Cold weather effects on bike - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 18 Old 03-24-2014, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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Cold weather effects on bike

Over past few days I have realized that since I took my bike out of storage units to start the season- I might as well ride it despite colder temps. Well today it hit 20F the coldest I have every ridden in, I know some of you rode in single digits, so I geared up like a Russian cosmonaut and rode off- nice warm inside I asked myself if besides obvious safety risks such as frozen water and cold tires are there any ill effects of riding bike in cold weather? Such as throttle body boot seals or other vital parts, perhaps. Anyways I got a thumb up from a guy in a car this morning or was he knocking his head :beatnik:. Few more days and we'll be reaching 40's again
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post #2 of 18 Old 03-24-2014, 08:40 AM
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Biggest risk I think is if you are riding in areas where there has been a lot of snow removal is the chance of traction changes with various chemicals and salt/sand being spread on the roadway in clumps.


This is my first winter riding cold (relatively speaking, down to the high 20s) and I have noticed no real changes to the bike.

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post #3 of 18 Old 03-24-2014, 08:52 AM
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I ride all year unless there is snow/ice. I have found that the cold really has little effect on the bike itself. Normally I just let the motor completely warm up to operating temp before I hit the road and keep in mind your tires are cold and will lack traction. Oil is important; check your owner’s manual for the proper viscosity for riding temps. Thick oil flows like mud in cold weather and most engine wear is at start up. The bike usually fairs a lot better than the rider. I have ridden down in single digits for extended periods and have grown fond of heated liners, gloves and my First gear thermo suit. In fact this morning I ended up over some black ice, pucker factor increased 10 fold for a few seconds.

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post #4 of 18 Old 03-24-2014, 08:56 AM
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cold air = free horsepower



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post #5 of 18 Old 03-24-2014, 09:34 AM
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cold air = free horsepower
It wasn't my imagination then. I did notice the bike being a little more peppy in the cold.
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post #6 of 18 Old 03-24-2014, 09:43 AM
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It wasn't my imagination then. I did notice the bike being a little more peppy in the cold.
the colder air is, the denser it is, more oxygen, and more fuel is mixed with it, so fuel economy suffers



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post #7 of 18 Old 03-24-2014, 09:44 AM
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It wasn't my imagination then. I did notice the bike being a little more peppy in the cold.
Thursday I went out and I was 40, the bike somehow reached 103 with the wind at my back... Not only does the bike get peppy, it gets a mind of it's own :-) I went out Friday and she got a little carried away too... It was 27 degrees and here in WY the wind always blows... So it was down right chilly...

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post #8 of 18 Old 03-24-2014, 10:15 AM
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The engine will be fine -- it's a modern liquid-cooled engine and won't fare any worse than your car's engine. The main thing in the winter with any engine is that short trips lead to moisture buildup in the oil.

You probably wouldn't want to use oil heavier than 10W-40 (I use Rotella 5W-40 year round.) There's a temperature/oil weight chart in the manual.

I've noticed that suspension action can get pretty harsh, especially below 20 degrees or so. Fork and shock oil doesn't take kindly to low temps.

You'll also want to watch what you use to lube cables -- for example, a guy I know lubed his clutch cable with chain lube, which pretty much wouldn't let the cable move below freezing. The usual cable lube I use is meant for use on all vehicles, including snowmobiles, so it works well at low temps.

I've also run into issues with freezing moisture in the cables, linkages, and pivots. If you ride through the rain and then it turns cold overnight, make sure your throttle and clutch levers operate smoothly and the brake and shifter pedals move and spring back correctly before you start the bike.

Probably goes without saying, but double-check tire pressures in the cold and/or after storage. Make sure your valve stem caps are in place so moisture and salt don't get into the tire valves.

Plastics get very brittle in the cold, so postpone anything requiring bodywork removal until you can get the bike warm.

And, of course, you run an increased risk of corrosion from leftover road salt.

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post #9 of 18 Old 03-24-2014, 10:34 AM
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the colder air is, the denser it is, more oxygen, and more fuel is mixed with it, so fuel economy suffers
Back in the 70s when I lived in New England and rode an air cooled bike and there were less deer, I used to love to ride at night just for that reason. I'd sometimes go for rides at midnight on the weekends and you could feel the engine loving the cooler air. It helped that my Yamaha had lighthouse beacon of a headlight.

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post #10 of 18 Old 03-24-2014, 10:42 AM
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Normally I just let the motor completely warm up to operating temp before I hit the road
Idling wastes fuel, pollutes the atmosphere, and makes the engine run cold for a longer time, increasing engine wear. If you can ride under 5000rpm for the first part of the trip, you're better off doing that. The engine warms up much faster. Once you get a temp bar or two, you can open it up more. You are also warming up the tires by taking it easy at first.

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