Q: Am I mad to run a superbike through the winter?
A: It’s not as daft as you’d think
There’s a lot to be said for parking-up your 200bhp superbike when the summer packs its case and heads down under. Bikes like my ZX-10R love clean, dry roads and there aren’t many of those around right now.
The last time I rode a bike through the winter months was my thennew Suzuki GSX-R750J in 1988. It didn’t fare too well. The shiny bits furred-up like an old kettle and the first-generation Michelin A59/M59X radials were crashes waiting to happen whenever it rained.
Manufacturers usually ask for their long term test bikes back in the autumn, which is why I haven’t run one through the winter in my 14 years at MCN. But bless their little green socks, Kawasaki have let me hang on to my ZX-10R and it’s so much better to live with right now than I’d ever imagined.
My OCD takes a hammering with all the dirt and crud my Kawasaki collects on my daily commute, so I have to clean it every night. I’ve abandoned my summer chain cleaning routine of a daily wipe with GT85 and use chain lube instead. I hate the mess it makes, but it’s a necessary evil when your bike stays wet and cold most of the time.
It’s a testament to the ZX-10R’S build quality that it still comes up like new when I give it a proper clean at weekends.
Even at this time of the year we get treated to the odd mild and dry day. It’s times like these I get to enjoy the brain-melting power of a superbike on the way to work and arrive at the office with a silly grin.
But when it’s dank and horrible my ZX-10R, with its smooth power, traction control, ABS and Metzeler Roadtec 01 sports touring tyres is still a joy and above all a damn site safer than that old Slingshot of mine.
‘When it’s winter my ZX-10R, with its smooth power, traction control and ABS is still a joy’