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Friday, 4 December 2009

Graham B's Top Tips, Part I.

Ok guys and girls, welcome to a very new new NEW and EXCLUSIVE feature on this here blog. You might have heard of Graham Blighe, author of two really handy books, Improving Classic Motorcycles and Magnetic Speedometer Repair, both of which I've reviewed for Old Bike Mart and found to be simple, well thought out and instructive guides to doing just what it says on the cover. Now, however, Graham has kindly agreed to contribute occasional articles to the blog, with useful hints and tips to keep your classic (or any other bike, we're not ageist, as long as it's a Triumph it's fine ;-) ) on the road. First up, his thoughts on looking after the shiny bits during winter. Take it away Graham, and thanks for your contribution.

Winter – brrrrr!

Cold, wet, salt on the roads.

What do you do? Hang up your leathers for the next four months and cocoon your pride and joy in the garage or shed? Or wrap up warm and brave the elements?

For me, there is no choice but to ride during the winter as even the cheapest car costs far more to run than I’m prepared to, or can afford to spend.

The biggest problem with corrosion during the winter is caused by the salt used on the roads. If you wash down your bike after every winter ride then that will help stop the onslaught. But you need to dry it off and then park it in a dry garage or shed.

We all know what happens if we take no action. Beautiful chrome turns to orange rust and alloy engine cases grow white dust and the surfaces are never the same again.
Do you have time for the washing and drying? Do you feel like it when it’s freezing outside and a warm up with a hot cup of your favourite beverage inside the house is calling?

The alternative is to coat all parts of the bike likely to corrode with some kind of protective coating so you don’t need to do the wash and dry after every ride.

I use Waxoyl and it means I don’t have to do any bike washing until the spring when
salted roads are past and the Waxoyl is due to come off. The downside is that it takes more effort to remove than a simple washing off of mud. Road dirt and mud will stick to it and so my bikes look ‘orrible a couple of rides after applying the Waxoyl – and they stay that way until spring.

However, the great benefit of using Waxoyl is that every part that is coated with it stays in pristine condition. The salt and rain just can’t get at it. It really does preserve all the chrome and alloy in perfect condition. Come spring I use a degreaser such as Gunk to remove it and underneath … it’s all perfect! Just needs a bit of polishing.

Don’t buy Waxoyl in an aerosol can but in liquid form. It is slippery so it’s important not to get it onto tyres, footrest rubbers and the like. Using a paintbrush you can control where it goes – an aerosol may get it where you don’t want it.

Make sure the Waxoyl is thoroughly stirred before use. It separates out if left standing and if you use the thin watery part that rises to the top you will get incomplete complete corrosion protection. The advice on the can is to warm it in a pan of water to 30C but I’ve never needed to do this – maybe a good idea though to bring it in to warm up in the house the day before you intend using it.

Decant a small amount (10cc ish) into painting pot – an empty and washed margarine container is ideal. Using a paint pot stops you contaminating the whole can if your brush wanders into any areas of the bike that have picked up stones and grit – you don’t want to be brushing grit around on expensive chrome. Put the lid back on the Waxoyl can or it will start to set.

Above - Decant a small amount into a painting pot.

As it’s name suggests, Waxoyl is an oily substance that sets like wax. When set, it will not wash off with water alone (you need degreaser to get it off) and thus it survives the rigours of winter. It smells strongly and can give you a headache if applied in a closed garage or shed so pick a dry day and paint it on outside.

Using a paintbrush (1/2” is ideal), coat all areas that require protection. Don’t overdo it and try to put on too thick a coat. If ever it looks like it might drip down a vertical surface then you have put on way too much. Just a thin coating is needed apart from on exhaust pipes where a thicker coat helps protect them against the extremes of
temperature. As a guide, you should use no more than about 70cc of Waxoyl to
coat a whole bike.

Above - Apply a thin and even coat to any parts that may corrode.

You may end up lying on the ground applying the Waxoyl upwards to areas such as the underside of silencers. Be really careful not to get it in your eyes (wear safety glasses if concerned). It’s unlikely to damage your eyesight but boy does it sting until you’ve washed it out.

Any areas of the bike that you touch while riding should not be treated – you’ll have to keep an eye on these and keep them dry and polished to avoid corrosion. For me the areas I don’t treat are all the rubber, plastic or painted parts (assuming the paint is unbroken) and most of the handlebars and rear carrier rack. Stainless steel does not need to be treated as it doesn’t corrode and just laughs in the face of winter!

You can treat galvanised spokes, chrome or alloy wheel rims and any chrome or alloy parts you don’t touch. The advice on the can is that rubber and plastic may be adversely affected by it so be very careful not to get it onto rubber or plastic parts –
and wash it off before it sets if you do. It smells like the sort of stuff that wouldn’t do my tyres any good so I shy away from coating the edges of chrome wheel rims to avoid getting it on the tyres. The edges of the rims never seem to go rusty anyway – perhaps because they are vertical and water runs off them or gets flung off them by centrifugal force.

Leave the Waxoyl overnight to set. When you next run the bike you will notice an unpleasant smell as the Waxoyl heats up but this goes away within 30 miles.

If you also follow the advice in Improving Classic Motorcycles regarding taping up control cables and levers you should be able to get through winter with the only seasonal maintenance required being the final drive chain.

For more advice on keeping your bike in tip-top shape, visit Graham's site at

Ps, must just point out that Graham has no direct connection to the sales of Waxoyl.


Mrs. B.C. said...

That is the most comprehensive, easy to understand set of instructions ever! Just about everything you might wonder about is answered. Even I understand. Now then, would it be any good on sheep hurdles to stop them rusting, and could you use it on trailer chassis etc? the possibilities seem endless, but probably aren't. Well done Graham.
Now then, you blogers, tell all your mates to get on here and see what's happening.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good stuff. I used to use bearing grease in the same way. No need for it down here in the cold, but not snowy south with unsalted roads.


kawa said...

Just waiting for my copies of Grahams books to arrive.


Anonymous said...

I would agree with you about the book Mrs BC,and I will get a copy, BUT FOR SHEEP HURDLES AND TRAILER CHASSIS USE OLD ENGINE OIL, ITS CHEAPER. Sorry I could not make it for my horse riding lessons this time, maybe next time home.
GBC,I think maybe a few guys in the U.S.A. are trying to post messages but they dont know how, can u post some instructions for them.
I will be at sea for Christmas and the New Year so Lang May Yer Lum Reek to you all, Vic.

john said...

Thats brilliant stuff .....
Ill be getting some of that as soon as Im home.
The XJR will be getting the treatment ...... always ride trhough the winter and its tragic the damage it does to the bike.

Thats a great addition to the blog BC, make sure you dont upset him ..... lololol keep it coming

Gorgeous Biker Chick said...

Glad you enjoyed Graham's first article, there will be more, perhaps even on a monthly basis, but I'll let you know more when I know more - he's a very busy chap ya know!

And the same to you Slick Vic...I'm waiting tiil you've gone and then I'm gonna post some of those pics you sent me, tee hee!

Kawa, the books will be a great addition to your library, let us know what you think o' them.

Tim, bearing grease sounds like it might be a slightly more messy process.

I gotta get me some Waxy stuff for Cubbie. Ooh, I see it's a Hammerite product...should be fine then...

U N said...

Great article. About 20 to 30 years ago I used to 'winterise' my bikes by painting them with Waxoyl in in late autumn then cleaning it off in the spring. It's also useful for sealing electrical connectors (spray aerosol Waxoyl into the back of multi pin connectors), and I once got a length of thin plastic pipe, sealed the end and punched a few holes in it. This was attached to an aerosol can and inserted into frame tubes to coat the inside face. (A more sophisticated 'official' method was used to rust protect the box section chassis of Citroen 2CVs).
You can use Waxoyl on any metal object (trailers, sheep hurdles (whatever they are?)), but I certainly WOULDN'T use old engine oil as this is believed to be cancergenic, and as it doesn't harden will just run off eventually.
As for the phrase 'only seasonal maintenance required being the final drive chain', why not just fit an 'O' or 'X' ring chain and a Scottoiler and avoid the hassle?


Anonymous said...

The amount of oil leaking out of the Cub you shouldn't need to treat it with Waxoil, ha ha

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments. Really pleased you liked it :o)

Actually, I did use grease to start with and it does protect very well. But it never sets so will get on your hands/clothes easily if you brush against it whereas Waxoyl takes more effort (if that makes sense?)

The garage where I get my MOTs done offers a waxoyling service to car owners. Having use of a pit, they can get under the car and spray it on and bingo, no more rust. But be warned, the last chap I saw doing the spraying was complaining that he thought the waxoyl was melting his brain - it is smelly stuff until it's set.

Mrs BC - sheep hurdles, trailers, anything that will rust can be protected. Leave areas of the hurdles that you touch to cart them around untreated. It won't do the sheep any good if they lick it off but I should think the smell would put them off doing that?

Graham B

Darrell said...

Good article, good directions. But I have to ask: Cold? Wet? Salt on roads? Hmmm...where oh where must you be riding. I did see an alligator on the road a couple weeks ago, and near the beaches we may see salt on the roads...

kawa said...

Darrel, if you don't want to be left out just take your bike down to the beach an ride through the water for half an hour every few days, then it'll look like some of our bikes, lol

Graham, got your books, just had a quick look and spotted a few interestng articals. Used Waxoyl on my BSA A7 years ago and seemed to work well through the winters.

All the best Vic an Happy Winter Solstice ;-)


Anonymous said...

Bearing grease is a messy way to go, yer right, but it did the job on my Commando. A mate with a Combat engined Commando did it every winter and had no problems at all :) This Waxoyl sounds to be better though.


Mrs. B.C. said...

Thanks for the tips about the hurdles, I can see it wouldn't be a good thing to eat, and you'd be amazed at what sheep eat if they can, or at least lick just to see!

Sounds like a good thing for everything else though.

Anonymous said...

Ta, Ta, All, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. C,U, NEXT YEAR.

Mrs. B.C. said...

And the same to you, Vic. Will you be back for the pool night? Anyway, have a safe trip.

Anonymous said...

UN - very good suggestion that about protecting electrical connections with waxoyl. And yes, if you can get it inside frame tubes or box section all the better - I like the way you did it.

I briefly looked into using O-ring chain and will do again next time I need a chain but the extra width might require a wider chainguard (not sure, will have to check). I have a Scottoiler on the Daytona and the 3TA has a tap off from the return line at the oil tank. But I still have to lube chains during the winter.

Have a safe trip Vic.

Graham B


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