Thursday, October 21, 2010

Preparing for Winter Riding – Part 2

In the previous post, I talked about getting my gear ready. The main task now is getting the Ural ready for the snow, salt, and cold.

This is my Ural in summer form. I like the naked look of it, but it doesn’t do much like this to help with the cold wind.

Ural before

One of the most important things to staying warm on a motorcycle in winter is to stay out of the wind. The lower leg fairings and large windshield do a great job of bending the wind around me. When installed, they leave a nice pocket of clean air. No buffeting, roaring, or negative pressure. It’s nice just listening to the sound of the engine.

ural wind protection

Before I mounted the main windshield, I needed to fix it. Earlier this year, St. Croix HD cracked it when they put it back on after “cleaning” the bike. They tightened the bolts too much and broke the plastic. The hairline crack has been growing and is now almost three inches long.

crack in windshield

I took the smallest drill bit I could find and put a tiny hole at the end of it to stop it from getting any longer. then I filled in the crack and hole with superglue on both sides. It isn’t the prettiest thing in the world, but it will be strong again.

crack in windshield repaired

The lower leg fairings installed:

leg fairing installed 

and the main fairing:

Ural with legs fairings and windshield

One thing I learned the hard way this year: make sure the windshield is installed squarely and evenly. If not, since it is attached to the handlebars, the wind will cause a pulling sensation on the bars. Not fun!

Ural with legs fairings and windshield

I decided not to install the the sidecar windshield this year for two reasons. The first is it’s extra drag/wind resistance and I get better mpg without it. The second, and more important reason, is the sidecar windshield pushes air at the side of the motorcycle and me. Without it, I am riding in a calm pocket of air, but with it, I get a continuous cold blast from the right. Not fun. When I have a passenger in the winter, I’ll put it on. Otherwise it’s better without it.

sidecar windshield goes here. sprayed it with ACF-50 first

The last step is to coat the bike in anti-corrosion spray. Last year, I used Boeshield T9. It worked pretty well, but formed into a waxy surface that wasn’t very nice to look at or remove. I wanted ACF-50, but couldn’t find it. I found some for this year. ACF-50 is what they use on seaplanes to keep them from rusting. Like the T9 it is safe for electrical connections and comes in an easy to use spray can. It isn’t cheap at $1 an oz either.

ACF-50 anti-corrosion spray

I covered the bike with it. It sure looks shiny! It also doesn’t really dry, so it will collect dust and gunk. It removes easily with warm soap and water, so that is a plus. It smells a lot like WD-40 and I wonder if they aren’t chemically related.

In my next Winter Riding post I’ll talk about my trip to Scrambler Cycle last week.


Related Posts:


  1. ACF-50 eh? I'll have to look into some...I tend to just spray wd-40 on all exposed parts before going out to play in the snow....worked for last winter's riding....

    good writeup


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  2. Dear Chris:

    We are getting closer to the kind of winter days in which I wish I owned a trike. I too got a crack in my windscreen. It is a "tinted" number from Parabellum, and I ordered a rerplacement in clear (which has been sitting in the garage for 2 years). All I have to do is put it on... And I am dragging my feet, as I now really like the tinted one.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  3. Dom: Thanks Dom. I think WD-40 would work similarly. I have even heard of people spraying their Urals with pam...

    Dear Jack: The tint looks good on your bike. Like the SKUNK guys say: two wheels are good, three wheels are gooder

  4. Chris,
    You say you sprayed the whole bike. Do you mean the whole bike--engine and everything? I don't run when it snows or is icey, but here they spray the roads with chemicals at the drop of a hat and I find myself riding in the crap.

    Thanks for the post.

  5. Keith: Yes, the whole bike except for the tires and the brakes/rotors. The engine/exhaust smoked a bit when they got warm the first time, but then everything was set.

    MN also uses tons of chemical on the road. We have a nasty salt+chem combination. The junk is mainly used on the interstates/us/state roads, so I avoid them in winter. county and city roads are more interesting anyways.