Winter Motorcycle Riding Tips
Some folks are just not ready to put their motorcycle away for the cold season, and that's ok. Winter motorcycle riding is actually a preference for some bike owners who get a thrill out of cruising in cold climates.
If you're a frosty-weather enthusiast looking to gear up during the cold season, here are some winter motorcycle riding tips:
Layer Your Motorcycle Gear
Layering your apparel keeps you warm, but also gives you the versatility to shed layers if they get a little too warm. Start with a good base layer, then add on some wool or other warm layers of apparel.
Check Your Battery's Voltage
Heated apparel and accessories are great for keeping warm while riding during the winter, but keep in mind that some draw electrical power from your motorcycle's battery.
Make sure your motorcycle battery can handle the additional load of these accessories by checking how much wattage your bike generates, and how much the electrical system on the motorcycle pulls. Don't add on too many heated accessories without knowing first what effect they will have on your motorcycle's electrical power.
Check Your Motorcycle's Tires
Cold tires can lose air pressure as the air inside them contracts, so use a tire pressure gauge to check the pressure often. Tires can lose 1-2 pounds of air pressure for every 10-degree temperature drop.
Lower air pressure can lead to cupping, where you get a wear pattern on the sides of the contact patch but not as much in the middle. Riding in cold weather also causes grip reduction. Heat is what helps tires generate the amazing grip they produce in optimum conditions. Good tires don't really start gaining grip from the heat until the tire gets to about 135 degrees.
You can get some heat in the tires through braking and acceleration, which causes friction. But when it's cold, heat quickly dissipates, so take it easy when riding in chilly weather. Also, be sure to check the tread depth to make sure your tires can channel water in rain or snow.
Winterizing Your Motorcycle
Although this article is meant to offer helpful tips for riding during the winter, depending on where you live, there may come a time where extreme cold weather conditions force you to put your motorcycle away for the season. If Mother Nature tells you it's time to put your bike away, listen to her.
When it's time to put your motorcycle into storage for the winter offseason, it's important to do some maintenance first. Watch the video above to learn how to winterize a motorcycle.