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Discussion Starter #1
Thought I would post this over here too as I have no idea which of the new boards is more frequented :)

18 Degrees Fahrenheit.

That's what the weather report said this morning before I left. Thought to myself, I picked a *GREAT* day to ride to work again.

You see, it had been a while since I had ridden, several weeks - just haven't had the time really. Which sucks. So yesterday afternoon I decided I would ride to work today so I checked the bike out, she started up no problem and I ran her for a while.

So now let me get to the real reason for the post - my bike's behavior in 18 degree F weather.

To put it mildly, it was terrible. First off, I had an absolute b!tch of a time getting her started. I thought I was going to kill the battery. Maybe I need to invest in a Yuasa dry cell? Then, once started, I waited several minutes trying to get her to warm up, but she wasn't really warming up very much.

Then riding, the performance was scary bad. Around 3-4k RPM the motor has what I would call a hiccup. If I went through that area slowly while accelerating it wouldn't have any problem but if I tried to give it gas in that region it would act weird, lose power basically. Doesn't do this when it's warm out mind you, just when it's cold. What does that mean?
 

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It means it's cold. To a bike 180 deg. F is just right. 14 means your lucky to get it started at all. Stop complaining. Bet you froze your butt off anyway.

FOG
 

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If I took a complaining tone in my original post, it was not my intent - I simply wanted to bounce the idea that the bike performed in a subpar manner off of people to see what they thought. :)

And actually no I didn't freeze my butt off, I am prepared for cold weather riding. Did it all last winter - I have just been more busy with other stuff this year to do it as much.
 

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Maybe you had Carburetor icing.

When air travels through a carb through a venturi it creates a low pressure area which the gasoline moves into (since it's under regular air pressure). Old pre-chemistry lessons concerning Charles's Law tells us that as a gas pressure decreases it's temperature also decreases.

As already cold air went into your cold carbs... and got colder then moisture in the air might reach the dew point temperature, or the carb throat itself reached that temp & moisture condenses, and can freeze, in the carb throat... making it smaller & smaller. It plays havoc with the fuel/air ratio & mixing as well as limiting how much air can pass at higher rpms.

Carburetor icing can be especially deadly in small planes, but most of them have some sort of heating added I think.

http://home.swipnet.se/~w-65189/AP_html/induction.htm or http://www.wsaa.net/icing.htm
 

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I give you 4.5/5.0 stars just for trying to ride in that temperature. The lowest I've been out is about 33-34 degrees, so I can't speak from experience about the bike behavior at 18 degrees. In the low 30s my bike ran fine...no hesitation, hiccups, etc. The temperature gauge never got up to where it would on a more moderate day, but I did not see any adverse affects on performance. Maybe I'll give it a try in the 20s this week to see if it still behaves OK. I'll let you know if I get any behavior like you mentioned. By the way, what weight oil are you using? That might have some effect on bike performance in cold weather...I'm using 10w-40.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I use Shell Rotella-T syn, I think it's 5w-40 or something.

Can a lean condition be exacerbated by cold? I think I remember reading that if you have a flat spot / bad running when cold that goes away as the bike warms up, then that's a lean condition? Maybe I just need to diddle with my carbs some more? Could I determine if it's lean by leaving the choke partially on in the super cold and see if there's still an issue?
 

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Yes it's lean, But you have to add "for the temp" the last thing you want to do it tune a cold engine. Use the choke. It won't hurt anything, just keep it set partilly on till the bike is fully warmed up.

FOG
 

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As a follow-up to my previous note, I got out this afternoon for a little(very little) spin at about 28 degrees. Although it was sluggish starting and coming to a smooth idle(took a couple minutes) the bike ran fine...still no hiccups or trouble with smooth acceleration, etc. Sounds like your oil is weight is OK...if you're correct about the 5w-40. My conclusion after today's ride: a little too cold for comfort. I was wearing windpants, quilted top under the cortech riding jacket, well insulated gloves, and a scarf around my neck plus my full face helmet. Everything was fine except: wind between the scarf and helmet made my neck cold, and in spite of the good gloves my fingers got cold. I'm sure I could keep beefing up my riding gear to deal with these type conditions, but seems like it's a lot more fun when the temps are about 10 degrees(or more) warmer. Good luck with your troubleshooting, and let me in on some of your cold weather riding secrets.
 

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i rode in this morning and it was 25 and i had no problems. i made sure it was good and warm b4 i hit the pavement. my fingers are the only items that get really cold. i wear cotton liners with my leather gloves. anybody have any better ideas for liners?
 

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maverick9611 said:
i rode in this morning and it was 25 and i had no problems. i made sure it was good and warm b4 i hit the pavement. my fingers are the only items that get really cold. i wear cotton liners with my leather gloves. anybody have any better ideas for liners?
Wool or polyester linings help keep warmth in even when damp.
Preheat the gloves over a floor vent.
Get wind blockers for the grips (look at some Buell bike ads) or make some vinyl covers that go over the grips to block the wind.
Make sure no cold air is getting up your sleeves.
Do some pushups, walk some flights of stairs to get the body warmed up before you go.
Are you eating a protein (vs sugary) breakfast?
 
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ninjamon said:
As a follow-up to my previous note, I got out this afternoon for a little(very little) spin at about 28 degrees. Although it was sluggish starting and coming to a smooth idle(took a couple minutes) the bike ran fine...still no hiccups or trouble with smooth acceleration, etc.
The only time I've had trouble is between 32-38 degrees. The bike won't idle, I figure because of iced carbs. As far as gloves, Alpinestar Drystars, keep the hands quite comfortable.

Rich
 

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maverick9611 said:
sci-fi, i eat pizza everyday for breakfast!!! :p
Okay! A good meat/veggie low-fat pizza is a great breakfast: complex carbs, protein, some fiber, a dose of antioxidants, fat content is under control (esp w/ white cheeses like motzarella). Add some milk &/or juice & you're set!

Hmmm... back on topic: maybe the engine is getting a crummy breakfast? Maybe if you could puree the pizza & mix it into the gasoline...

On another note... maybe the bad running bike got a bad load of gas from the filling station. As the station fuel tanks run low then air is pulled in, which has water vapor. That vapor condenses on the sides & runs into the gasoline. Gas with water in it can really screw up the way an engine runs.

Wait... did that already get discussed...
 
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I have limited extreme cold weather experience, manly because my chain went before the real cold hit this winter. I took the bike off the road when it was about negative 3 out around here - when it was at that temp, the bike idled a bit rough, and didn't really warm up for about half an hour of driving.
If I went from in-town to freeway driving, the temp guage would actually drop after I hit the high speeds on the highway. But, after 30+ minutes of riding, it seemed like it would smooth over completly.
 

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Those of you who ride in very cold temps(like the 20s and teens) please take a look at my thread in the engine section about cold weather riding/oil temperature. When I rode in the high 20s my temp gauge barely moved and the next day when I checked my oil it looked like it had condensation in it. I'd be interested in your experiences with getting the oil up to temperature.
 

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Riddle me this, Batman (-men? and -women? Oh, nevermind). If you guys are running so deep into these cold temperatures and having problems with the bike not warming up, would it help to cover the radiator with something to take away some of the cooling effect of the incoming air? I know the engine is still going to get some residual air around the sides and such, but if the radiator isn't trying to freeze the entire way maybe things could smooth out.
 

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Thats the only solution. altough they sell different thermostats(the thing that controls the flow of water when hot/cold) for cold weather. but im not even sure if your bikes come them installed in the first place. my 500 was warm quite quickly when I yesterday changed the oil and started it up for a moment. (+5C outside, for now. usually at this time of year its somewhere near -10. -15.. and lots of snow., I could go for a ride now if i wanted, its that clear weather :) )
 
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