Beat the winter blues
Winter for most of us brings thoughts of Christmas, the festive holiday and weather that is about as appealing as another Xmas jumper from the in-laws/granny. For us riders it also means appalling road conditions. Winter road salt is, at its best, a decent enough way to prevent chronic icy roads; at its worst it is hygroscopic and the resulting soggy, dirty mess sticks to anything and that includes our bikes.
Salt is corrosive and that’s why aluminium, steel and other alloys corrode. So while some of use can’t bear the thought of seeing our pride and joy being eaten by corrosion and instead garage them, spare a thought for those of us who ride our Harley-Davidsons through thick and thin of winter. But don’t think for an instant we will allow our bikes to weather. No, not at all. Keeping a hosepipe or bucket of water with mild detergent on standby after every ride is part and parcel of bike ownership, and in winter a good scrub down after every ride with salt on the road is a necessity.
With the bike washed down and dried, apply the wax or resin-loaded polish to every bit of paintwork. For the metalwork, polish it too with the same Harley product used in summer. As an extra barrier against winter’s worst, application of a corrosion inhibitor spray is worthwhile. Scottoiler not only makes a brilliant chain lubing system – which doesn’t help us Harley-Davidson owners with our brilliant belt drive systems – but it also produces a water-based inhibitor called FS 365 that is good. Remember though, not to polish, lube or spray anything onto braking systems like discs and calipers.
For anyone who beds down their bike for winter, the most important thing to do, after making sure it is warm and dry and covered to protect from damp, is to maintain the battery. This is particularly true of older bikes where the battery cell plates will have started to break down with age. Plus cold conditions also affect batteries. The biggest problem is with permanent ‘live’ accessories wired directly to the battery which causes it to run flat.
There is a simple way to avoid a flat or indeed a ruined battery because of the winter lay-off. Harley-Davidson lists in its Genuine Parts & Accessories catalogue a battery charger that comes with the correct leads to hook directly to the bike’s battery by the auxiliary charging lead already in place on the bike. There will be some bikes that will need access to the battery to connect the charger. The real beauty of the Harley charger unit is it only charges when it needs to by monitoring the battery charge level, and when charging automatically supplies the required current.
For all your Harley-Davidson needs, including chargers, cleaning and polishing products, lubricants etc, call in at your nearest authorised Harley-Davidson dealership.
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