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Old 10-08-2012, 06:42 AM   #1
Sniff OP
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Question Grip in the Cold

Well, the chill is just starting to set into the mid-Atlantic, and I'm promising myself that this is the year to ride through the winter. I've got my Gerbings...got my Olympia AST...Darien pants on the way... My only remaining question is, how should I adapt my riding style for the colder months?

Sure, it's not going to get really cold (here anyways) for a while, but I haven't seen much commentary on the subject, so I thought I'd toss the question out.

Snow and ice aside, how much grip should I expect to lose as the temps drop? I've ridden down into the low forty's (Fahrenheit) without a noticeable change in handling, but I'm guessing that at some point temperature is going to change how the tires act...right?
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:53 AM   #2
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I'm kinda in the same boat, I'd like to ride a bit more in the cooler weather. 40's and maybe 30's. All I can think is you have to slow down and shorter trips. Ride not as aggressively and more cautiously. I have heated grips and hand guards so far.

I went up one tooth on the counter shaft sprocket, so I will go back down this winter and I'm going to put a new rear tire on with a bit more aggressive knobs.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:55 AM   #3
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Adjust your "lean" at corners, turns and curves.... try to stay straighter up until your tires have warmed awhile.

Then you have to watch for and or expect, frosty spots, bridge decks, spots that incurred frost during the night, etc.

Now is not the time to try to get those last hundred miles from shiddy tires that should have been replaced in July.

I like to stretch my riding season as well, but come about the first weekend of November (deer opener) the bike typically gets put away as I try to hunt three weekends in Nov.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:36 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Unstable Rider View Post
I like to stretch my riding season as well, but come about the first weekend of November (deer opener) the bike typically gets put away as I try to hunt three weekends in Nov.
Take those fookers out! Gave a couple of bow hunters permission to hunt on my property, the set up a game camera and said its taken the most pictures there've ever seen - over 1k in a week. They're one for one so far.

November to the first snow fall is my absolute favorite riding season, with the leaves off the trees I stand half a chance at seeing the dumb forest rats coming (I've hit 3 on bikes and 4 in cars).

I ride tight technical twisties a lot, especially in winter, and never really had a sliding issue on cold clean pavement. Just easy into deeper and deeper lean angles over a few miles before you go all out. Stay smooth, and hang off a bit more than you might normally. Keep your wheels in the outside cage tire tracks - they will always be the cleanest driest paths through a corner. And always watch the surface on the opposing lane - things take a long time to dry in the cold and wet pavement on the opposing lane means a water/ice crossing is coming up. Watch for frost and moisture in the shadows created by the low sun. Ride west in the AM and east in the PM to keep the sun at your back.

I've installed and full scrubbed brand new tires in the winter... no issues.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:32 AM   #5
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Unless you are running hi-temp sport bike tires or your tires are ancient and hard, it's a non-issue. I notice no discernable change in grip or handling from 90+ down to about 30. Colder than that and I just don't ride because it's no fun freezing all the time.

The thing to watch out for are de-icing sand (if applicable) and frost/ice patches in the shade and over bridges, etc.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:31 PM   #6
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I know it's not kind of grip you are asking about, but thick winter gloves seem to have a big impact on ability to manipulate the controls. I am planning to look into something like hippo hands this year.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:38 AM   #7
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Appreciate the thoughts all - especially from those who obviously have some experience riding very cold... Looking forward to finding out exactly how much lean my bike can handle as the temps drop!

Snowshovel - +1 on the winter mitts issue. If you try the hippo hands, let us know how they work...
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:01 AM   #8
pjensen641
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Did my first track day in the lower 30's. Actually had flurries on and off. Ran with fresh pilot powers. Popular opinion was that the street tires like that would be far better than the race slicks some where running. The rubber compound is designed to work with a wide range of temps. Never had a slip or anything, but I did ease in to each session for about 3 laps before going full out. First lap was more of a fast street pace. Also ran pressures down to mid 20's in the tires to encourage more flex and faster heat generation. I could tell when they were up to temp because the sluggish handling from lower pressure would go away after the warm up laps.

Anyway, don't think it is that big of a deal. I would run a few PSI lower in your tires when measured cold. Maybe 38 for example if you normally run 42. It will encourage quicker heat generation, and a few psi less might make up for the stiffer carcass to give you a similar tread flex and contact patch as it would during normal temps and pressure.

This is all opinion and I have no other background knowledge than my track day anecdote...so YMMV etc
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:21 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by pjensen641 View Post
.. I would run a few PSI lower in your tires when measured cold. Maybe 38 for example if you normally run 42. It will encourage quicker heat generation, and a few psi less might make up for the stiffer carcass to give you a similar tread flex and contact patch as it would during normal temps and pressure.
Ah yeah... that's an important one I forgot.
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