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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live in NYC and it is starting to get really cold. I have the bike underneath a canopy, so it is safe from snow and rain, but the cold will get to it. I still like to ride when it isn't snowing, raining, or salty, even just for a little.

But since I don't want to let the bike sit too long idle and can't really ride it anytime I want, I was wondering if I could start the bike and have it idle for about 5 - 10 minutes every few days or so, maybe once a week. I usually put on the choke to start it, but then I let it out as soon as I can little by little. It'll still take about 3 - 5 minutes before I can let the choke out all the way without stalling the bike. But then the rest of the time I would just let it idle without the choke. Is there any problem in doing that? I've read some places that said this code overheat your bike because bikes were made to be air-aspirated, but it's so cold, I can't imagine the bike overheating even at a standstill right now.
 

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the "fun" guy
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The down side to starting the engine in the dead of winter (frigid cold like your winter weather) and not actually riding the bike is that it will not warm up to operating tempeature. What happens then is what warmth the pipes recieve from a short idle like that is after you shut the engine off. Condensation will occur inside the pipes....and probably freeze....and you set the pipes up for a premature deterioration/faliure/rust as well as invite moisture into other places.

You would do better to not start it but at least put the battery on a battery tender to keep it in a charged state. I remove my battery while doing that until the roads are nice enough to enjoy riding on again.

http://www.gadgetjq.com/winterprep.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm not as worried about the battery as I am about everything else. If you guys don't think it is a big deal (everything else that is, like the lubricants, and the oil, etc.) I have no problem just taking the battery out and tending it during the winter months.
 

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the "fun" guy
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I actually store my bike in our un-heated attached garage which the temps inside hover around 50 degrees so I do not have the same storage issues as you do.

I would not sit on the seat as it tends to become brittle with age being in sunlight and eventually will crack when in the cold and you sit on it.

Starting engines in frigid cold temps is hard on them as it will take the oil longer to circulate and begin to coat the internals.
 

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Let it Hibernate

Hi:
I live in NYC also. Put it to bed for the winter. Our sanitation department uses salt spreaders but at times I would swear that they just dump the salt out of the trucks instead of spreading it. sometimes the salt is deeper than the snow. Its not worth it. And the black Ice sneaks up on you real quick. I have a friend that has no garage. They sell a nice portable foldable type housing for bikes. Its like a small tent. Kawasaki has them on their site. bout $250. Otherwise, buy a tarp and a cheap quilt or bed spread. something warm. Wrap the bike in it. Put a piece of rug on the floor under the bike to cut down on moisture and cold. Then cover it all around, even underneath it, with one of those blue tarps you can buy in home depot or loews. You really cant enjoy riding up here in the winter between the weather and the traffic. Remember, people forget how to drive in the winter. Fog the engine before you put it away. Make sure you have the proper air pressure in the tires. If its too low, due to the cold, you could get flat spots in them from sitting. Let it sleep. You'll enjoy it even that much more when the thaw comes and you uncover it.
 

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Ditto what Knightrider said, especially the good idea of fogging the cylinders.

Running the engine for such a short spell at no load will not heat the oil sufficiently to drive off the volatiles from the gasoline dilution that comes from the initial cold start and warmup nor the condensation that occurs from the blow-by of the exhaust products in the crankcase. I would also do/check the following for the hibernation:

1. Make sure your coolant is good enough for the anticipated low temps...use one of the coolant measuring devices from the auto houses and extract some from your overflow tank

2. Remove the battery and bring it indoors and put it on a Battery Tender. Don't be tempted to use the automotive charger as this beast has too much current for the small battery when it nears full charge. If you leave the battery on the bike and forget about it, it could freeze the cells and damage them should the charge get too low.

3. Don't have the tires in contact with earth, at least have plastic under them.

4. Make sure the "tent" does not sweat inside as the outside temps rise and fall. The bike, when cool as the air warms will cause condensation on it and cause corrosion. The worst place this occurs is on the electrical connections which can bite you in the spring. Try to get some ventilation through the tent while keeping the rain/snow out.

5. Build a small lawn building ASAP, and put in some basic heat, even a light bulb under the engine(but not in contact with metal!). This structure will be far more protective than any cover and cause less condensation issues.
 

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Dead of Winter

Good Article T-Man. Ive seen some plastic outdoor tool sheds at sears that look like they would fit a bike and then some for about 2 or 3 hundred dollars and a 100watt light bulb works great.
 
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