It’s a known fact that riding a motorcycle is usually an activity left for the warmer seasons, but if you’re really keen about it you might be able to do it in the winter time as well, that is if you’ve got the right vehicle for it and of course if you follow our tips and advice for a pleasant experience.
If you set off on a journey during the winter time unprepared, the result might be fatal. So make sure you consider your options carefully, and only go for it if you’re sure you’ve done all in your power to ensure your trip’s success. It’s worth mentioning that if you can avoid this, you should.
How to layer
The most crucial problem you’ll have to face is the freezing weather and the violent winds, which you’ll feel a lot worse than you might have if you were a mere pedestrian, because of all the exposure a motorcycle gives you.
You can avoid freezing to death during your journey by wearing the right gear and adding as many layers as possible, without burdening yourself too much and trying to move freely still and have quick reactions.
Wearing a full leg and sleeve is the right basis for starting to get dressed for a winter trip. Many motorcycle apparel companies offer various alternatives, you merely need to check their websites, and you’ll have a lot of options to choose from which are both efficient and comfortable, and most importantly still lightweight.
The base layers that you add should be able to wick away moisture because otherwise your sweat will turn cold in a matter of seconds and you’ll feel the impact of the low temperatures a lot worse than you would if your skin were dry.
For the middle layer, a zip-up fleece shirt should do the trick, but you should have a sweater on hand just in case you need some extra warmth. Once you’re done with that, you can start thinking about the outer layers, which should first of all be waterproof and allow air ventilation.
You also need a reliable pair of boots to offer you the right grip and also to keep your feet warm during the journey. For gearing up with the right equipment, you can try famous materials such as Gore-Tex, which is specially designed for cold weather conditions.
Make sure you don’t forget the accessories, which in some cases might be of utmost importance: gloves, a neck warmer and a tightly sealed helmet can save your life in some cases.
There’s also some technological advancement in this field, meaning you can get heated items to make sure the core is kept warm. However, there’s no certainty as to whether they will break down or not so it might be safer to stick to regular gear since that won’t let you down.
Preparing your vehicle
Once you’re done with your equipment, you need to start thinking about what the adjustments that you should make to your motorcycle are, so you optimize its features for this type of weather.
You need to be prepared because the look and design of your vehicle might shift completely, but the change is required to ensure the success of your trip. The basics that you need in order to face this weather include element protections.
The first things that you need to add are a windscreen because the velocity and the temperature of the air currents might affect your vision, and handguards, to make sure those same factors do not affect your fingers or your fast response.
You can experiment and add wind guards to protect your legs, but they’re in a more sensitive area of the vehicle, and if they’re not adequately attached, they might fall off during the ride.
Before you leave, check to see if your antifreeze is fresh and correctly mixed, because if it doesn’t work correctly your vehicle might break down and you’ll have to call a service complete with a motorcycle carrier to pick you up. Also, remember to check on your hoses and radiator.
How to heat your tires
Perhaps the first effect that the winter weather will have on your riding routine is that your tires will be instantly cold, which means decreased traction. Of course, they will heat up slightly while you’re on the road, but most of the times it might just not be enough.
One way you can help heat them faster and more efficiently would be accelerating and decelerating quickly. Another detail that you need to think about is whether you have the right tread on your tires.
For the winter, you need special tires that might cost a bit more, but our advice is to splurge if your budget allows it, because your safety is involved as well.
You need optimal traction given that it’s already decreased due to the temperature, so make sure you remember to check the tire pressure before hitting the road and eliminate all potential unpleasant surprises.
Other aspects to consider
When you’re riding during the winter, you need to keep an eye out for everything that’s unusual. For example, if there’s salt on the road, you better avoid it, because it significantly decreases your traction and you’ll have trouble maintaining control over your direction and your speed.
You have to avoid anything that remotely resembles an ice surface because you’ll be in danger of losing control of your vehicle and therefore, being involved in an accident if you do not.
Make sure you have high visibility, and you can inspect the road before you get to that area because this way you lower your risk of facing unexpected surfaces.
Also, avoid riding right behind a car, because you need a lot more room than they do to stop your bike, and this might be a quick way to get involved in an unnecessary collision. Make sure a towing service is available to you in case you need their help to get out of an accident and avoid being stuck in the cold.