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Old 12-07-2012, 06:15 AM   #1
braindigitalis OP
Wet weather sucks!
 
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Laugh riding in snow and ice

Hi all,

That time of year looms upon us once more where the white stuff appears and causes us issues with riding ;-)

Everyone i speak to says to avoid snow on a bike, and this is common sense, however it's still good to know what to do if youre caught out in it -- you can hardly leave the bike parked up 15 miles from home, in a dodgy neighbourhood and then catch the bus home, right?

So, i'm after general tips and advice for coping with snow and ice, beyond the obvious 'slow down, take it easy, keep the revs very low and be prepared to put your feet down, watch where you put them' :-)

All advice welcome for a relative newbie, with very little fear of the weather on a non-adv bike!
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:29 AM   #2
DAKEZ
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http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=53519

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Old 12-07-2012, 09:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAKEZ View Post
If you are going to be serious about it, this post has a lot of good information. Like others said, it can be done but how well it will work for you depends on your motorcycle, tires, conditions, experience, etc. But regardless of how good you are, or how good your studded tires are, the danger of falling or getting hit by a car is much greater.

I rode the last four winters but typically avoid going out when it's icy or snowy for the reason I stated above. I go to work and back, or to the store, but I always wait two nights after a snow fall. By then the roads here in Vermont are salted enough that you can always find a dry spot to ride on. Once I got caught in a snowstorm 15 miles away from home and was surprised how well the bike was doing with a TKC in the front, up to 1 inch of snow. Once it got more slippery, I rode in second gear on the shoulder with my feet stretched out. That went pretty well and I got a lot of cheers and thumb ups from passing cars. There was a scary moment when I was going down a steep hill with a sharp right turn at the bottom and the front brake wasn't slowing the bike enough. I was afraid to lift my leg to use the back brake but I ended up pressing both feet against the road and it slowed me enough that I was able to make the turn without crossing to the opposite lane. I thought I was going to make it home but once the temperature dropped to 27, it started freezing under. I had two pucker moments and I noticed cars sliding and pedestrians wiping out on sidewalks so I parked at the dealer 4 miles away from my house.

If you ever get stuck in a snow fall, try it for a while, do test braking, and see how it goes. The bike will do better than you would expect but you have to do it the same way hedgehogs need to make love - VERY CAREFULLY. A lot of it is like riding on gravel - read the road and pick the path of least resistance. In the first 30 minutes or so the heat from car tires should leave two tracks that you can ride on, then just be careful with turns and stopping. But I would definitely avoid highways.
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:35 AM   #4
randyo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RRVT View Post
In the first 30 minutes or so the heat from car tires should leave two tracks that you can ride on, then just be careful with turns and stopping. But I would definitely avoid highways.
I learned to stay away from tracks, they are many times black ice, while I have my bike setup well enuf that I can ride on ice, its harder to judge changes in surface traction. If its white, the traction is more consistent

I also disagree with any recomendations to use your feet as outriggers, you are no longer balancing the bike, only take your feet off the pegs the same as you do on dry pavement when you stop

my experience is not commuting (I work at home) but travelling to various destinations as far as 100 miles away each way during winter storm events, and of course my annual StupidBowl Sunday Kanc Ride



I usually roll my bike to side of road and them put gear on. The most important thing I have learned for winter riding is start warm and dry, do not work up a sweat getting your bike out. Even if I have to go so far as take a shower and dry off after shoveling a path thru the 3 ft deep snowbank the town plows left at the bottom of my driveway





when I look out the window and see this, I think, "its always a good day for a ride "


and always meet friendly people along the way



and sometimes just riding over to the pond to have a good time


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Old 12-09-2012, 12:12 PM   #5
MrBob
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Yesterday, as I was riding home in a snowfall, I thought of two more survival methods that I use in cold and slippery weather.
The first, stay away from the front brake. It's okay to use it on dry surfaces but if the back wheel breaks loose you'll still have steering if you keep the front from locking.
The second is to try to keep the brakes clear by periodically gently applying pressure on them when you don't need them so they're less likely to grab when you do.
It's all about being smooth.
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBob View Post
The first, stay away from the front brake. It's okay to use it on dry surfaces but if the back wheel breaks loose you'll still have steering if you keep the front from locking.
This one is probably the most important of all! In fact, this one saved my ass and my bike on the way to work a few minutes ago when I had to stop a little faster than I had liked. The back end was lost, completely wagging around like a dogs tail for a good four seconds. Lucky because I was only using the back brakes I was able to recover the bike and stay shiny side up... Ice is scaaaaary! ...but what a rush lol....
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:34 AM   #7
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In the UK, unless you're really out in the sticks, main roads tend to be gritted reasonably well. In my experience, you generally tend to crash either right at the start or end of your journey, when you're on the smaller roads that haven't been gritted at all.

Studded tyres are great for when the snow is heavy and turning to ice. They're illegal in the UK mind, and even if they weren't, we seldom get enough coverage to warrant them.

As a get you home measure, snow chains, ideally carried somewhere low down on the bike when not in use are probably the best. Snow chains are hard to come by for motorcycles in the UK, but Nippy Normans (Wunderlich dealer) will be able to sort you out. A few weeks lead time will be needed, mind. I find the biggest danger with them is your own laziness; the temptation to not put them on for "only" half a mile to the gritted main road is immense. The only time I have been pinned under my GS was doing this when I was in a rush. Now I have a rule which is if I'm in any doubt as to fit them or not, I stop and put them on. Only run them on sports touring tyres or things like heindau scouts; anything more knobbly and the chain will tend to fall between the knobs and they become useless.

Learning to ride offroad will get you used to the bike slithering around and give you more of a chance of identifying when it is going to lose grip and also how to go about saving it when it does go.

Bar muffs are essential, heated grips are nice and a bit of duct tape round your levers makes them a bit less cold to touch.

Don't be afraid to ride with your feet out as "outriggers" when it's icy. It looks stupid, but if you don't do it, you have to have faster reactions to dab a foot down to save it when it starts to go.

Make sure you stay warm; when you're cold your reactions slow and your finesse on the levers is lost. Both lethal in poor conditions!

Good luck :)
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:29 AM   #8
windmill
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All depends on you and the conditions,

Some conditions like fresh dry snow you'll be fine on regular street tires, typical conditions like compact snow you'll need some traction enhancement like snow tires or studs, knobbies work best in wet slush, really bad conditions like fresh snow on compact snow or ice, or frozen hard slush will require chains or ice screws.
My solution is a 2wd Ural, studded tire, chains if needed, and lots of practice. Snow riding has become my favorite type of recreational riding.

Riding in snow is doable and fun if you are properly prepared for the conditions and learn how to do it in a safe place before doing it around other vehicles .It's not something to be done casually.

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Old 12-07-2012, 09:46 AM   #9
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"No such thing as bad weather, just inadequate gear."

Tire studs are for real.

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Old 12-07-2012, 09:49 AM   #10
Smoke Eater 3
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Cold weather tires

Has anyone found a good cold weather tire? One that stays flexible when it's cold out. That's why studless car tires work so well. The outer layer of rubber is more pliable on cold asphalt. I'm hoping to find something like Bridgestone Blizzaks for my bike.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoke Eater 3 View Post
Has anyone found a good cold weather tire? One that stays flexible when it's cold out. That's why studless car tires work so well. The outer layer of rubber is more pliable on cold asphalt. I'm hoping to find something like Bridgestone Blizzaks for my bike.
yep, studded Karoo in front, 205-50-17 General Altimax Arctic (not studded) in back

Darkside is the way to go, an experiment that was successful beyond my wildest expectations

there is absolutely no weather I won't ride in

I not only make headway, I travel at the same speeds or faster than I would with my Jeep Cherokee
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:47 PM   #12
MrBob
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You'd be surprised to learn how stable your bike can be in snow. I ride year-round and rule #1 for me is: No Sudden Movements. Keep your movements smooth and gradual and weight centered. There are street bike tires that may work better in the snow but I've personally never noticed much difference. I lower my tire pressure some but not a lot.
If you stay warm your movements will be smoother and your judgement better.

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Old 12-07-2012, 04:10 PM   #13
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Snow/ice riding can offer some excitement on a boring day with aired down off road tires but I'd be more worried about some idiot in a cage sliding into me at a stop light/sign or sliding over the center line on a corner than anything else.

Hope you use extreme caution for those cages..



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Old 12-11-2012, 02:02 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Fast1 View Post
Snow/ice riding can offer some excitement on a boring day with aired down off road tires but I'd be more worried about some idiot in a cage sliding into me at a stop light/sign or sliding over the center line on a corner than anything else.

Hope you use extreme caution for those cages..



hey fast, looks like we both enjoy our huskys in the snow!

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Old 12-11-2012, 03:08 AM   #15
Ceri JC
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OP, as you're in the UK, don't set your heart on a 2WD Ural; not road legal here (as the sidecar can't be moved over to the 'pavement side') A real shame; I'd be tempted by one for winter rallies if they were.

As others have said, you can get away with sports touring tyres (even on a sportsbike) if you take it easy and the snow is fresh. I managed 10 miles of (brand new snow) on mostly closed roads up in Scotland on my SV650s.
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