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Hi,
Since the main roads in the GTA are usually snow-free for much of the winter months, I was kinda thinking that I would continue to ride as much as I can through these months, and not actually put the bike into storage. Other than using a trickle battery charger, are there any other suggestions - cautions that I need to consider?
 

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I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has been doing winter riding for many years and especially how you deal with the accumulation of salt on the bike in those difficult to reach spots. Is it a significant problem? How do you effectively clean your bike in sub-zero weather? Or do you just accept rusting as the price to pay for winter riding?
 

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I ride all year round. The Vee is my commuter and, though I wash it as much as possible during the winter to get the salt off, I have accepted that the bike will suffer salt corrosion. I actually haven't seen much after one winter. At the rate I ride, the bike only has a serviceable life of 6 or 7 years anyway. I suppose that's one reason I bought a Strom - no chrome.

I hook the hose up to a hot water tap to wash it, but then I live in Vancouver and not Toronto, so that's probably a bit easier for me. You could also take it to a DIY carwash.

You can also spray a variety of protective products on the aluminum bits, but I've never bothered and I wouldn't know which ones to recommend.
 

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I don't have any real suggestions, but I did go out for an hour or so today. I did a litle loop north from My Albert, up to Sutton, along the lake to Keswick and back down. It was interesting riding around with snow all over the place (we got about 6 inches earlier this week.) You do have to watch out for snow or ice.. I had one little "oops" moment where a quick foot down saved the day. I also ventured off a main road onto a side road but that wasn't such a great idea as the road I took had many places where there was still snow on the road.

..Tom
 

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Storage???

I agree, I can't do it either. I was going to prep the bike for storage today(I removed the carbs and battery from my other bike) but after taking the strom out to warm up the oil and top up fuel, I had way too much fun! I figure if you do wash the bike if its covered in salt, and you take it out atleast twice a month you shouldn't need to worry about fuel line/injector problems or battery drain. As long as I dress right for the ride, I don't think I'll be hibernating the Strom this winter. Long live crazy Canadian riders!!!
 

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I haven't really stored my '05 since I picked her up new. I have pulled the battery when it is real cold for a couple days at a time. and that kinda thing but thats about it.

Not much to be seen on the corrosion front so far despite the salt it sees every winter and I am not one to wash the Strom often even in the winter.
 

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Salt is probably not terribly corrosive.

Howdy, y'all in the GTA.

I ride a lot in Toronto, but not in the months that are Brrrrr and Airy, thank you.

I have a 1984 Honda CM250 that was my daily ride, all year, in Toronto from 1985 through 1989. I rode it from Lawrence to Steeles and back just about every day, and I probably didn't wash it all winter. I recall chilly days when the cars were skidding worse than I was. Pedestrians were having a rough time, but I sloshed and slurped my way to work, and I was the only person in my department to reach work on time.

The bike is still with me, and has 40000 kilometers on it, and I ride it at least every week. I had to replace the exhaust system, for about US$250, because it rusted away in several spots. The rest of the bike is a tad rusty, but I could wash it thoroughly, brush the loose rust away, and make the frame look almost new with Tremclad paint.

If you ride your Strom through Toronto's winter, expect some alloy parts of the engine to show pitting, and make sure you put some grease on moving parts such as the gearshift linkage and the sidestand. Apart from minor pitting, your bike will probably not show any noticeable corrosion from the salt.

A suggestion: get a tin can and a magnet, and fashion some armour for your exposed oil filter if you have a 650. A fellow in New England had some debris pierce his oil filter! The loss of oil and the decrease in traction would not help you ride, especially in the winter!

I say GO FOR IT ... but of course I am saying it in Florida.
Keith
 

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rode yesterday into downtown toronto to play vid games with my nephew. when i looked out the window the bike was cover in 2 inches of snow. it was really wet and heavy and didn't stay on the roads and the roads had good traction all the way back to pickering. i had more trouble with fogging and clearing the rainy, slush off the visor. i plan on riding all winter as long as the roads get salted. great idea hooking up a hot water hose rinse though. i'll have to look into doing that, or at least a bucket of hot water after the ride.
mike
 

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If you have a normal, full face helmet take a look at "Foggy". It does a great job of preventing the faceshield from fogging. I also use it on my HJC flipup, although everyone says it doesn't work with a modular helmet. It does, but you have to adjust it every time you put it on so it is a bit of a pain to use.

I did the storage things and put it in my neighbour's garage yesterday. ;-(

It would only take a minute to get if we have a dry December...

..Tom




rode yesterday into downtown toronto to play vid games with my nephew. when i looked out the window the bike was cover in 2 inches of snow. it was really wet and heavy and didn't stay on the roads and the roads had good traction all the way back to pickering. i had more trouble with fogging and clearing the rainy, slush off the visor. i plan on riding all winter as long as the roads get salted. great idea hooking up a hot water hose rinse though. i'll have to look into doing that, or at least a bucket of hot water after the ride.
mike
 

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Winter

Years ago I rode in winter out of necessity. I couldn't afford a car so I rode a Jawa T/S 350 with a Velorex sidecar. There aren't too many places you can't go with a sidehack once you learn to ride one properly. Come spring the rig would look pretty grungy and need to be cleaned up really well and get some new wheel bearings. I plan on keeping the 'Strom but my next bike will be a Ural because I just love sidecar rigs. My ultimate bike dream ride is to ride one up the Continental Divide Trail from Mexico to Canada.
 

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Last year I put the bike away just after thanksgiving and we didn't see any bad weather until mid January. This year I held off on putting it away being hopefull there is still some rideable weather to come. I went out last week for a short ride. I dressed for the cold and the ride was better than I thought it would be. I figure that I ride my sled in -20 deg temps so whats the difference as long as your dressed for it and the roads are dry. They use sand around here instead of salt so I just have to pay attention to any sand build up at curves and intersections. Its nice to go for a ride even if its only for a half hour. In the dead of winnter I will remove the battery and put it back in just to run the engine a bit every few weeks. Before you know it spring will be here. :)
 

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If you run it, get it fully warmed up.

If you start your bike every couple of weeks, make sure you let the engine reach its normal operating temperature. I suggest you look for three dark blobs on the temperature guage.

Running an engine briefly causes unpleasant chemical compounds to form, diluting the oil and changing its pH (a measure of acidity or alkalinity). These compounds are brutal on some engine parts, but they are destroyed by high temperatures.

It might be better to let it stay cold. Not a lot happens in a cold engine, so perhaps you are just wasting gasoline by starting the engine when you don't need to.

If the bike needs some solace, read it some of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, then go inside and have some cocoa.

Rum goes well with cocoa, doesn't it? It sure goes well without cocoa!

Keith
 

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As Keith said, don't start it unless you are willing to get it up to full operating temperature. The best was to do that is go for a proper ride. Sitting there idling isn't very good for the bike in any event.

Do get a battery tender to help keep the battery topped up and slow down the inevitable sulphating process that occurs.

..Tom



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In the dead of winnter I will remove the battery and put it back in just to run the engine a bit every few weeks. Before you know it spring will be here. :)
 

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Ah, 1964, that was a fine year!

By the time winter officially starts in Ontario, many people are already sick of it. That certainly sums up my feelings toward cold weather, so I live in Florida.

But in 1964, Southern Ontario had a brief holiday from winter. The forecast for Boxing Day was partly cloudy, with a high of 60º Fahrenheit.

I cleaned the salt off my 1964 Honda Super Hawk, then oiled the chain and set out for points north of Toronto. The city pretty well ended at 401 then, and from most parts of Highway 7 you could see cows and crops.

I rode through lots of little villages that are populous towns now, and others that withered away and you cannot find on current maps. I rode for more than an hour without gloves, basking in the bright sunshine that briefly brought back summer. Snowdrifts were melting away and sending streams of water across the roads, so the noise of splashing through these rivulets brought back memories of springtime rides when water was everywhere.

Of course, fall returned as the sun got lower and hid in the haze near the horizon. Temperatures fell fast and far when the sun set, but the red sky was a pleasure to see as I headed home.

We got 12 inches of snow that night, and I had another sort of ride getting to work on King Street in the morning. Ugh!

Keith, the nostalgic old fart.
 
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