The winter weather is over. It is time to do a preliminary Spring Inventory.
I did not log the speedometer readings but my estimate is 3 000 – 4 000 km of riding during the winter.
I did not drop the bike, that is a big win.
Some minor problems were caused by the snow, salt on the roads and cold temperatures:
- The bike has rust in many places, the brake discs, side stand, center stand, front suspension tube clamps, rear brake lever, rear peg hangers etc.
- The ignition lock froze a few times and needed a heat blower to make it work.
- The gas tank cap lock froze many times and required a heat blower to open.
- The rear brakes stuck a couple of times and did not want to release.
- The side stand is now very hard to move, I have to take it off and clean and lubricate properly.
- The exhaust headers and front of the engine are covered in baked crust which is very hard to remove. Unfortunately it contains road salt, too, so let us see what I find when I manage to clean them properly.
- Front brakes have lost their bite, quite noticeably so, which means new brake pads as a minimum.
- The side stand switch failed to release once which meant the engine cut off as I put the bike in gear. I managed to release the switch by pumping the side stand back and forth many times.
- As the weather began going above zero, the gas tank seemed to collect condensation water since the bike started to sputter when opening the throttle. I added alcohol additive to the gas tank twice and that solved the sputtering problem.
- The tires with car spikes did not provide too much traction on thick ice, I needed my legs for balance several times. Rally or enduro spikes would probably have been safer, but they are illegal and I hear they are quite slippery on asphalt as they do not let the rubber touch the road properly. Next winter I will try lower tire pressures, maybe the low profile car spikes will then bite better.
On the plus side:
- I did not freeze at all, the Yoko Gore-Tex suit was warm enough for even -17 C temperatures. The only difference to summer wear was that I wore the inner lining jacket and a sweater and a scarf.
- The heated grips were great. I used them at settings 1 and 2 out of five possible positions. I tried the position 3 a couple of times but did not need it really.
- The skidoo (snowmobile) goggles did not fog even once, they provided super visibility in all weather conditions.
As to summer plans… I have ordered Heidenau K73 supermoto tires for the bike so I can use it on dirt roads, to do some backwoods exploring with my wife. The brake calipers will be rebuilt and new brake pads installed. An oil and filter change, of course. The mechanic will oil the clutch cable.
The Heidenau K73s look like this:
My apologies for the long pause in posting. I was away on a vacation trip, rented a Kawasaki Vulcan 800 there for a couple of days, not a bad bike for some holiday cruising. After the vacation the winter weather was practically gone already at home so riding was not so exotic anymore.
I will post pictures of the bike before and after washing in a few days. The bike looks terrible now, even though I have washed it often. The black paint on the cylinder cooling fins has started to flake. Aluminum parts have stains on them and I do not know if they will polish off eventually or not. The lesson is: do not ride a nice and expensive bike in the winter, buy a beater bike for that.