riding in snow and ice

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by braindigitalis, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. braindigitalis

    braindigitalis Wet weather sucks!

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    What level of technical and mechanical know-how do you need to assemble a crated import bike? I've also heard that they're unreliable and nobody stocks the parts, is this true? Are they really worth the effort?

    #21
  2. orangebear

    orangebear Long timer

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    #22
  3. westerlywinds

    westerlywinds Two Wheels-Ride it

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    I have ridden Wolf Creek pass (11000 ft) in Colo march 14 I was much younger and not so smart. I got caught on the way to Boulder Colo. riding my 1959 Triumph 650. I got caught at Steamboat Springs by the storm They let me sleep in the jail. The morning was about six inches of heavy wet spring snow Most of the way over the pass I was in third gear pulled down slow the snow packed into a channel that held the tires good.The scary part was the 1/4 mile long snow shed it was glare ice no brakes, no turns, I started into it far right ended up far left wrong side of road. Just before I got to the first town there was a quick heavy snow so I went into the restaurant front covered in a half inch of new snow ,acting like this was normal, Why were they staring.?:wink:
    #23
  4. 390beretta

    390beretta Long timer

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    Riding is tough enough in my opinion....Why introduce no traction?
    #24
  5. JDK111

    JDK111 Been here awhile

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    From someone who, for nearly 40 yrs, has driven in snow/ice/winter conditions 6-7 months per year on 4 wheels, .......my advice is there's a lot of TERRIBLE advice in this thread, and if you're caught in snow / packed snow or ice .... you need to be fearful of staying upright AND the other guy on the road..It's one thing if your playing around off road, but personally, I'd never ride any bike in traffic.
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  6. Ceri JC

    Ceri JC UK GSer

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    Depends on the bike, but typically not a lot. These pit bikes are easy so long as you can put handlebars and wheels on and know how to do a standard "pre-ride check" (tyre pressures, oil, etc.) The PDI info said to check the valve clearances, probably just a CYA for the importer; I can't imagine why it wouldn't be done in the factory. I've done it on other bikes, but didn't have my feeler gauges with me where I was assembling it. In any event, with a 30 day warranty and at £100 for a brand new from the factory engine, I was prepared to take the chance!

    I bought a WPB (Welsh Pit Bikes) one. They're a rebranded 'Stomp' bike which apparently (I knew nothing about them) are one of the better ones. A lad I knew through bigger bikes who races Supermoto Pit Bikes recommended getting a Stomp, so I did. I didn't find mine to be unreliable, other than it seemed more upset by fuel 'going off'' after being left for a few months than other bikes and was quite difficult to kick start for such a small engine.

    The reason I chose WPB is that they're only 50 miles from me and I'm often down that way on my GS. Also because they have a place you can walk into and see the bikes and they carry a complete range of spares in stock. I do mean complete; most 'proper' dealerships could learn from them. I wanted a couple of new sets of wheel bearings, brake discs, spacers, innertubes and tyres and they had the whole lot available for next day delivery. The parts were as insanely cheaply priced as the bike itself. I had feared that they would make their money with very fast wearing and very expensive parts, but this turned out not to be the case.

    I recognise I'm lucky in the above situation and for a lot of people, the same bike would be bought from a faceless ebayer with questionnable warranty/returns/parts support in the future. Fundamentally though, the bikes are low tech clones of old Hondas.

    I have seen people make them road legal (in the UK at least). There'd be no practical use in me doing so, but if I had a short commute, it would be well worth it if your 'proper' bike was your only other transport or you wanted something to commute on in the snow.
    #26
  7. windmill

    windmill Long timer

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    I tend to agree,
    I have ridden a 2 wheeler in the snow many times, It can be done to a point with lots of preparation and practice, but it leaves little margin for error. Some of the "advice" smacks of bravado.
    I still ride in snow and ice on a regular basis, but I ride a Ural which has been built in Siberia for 70 years, winter riding conditions are it's natural element.

    The right tool for the job, not making due with the wrong tool.
    #27
  8. randyo

    randyo Long timer

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    I'm ok with snow depths to about 6-7" then it begins to make my V-strom "float" on the belly pan, I don't find ice an issue with studded tires

    I also find you have to hang off more to keep the bike more upright in corners. I'm lucky enuf to life in a low, almost non existent traffic area, I would never ride in conditions I do in metropolitan commuter traffic, hell, I won't even drive a cage in that
    #28
  9. SkiFastBadly

    SkiFastBadly A beer? Yes, please

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    I'd rather swim with an anvil than ride in the snow. Maybe on a frozen lake with no turns and no traffic I might try it if I'd been drinking but I pucker in a car when it's snowing, and I lived in Wisconsin until I was 40. No thanks.
    #29
  10. randyo

    randyo Long timer

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    its all what your comfortable doing, for me, its no big deal

    I like driving a car in the snow as well, when else can you countersteer a car to go in the right direction :D
    #30
  11. Monsignore

    Monsignore Plunger Boy

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  12. Buzz363

    Buzz363 Been here awhile

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    Rode to work yesterday afternoon, sun was peeking out and I was quite comfortable with Olympia suit and warm underclothing. Last night at 2300 after shift: ice everywhere hmmm. Bike was fine just kept clutch and brake smooth but cars were sliding on every corner. Vancouver drivers suck at the best of times and I was not comfortable until I hit the highway and could cruise in the slow lane. Took the truck tonight as I don't want to be taken out by some schmuck who doesn't account for road conditions.
    #32
  13. beeper

    beeper Badger tickler

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    Did some snow riding today on the little KLR 250. Been nearly two years since I've ridden ice and snow, last time was on a KLR 650. The little bikes light weight and low power output serve it well on the slick stuff around town but on faster back roads with icy hardpack it can get a bit twitchy. Off road in the powder is the most fun however. :wink:


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  14. flybynitetours

    flybynitetours Adventurer

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    I ride to and from work all winter. My winter bike is an elderly TW200 (13hp) with tempered ice screws in the lugs. I mount the screws in the side lugs, not in the center so they just kiss the road until you lean over to turn which fully engages the ice screws. This year I have decided to not ride when it is colder than (-) 15F . rw
    #34
  15. mtnbikeboy

    mtnbikeboy Been here awhile

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  16. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    It really takes some preparing and know-how to stay safe on a motorcycle in wintry conditions.

    If you've got little experience of riding in snow&ice, and have the same street tyres you use in the summer, you're probably depending on sheer luck. Sometimes it can get you home, sometimes it won't. The really bitchy thing about winter is, that grip level can go from almost tolerable to slippery as hell and back within a few hundred feet, and exact road condition can change again in five minutes. On a heavy bike and no winter tyres, more than 9 out of 10 times you go down instantly, when you hit that real slippery patch, there's just no way to steer. It's important to understand, that this is NOT in any way comparable to bad roads, or even sand or mud. Getting into a situation like that in traffic is something you want to avoid.

    If you take it seriously, invest on tyres & cold riding gear AND you really want to take your time to learn those tricks, then you might be okay (..but better prepare for a few stumbles even then!)

    But if it's more like "well, it started to snow, but I'll still ride home from work and see how it goes", then you're just being stubborn, and that might bite you.

    As stated before, the weight of the bike is important here. Think 125-400cc enduro type, those would be ideal, with good tyre options available.
    #36
  17. mpatch

    mpatch Long timer

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    my soulution

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  18. nulluser

    nulluser Been here awhile

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    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/AKtteVPKDWs" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="420"></iframe>

    I like to think of it as packed sand, because that's what I have the most experience in.

    Loosen up, lean back to accelerate, lean forward to brake and corner, and maintain your balance. Riding in slippery conditions is very surgical. Deliberate and precise actions. I keep a kind of dialog in my head when it gets rough "Ok, coming up to a corner, completely slick, I need to slow down to almost nothing to make it, brake, look into to turn, clear, start my lean, stay away from that rut, making the turn, keep balance, leaning back and powering out" Not really vocalizing, just a train of thought that's running when I need to pay attention in the thick.

    YMMV. Nothing beats experience.

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  19. Mat

    Mat Long timer

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    Hm, maybe you should get some experience on two wheels as well before handing out bad advice? :wink:

    If you are caught in snow and ice, you are ill prepared and it is your own fault. If you are prepared, all is well and it just takes longer to get home.
    #39
  20. jules083

    jules083 Long timer

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    You guys are really making me want to take the klr out right now. See if the pics work, but about 2" and coming down right now.

    I wish I had a smaller bike right now. The KLR650 doesn't seem right, the XRR won't start in this weather. The girlfriend's TTR125 isn't plated, but I don't seem to see cops anywhere....

    hmm.... Be right back.

    Edit:

    My Ride Report: You guys are nuts. TTR wouldn't start, took the KLR. I have no idea how I made it back to the garage. Running Kenda big blocks, 50% ish tread, around 12 psi. Did some practice in the field, then went to the road. Never again. That is all.


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    #40