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View Full Version : Another motorcycle question - wait - two questions



Perks
07-18-2008, 04:32 AM
How long can a motorcycle sit unused and still work? What sorts of problems arise out of this sort of storage?

ETA - the bike is outside, although in the shade and cover of trees. It's just been parked there as is.

Robert Toy
07-18-2008, 04:36 AM
With a disconnected the battery and tires off the ground, a long time.

If you want to put it long-term storage you also need to drain the fuel tank and for good measure remove the spark plugs and fill the cylinders with light grade motor oil.

Perks
07-18-2008, 04:39 AM
Adjusted the original post to reflect that the bike is not in proper storage - only parked behind some trees, as is.

Robert Toy
07-18-2008, 04:41 AM
Adjusted the original post to reflect that the bike is not in proper storage - only parked behind some trees, as is.
Is it yours, or are you thinking of driving off with someone's bike...:D

Perks
07-18-2008, 04:42 AM
Lol! It's for a story. It's a dead guy's bike and someone wants to make off with it.

Robert Toy
07-18-2008, 04:44 AM
Lol! It's for a story. It's a dead guy's bike and someone wants to make off with it.
Sure...;)

It depends on how long it has been sitting, the first thing that will go is the battery, the next are the tires.

Perks
07-18-2008, 04:59 AM
Sure...;)

It depends on how long it has been sittingRight. That's what I want to know. How long of an interval can I realistically depict it sitting and still working when someone fires her up?

Robert Toy
07-18-2008, 05:22 AM
Right. That's what I want to know. How long of an interval can I realistically depict it sitting and still working when someone fires her up?
A month, maybe a bit longer. Also depends on the weather, if it is cold the battery will not last as long sitting.

Perks
07-18-2008, 05:24 AM
Oh dear. Okay, well, back to the drawing board for that idea.

Thank you, sir!

Robert Toy
07-18-2008, 05:26 AM
Oh dear. Okay, well, back to the drawing board for that idea.

Thank you, sir!
No problem.

How about a bicycle?...:D

Perks
07-18-2008, 05:33 AM
Somehow I just don't see a badass like Gary Harris tooling around on a Schwinn. But thanks!

Robert Toy
07-18-2008, 05:39 AM
Okay, last offer

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l253/RT_2006/Chief_Vintage_Grainsm.jpg

Perks
07-18-2008, 05:41 AM
But that's a motorcycle. You confuse me. I'm going to have to kill you now.

Robert Toy
07-18-2008, 05:42 AM
But that's a motorcycle. You confuse me. I'm going to have to kill you now.
This one will last 6 months in the snow! :D

Perks
07-18-2008, 05:45 AM
Really? The bike in question could easily be a special model. In fact, it's sort of the point. Tell me more.

Jenifer
07-18-2008, 05:50 AM
Heh, ours seem to last three days before something goes wrong.

Robert Toy
07-18-2008, 05:54 AM
Really? The bike in question could easily be a special model. In fact, it's sort of the point. Tell me more.
Here is the link to the specs:

http://www.indianmotorcycle.com/TheMotorcycles1/ChiefVintage/ChiefVintageFeatures/tabid/159/Default.aspx

And expensive - An eccentric dead man could leave it for the badass to leap upon.

ETA: Time for me to hit the sack, it's 3:54 AM!

Later

WriteKnight
07-19-2008, 07:01 PM
As stated much will depend on the condition it was in BEFORE it was abandoned, and the weather it has been subjected to. Assume a 'perfect' condition bike, like new plugs and batts, fresh oil,new tires, - mild weather - (No snow, no 100+ heat). Really - it's the battery discharge you're dealing with. Maybe three months? Depending on type of bike - might could start it after six, with lots of kick starting - but beyond that would be sketchy.

Perks
07-19-2008, 07:03 PM
I had it as a very nice bike - so, this information is giving me ideas.

Thank you all.

Ziljon
07-19-2008, 07:11 PM
I had a motorcycle when I lived in Manhattan and I have one here in LA.

When I would put my bike up for the winter (under a tarp on the sidewalk on W.71 st) I could sometimes get it started in March, sometimes not.

My LA bike, a used CHP police bike (like Ponch) can easily go for over a month without starting or trickle charging.

You're safe having it last for only three weeks or even four months. All bikes and batteries are different.

And an old bike with a kick-start could go even longer, if the tank was full before it was set out.

MadScientistMatt
07-20-2008, 12:01 AM
How long can a motorcycle sit unused and still work? What sorts of problems arise out of this sort of storage?

ETA - the bike is outside, although in the shade and cover of trees. It's just been parked there as is.

Depending on the grade of gasoline and how old the bike is, I've seen carburetors get gummed up after a few months of sitting, too. Over a month is not necessarily unrealistic depending on the condition of the battery. A year, though, would definitely stretch my credulity. I have left a bike outside under a cover for about two months with no serious consequences.

David McAfee
07-22-2008, 09:05 PM
For the last three winters I have stored my 2005 Honda Shadow, without draining the fuel tank or the oil, in a tent outside. No trickle charger or anything of that nature. Now, it doesn't snow here much, but it does get cold, sometimes below zero.

Every Spring I go out, squeeze the clutch and push the start button and it has never once failed to start.

Keep in mind that winters here - that is, weather that is just too darn cold to ride - usually last from mid December to late February. So we are only realistically talking about two months, three at most. Still, never any trouble.

Tink
07-22-2008, 09:16 PM
Depending on type of bike - might could start it after six, with lots of kick starting - but beyond that would be sketchy.What time/dates is your story set in? Kick starts are not on the majority of newer model bikes because the compression in some of them has caused alot of injuries in the past...strong enough to break a man's/woman's leg.

My husb. has a motorcycle that sit for 5 yrs. in a unheated/no a.c. shed on a gravel floor. The battery, of course had to be replaced, the carbs. had to be cleaned, the tank had to be cleaned and lined because of rust that occurs after awhile in an unused bike (yes, rust can and does occur in gas tank, mostly from condensation from changing tempertures) and he also had to put a new starter on it after driving it for a few months. He also had to changed the sparkplug and flush out fuel lines... The tires are still just fine..No weather rot, but his was protected from the sun and rain.

MelancholyMan
07-24-2008, 08:32 AM
What kind of motorcycle, and where has it been sitting?

Generally there will be two types of failures, ignition and fuel.

Gasoline if left in a carburetor bowl will eventually separate and gum up the fuel system leaving you dead. This can happen in as little as six months in the right conditions. Happened to one I had when I was a kid.

Ignition is more problematic. An old bike will use points, which are always finicky. They don't stil well at all. Newer motorcyles use electonic ignition so it won't be as big a problem. And don't forget that many motorcycles don't need a battery. None of my dirt bikes use one. And even if a battery is dead, it may be possible to roll-start the bike.

Tell me what kind of bike it is and I can tell you how long it will probably be able to sit before it stops working.

-MM