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I have had a bunch of bikes in the past but my V-Starr 1100 is the 1st Air Cooled one. Last summer i did a trip from Ontario to the East coast in a heat wave on my Kawi Versys. Temps were in the upper 30's Cel but no problem for a liquid cooled bike.

Any advice for hot weather riding with these big Air-cooled V-Twins? I plan on doing an east coast trip again this July and chances are it will be hot.

Thanx in advance.
 

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I commuted daily in Houston Texas for years on my 1100. Temperature here is over 100 fahrenheit a whole lot. Never had an issue even sitting in an hour plus in stop and go traffic. Make sure and change oil as recommended, heat will break down oil if not maintained. The 1100 never had any issues with the heat, but the rider did sweat alot. 馃槄
 

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I commuted daily in Houston Texas for years on my 1100. Temperature here is over 100 fahrenheit a whole lot. Never had an issue even sitting in an hour plus in stop and go traffic. Make sure and change oil as recommended, heat will break down oil if not maintained. The 1100 never had any issues with the heat, but the rider did sweat alot. 馃槄
Thanx that's reassuring. Do you use synthetic oil or non?
 

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I'm a Mobile 1 user. Been using it for years on all my vehicles vehicles without issues. Everyone has their own take on oil, but it works for me well.
 

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something to keep in mind when you are stuck in traffic: air cooled engines without blowers get all their cooling from air flow over the fins

all the heat is created by the burning fuel, so... if you are going to be stopped for more than a couple minutes, turn the engine off - and it stops creating additional heat.

another thing to keep in mind, if you happen to get a steady 50mph tail wind, and you are riding at 50 to 60mph, there is very little air flowing over your engine (or you). The engine would be lightly loaded because of the tail wind... but if you get in an odd situation, like climbing up the continental divide for 5 miles, then it might overheat. Water cooled engines almost always have a fan on the radiator that kicks on if the coolant is getting too hot.

Air cooled VWs took care of this by putting a blower on the engine, on the back of the generator.
 

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something to keep in mind when you are stuck in traffic: air cooled engines without blowers get all their cooling from air flow over the fins

all the heat is created by the burning fuel, so... if you are going to be stopped for more than a couple minutes, turn the engine off - and it stops creating additional heat.



Note: A rider needs to always be able to quickly avoid being rear ended, and this is impossible with the engine off. Pull out of traffic to the side of the road if you think your bike is becoming overheated. If it is, it will misfire, and run noticable poorly. If it's running normal you are probably fine.



I own the air cooled 1100 VStar and the best advise I can give to anyone concerned about overheating is to assure them that if the bike is well maintained (e.g., low oil = hotter bike) the rider should be assured that the VStar engine can withstand most high-temperature conditions it might normally encounter, even with some stalled traffic. I've ridden air cooled bikes most of my life, even in extremely hot stop-n-go L.A. traffic with no overheating experiences (35 years riding almost daily).



Most of the bad reputation of air cooled bikes overheating have to do with the big Harley engines and the rear piston design that places the rear piston directly in back of the front piston. The V Star engine has the rear piston slightly angled so it catches some wind and isn't directly behind the front cylinder so it cools more effectively.
 

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Note: A rider needs to always be able to quickly avoid being rear ended, and this is impossible with the engine off.
I agree with your statement in general.

If you are in stop and go traffic and its all stop, with a line of cars in front of you and behind you, there is no way for a car to come up behind you at more than 3mph.

Im not disputing that an air cooled motorcycle will take the high temperatures, but it will degrade your oil if the engine is baking in the heat and creating more of its own with no cooling air flow across it.

One place where I experience this is going across the bridge to Canada thru customs. Each vehicle is stopped for at least a minute in front of you. Most of the bikes I see in that line shut their engine off and duck walk the bike up 20 feet everytime the line moves. Sometimes the line is on a slight downhill and you can coast up with the engine off.

I have to add I feel safe doing this because I know the engine will start up on one revolution of the crank with the starter. If I had a kick start bike, or it was hard to start, I would be more inclined to leave it running.

On the other side of this, one of the reasons MC riders use to rationalize lane splitting and filtering up at red lights, is the concern about air cooled MCs overheating if they are forced to sit idling in stop and go traffic. If that is not a real concern then there goes half their argument to allow lane splitting.
 

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On the other side of this, one of the reasons MC riders use to rationalize lane splitting and filtering up at red lights, is the concern about air cooled MCs overheating if they are forced to sit idling in stop and go traffic. If that is not a real concern then there goes half their argument to allow lane splitting.



You and anyone else is of course free to turn off your engines in traffic, but I was making the point that often riders need to carefully decide if the situation even warrants what may be overprecaution measures. Personally, I care more about my safety than I do about "degrading" my oil.



I wanted to address your point regarding lane splitting, especially as a rider who has split lanes legally here in California for some 3 decades and none of it was done to keep my engine cool. Studies on lane splitting have shown that riders that split lanes are less likely to be victims of being rear-ended.



Riders who split lanes to come up to the front of the 'pack' at a red light are reducing their risk of not only being rear-ended at the stop, but it also allows them to pull ahead of the pack of cars that are all a risk to the rider. The less you are surrounded by vehicles, the less you are at risk by them. The practice is safe as long as the rider isn't 'jumping' the green light or speeding to keep the 'pack' behind.



Another concern people rarely address in the debates on the topic is rider heat exhaustion. The first time I ever split lanes was in a situation where I was stuck in miles of bumper-to-bumper traffic during a horrifically hot summer in Los Angeles California. The heat was radiating off the pavement in waves and off my motorcycle engine, and I was sitting in it with full leathers and a full face helmit. Sweat was running down my head, back and chest and it was like some kind of torture to sit there inching along. Finally, I saw other riders riding past me as they split lanes and from that day forward I split lanes whenever it was safe to do so. Splitting lanes that day could have saved my life had I passed out from heat exhaustion right there in heavy traffic onto pavement you could fry an egg on.



Lane sharing is relatively safe if done in a safe manner. Southern California freeways are some of the worst congested in the world and I've split lanes through them safely for over 30 years (almost daily to & from work).



Of course there are going to be idiots who split lanes recklessly, just as there are always going to be riders who ride like fools. People in vehicles should be more tolerant of lane splitters if they realize they are reducing their traffic congestion and reducing their risk of being rear ended. Many California drivers are totally tolerant of lane splitters, often pulling over for them as they approach and getting a 'thank you' wave from the riders (I get this all the time).



At one point, our Highway Patrol even posted tips on safe lane splitting, but then they wimped out when there were complaints that this was encouraging riders to split lanes: (https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/about/lane_splitting)


Here is a link with studies on lane splitting showing the safety aspect:

Lane Splitting Resources & Links | Lane Splitting is Legal in California


I'm obviously an advocate for the freedom of riders to safely and legally share a lane, when doing so reduces rider risk, congestion and heat exhaustion.



https://www.karneylaw.com/Biker-Blog/ArticleID/95/Heat-Stress-Injuries-while-Riding
 

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On the other side of this, one of the reasons MC riders use to rationalize lane splitting and filtering up at red lights, is the concern about air cooled MCs overheating if they are forced to sit idling in stop and go traffic. If that is not a real concern then there goes half their argument to allow lane splitting.



You and anyone else is of course free to turn off your engines in traffic, but I was making the point that often riders need to carefully decide if the situation even warrants what may be overprecaution measures. Personally, I care more about my safety than I do about "degrading" my oil.



I wanted to address your point regarding lane splitting, especially as a rider who has split lanes legally here in California for some 3 decades and none of it was done to keep my engine cool. Studies on lane splitting have shown that riders that split lanes are less likely to be victims of being rear-ended.



Riders who split lanes to come up to the front of the 'pack' at a red light are reducing their risk of not only being rear-ended at the stop, but it also allows them to pull ahead of the pack of cars that are all a risk to the rider. The less you are surrounded by vehicles, the less you are at risk by them. The practice is safe as long as the rider isn't 'jumping' the green light or speeding to keep the 'pack' behind.



Another concern people rarely address in the debates on the topic is rider heat exhaustion. The first time I ever split lanes was in a situation where I was stuck in miles of bumper-to-bumper traffic during a horrifically hot summer in Los Angeles California. The heat was radiating off the pavement in waves and off my motorcycle engine, and I was sitting in it with full leathers and a full face helmit. Sweat was running down my head, back and chest and it was like some kind of torture to sit there inching along. Finally, I saw other riders riding past me as they split lanes and from that day forward I split lanes whenever it was safe to do so. Splitting lanes that day could have saved my life had I passed out from heat exhaustion right there in heavy traffic onto pavement you could fry an egg on.



Lane sharing is relatively safe if done in a safe manner. Southern California freeways are some of the worst congested in the world and I've split lanes through them safely for over 30 years (almost daily to & from work).



Of course there are going to be idiots who split lanes recklessly, just as there are always going to be riders who ride like fools. People in vehicles should be more tolerant of lane splitters if they realize they are reducing their traffic congestion and reducing their risk of being rear ended. Many California drivers are totally tolerant of lane splitters, often pulling over for them as they approach and getting a 'thank you' wave from the riders (I get this all the time).



At one point, our Highway Patrol even posted tips on safe lane splitting, but then they wimped out when there were complaints that this was encouraging riders to split lanes: (https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/about/lane_splitting)


Here is a link with studies on lane splitting showing the safety aspect:

Lane Splitting Resources & Links | Lane Splitting is Legal in California


I'm obviously an advocate for the freedom of riders to safely and legally share a lane, when doing so reduces rider risk, congestion and heat exhaustion.



https://www.karneylaw.com/Biker-Blog/ArticleID/95/Heat-Stress-Injuries-while-Riding
I spent 31yrs in San Diego lane splitting for decades. Most people out there are very nice to riders splitting, BUT it鈥檚 the crotch rockets zipping through stopped traffic at 45+ that ticks people off. Actually, if I remember the statute correctly... you can split lanes 5mph faster than traffic up to 35mph. If traffic is moving 35mph you can do 40mph but above that you鈥檙e required to merge back into traffic.
North Carolina has a Bill (finally) working its way through to allow lane splitting here.
I hope it passes.
 

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I have family in Raleigh. From my upstate NY perspective people in the Raleigh area drive really aggressively, esp in rush hour traffic. Serious accidents are common. I cannot see lane splitting being introduced suddenly without a lot of conflict.

Outside the cities many sections of the interstate highways are excellent. The southern part of Virginia and all of the Carolinas have notably better highways because they never have to deal with frost heave or salted ice creating pot holes. I cant imagine anyone needing to lane split outside the metro areas, unless the highway is blocked for a serious accident (and if it is blocked, there is no where to go when you filter up).
 

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I live on the outskirts of Raleigh. I cannot imagine lane splitting here.

Our drivers are from all over so none have the same driving styles. This is what contributes to the number of wrecks, IMHO. When I was in Paris (many years ago), cars were only inches apart, but they moved like birds in a flock so collisions were rare. I hardly even heard a horn. But almost all of those drivers grew up in that environment and their herding instincts were in sync.

Here, today, people are flocking to Raleigh from all over and believe me their herding instincts are quite different from each other. I also don't think the lanes are wide enough for a touring bike to squeeze between 2 cars side by side, not to mention trucks. Even sport bikes would be an interesting exercise the way cars wander around in (and out) of their lanes.
 

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I spent 31yrs in San Diego lane splitting for decades. Most people out there are very nice to riders splitting, BUT it鈥檚 the crotch rockets zipping through stopped traffic at 45+ that ticks people off. Actually, if I remember the statute correctly... you can split lanes 5mph faster than traffic up to 35mph. If traffic is moving 35mph you can do 40mph but above that you鈥檙e required to merge back into traffic.
North Carolina has a Bill (finally) working its way through to allow lane splitting here.
I hope it passes.
Chief, close with the remembering. The recommended speed over the moving traffic was 15 mph faster. I fully agree with the safety of lane splitting in Cal with limits of not too much faster and not splitting at higher speeds. Some crotch rockets will be doing 80 in-between cars doing 65, that's just nuts. I commuted many years up and down 880 in the East Bay without any issues from splitting lanes. And, it's nice that the MC's can go in the HOV lanes legally and for free where they charge with FasTrak.
 
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