Motorcycling "Off" Season - Pitfalls of extended layup

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desert_max

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Okay, okay. I got slightly roasted bringing this up before, one of the most common comments was "There is no off season!" But everybody, and I mean everybody eventually faces an extended period of non-operational motorcycle use either because of weather, health, an injury or perhaps a long vacation. And machines don't like it. We all know about treating the gas, draining the bowls, keeping the battery topped off, fresh oil, yada yada.

But there are other little gremlins potentially waiting to prick our arse if the machine sits idle for a while. I got pricked by one tonight. Monsoon storms are moving through the region... a very active monsoon this year by the way...and the air has cooled off this evening although extremely muggy.

So I headed out to the shop to fire up a few motorcycles and bring them up to temperature. As has become almost customary, the Hondas happily fire up and settle into an idle without complaint. The 86 Vmax complained. After sitting for a while, one needs to fill the float bowls on Mr Max. This usually requires two or three cycles of the ignition switch since the pump only runs a few seconds at a time before startup. Once or twice isn't usually enough to fill the bowls. Three is more typical if the bowls are essentially dry. Tonight, the pump never sounded like it was reaching prime. To me it sounded like fuel wasn't getting picked out of the tank. Could have been, since I'm on reserve. Then I smelled gas. Then I looked down and saw gas dripping into an 8 or 10-in puddle on the floor under the bike!

I'm not a big fan of sizable fuel leaks in the shop. Been bit by that before, and it is no joke and no fun. A quality fire extinguisher is never more than a few steps away from my work area. Anyway, this is one of the Gremlins I was talking about. Looks like one of my darn floats stuck down. Number three to be exact. A few sharp raps with a half inch extension and rocking the bike back and forth a few times appears to have cleared it up. Started the machine up, it fired instantly and settled into that wonderful lope that I've grown to love with the Vboost butterflies forced wide open. No more overflow.

My Valkyrie is prone to do that every now and then. And on that rascal, it could be one of six stuck floats. PIA.

What other Gremlins might we expect to see from time to time during the "off" season...?
 

02GF74

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Check tyre pressure, and you should, although hardly anyone bothers, rotate the wheels so they tyres aren't resting on the ground in the same place - supposedly stops flat spots.
 

D Larson

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Check tyre pressure, and you should, although hardly anyone bothers, rotate the wheels so they tyres aren't resting on the ground in the same place - supposedly stops flat spots.
I got a Pitbull last year so I have the rear wheel in the air. Need to break down and get the triple tree for the front.
 

Zeus36

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7 Months of snow counts as the off season here.
:mad::mad:
Ha, that is why I stayed in Ventura, California after my stint in the Navy. No off season. Could have gone back to being a Millwright at The Timken Company in Canton, but I was 25 with no debt and had a Harley Davidson Wide Glide with a different female passenger each week!
 

Julian Tomkins

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the worst 'off season' problem for my special bike as in don't take it out when the roads are wet or salty, is condensation, I'm glad that I have a garage to keep it in but it still gets condensation build up over winter time, and it plays havoc with polished aluminium
 

Woody

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the worst 'off season' problem for my special bike as in don't take it out when the roads are wet or salty, is condensation, I'm glad that I have a garage to keep it in but it still gets condensation build up over winter time, and it plays havoc with polished aluminium
Stop. Heating up your garage. When your garage is cold. And you go out and heat it up. You will get condensation.
 

Parminio

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When it starts to get cold I'll go down to the gas station with a bottle of fuel stabilizer. Pour a couple ounces in, fill up with gas, then ride around for a bit to make sure I get some of the stabilized gas to run through the system.

Then I'll park it in the garage, put it on the center stand, cover it and that's it.

When spring rolls around I'll take the cover off, plug in the battery tender to top off the battery, check the tire pressure and test the lighting to make sure all the signals are still working.
 

Aces High

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If your bike is in a heated garage during northern winter months, you don’t get flat spots on your tires. Actually, haven’t radial tires eliminated flat spots? Maybe if the bike hasn’t budged in a few years, then flat spots would be the least of your problems.
 

Parminio

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My garage is not heated. The Metzler's on my Vmax have been on there since 2010 and they've never flat spotted.

Granted, about as cold as it gets in the garage is in the high 20's to low 30's, but that's still pretty cold.
 

Fire-medic

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My garage is not heated. The Metzler's on my Vmax have been on there since 2010 and they've never flat spotted.

Granted, about as cold as it gets in the garage is in the high 20's to low 30's, but that's still pretty cold.
Geez, time for some new rim protectors! Those are well-past their 'use-by' date. It's probably a scary time, trying to carry any speed in a corner on those.

I threw an entire tread on my Dodge 3/4-ton pick-up running 10 year-old tires (quality 16.5" truck tires, bought new, 8-bolt wheels), rounding a curve and about to exit I-95 in Miami. Fortunately I wasn't in a hurry, but when the truck went BANG! from the parting-company of the tread band and the still-inflated corded carcass, as the escaping tread crushed the rear quarter-panel, and the rear-end lurched sideways what seemed like a foot or-more, I 'bout had to change the BVD's when I got home. I said some extra prayers for not being in an inverted truck, rolling-down the interstate embankment. The truck saw little use, I probably didn't run it > 3K miles/year; it was for hauling building supplies, trips to the dump, and hauling my bikes. The tires had plenty of tread, but they were old by the time that happened. I threw-on a set of Michelins, and within not too-long I bought a 8 ft bed GMC standard cab from a friend, who had bought it new, and was trading-it-in for a new, loaded club cab GMC pick-up.
 

Woody

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Geez, time for some new rim protectors! Those are well-past their 'use-by' date. It's probably a scary time, trying to carry any speed in a corner on those.

I threw an entire tread on my Dodge 3/4-ton pick-up running 10 year-old tires (quality 16.5" truck tires, bought new, 8-bolt wheels), rounding a curve and about to exit I-95 in Miami. Fortunately I wasn't in a hurry, but when the truck went BANG! from the parting-company of the tread band and the still-inflated corded carcass, as the escaping tread crushed the rear quarter-panel, and the rear-end lurched sideways what seemed like a foot or-more, I 'bout had to change the BVD's when I got home. I said some extra prayers for not being in an inverted truck, rolling-down the interstate embankment. The truck saw little use, I probably didn't run it > 3K miles/year; it was for hauling building supplies, trips to the dump, and hauling my bikes. The tires had plenty of tread, but they were old by the time that happened. I threw-on a set of Michelins, and within not too-long I bought a 8 ft bed GMC standard cab from a friend, who had bought it new, and was trading-it-in for a new, loaded club cab GMC pick-up.
It's a Dodge thing. LMAO
 

Parminio

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Geez, time for some new rim protectors! Those are well-past their 'use-by' date. It's probably a scary time, trying to carry any speed in a corner on those.
I'm on the fence about tires for it right now. I'm not sure if I'm going back with the Metzlers or not. A friend of mine has been really harping about the Michelins. Pilot III or something like that.

They (the tires) still look relatively new. I don't ride flat out like a used to anymore anyway, so they'll be OK 'till I figure out which tire I'm going with.

(Feel free to weigh in on that.)
 
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I'm on the fence about tires for it right now. I'm not sure if I'm going back with the Metzlers or not. A friend of mine has been really harping about the Michelins. Pilot III or something like that.

They (the tires) still look relatively new. I don't ride flat out like a used to anymore anyway, so they'll be OK 'till I figure out which tire I'm going with.

(Feel free to weigh in on that.)

When I bought my gen 2, it still had 12 year old tires on it. They gave me one hell of a death wobble. My opinion....2 wheels....ALWAYS good tires no exceptions. You lose one tire that looks good but has internally failed....you will have a bad day. A car....you can kinda cheat....not advisable though. Bikes....why risk it?
 

Julian Tomkins

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I've ridden with old tyres, as long as they aren't showing cracks or obvious hardness, I've never had a problem but I am not a racer type of rider, perhaps maybe a little bit of the 'change the tyres after a certain time period' is just the manufacturers wanting to sell more tyres
 

Fire-medic

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I've ridden with old tyres, as long as they aren't showing cracks or obvious hardness, I've never had a problem but I am not a racer type of rider, perhaps maybe a little bit of the 'change the tyres after a certain time period' is just the manufacturers wanting to sell more tyres
I suppose that 'manufacturers want to sell more tires' is one way to look at it. My contention is on a performance bike, where in the first place, you only have two points of contact with the road, and you're on a bike which can easily break-loose the rear tire (tyre, for our Cumbrian friends) you need all the help you can get. I don't have a durometer to assign a value to the hardness but my subjective perception of the deterioration in the handling, and that includes ease of cornering, or the lack of it, is enough to understand from a ride where poor handling happens, that it's time to restore the handling by ditching the tire(s). I normally get two rears use before replacing the front. My riding on the VMax is, "I see the red light" pretty-much every time I'm on the bike for any time duration. For me, it's an easy decision to get the better-handling restored. The tire manufacturers are welcome to my dosh.
 

Parminio

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I've ridden with old tyres, as long as they aren't showing cracks or obvious hardness, I've never had a problem but I am not a racer type of rider, perhaps maybe a little bit of the 'change the tyres after a certain time period' is just the manufacturers wanting to sell more tyres
It's based on the typical person whose car/bike is stored outdoors in harsh climates. They (the manufacturers) err on the side of caution by recommending the tires be changed every X amount of years or whatever. It's the same with changing your oil, really.

But when you consider my Vmax has never, ever spent a night outdoors and has never sat with full force on the tires for longer than a day or two, obviously that doesn't apply.

But I have seen some people out there pushing their luck with, as you say, dried out, cracked looking tires on their bikes.

I've always referred to them as 'may-pops'.
 

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