Riding in Winters can be fun, but it can be dangerous as well if you don’t know how to ride in the snow and what changes your motorcycle needs. Riding in winters is very different from riding in other seasons, you need to be very careful and ready for any kind of problem, today we are going to share some of the best things that you need to keep in mind while riding a motorcycle in cold weather. Here are the 10 things to Keep in Mind while Motorcycling in the Winter:
- Prepare your Motorcycle for Winter Ride, change tires, oils, adjust suspensions, look after your battery and brake pads, grease all the joints, and protect all exposed metal surfaces.
- Practice Emergency Braking to know your braking distance.
- Learn How to ride on low traction surfaces, and on black ice.
- Stay Healthy and Fit, a minor cold or allergy can become a major issue in cold weather.
- Wear Proper Winter Riding Gear with extra layering inside.
- Use Aftermarket Products to keep yourself warm like Warm Grips and helmet breath deflector.
- Stay Visible to other riders and car drivers, use bright colors to stay visible, and install extra lights.
- Make sure riding in winter is lawful in your country before going to ride and keep a check on weather updates.
- Stay connected with a good local motorcycle tow and repair service.
- Go for a Short Ride first before going on a Long Ride.
There are some very basic things that you need to take care of before going on a ride in cold weather, but today we will tell you some other important things that you need to take care of.
These are the tips that you need to take care of, and if you do all these things right then you can enjoy your winter ride as well, otherwise, you can face some serious issues, and if we missed some points you can add that in the comment section for other fellow riders.
Prepare your Motorcycle for Winter Ride
For every ride, we need to prepare our motorcycles, but for winters, you need to take care of a lot of things, because cold can easily damage parts of motorcycles, and can cause serious harm. There are a lot of things that have to be in the right shape, and you need to add some extra things to your motorcycle to stay in perfect condition while riding.
- Change your Normal Tires: You need to replace your normal tires with winter or snow tires, or you can even use the all-weather tires, but first, you need to think about what kind of roads you are going to face while riding if there is a lot of snow then go with winter or snow tires. You can read this comparison article of Winter & Snow vs All-Season tires to know what to pick.
- Add Antifreeze to your Coolant: If your bike comes with liquid cooling then add fresh antifreeze to it, and make sure all the connections or hoses are in good shape, a busted radiator can cause serious damage to your bike and to the rider as well.
- Change Engine Oil: Old Engine oil can create issues while starting your engine in cold weather, so it is better to change your engine oil and prefer a fully synthetic oil, as it doesn’t become thick during winters, and you can easily start your engine.
- Check your Battery’s Health: Cold Weather can degrade your battery’s health very fast, so we suggest you to check whether your battery is in good health or not, and charge your battery before going on a ride. Low temperatures can slow the chemical reactions happening inside your battery, tight up all the connections and add grease to keep out the moisture that can create rust on the terminals.
- Check all the brake pads, and Protect Exposed Surfaces: We all know how important the brakes are, so check your brake pads and if they are under 40%, replace them with a new set, and if you haven’t changed your brake oil from a long time then change that as well, check all the joints and put grease on all the bolts to keep the water out, as salty water can damage them very fast.
Practice Emergency Braking
During winters, the braking distance of a motorcycle is increased due to low traction, and if your motorcycle doesn’t have ABS then you have to be more careful. During winters if you brake hard, then your bike can easily slip, so we recommend you to practice first, to know how much distance your motorcycle takes to stop on wet roads and in snow.
Learn How to Ride on Wet and Snow
You are going to face snow or wet roads during your ride, so it is better to practice first. And if you never ride on snow or wet surfaces then you need to learn that first. And if you have installed snow tires on your bike then it can be easy to maintain the balance of your motorcycle.
And if you have ABS on your bike then it will be great for you to stop more quickly and at a shorter distance, but if you don’t have ABS, then try to use both front and rear brake together but in a linear way, because if you press them hard, then you can slip and can harm yourself and can damage your motorcycle.
Stay Healthy and Fit
If you are not feeling well, or you have any kind of minor allergies, then we recommend you to stay at your home and don’t go for any kind of motorcycle ride, because in Cold Rides, a small allergy can go far, and your health can go worse. And if you never rode a bike during cold weather, then you don’t know these things, you will get tired fast and cold can decrease mental concentration.
Wear Proper Riding Gears
Riding gears are an important part of riding motorcycles, but winters needed a special type of riding gears, and there are special kinds of winter riding gears with thick layers of clothes and insulation layers to keep the body of the rider insulated.
And you have to wear extra layers to keep yourself warm and try to add some bright colors on your riding gears to stay more visible and keep a good distance from other fellow drivers and riders.
Use Aftermarket Products to keep yourself warm
There are a lot of products that you can use to keep yourself warm while riding during cold weather. You can buy fog-free face shields for your helmet, to prevent the fog build on the visor of the helmet.
You can also add handguards and warm grips to keep your hands warm. Make sure your riding gears are waterproof and don’t worry about the design, no one is going to see your riding gears when you will be stuck in the middle of nowhere. And wear clothes in layer formation, to keep yourself insulated.
Stay Visible to Other Drivers
During winters the visibility decreases to a wide extent, and you have to be aware of any kind of hazards, and you also have to stay visible to other riders as well, to keep yourself safe, and you can use bright reflectors on your bike and on your riding gears as well.
If you want to stay safe while riding on expressways or on normal roads then you have to stay visible to other drivers, I always think that other drivers can’t see me, and then I act according to it. Because there are many fools driving around who think motorcycle riders don’t have the right to use the roads.
So, I use bright riding gears and reflectors to stay visible, and during winters you have to be more visible to them because of the fog and mist, which can create low visibility issues. And you can even install extra rear lights to increase your motorcycle’s visibility.
Keep a Check on Weather and Make sure to follow all Rules
You don’t know when the weather is going to change, so it is better to keep an eye on it, and if something changes you can react according to it, and if the snowfall starts to increase, stop riding and find a safe place to hide.
And also make sure to check whether riding is lawful or not in your country. Because in some countries it is illegal to ride a motorcycle during winters.
Stay Connected to a Good Repair and Local Service
Yeah, I know you have done all the things that we have mentioned here, and now you think you are ready to go on a winter ride, but it is not true, you cannot expect everything will go with the plan, and if something goes wrong then you always have something in backup, and at that time a good repair and tow service will come handy, you can go to a nearby repair shop to repair your motorcycle or else can go to your house as well if something goes wrong.
Go for a Short Ride First
Before going on a long ride test your skills and your motorcycle on a short ride, so that you can test out all the things that you have changed in your motorcycle, and it will also help you to know about the roads and the weather. Cold weather can create a lot of issues but if you follow these tips, then you can enjoy your ride.
How do I keep my motorcycle warm in the winter?
Now, the one most important question that comes to the mind of every motorcycle rider is how do I keep my motorcycle warm in the winter? There are many things that you can do to store your motorcycle during winters. If you are not storing your motorcycle properly during winters then it can cause many problems to your motorcycle’s engine health and to the tire as well.
- Heated Motorcycle Cover
You can use heated motorcycle cover to cover your bike under an ideal temperature, that can help in preventing the freezing of coolants and other essential oils, there is only one company who is making this product and it is based in the UK, and you can find out the product from here, it costs you around 150 dollars, but it is worth spending.
- Use of Bright Lights Under Engine
I used this method to warm up my cars and trucks, but you can use it to warm up your motorcycle as well, all you need is a bright LED light and put in under your motorcycle’s engine and turn it on, after some time because of the heat coming out from the light, your engine will start getting warmed up. You can check out these two pairs of 60W outdoor LED lights that you can use.
- Small Electric Heater
You can also use a small electric heater to warm up your engine, this will be affordable as well, but you cannot use them regularly, just put it under the engine and start it and wait for 20-30 minutes so that it can heat up the metal engine block, and then you can start your motorcycle. Right now I am using this 1500W/750W heater, this is portable and affordable to carry.
- Overhead Heaters
This is the recommended method to keep a motorcycle warm during the winter season, these are not affordable as small electric heaters but you can use it for your winter season, and it will raise the temperature of the whole garage and then you can also work on your motorcycle if you have this.
This will help you to keep yourself and your motorcycle warm during the harsh winter season. I bought this Dr Infrared Heater, which is easy to hang and it can warm up a small garage in 10-15 minutes