Grit and salt......

The Mechanic

So we now have to endure grit and salt thrown about at random, (usually its the councillors roads that get done first) in some sort of futile attempt to stop people sliding about on the frost and ice.

We KNOW its cold therefore we should EXPECT ice and act accordingly, great piles of grit and salt can be almost as slippery and just as dangerous as the ice itself to two wheeled transport.

Before people say I'm a fair weather rider I will tell that I have ridden in blizzards, some so bad that the only way to locate the road was to nudge the kerb with the front wheel, and no amount of grit and salt would have helped.

My point is that just because the gritters have been out it doesn't mean that we can carry on travelling at our normal road speeds a.k. Mr Car driver, so it is we get lulled into a false sense of security and forget to be extra careful - then we go down...hard.

In some other countries they don't put anything down to counter the ice, figuring that common sense should prevail and most vehicle drivers and riders will take the necessary precautions and slow right down or not travel on the roads. I know this is essential for most of us - me included - but I sometimes wonder at the sense of some road users when thay insist on maintaining as higher road speed as possible.

After my rant here's a tip (its also in the BMW hand book) do not wash off your machine with warm or hot water, this just activates the salt more. Use only COLD water to wash off the salt.
A much better idea, is rather than washing the salt off after each and every ride (which on a daily commute isn't feasible) is to smear grease accross all exposed non-painted surfaces before the winter salt bath starts.

I did my bike about two or three weeks ago - clean the bike throughly and smear grease around all exposed bolt threads, banjo connectors, hydraulic connectors etc. You don't need much, it's there to provide a layer of protection only.

I also smeared a 1mm layer of grease all over the lower fork tubes - and generally paid greater attention to unpainted aluminum and steel surfaces.

Now here is the key part - don't wash or clean the bike until March next year. - I'm serious.

Yes, your bike will look like a couriers after only a couple of weeks - but all that road grime and diesel exhaust powder coating your bike will protect it from the elements. And it does a damn fine job too.

I had an F650 which I did this with from new for 6 years commuting into London everyday all year and when I sold it to buy my GS, it had 60,000 miles on the clock and was still spotless.

You'll be surprised at how well the bike comes up when you do wash it in the spring - truly amazing.

Vaseline's even colouring to leach into paint or stain aluminium .....and WD40 is good too and easy to apply......
Even better is 'Waxoil' - you can now get it in spray cans (used to have to apply by brush) and will last the whole winter without drying out or flinging off.
Available from any car spares shop.

A dirty filthy looking liberal spraying of winta-wax for me!

Doused my Tiger in it last year... a bitch to get off, but well worth it!

Stand back, and spray the whole bike with waxoil/greese/chainlube or similar. What doesn't get burnt off, stays till march(ish). I just steam cleaned the bike yesterday, tank off and deathed all the electrics, squeeky clean now:D
Just to worry your further Vern, there is a maximum allowance for how much 'clay' is allowed in road salt, from memory I think it's 20%. I remember a time a few years ago when they salted several nights , there was no moisture, and the roads were slippy as f**k, as bad as ice, the clay built up !
With modern ice prediction it's much better.
The salt is still as s***e against the motors though
At airports they do something different ( or did), urea, yes, good old cow piss ! Makes for some great visualisation eh ?
And related, there's the old Alum works up here round the coast - as part of the process (dye) they barged up urea for the processes. They got it from the London pubs ! seriously (they don't do it anymore - it's resold in same pubs as lager now :beer: )
So anyway, I'll put me anorak back on, well it's cold you know....;)

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