Winter is always a bit of a pain for riders. Motorcyclists are severely aware and affected by all the seasons. Riding a motorcycle in winter means that you can experience firsthand every single blow of chilly wind, as you are in the weather, so it affects us a lot more than any other commuter.
But there are steps we can all take so that we can prepare ourselves and our bikes for enjoyable riding in the cold season.
So without further ado, let’s jump into these tips for riding a motorcycle in the cold season.
Start From Yourself
People usually start getting ready for different seasons from the bike. That shouldn’t be the case. Start from winter-proofing yourself.
If you plan on making a trip by motorcycle in winter, think about your physical and mental state before you take any other actions.
Answer these questions before thinking about your bike (we know you won’t stop thinking about it, but try to put yourself first):
- Have you eaten enough & properly?
- Are you well-rested?
- Do you feel mentally ready for the more difficult cold weather conditions?
These are the things you should consider. Critically think about the current state of your body and mind. We all know that a slow, caffeine-deprived brain is no use to anyone. The destructive effects of chilly weather will hit your malnourished or tired body way before your operating peak.
Riding Motorcycle in Winter: The Bike Preparation
Once you feel like your body and mind are ready for the ride, it is time to prepare your bike.
Let’s jump right into it.
Battery Care Routine
Motorcycle batteries have a tough time in winter, especially when stored outside. The reduced temperature will negatively impact the reagents in the cell. In other words – the battery can struggle to hold its charge.
There are two ways to combat this.
The first one is a no-brainer, really – keep on riding your bike! A regular ride will keep your battery charged, just the way the manufacturer intended.
The other option is a trickle charger. This comparably cheap piece of equipment simply plugs into the wall and then the terminals on your battery and will monitor and maintain a healthy level charge for you. It means that you wouldn’t have to keep getting out of your way and remembering to ride your bike. Easy.
Chain Maintenance Routine
Looking after your bike chain is extremely important. You know, it is the part of your bike that makes it go. And makes it stop. The latter part is even more critical when it comes to motorcycle riding in winter.
Cold weather and winter roads have an extreme impact on the metals that corrode, and as you might assume, your bike chain is no exception. So, it would help if you focused on your chain maintenance routine once the temperature starts to drop.
As often as you can, check the tension of your bike chain. And regularly clean and lubricate your motorcycle chain.
If you want your chain and sprocket set to last for years, just be caring and diligent. And if you are going to slack off on the maintenance routine, you might find yourself with a broken chain at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. We might be exaggerating a bit, but let’s not forget the worst-case scenarios.
If you are a true motorhead, you must have seen this combination of letters and numbers flying around motorcycling forums and blogs.
ACF-50 is an excellent anti-corrosion/lubricant thin fluid film that penetrates deep into crevices for corrosion protection. Initially designed for use in the aerospace sector to support flight safety, ACF-50, now used on all sorts of vehicles.
Just one coat of this over a freshly cleaned bike and all dirt and grime will slide off super easily next time you come to wash it.
If you want to, that rock salt and road muck will stay off rust-prone areas of your bike – ACF-50 is the perfect solution.
We hope that you’re already doing pre-ride checks. But winter is the time to start taking them way more seriously.
Check everything very carefully – lights, brakes, chain, fluids, and tire pressure. Not only are the checks themselves more crucial in the months of winter, but the checks during the cold months are harder. Often it will be dark and cold, and you might be tempted to rush through your pre-ride checks. Please don’t do it.
Riding Motorcycle in Winter: Let’s Gear Up
Most of the riders use the same gear all year round – motorcycle jeans and so on. The only thing that changes are the layers that go underneath.
Okay, unless you are the kind of rider who likes to go into the extremes and ride in -10C. Otherwise, layering will do the job nicely for most of the riders.
The layers start to multiply when the weather cools down. A neck warmer, thermal undergarments, and an essential motorcycle balaclava will make a massive difference on a short-to-medium commute.
Your Feet Are Super Important When Riding Motorcycle in Winter
We all think about the fingers and make sure to get proper riding gloves. But the right gear for your feet is a must too. Start with a pair of motorcycle boots and look for some decent quality motorcycle socks to go with them.
Gear Up With Hi-Vis
Never forget the importance of staying visible. In winter, though, being seen becomes even more crucial. Be sure to consider shorter trips and coming back earlier in the evening when you plan your motorcycle trips. And don’t forget to clean your gear to stay as visible as possible properly.
You can always consider the option of adding extra lighting to your motorcycle. However, make sure you check local traffic laws before going out on public roads with the additional lights.
The bottom line
Evaluate yourself and your journeys before going on a ride. Riding a motorcycle in winter is all about limits. If you push your or your bike’s boundaries, you’re are not going to have a great time.
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