Strictly has started and that means two things to look forward to – endless rounds of “but it’s a dance contest not a popularity contest” at work, and the slathering of our roads with a toxic brew of salt, molasses and grit that sticks to bikes like glitter to fake tan.
I could park Bishop Brennan up for the winter but I’ve just endured 2 days without a bike and it’s a safe bet that 6 months without riding would see me in an institution. Possibly prison.
So there’s only one way forward – it’s time to apply protection. For the past 5 years maintenance has been an existential battle, involving top end rebuilds, carb refurbs, exhaust decokes, caliper overhauls and welding. The idea of doing something planned in advance – the stitch in time that saves nine, if you like – is a rare novelty.
Like many aspects of biking, asking about the best means of protection from the horrors of winter reveals a community split on tribal lines. Are you Team ACF50, Team Scottoiler, or somewhere on the wilder shores of Cover it in Diesel and Wait Until Spring?
It could be argued that one of the advantages of riding a 2-stroke is that it generates its own oily shroud. But this winter I’m trying the new pocket-sized bottles of Scottoiler’s FS 365 bike protection spray.
FS 365 has been around for a while – in fact I should hang my head in shame and admit I’ve got a litre of it in the garage which I’m fairly certain I’ve moved through six house moves without ever getting any on a bike. It’s big and a bit awkward to use and life has been about lurching from emergency to emergency for too long.
The new bottles are a much more comfortable 250ml, designed with the aim of encouraging new users to pick one up and give it a go.
So on Monday I spent my brucie bonus day off giving the Bishop a bath (and yes, I did need to spell-check that carefully) and then covering him in the special brew of mineral oil, surfactant, anti-corrosion additives and water. The idea is that the water carries the spray across the surface of the bike and then evaporates, leaving a protective barrier between your bike and the winter.
First impressions? I like the colour. Teal is very on trend for 2019 and apparently stands for trustworthiness, reliability and spiritual advancement. The smaller bottle is really easy to use, especially when you’ve got a sidecar blocking access to one half of your bike. I found there was a fair bit of run-off – it’s possible I was spraying with a little too much enthusiasm – but as the product is water-based and biodegradable I didn’t feel too guilty about sluicing it off the drive into the gutter. And – another shallow one, I’m afraid – even after application, the bike still looked clean, and not like something that had just had a layer of oil spread over it.
The key areas of concern for me are the MZ’s spokes and rims. Stainless spokes aren’t recommended for sidecar outfits as they’re too brittle, so I need to be sure that rust is being kept at bay. So I’ll be keeping a close eye and reporting back.
- Scottoiler are giving away a FS 365 Complete Bike Protector 250ml Compact Spray with all Chain Oiler Kits and Scorpion Dual Injectors bought from their online shop between now and 9 October; or the spray bottle can be bought as a standalone item from bike shops and online. Normally it’s £3.99 but until 9 October there’s a 25 per cent discount on all FS products in the online store so it’s yours for a bargain £2.99!
* One of the best lines from The Big Bang Theory.