Motorcycle Season 2020

Well it was warm over the weekend - and by that I mean 10°C at it’s peak. I figured I would take the Ninja 250 for a spin, it’s always fun to tally season start in February before all the snow melts.

However my bike decided it didn’t want to go, as the battery (which has been kept on a smart charger) didn’t have the gusto to even get her cranking (and it’s a tiny engine, remember).

Plugging the charger back in to the bike tripped the save mode on my Optimate3 - which means the battery is likely sulfated. Running that overnight Saturday showed no appreciable improvement.

For fun, I decided to pull out the voltmeter and see the diagnosis:

Full charge* 13V
Power On 12.6V
Starter Pushed 7.6V
Release 11V
Starter Pushed 7.6V
Release 10.5V
*Per charger’s indication.

I guess my money will be going for a ride before I do!


NiMH battery?

Fortunately not - lead calcium / AGM cell.

I use an Odessey in the Pitts but most guys with experimental aerobatic planes have switched to motorcycle gel cells because they are lighter and produce more cranking amps than does mine. At 6 or 7 pounds, I don’t feel the need to go any lighter. But where we all agree is that big $ spent on a charger/maintainer saves $$ in battery life. I use a BatteryMinder ™ made for my specific battery and it cranks like the day I bought it 5 years ago even though I typically only fly 60 hours a year. (10 the last two :cry:)

That’s a cool off topic tie in - didn’t think about aviation battery systems much, but a similar requirement of extremely small and light.

My actually battery is one of these:

Listed at 6.6lbs, so right in the envelope.

Had to look then up, loved the “Copyright VDC Electronics” that’s a nice touch haha.

I’m not sure the age of my battery. I’m fairly certain I replaced it sometime after I got the bike in February of ‘17 (it’s used / 2009 model year). So the battery may be from ‘17 or ‘18 perhaps? The battery itself is stamped from ‘11 if I read the code right - but since these AGM’s aren’t factory activated, I can’t say how that may have affected it’s lifespan. The store I bought that from closed down (my only immediately local bike shop) and the new one I bought online.

How does that work with requirements to remain current / proficient? When I looked way back at a PPL in Canada, the list to maintain the license was quite long.

The obligatory snapchat video :crazy_face:

Not bad for a carb tuned for 25°C weather!


The Pitts is my day job. I fly about 1000 hours a year. Having said that, in the US there are no currency requirements except for 3 takeoffs/landings every 90 days in order to carry passengers. It’s not like pilots are launching rockets to Mars. It’s pretty easy stuff.

I’m in complete agreement with smokinhole. I also use a battery tender. Replaced my battery last year after ten years (09). It still worked but if it stalled after starting, it was cranking pretty hard (iffy) and my experience cranking with low voltage can cause immense grief. Burnt out starter etc.

carb tuned for 25°C weather
Likely fuel injected :sunglasses:

It’s carbs. Some non-north american ones got EFI, but we got the carbs with the larger throttle opening 32mm vs. 28mm throttle body on the EFI’s. Ninja 300s here got EFI when the 250 was phased out.

Buddy of mine had a 250 that was re-jetted to run a bit richer than stock (evened out with higher flow filter) and that thing could cold start without the choke even near freezing - it would also backfire blue flame in the summer. The catch was it didn’t idle great when it got really hot outside.

Mine needs full choke for a few minutes, then it has to be eased out as it warms until stable. In the summers here I can start without choke, and mine never complains in the summer.

He also had a 300 (EFI) for a summer which ran a bit smoother (gave the 250 to his wife) until they sold both when they began planning to have their son.

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Can also cause bad ignition at low revs where the generator can’t keep up the voltage. That in term causes some interesting throttle response.

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To me electric start and EFI is our version of sliced bread. :hugs: :bread:

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Fired up my GSX-R after she’s been laid up for the winter. Bit of worrying blue smoke…I’m gonna put it down to the cold and long lay up time. She’s never let me down yet so I imagine it’s just grumpy after the winter

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How did you winterize it?
Some people put fogging oil, or motor oil in the cylinder (remove spark plug) to prevent corrosion of the combustion chamber. Chance it’s just that burning off?

Fuel stabilizers?

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Good question Wes.
My thought after sitting just some bypass (4 stroke).
( how long did it last could you taste it)?
Next start did it start clean?
Sorry for thinking out loud not a mechanic.

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Little squirt of oil in the cylinder and drain the fuel. Its in a heated garage so no real need to go too crazy with it. I’m sure it will be fine after a run or two.

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Well said.

Thursday was warm enough for a circuit around the neighborhood. So scratch ~3.15km onto the board for this year! :grin:


We had a warm day, took the trip meter up to 20.6km.


Glad to see everyone is out and about on two wheels again!

Meanwhile I am about to clock 25 000km on my CB750 since a year ago :wink: Poor baby just got a fresh chain, was hoping to drive it through the salt season but the chain just got too much slack. Next up, new tires for this year.

I’ve had Michelin Road Pilots before and really like them, but this year I wore down Bridgestones. Very grippy but I don’t feel the difference that much compared to Michelin, though they wear down a tad quicker(more rubber down on the road).

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You guys are killing me with your riding thread. My last street bike, which had to go when the wife got a twinkle in her eye and said, “You think it’s time we had kids?” :unamused: