Moto-Tech-Geekery, with Love from Triumph - mostly.

I found this in a Twitter feed from Triumph - I say "Who needs a direction? I just need a bike and a clear sky to steer her by".
Ok, I promised some tech geekery. Then I found someone who did it better and faster in my e-mail. I was going to link to the article or the newsletter, but could find neither posted on their website. I also found a great mini write-up on their Facebook page which I will put at the end (some things I want to remember to try.) Hence the Triumph picture on top. The Detroit Dealership/showroom was just down the street from us (literally 2 minutes), until they moved to their current location which is now about 45 min away. I get their newsletters and often drool over others, in warmer locations, riding their iconic-cool Triumph motorbikes.

No I don't have a Triumph motorcycle currently, yes I have ridden a few including the Rocket 3 (the first year that it came out - I still have the t-shirt and was the first girl to take it out around here - all I can say is Vruuuooooom baby!)

So, let's talk a bit about winterizing and maintaining your bike (for us poor saps who can't ride year round).

The following article is from the "Triumph Detroit Newsletter" I received 11/13/14.  I did not write it and could find no way to link you to it.  I highly recommend that you register for the newsletter at their website - it is always worth a look.

So, I'm guessing, from the picture that Rob, the Tech, wrote this up and he did a great job! Pretty much everything my dad has always mentioned as I've grown up. I put the article as Rob wrote it in blue - I'll make any of my comments in the standard, boring black.  :D

Tech Talk: Winterizing your Motorcycle

 Rob, Tech at Plymouth (MI)

Not all of us have a heated enclosure at our disposal to ensure our motorcycle has the very best protection over the winter months. Although ideal, it's not the end of the world if you don't.  Following some simple guidelines will have your bike road-ready come springtime.

Give it a bath. Washing your bike will prevent things such as bugs or water spots from corroding paint.  After washing, completely dry the surface of moisture.  Afterwards, apply a light lubricant, such as WD-40, to exposed metal surfaces and add a coat of wax to the painted areas.

I do the wash and wax thing, but have never done the WD-40 on exposed metal thing.  I have noticed some pitting and yuck over time on my wheels and such, I think I'll do this before I wrap her up this year - she's not as young as she used to be (nearly 15 yrs old now). It would be worth the extra clean up in spring.

Changing the oil and filter beforehand is not an absolute must.  It is good practice in maintaining your bike, but we have to remember that these are not the bikes of old. Motorcycles that were produced with cast iron engines were more prone to rust gathering inside the motor.  Not as common today, but on defending the old ones, those same bikes would sit 30 years before being cranked over again and outrun and outlast many modern bikes.  So I'll leave this one as a toss up.  Changing at the beginning of the riding season will be suffice.  

This usually depends on how many miles we've put on them during the year.  If we've had a really big trip, the old gets changed after and before winter, if it was mild use, I do slack until spring.

Fuel prep is probably the most important. Having not enough fuel in the tank can result in surface rust very quickly.  Fill the tank and add Sta-Bil to the system to prevent water separation.  If the bike is carbureted, drain the floats.  Jets are smaller than the tip of a pen and will clog easily as fuel begins to varnish.  If fuel injection is the case, add the Sta-Bil and run the bike for 5 minutes to let the fuel additive reach the entire fuel system.

My Valkyrie is carbureted, but I've never "drained the floats". It's a Honda and the darn things just keep on running like champs even with less than perfect maintenance.  It's always been our habit to have a full fuel tank before we wrap them up to keep rust at bay.  However, I have noticed this year as my bike sat for the entire month of September, while I waited for my license tabs, that she didn't start quite as easy as usual and feels a little yucky as the pistons work.  I'm going to get some Sta-Bil and try it this year - she is getting older.  We also try to at least start up the engine and get it fully warmed up every month - even if we can't ride and have to put the battery in and then pull it again.  This helps keep things moving come spring also.

Check your coolant level if you have a water-cooled bike. Keep these topped off with a 50/50 mixture.  Never run straight water through the system - water will freeze and expand and chances are you'll end up with a cracked engine block and an empty wallet.

Lube the moving parts. There are only a few to keep in mind such as cables, foot pegs, drive chain, controls and any other pivot points.

I don't have a drive chain, I have a cam-shaft :D so no worry on that one.  And for the most part my cables have been nearly maintenance free (yes to better manufacturing techniques) - but age wears and if I can't get it done this year (it is looking doubtful with the weather), I will need to do it in spring - but almost 15 years of no fuss - yea, I can't complain.  The other thing is tightening. Anything you can check and tighten. I had my steering come a bit loose, in horrible rains, out of state, on a cross-country trip.  So, anything you can double-check and tighten, now or in spring - is also awesome!

Purchase a battery tender.  It will maintain the battery throughout the entire winter and ensure the battery stays charged without fear of overcharging.  I cannot stress enough how great these things are!
Amen, Brother Rob! Amen.

For tires, it's ideal to keep them elevated. But once again, it is not a must.  Preventing flat spots from sitting is the goal. Simply move the bike here and there to keep tires from remaining in the same spot.  Also, have a piece of carpet or plywood under them to help fight off moisture from the ground.  It's also recommended that you add extra air to the tires - you can't ride off in the spring with flats. 60 psi should do.
Cool!  We get bad ground moisture with all of the cold.  Something under the bike would be nice (being able to bring it into the living room to work on it over the long, cold, boring, very dark winter would be even cooler!).  They do get moved a bit. 60 psi would be too high for my tires, but his point is 100% true - we've noticed that we lose an average of 10-15 psi over the winter.

Finally, keep the bike covered.  Be sure to purchase a cover intended for motorcycle use to get the best results for protection.
Yes, bikes get cold too.  You don't want to scare them off by letting them see 4 feet of snow, so take precautions and wrap them up nicely.  They will thank you.

Spending an hour or two now will guarantee that in a few months, you'll be out on the road for the first snow-free, salt-free, "kind of" warm day!
Again - a big Amen and a hearty round of applause from Rob!  

Ok, the next bit of good stuff came from the Triumph Detroit Facebook Page (posted Nov 7, 2014):

Bike dirty? 

When in a pinch, RideApart swears by the following six household cleaners:

  • Pledge: Packed with corrosion inhibitors and protective dust film, Pledge “is probably the most versatile paint cleaner, polisher, chrome cleaner, dusting agent known to mankind.”
  • Simple Green: Non-toxic, biodegradable, and environmentally friendly, Simple Green can cut through road grime, chain grease, and bug guts, “yet safe enough to clean wind screen.”
  • Pine-Sol: Pine-Sol removes residue, grease, and wax buildup from bike engine parts, aluminum, and steel — while leaving that “fresh pine scent”.
  • Easy-Off: Designed to eliminate messes from the hottest places, Easy-Off effectively removes polish, grease, and microfiber cloth residue.
  • Brasso: Use Brasso to clean and polish your bike’s exhaust, chrome, and aluminum.
  • Wet Ones: These pre-moistened wipes can tackle stubborn bugs, road tar, bird deposits, and greasy hands during cleanup.

I know about Brasso and I am a Baby Butt wipes fan- for many reasons.... but the rest were new and worth knowing!  Thank-you nameless Triumph of Detroit posting person.... You are loved. 

What are some of your favourite tech-tips and hacks?  We all want to know.  Anything that makes miles of clean-up easier or riding funner - We Want to Know!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment, it will shoot me an e-mail and then I can "allow" it. This keeps spam down (the evil web sort - not the canned meat variety). Thanks.