hillbilly transplant question about "COLD"

6 replies to this topic
  • WramblinWrex

Posted November 03, 2006 - 02:25 AM


i was born and raised in Georgia, but moved to Michigan 3 years ago. just getting back riding again (93 XR650L). i'm not use to or educated about how to handle real wintes yet. i'm finally getting the hang of snow removal (s-canned) the snow shovel for a sportsman 500 with a plow). is there a "too cold" temp for these bikes? what about riding in snow. i've seen pics of people doing it, but i'd rather talk about the spills before trying them out. i'd like tear the bike down as a winter project, but i cant seem to make myself stop riding. anyway thanks

  • InternalCombustion

Posted November 03, 2006 - 06:42 AM


I cannot speak for the 650L but if it were mine I'd run a synthetic oil, it will give you a much improved viscosity in cold temps. Its more expensive, yeah, but I think its worth it. I run Mobil 1 in all my bikes.

If you have a garage you are probably keeping your bike in there. The engine will probably cooperate in any temperatures your body is willing to endure. Main thing is do not rev it a lot until the engine warms up a bit.

For your bod, the time-honored trick for keeping out the cold is "layers". You can spend big bucks on trick gear or you can go cheap. I've done long rides (all day) at 30 degrees, wearing Walmart's Dickey brand (or other) winter coveralls. They are cheap and work pretty good with Levis and a pair of cheap non-cotton thermals. Yeah the coveralls make you look like a farmer but what the heck, you're riding! If you want up-scale catch a snowmobile suit on sale. And make sure you have a neck wrap, for sure.

As far as riding in the snow, good knobbies will work with just about anything but ice. Just have to keep the lean angles sane and go light with the brakes.

  • goblin127

Posted November 03, 2006 - 06:59 AM


Ride till winter really sets in then do the rebuild or watch football. If you don't mind falling down allot take the bike for a spin once in a while you will make up your own mind. As far as snow removal nothing beats a snow blower that throws snow far and wide. If your going to plow with the quad make sure you plow your area extra wide or you will have a very skinny drive way. Oh and quads suck for plowing heavy wet snow so don't trow the shovel away yet.

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  • cleonard

Posted November 03, 2006 - 09:55 AM


I can't advise you about Michigan type winter temperatures, because I'm in warm southern California. However, I do ride all winter and we do have winter here. It's in the mountains where you can visit it. I've had no issues starting the bike down to about 25 or so. Since I yanked out my choke plate last year due to it having a big crack, I've started the bike down to about 30. I was a bit harder to start without the choke at that temp, it just took a bit of special technique. I tip my bike over so the carb floods a bit. Since you have electric start and a choke that's not an issue for you.

I think that the bike likes the cold. Normally these air cooled bikes run hot. They run at a more normal temp when it's real cold. The air is denser when it is cold, so the jetting may need to be richer than for summer.

For me the cold temp limit is what I can take not the bike. I just don't have the proper clothing, gloves, etc. I guess handwarmers could help.

Oil viscosity is important. I would run anything with a high temp viscosity less than 40 in these air cooled bikes. The "W" rating is what is important for the cold. 20W down to 32, 15W down to 25. Since I don't think I'll be starting the bike below 25 ever, the Rotella 15W-40 is fine for me. If you want to try ridinf in the extreme cold get something that is 10W or better 5W. I'd run the Rotella 5W-40 "synthetic" if I was to try the real cold.

You will find that your bike can deal with some snow, but ice will land you on your rear. If you are feeling so inclined, there are some tires that come with spikes. Trelleberg's or something. I'm sure that they are outrageously expensive. You can also get studs that you screw into you knobs.

  • atkxr600

Posted November 04, 2006 - 05:35 AM


I was born and raised in Michigan, ice raced bikes years ago. Now when winter comes the bikes get put away and the snowmoblies come out.

One thing to keep in mind when riding in cold weather is your jetting. A motor that is correctly jetted at 60deg, will be lean at 30deg. The air is much dryer, and the motor will need more fuel.

If you are going to ride in the cold, keep an eye on the color of your spark plug and jet accordingly.

  • 650_shark

Posted November 04, 2006 - 06:18 AM


As far as riding in the snow, good knobbies will work with just about anything but ice.

This is key! If you have trailwings or wimpy 50/50 DS tires, you'll be picking your bike up off the ground alot. I bought my 650L in Feb '06, that night I took it out in my buddy's snowcovered backyard. Slipping and sliding, dumping all over the place. Meanwhile he was roosting it up on his KDX220 with full knobs.

  • WramblinWrex

Posted November 04, 2006 - 10:26 PM


my internet was down a few days, thanks for all of the advise. i never even thought about jetting. its got full knobbies right now, but i think i'll ride till it snows and break the quad out. the plow on the quad works good for the driveway so far. i did learn the old narrow driveway thing the hard way though. i've only had about 12" at one time though. the plow also helps keep the cops calm when i'm out and about right after a snow storm. "just doing the sidewalks for the old ladies sir, the 360's help clear the blade..."

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