 Posts


The Woodlands, TX
USA

Honda

VF750C

Posted - 11/08/2013 :  8:20 AM Follow poster on Twitter
I also go with the before and after method. As a bike sits over the winter, being warmed up occasionally, it may tend to develop condensation in the crankcase which could contaminate the oil. For that reason, I change my oil in late Oct/early Nov and again around March/April...depending on how warm our spring is. Coolant is a once every other year drain and flush.
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rkfire
Advanced Member
1689 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Peer Review: Blocked

Posted - 11/08/2013 :  8:46 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
I ride pretty much all year long, but maybe shorter rides in the winter. I change my oil when the milage calls for it. I'm due now, and will put in a little bit lighter oil for the winter.

Just get the engine/oil temps up and for long enough to evaporate condensation.

I know some others that just change their oil once a year, period. I wouldn't do that, but they've got some miles on their bikes and their engines are not grenading.
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kacinpa
Male Advanced Member
802 Posts
[Mentor]


Lansdale, PA
USA

Triumph

Sprint GT

Posted - 11/08/2013 :  3:51 PM
I am another in the "Before and after" category.

I change the oil and filter sometime in September / October, and still ride though the winter, albeit at a greatly reduced rate. My bikes also both have State inspection due in the Autumn (Sept & Oct) so I do the changes as well as any other maintenance items just before getting the inspection done. Come March or April I will change the oil and filters again, even though there is likely 1,000 miles or less on the oil / filter. I just like to go into the "riding season" fresh, but I also don't like the idea of the oil from the past season, full of the various byproducts of combustion, sitting in the crankcase all winter.

Everything else, (Coolant, Brake Fluid, Fork Oil, Bearing lubes) I do according to the manufacturer recommendations in the MOM. My Sprint is due for the 12K service, so I will be doing all of that stuff over the next month or so.
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6886 Posts
[Mentor]


Pleasanton, CA
USA

KTM

990 Adv, XR650L

Posted - 11/08/2013 :  5:15 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Magnawing

As a bike sits over the winter, being warmed up occasionally, it may tend to develop condensation in the crankcase which could contaminate the oil.
Could you explain a bit more about being "warmed up occasionally"?

Would that be to take a short ride on a nice day?

I can't think of a single other good reason to start a bike in the winter and warm it up.
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gymnast
Moderator
4263 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 11/09/2013 :  9:56 AM
I winter prep the bike (wash and wax, add fuel stabilizer to a full tank, take a short ride to warm it up and dry it off, change oil and filter, lube the cables, remove the battery and put it on the battery tender, put furniture pad over the bike) and let it sleep in the garage for the winter. In the spring I check tire pressure add air, and it is ready to go. I never start it after winterizing until the start of the next riding season. Why waste good oil? Why leave the battery in the bike and invite corrosion?

In warm climates or where you ride year around regardless of temperature, none of the above applies.
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dhalen32
Male Moderator
841 Posts
[Mentor]


Omaha, NE
USA

BMW

R1200RT

Posted - 11/10/2013 :  9:08 AM
Ray:
I used to ride year round but now practice what Gymnast does. Once my machines are put to bed for the winter they hibernate the entire four months from mid November to mid March. Unless you ride it long and hard enough (wheels turning, tranmission shifting) to bring the entire machine up to operating temperature during the winter you are doing more harm than good. Running it in the garage to circulate the fluids really is worse than not running it at all.

If you truly ride it during those "good days" during the winter then practice the before and after method espoused by a few of the others above.
Dave
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rayg50
Male Moderator
2082 Posts
[Mentor]


NYC, NY
USA

Honda

Shadow Spirit 750DC

Posted - 11/10/2013 :  10:36 AM
quote:
Originally posted by dhalen32

Ray:
I used to ride year round but now practice what Gymnast does. Once my machines are put to bed for the winter they hibernate the entire four months from mid November to mid March. Unless you ride it long and hard enough (wheels turning, tranmission shifting) to bring the entire machine up to operating temperature during the winter you are doing more harm than good. Running it in the garage to circulate the fluids really is worse than not running it at all.

If you truly ride it during those "good days" during the winter then practice the before and after method espoused by a few of the others above.
Dave

As expected I've learned much from the posts in this thread and I will incorporate the before and after method into my maintenance. I had learned that warming up the bike without riding it is counter productive so I do not do that. If I won't ride it I do not start it up. I keep the battery on a tender during the winter. My short maintenance runs have me ride about 10 minutes out on the highway and then return by city streets and service roads where braking and shifting are more frequent. Total time probably about 30 minutes. Any temperature around or above 40F with clean roads and clear weather will find me doing a quick run. The only part of me that regrets it are my hands but I am working on that. I top off the tank after each ride and add Seafoam or Marvels Mystery oil as needed. I'd sit my bike for the winter months but to be honest the runs are as much for me as they are for the bike.

Ray


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Magnawing
Male Senior Member
281 Posts


The Woodlands, TX
USA

Honda

VF750C

Posted - 11/11/2013 :  11:18 AM Follow poster on Twitter
quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson

quote:
Originally posted by Magnawing

As a bike sits over the winter, being warmed up occasionally, it may tend to develop condensation in the crankcase which could contaminate the oil.
Could you explain a bit more about being "warmed up occasionally"?

Would that be to take a short ride on a nice day?

I can't think of a single other good reason to start a bike in the winter and warm it up.



I was talking about the practice that some folks have of starting the bike and letting it idle up to operating temp then shutting if off without actually riding it. It was a habit I got into as a learned behavior from older relatives who rode...and one that I have since abandoned. If I'm not actually riding, I'm not starting either bike...I have my batteries on solar powered tenders and I put Seafoam in the fuel tanks and they sit until the weather is cooperative enough for me to drag my arthritic bones out to ride.
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capozzir
Senior Member
303 Posts


Leesburg, VA
USA

Honda

GL1800B

Posted - 11/13/2013 :  7:37 AM
On my CB-1, if I didn't run that bike at least once a month, the carbs would clog up. Sometimes taking it out for a ride wasn't possible due to weather. So (because I was a bit lazy and didn't drain the bowls) I would start the bike up and run it for a little on the center stand. Maybe not a "good reason" but a necessary evil because I didn't drain out the bowls. The best approach of course was to drain the fuel out of the carbs. Oh how I love fuel injection.

I've since placed that bike in a "stored" state. Fuel has been completely emptied from the tank and carbs, cylinders oiled, and battery removed. No need to start it now.

quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson

quote:
Originally posted by Magnawing

As a bike sits over the winter, being warmed up occasionally, it may tend to develop condensation in the crankcase which could contaminate the oil.
Could you explain a bit more about being "warmed up occasionally"?

Would that be to take a short ride on a nice day?

I can't think of a single other good reason to start a bike in the winter and warm it up.

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Magnawing
Male Senior Member
281 Posts


The Woodlands, TX
USA

Honda

VF750C

Posted - 11/14/2013 :  9:58 AM Follow poster on Twitter
Hopefully, if it's a steel tank, you also coated the inside of the tank with a thin layer of oil...otherwise, you risk the inside of the tank rusting.

In the past, I've poured about 3-4 oz of light oil (fork oil works great) into the tank and rotated it all around to fully coat the inside surfaces prior to storage. The first time I stored one during a 6 month military deployment, I just drained the tank and carbs then locked it in the garage. I came home to nice clean carbs and a slightly rusted (internally) tank. That required removing the tank, filling it with white vinegar and letting it sit for 3 days then draining, rinsing, drying, reinstalling, and filling with fuel before I could ride again.
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greywolf
Male Moderator
1492 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Peer Review: 1

Posted - 11/14/2013 :  11:55 AM
For storage up to about a year, filling the tank with fuel and a fuel stabilizer does the trick.

For longer periods, getting all the fuel out of the system and oil fogging the tank works best. Emptying the fuel lines as well as carbs or rails on FI engines is also needed. I would place the tank in an air tight bag too if it was in a place with wide temperature and humidity variations like an unheated garage.

A battery tender/maintainer hookup is also a good idea unless replacement is chosen after years of storage. Years long storage can also involve filling the engine with oil all the way up to the oil filler cap. Put a note over the ignition switch if doing that as a reminder not to try starting the bike in that condition.
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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2263 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 11/15/2013 :  2:34 AM
quote:
Originally posted by capozzir

Sometimes taking it out for a ride wasn't possible due to weather. So (because I was a bit lazy and didn't drain the bowls) I would start the bike up and run it for a little on the center stand. Maybe not a "good reason" but a necessary evil because I didn't drain out the bowls.



This is my thinking on occasion if I don't have a ride planned, time to ride, the roads are icy and snow covered or I just feel like getting the fuel and oil migrating. It does little for boosting the battery though so I use the maintainer a few weeks throughout of the winter season.

Other times when temps are inviting like say anything in the winter season above 25 for the overnight low, I do what rkfire has outlined;


quote:
Originally posted by rkfire

I ride pretty much all year long, but maybe shorter rides in the winter. I change my oil when the milage calls for it. I'm due now, and will put in a little bit lighter oil for the winter.

Just get the engine/oil temps up and for long enough to evaporate condensation.


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greywolf
Male Moderator
1492 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Peer Review: 1

Posted - 11/15/2013 :  7:35 AM
When riding through the winter in snow country, use a fuel stabilizer all winter and top off the tank after each ride. You never know when conditions may be bad enough to keep you off the road for over a month. Only ride if you are going to be out for at least 20-30 minutes. It takes that long to get burn off acidic water that is a byproduct of combustion.
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rkfire
Advanced Member
1689 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Peer Review: Blocked

Posted - 11/15/2013 :  8:47 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
After Sandy passed about a year ago, I filled the tank of my generator with fresh gas and added a double dose of standard Stabil. That's supposed to be good for 2 years.

Needing a little gas for a chain saw, I borrow some from the generator tank. The chain saw ran lousy, wouldn't stay running. Got some fresh gas and that did the trick. Smelling the stabilzed gas and it smelled stale.

Since I want the generator to be ready, I filled with fresh and added a dose of the Blue Stabil (made for alcohol blends). Hoping for better luck with that stuff. I had both kinds, and have been using the blue Stabil for the bike now and then, but not so much for storage.

I am a little leary of the stuff now. We'll see.
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greywolf
Male Moderator
1492 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 11/15/2013 :  1:06 PM
My own experience is the blue marine grade Sta-Bil with ethanol treatment does work better than the usual red stuff for E10 fuel. An important component of getting things to keep working is to get the treated fuel all the way to the combustion chamber in proper strength.

Last winter, I added the Sta-bil and rode home a little under one mile to put the bike away. On a decent day about a month and a half later, it was a bit reluctant to start. After putting it away again for two months, it started fine. I attribute that to getting the stabilized fuel all the way through the system on that winter ride. This year, I started adding the Sta-Bil early and I'll bet it will work better.
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rkfire
Advanced Member
1689 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Peer Review: Blocked

Posted - 11/15/2013 :  3:52 PM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Just to be clear, I put year old, stabilzed gas in a chainsaw that was running perfectly a few days prior. It kept stalling, then dumped that fuel for fresh gas, and it once again ran properly.
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greywolf
Male Moderator
1492 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 11/15/2013 :  8:36 PM
quote:
Originally posted by rkfire

Just to be clear, I put year old, stabilzed gas in a chainsaw that was running perfectly a few days prior. It kept stalling, then dumped that fuel for fresh gas, and it once again ran properly.

It was the red stuff in E10 though, was it not?
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rkfire
Advanced Member
1689 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Peer Review: Blocked

Posted - 11/15/2013 :  9:07 PM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Yes. Now trying the blue stuff.
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