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Thread: Extreme Cold Weather Riding

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  1. #1
    http://www.rd400racer.com rd400racer's Avatar
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    Extreme Cold Weather Riding

    I am challenging myself to ride year round. Gear isn't an issue..have that covered. I'm worried more about the bike. I rode in today (high 20's) and when I went out again about 4 hours later my battery had definetly lost some juice and it's fairly new. I have a Yuasa tender and where I work we have a warehouse that I can slip the bike into. Mainly this got me thinking....is there some kind of chart as to how much battery efficiancy you lose per hour as your bike sits outside in certain temps?

    I realize upper twenties isn't THAT cold. I'm thinking more about a couple months from now when we hit single digits or lower.

    Also, can you use a tender too much (such as plugging in every night)?
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  2. #2
    What, me worry? GILLY's Avatar
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    Didn't know it got that cold in KY!
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  3. #3
    Mars needs women! 35634's Avatar
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    Batteries do lose some efficiency in cold weather, but that should not be too much of a factor with a healthy battery. Oil gets thick, synthetic flows noticeably easier in cold which helps cranking. Pull in the clutch so it's not turning the transmission too. Don't push your luck below freezing, 2 wheelers are utterly worthless on ice. (guess which bike I've been riding this week)
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    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Watch out for frost on the roads in shady spots.
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  5. #5
    Bluenoser
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    Heat is more of a problem with batteries than cold. Change your oil to a viscosity level ( check your manual ) that is recommended for the temps you are riding in.

    If its below 32 F or 0 C and you are trying to start the bike with 20-50 weight oil, you are asking for problems.

    Seeing as the bike is stored inside, and if you had access to an electrical plug you could plug your battery tender in while the bike is sitting. With lighter oil & the battery on tender it certainly shouldn't have any trouble starting.
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    The best tip is to use 5W40 rotella syn. Change in the spring when nights are in the 40 to 15W50 or 20W50.

    There is no law that says you can not remove the filter and dump the oil, refill and reinstall as long as it does not have 6 to 8 K miles on it.

    Odyssey battery is the next thing. Wow it is strong.

    Rod

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    http://www.rd400racer.com rd400racer's Avatar
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    Good point about the oil. That never crossed my mind. I do have a fairly new Odyssey. And I'm keeping a good feel on tire grip. Black ice does give me the heebies.

    It actually gets pretty dang cold in Kentucky for a couple of months. Single digit and colder is not uncommon.
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    2001 Ducati Monster; 1996 R1100GS; 1985 RZ350; 1977 RD400

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    Didn't know it got that cold in KY!
    My pond is officially frozen over today but heading for 60's this weekend,thanks Al & El Nino! oh, & the sun?

  9. #9
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kantuckid View Post
    My pond is officially frozen over today but heading for 60's this weekend,thanks Al & El Nino! oh, & the sun?
    My ponds are frozen over and it's 23 degrees. We're getting ready to head out for a ride through the mountains since it's supposed to get in the high 50s today.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  10. #10
    Nickname: Droid
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    Comments above about the differences in tire surface temperature versus the air temp, are related to "emmisivity". Emmisivity is the amount of heat given off by different materials when exposed to ambient conditions like air temp and sunlight exposure, if I have that right.

    In the case of the tire temps I recorded that day versus the air temp: it was the last Saturday of November in Green Bay. The air was dry with on/off sunshine and air temps of 30 to 35 degrees F. At the time I pointed the infrared digital thermometer to the tire, and the concrete surface, the sun had recently hidden behind clouds. So the temps recorded were of the latent heat in the concrete and tire.

  11. #11
    Woodstock, CT
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    Cool Riding in cold weather

    about 40 years a go I was transferred from San Fran to New London and, thinking I would be stationed at Sub Base, rode there, departing January 9th. Figured taking the southern route across Arizona would be warm. Forgot about that little mountain range. 8 inches of snow going through Flagstaff. Spent the night in Winslow, the next night in Tucumcari. It was -5 in Tucumcari and had to warm up the spark plugs in a sandwich oven at the gas station to get the bike started. That was the coldest part of the trip east.
    3 months later I was transferred to San Diego and rode back, departing end of March. West to Chicago no trouble, windy and 30 degrees most of the way until I got to New Mexico. Called the Arizona State Police for a road check and they told me I had to have chains to be allowed on Rt. 40. I asked if having a chain on the back tire would be OK but they said they would lock me up if I tried that. I went south and took old U.S. Rt 60 across. When I stopped for gas the pumps were frozen. Diner across the street informed me that the repair guy would be there in the AM and asked why I was traveling in the winter. Told 'em I was in the Navy and had to report to a new boat in a few days. Their son was also in Navy but in the Med so they gave me his room for the night, fed me and got me gassed up next day. It had snowed overnight and I got back on the road at 15 degrees with another 6 inches of fresh powder. Followed a plow truck for about 30 minutes then passed him and rode on. When I stopped for coffee I must have looked pretty scary. People were grabbing their children and walking away from me. Down the Slat River canyon into Phoenix, where it was 80 degrees and I hit the car wash to rinse off the salt.

  12. #12
    Nickname: Droid
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    Be very cautious with cold tires! I found out the hard way. About two years ago I took a customer for a demo ride, him on a used K12LT and me on my 94 R1100RS. About 35 degrees out in late November, bike was sitting outside the shop all day on a cloudy dry Saturday. Took my usual demo ride route.

    About four miles from the shop (all straight, no turns) I banked into an easy right hander at a intersection in a rural area. I did it about 15mph slower than I usually do, and AWAAAY goes the front tire like it was on packed snow. I low-sided my bike! No damage to me, scuffs on my riding jacket and pants, scratches on the RH valve cover and saddlebag. Picked the bike up and rode it back to the shop.

    The turn was completely clean, and I studied it closely looking for clues. Back at the shop, about an hour later, I checked the front tire with an infared sensor, and it read 27 degrees though the air temp was 35. I rode the bike on the same route again. When I got to the turn I pulled over and checked again. 55 degrees on the center of the tire, 27 DEGREES OFF CENTER where the tire leaned over on the contact patch.

    So, on cold days, allow ten miles of riding to heat the tires before expecting near normal traction. Also, drop your tire pressures about five to ten psi. Coldest I have ridden, temps wise is 17 degrees in January, 1/2 hour ride to work at highway speeds.

  13. #13
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by ANDYVH View Post
    Be very cautious with cold tires! I found out the hard way. About two years ago I took a customer for a demo ride, him on a used K12LT and me on my 94 R1100RS. About 35 degrees out in late November, bike was sitting outside the shop all day on a cloudy dry Saturday. Took my usual demo ride route.

    About four miles from the shop (all straight, no turns) I banked into an easy right hander at a intersection in a rural area. I did it about 15mph slower than I usually do, and AWAAAY goes the front tire like it was on packed snow. I low-sided my bike! No damage to me, scuffs on my riding jacket and pants, scratches on the RH valve cover and saddlebag. Picked the bike up and rode it back to the shop.

    The turn was completely clean, and I studied it closely looking for clues. Back at the shop, about an hour later, I checked the front tire with an infared sensor, and it read 27 degrees though the air temp was 35. I rode the bike on the same route again. When I got to the turn I pulled over and checked again. 55 degrees on the center of the tire, 27 DEGREES OFF CENTER where the tire leaned over on the contact patch.

    So, on cold days, allow ten miles of riding to heat the tires before expecting near normal traction. Also, drop your tire pressures about five to ten psi. Coldest I have ridden, temps wise is 17 degrees in January, 1/2 hour ride to work at highway speeds.

    Something isn't making sense to me regarding your temperatures...if the air temperature was 35 F, it would be impossible for any part of the tire to only be 27 F. How can any part of a tire be colder than the ambient air temperature?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 141987 View Post
    Something isn't making sense to me regarding your temperatures...if the air temperature was 35 F, it would be impossible for any part of the tire to only be 27 F. How can any part of a tire be colder than the ambient air temperature?
    tire was colder from early morning ride-in temps, and never warmed up? yeah, tht happens.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish1100 View Post
    tire was colder from early morning ride-in temps, and never warmed up? yeah, tht happens.
    Except he says the bike was sitting outdoors all day. It's hard to imagine the stationary bike's tires' temp wouldn't stabilize in the course of the day. It would be nice to know what the pavement temperature was.

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