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Mud, not-so-glorious mud

Old bikes and old problems: crust and rust

Can't remember where I found these great photos, but they represent what might be an ideal for modern-day owners of old bikes (or at least those who read GKM): not babying them in heated garages.

I live in a rural area and now that the afternoons are darkening earlier and the roads are adopting that permanent damp sheen that heralds the onset of winter, conditions are suddenly ripe for creating the kind of mud-spattered glory you see above.

In England, we call fenders mudguards for good reason: there's no more tedious a job than cleaning the whole front of your motorcycle after a run in the country when the combination of muddy roads and an uncovered front wheel creates a dirty crust over every metal surface. And if you don't wash down your bike almost immediately, rust and salt-erosion happens fast here.

I ride my Panhead all year round so am planning to put my '52 back to stock-ish mode for this winter. I think it's a sign of creeping old age: I have always disliked cleaning my bikes and that has gradually  turned to hatred. Perhaps a fully-fendered Panhead will weather the impending muck a little more easily.

But whatever precaustions I take, country roads and a British winter mean I'm still likely to end up looking like the fellas in those photos...  and I'll be busy with that bucket of soapy water.

Oh, for year-round sunshine.

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