HOW TO GUIDES
HOW TO PREPARE FOR WINTER RIDING
A COMFORT AND SAFETY GUIDE
Those of you who saw our recent article, Winter Riding – For and Against, have probably got an idea of which side of the fence you sit, and whether that means sitting astride your bike, braving it through the season, or sitting comfortably on your couch, having put your bike to bed for the winter months.
If, like Andy, you're part of the former, 'for motorcycling in winter' camp, then take a look at our guide, which hopefully will provide some top tips on making the most of your winter riding - comfortably, safely and enjoyably:
Wemoto's Winter Riding Checklist
1. Prepare your bike
- Check that your tyres have plenty of tread, as you'll need them to grip well in wet weather
- Check that your lights are working and perhaps consider fitting additional lighting
- Spray your bike with ACF 50, or something similar, to provide a wax-like layer which protects the bike from salt and other elements
1a. Winter Bikes
Not so much a necessity, this one, but something to consider, perhaps. If your current bike is of the more expensive variety and you're worried about riding it during winter – you could buy a 'cheap winter hack'. Choose one that's a bit older, so that you're not worried about its condition - one that crashes well and is cheap to fix, if you were to drop it, for example. Consider fairings for your bike, to help protect you from the cold as you ride.
2. Get the right gear
Once your bike is prepared for winter riding, you might want to prepare yourself as well. Here's a few ideas of things that make winter riding safer and more comfortable for you:
2a. Stay warm with:
- Thermal base layers
- Headed Handlebar Grips
- Lever sleeves
- Handlebar Muffs
- Heated seat
- Heated gloves, insoles and clothing
- A balaclava or necktube
- A decent pair of boots
- Heat pads
Wemoto Tip: Line the inside of your jacket with newspaper for a cheap, yet effective, wind-proof layer.
2b. Stay dry with
- Waterproof gloves and clothing
- Texile protection spray
- A full face helmet (this is less likely to mist up, and will probably protect you from the weather too)
- Visor anti-fog spray
- Motorcycle rain cover (more likely to keep your bike dry than yourself, of course; unless you were to hide under it during a storm)
Wemoto Tip: Cover your shoes with plastic bags, tied up round the ankle, to prevent your feet getting wet and your shoes getting dirty from splash-back. Not the most attractive of looks, perhaps, but remember, when your mates have arrived and are squelching big wet footprints everywhere - who'll be laughing then?
2c. Stay seen with:
3. Ride safely
With winter comes wet weather and darkness – so you'll need to be ride safely:
- Be extra careful
- Increase your stopping distance and allow for more space between vehicles
- Change up early and use less revs
- Check the temperature with a thermometer. If freezing or below, the roads could potentially be icy
- If there's ice on the roads, it's probably best not to ride
- Watch out for black ice, particularly around shaded bends and tunnels, where it wouldn't have thawed so quickly
We hope our guide has been useful. If there's anything you can think of that we've missed out, let us know at email@example.com, and we'll add it in.
Coming soon: our third winter article, 'How to prepare your bike for winter storage'.
20/11/2015 My Wing is only form of transport so ride all year round except snow/ black ice
20/11/2015 Remember great times in the snow, nice and slow
20/11/2015 Park bike, get in car, drive. You're welcome.
20/11/2015 I don't. I take the car to work. A mix of early starts or late finishes and 20 miles of North Yorkshire moors is not really good for motorbike commuting
21/11/2015 Buy a car
21/11/2015 Plug both bikes into Optimates until March
21/11/2015 Get a 4x4
21/11/2015 Yes, get a car
21/11/2015 muffs and heated grips but i my case heated muffs ill load pics
21/11/2015 Yeah, leave the bike at home.
21/11/2015 Dont ride in the snow!
21/11/2015 I remember hitting a patch of black ice on my 1989 Honda CB-1 and take the car if it looks anything near freezing.
21/11/2015 Latex workshop gloves as a liner. Sealskinz socks. Handlebar muffs. If you enjoy it or have no option get on with it. Did every winter from 17 to 35 years of age. Made me a better rider
21/11/2015 Wish it'd let me upload pictures on here..... But I was riding to work this morning after I cleared the path of snow. Actually my profile picture from years back is the bike in the snow!
22/11/2015 Park bike up till April then enjoy
22/11/2015 Buy yourself a garage
22/11/2015 Use the car
22/11/2015 Put the bike in the garage, and start the car... but the bike is always ready to go if we get a nice dry sunny day, which happens in Kent.
22/11/2015 I think I would send my housekeeper to walk in front of the bike clearing the road with a snow shovel. He doesn`t know this yet but it simply has to be tried.
22/11/2015 neck sock is an essential, if you must ride in snow to get somewhere (not advisable really) keep feet just above the snow that can act as a tripod when front wheels goes on you. allow your bike a minute before you set off to try and generate a little heat in the carb to give you the best chance of avoiding carb icing. if its really cold stop at a petrol station to use the toilet, a 2 min blast under the hand dryer can warm you up fast and you can carry on in warmth for a little longer
22/11/2015 An old workmate (who at one time in his careerer was an AA patrolman on a BSA M21 outfit) gave me the best advice of all when i was 26. Get a car! His reasoning being that you ride your bike when you want to, not because you have to. He was right. After 10 years riding to work and back every day I did just that and I've never looked back.
22/11/2015 35yrs of commuting year round and I'd still rather be on my bike than in a car. Handlebar muffs.. Fog City or similar visor insert.. neck buff.. waterproof kit.. layers.. keeping your feet on the pegs.. It takes a level of commitment to continue when there are easier options. Hats off to those that do, but it's not a macho thing to continue, for me it is simply a case, irrespective of conditions, of not understanding why anyone would prefer a car to a bike.
22/11/2015 Riding from Calais December 7th 2014 on my V Max through France, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden arriving Finland Arctic Circle Christmas day. Frostbite, hypothermia, near starvation I achieved my aim. Waited six weeks and against the odds back down the way through the Baltic states. Open face lid, not many layers. Near zero fund's, why, no-one thought I could do it. I did and returned but seen the light of that beautiful big yellow sun. It's fun for short journeys as you know but impares one's functions when cold and becomes very dangerous without taking in to consideration the road surface conditions. Stay warm, stay safe.
22/11/2015 All year round.. love it!!
22/11/2015 extra layers on
23/11/2015 Leave it in the shed
23/11/2015 they dont make cd 175s any more best thing for snow better than a trail bike low centre of gravity. p.s.ps thats why plastic pigs were popular in the 70s and 80s
23/11/2015 Go back to bed
23/11/2015 Nice and crisp, depends what countries you are riding in. Common sense prevails, take the car or public transport. Stay safe, cold alone is a killer without inviting it on two wheels unless it's ice speedway but that's quite tame.
01/12/2015 I bought a winter nail specifically to ride through the winter. I try not to get to fussy about it so I don't care so much when it gets salty. Having said that I dose it with ACF-50.
I feel that riding in all conditions improves my overall riding skills. I've got some decent winter clobber and I wear heated gloves - a godsend.
There's s little glow of pride when I've got the only bike in the car park early on a drizzly cold Sunday morning at the Ace :)
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