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Is -15 degrees celsius too cold to be operating a 2 stroke KTM?

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The riding season is very short where I live (Saskatchewan, Canada).

I don't ride too long and too far from home, I usually just spend 2 hours outside on my KTM Freeride 250R 2 stroke having fun riding slow. I have drillable tire studs and want to go out and have some fun.

It can go below -15 degrees celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit).

But I don't want to take the bike out and wreck it because of the extreme cold.

Main concerns are coolant and gear oil weights and everything else really lol. What should I do to not wreck the bike? I won't be going WOT, probably 30% throttle at most.

 

My guess, I'd need to swap coolant out with something that doesn't freeze and possibly change gear oil to a lighter weight? :confused:

 

I searched the forums, and could not find the answer to my question.

 

Edited by freeride250r

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I've ridden in -10 degree Fahrenheit weather at times and quite a bit at the temp you mention too.  I had ice tires and would go out on the lakes and rivers around me besides having studded tires for trail rides.  Having 2 sets of wheels was great.

The correct coolant mix (50/50) works fine.

Like Monk already said jetting is the main concern.  

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Jetting depends on air density, which depends on temperature and a few other things. It will make more power in cold air with proper jetting. Normal 50/50 antifreeze is fine. Do not think that 100% antifreeze is better, its not. You need a water/antifreeze mix, unless you are using specialised stuff like EngineIce or Evans.


Let it warm up by starting it and riding it gently for the first few minutes. Do not just have it idle for 10 minuets, start it and move around. Don't know if the Freeride has a kick starter, my 300XCW will not start with the eStart below about 5°C. I have to kick start it until it warms up. After that the eStart works fine. Never tried riding at really serious temps, say -25°C.

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The main concern with this temperature is starting the bike as the first strokes will wear a lot of the piston and cylinder because the oil won't work at those temps. Probably the bike will start and you would let it warm slowly but you won't notice the damage until is too late. minimum oil would be a number starting with 5 so as example 5w30

Keep the bike inside as warm as possible before going outside. Crank several times with the switch off so the piston is well lubricated. Allow enough time before revving so the bike is on operation temp. Prevent high temp clash for example crossing a river if you've been running hard.

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Snowmobiles, with two stroke engines of all kinds have,  for decades, run in the cold with no problems. 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, William1 said:

You may have to cover the radiators as well, to hold in the heat. Use a contactless temp probe to check

I block ~1/3 of the rad on my FZ-09 in winter, in Tucson. She won't go over 140° if I don't. Never had a temp guage on my YZs or WR, so I left them open...

Now the IR thermometers are cheap, and I have one.

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3 hours ago, killabyte said:

The main concern with this temperature is starting the bike as the first strokes will wear a lot of the piston and cylinder because the oil won't work at those temps. Probably the bike will start and you would let it warm slowly but you won't notice the damage until is too late. minimum oil would be a number starting with 5 so as example 5w30

Keep the bike inside as warm as possible before going outside. Crank several times with the switch off so the piston is well lubricated. Allow enough time before revving so the bike is on operation temp. Prevent high temp clash for example crossing a river if you've been running hard.

2 stroke... KTMs and Huskys have a thermostat, which'll help warm her up quicker.

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21 minutes ago, RichBaker said:

2 stroke... KTMs and Huskys have a thermostat, which'll help warm her up quicker.

Unless it was removed.  I've seen that quite a few times.

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I think partial radiator obstruction would be the key to success here.  Maintaining a reasonable operating temp is important.

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A thermostat is just some sort of a sensor. removing it would allow to get to a higher temp point but not faster

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13 hours ago, freeride250r said:

The riding season is very short where I live (Saskatchewan, Canada).

I don't ride too long and too far from home, I usually just spend 2 hours outside on my KTM Freeride 250R 2 stroke having fun riding slow. I have drillable tire studs and want to go out and have some fun.

It can go below -15 degrees celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit).

But I don't want to take the bike out and wreck it because of the extreme cold.

Main concerns are coolant and gear oil weights and everything else really lol. What should I do to not wreck the bike? I won't be going WOT, probably 30% throttle at most.

 

My guess, I'd need to swap coolant out with something that doesn't freeze and possibly change gear oil to a lighter weight? :confused:

 

I searched the forums, and could not find the answer to my question.

 

My friend had a KTM Freeride 250 2T with e-start and no kick.  True story, this estart wouldn't work day one 70deg F brand new from the dealer after he had already paid.

He left it there and came back 2 days later having a new battery and on the charger a day. still wouldn't start,  the mechanic said he had just had it running right before my friend came to get it..  So the dealer kept it a few more days and put a new shoria, battery cables, and relay in it in it.  It started this time, but during the next 6 months of warm weather riding every weekend, it failed to start more than it started.  I can't count how many times I had to push him or get the tow rope and pull him to bump start it. 

My point is, that weak KTM starter and no kick-start backup is your biggest problem riding it in winter.  My buddie gave up and sold his. 

Edited by wielywilly-g
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52 minutes ago, killabyte said:

A thermostat is just some sort of a sensor. removing it would allow to get to a higher temp point but not faster

Removing the thermostat will cause the bike to warm up slow and not reach operating temperature in cold temps.  It's not a sensor, it's more of a thermal flow control valve that uses wax to control what temperature it starts to open and fully opens at.  The thermal expansion wax expands which causes it to over power the spring on it causing it to open.

1 hour ago, turbo dan said:

I think partial radiator obstruction would be the key to success here.  Maintaining a reasonable operating temp is important.

A thermostat is designed to maintain the correct operating temperature, there is no need to partially block off a radiator if the thermostat is functioning properly.   It's designed to maintain a consistent operating temp.

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1 hour ago, wielywilly-g said:

My friend had a KTM Freeride 250 2T with e-start and no kick.  True story, this estart wouldn't work day one 70deg F brand new from the dealer after he had already paid.

He left it there and came back 2 days later having a new battery and on the charger a day. still wouldn't start,  the mechanic said he had just had it running right before my friend came to get it..  So the dealer kept it a few more days and put a new shoria, battery cables, and relay in it in it.  It started this time, but during the next 6 months of warm weather riding every weekend, it failed to start more than it started.  I can't count how many times I had to push him or get the tow rope and pull him to bump start it. 

My point is, that weak KTM starter and no kick-start backup is your biggest problem riding it in winter.  My buddie gave up and sold his. 

KTM is obsessed with saving weight.  And that is the bottom line here.  2 or 3 more pounds and they could have kept the kickers or put a better e start on.

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No such thing as too cold for a 2 stroke.  Look at snowmobiles!!

Richen that carb a good amount, and run a hotter plug.  

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3 hours ago, MentalGuru said:

Removing the thermostat will cause the bike to warm up slow and not reach operating temperature in cold temps.  It's not a sensor, it's more of a thermal flow control valve that uses wax to control what temperature it starts to open and fully opens at.  The thermal expansion wax expands which causes it to over power the spring on it causing it to open.

A thermostat is designed to maintain the correct operating temperature, there is no need to partially block off a radiator if the thermostat is functioning properly.   It's designed to maintain a consistent operating temp.

My 14 Yamaha FZ09 has a thermostat, it runs 145°F all day long in Jan and Feb, unless I block 1/3 of the rad, then she happily runs 185°...

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35 minutes ago, RichBaker said:

My 14 Yamaha FZ09 has a thermostat, it runs 145°F all day long in Jan and Feb, unless I block 1/3 of the rad, then she happily runs 185°...

Sounds like it has a pretty sizeable bypass, sometimes this is an issue, it depends on the design.  It could also have a thermostat that needs to be replaced though.

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I've rode my 2 strokes in -15c a few times without issue. I do richen the jetting up, block one rad 1/2 off and cover up the side of the carb to keep the snow off of it. I run the same 10or15-40 oil as I do in the summer. I start them in the garage and ride em slowly to warm them up.

50/50 antifreeze that comes in the bike is the same as what's in your car, its good for about -40.

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