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 www.lulu.com/ImprovingClassicMotorcycles
Ps, must just point out that Graham has no direct connection to the sales of Waxoyl.
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.
Posted by Gorgeous Biker Chick at 16:55