Snow/winter riding information

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Dysco, Sep 21, 2004.

  1. Oznerol

    Oznerol Motion Enthusiast

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    I live in <defanged_st1:city w:st="on"><defanged_st1:place w:st="on">Boston</defanged_st1:place></defanged_st1:city> and am sort of daring myself to keep commuting on the bike through this winter, staying off it only on really nasty days.

    Since my commute is only 10 miles, I don't think the cold will be a problem. I rode until just short of Thanksgiving last year, and wearing a RoadCrafter over a fleece, the only real issue I had with cold was my hands going a bit numb. This year I've got a new bike (DL1000) with handguards, and heated grips are on their way.

    But I'm pretty much terrified of slick conditions -- I've never done any dirt riding, and can count the number of times I've slid a tire on one hand. I'm probably blowing this issue out of proportion -- the roads I take are well-plowed in the winter, and I've always got the option of leaving the bike at home and taking public transit when I've got doubts.

    Studded tires are legal on the roads here from Nov 1st through April 30th, so that's an option, too. Anybody have any experience with studding Continental TKC80s?
    #21
  2. snowrider

    snowrider Long timer

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    If your roads are usually plowed, and you're going to avoid riding on the worst days, you will mainly be riding on wet roads. Is the TKC80 really the tire you want for wet road riding, much less studded? For that, I'd get the best rain tire for your bike.
    If you're going to ride any snow, go all the way and do every day no matter what. If you're not, you have to avoid any day there's even a chance of snow, or know someone with a pickup who really likes you.
    The problem with sort of riding in winter is you may start riding in one kind of weather and finish a ride in something you didn't plan to ride in. If this happens, even if you have a way out, you may be tempted to go a little further, or try a little more snow, etc. I think it's best to jump all the way in right away.
    Either way though, spend some time in parking lots on snow, even if you don't plan on riding on it.



    #22
  3. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do Super Moderator

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    Somebody, I think a real problem is that you'll often find frozen (or potentially frozen) slicks at intersections, tunnels, over/underpasses, worksites, etc. Not to mention daytime snowmelt that refreezes as soon as the sun is off of it. :vardy

    If your riding will be primarily surface streets, I'd go for the whole studded shebang. Seems like (based on the reports of those with direct experience, not my own so don't sue me for it) they'd only be a PITA on the highway (or at highway speeds). As others have noted, without them, you're kind of restricted to days that you *know* won't freeze or precipitate. Pretty slim in New England winters.


    Nate
    #23
  4. snowrider

    snowrider Long timer

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    "Seems like"? Have you tried studs or not then? I think speculation is only going to add confusion here and is unnecessary when there are people with first hand experience available.

    Just to make sure I haven't caused any confusion, I want to make sure I'm not mistaken for someone who said anything about being restricted to clear days without studs. That is false. You don't need studs to ride on snow or ice.
    #24
  5. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do Super Moderator

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    Fair enough. Relax and have a drink. :1drink I've amended my post above to indicate that I've never ridden studs. I have, however, been acutely following the related threads on the subject here. Based on those reports, it seems that riding at highway speeds on dry roads causes accelerated stud wear, and at the very least, is quite noisy. I would expect these conditions to be exacerbated by a comparatively heavy bike like the original poster's DL1000. That, to me, would be a PITA. YMMV.

    I have ridden un-studded knobs in the snow a fair amount. While it's fun, it's not something that I'd stake my ability to get to work on, especially with the conditions that we have here in the Northeast. With temperatures that yo-yo above and below freezing on a nearly daily basis, refrozen snowmelt and runoff are the biggest hazards for the commuter, especially if your work schedule sees you riding after dark (or before sunrise).


    Based on this, I suggested that if his riding is mostly surface streets, there would be no drawback (indeed, many advantages) to running a studded setup. If his commute is not surface streets, well, hopefully he'll keep us posted and add to the winter riding knowedge base here.

    I intend to do the same.


    :mulie
    #25
  6. snowrider

    snowrider Long timer

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    Usually the weather's a little worse here in Wisconsin than on the east coast, since we have no maritime influence. Up and down temps to greater extremes. I've consistently used plain 100% street tires to get to work every day, and always go home after dark.


    #26
  7. Oznerol

    Oznerol Motion Enthusiast

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    It's those unpredictable frozen slicks that PackMule talks about that have me thinking about studs. Ice patches are going to be around even on the best days. Studs won't be optimal for 99% of the pavement I encounter, but it might be worth putting up with that for the 1% of the time that I do need them.

    Work and home are situated such that I can take either the highway or surface streets to get to work; The highway is a little faster when traffic is low, but at rush hour, the surface street route is more reliable. I also tend to take the surface route on days like today (Nor'easter) because getting blown around is less fun at highway speeds.

    If I decide to ride through the winter, I'll likely stick to the surface street route regardless of whether or not I go to a studded setup.
    #27
  8. KL5A

    KL5A Bugs are the new black

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    Ok, here's where a guy who has used studded knobbies is going to jump into the fray, like oil on troubled waters (unfortunately the oil is from the Exxon Valdez !)

    If I were going to use the bike for commuting 20 miles a day in the conditions I'm thinking that may be encountered, I'd maybe go ahead and stud up some knobbies. The beauty of the studs is that if you do encounter ice patches studded tires work fine-I would ride up to Big lake and ride the ice road just for grins, and one memorable afternoon I was riding on black ice with the cages sliding and slipping around me, while I was riding nice and planted. The look on a cagers face when you blow past them on a bike while they are barely able to keep it between the lines is priceless! I put 1100-1200 miles on my studded knobbies last winter and they were a long way from worn out, I did throw a bunch of them but that was probably sloppy installation. The good studs are intended to last the whole winter on a cage so they should work fine on a bike.
    Now the next question-V Strom? That depends on the rider. I've never ridden one so I don't know how they feel at slow speeds on slick surfaces, if you're comfortable on sand and in mud it should work fine.
    I'm not in a postion where I can commute on a bike and don't honestly know if I'd do it anyway. We have so many moose around here that I'd be concerned about hitting one, which can be a bad deal in a car so imagine what it would be like on a bike! :grim And the idiots you would share the road with are another concern, but at least if someone was sliding up behind you at an intersection you should be able to take cover between the other cars.

    My final word? I've ridden the Pegaso in winter both with and without studs. With studs was unquestionably better, in fact it makes the idea actually practical. This is not to take anything away from Snowrider, far from it. His ability to ride in the winter without studs shows the gap between motorcycle owners and motorcycle riders....
    #28
  9. KL5A

    KL5A Bugs are the new black

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    OBTW-
    I think it's great that more riders are getting interested in winter riding. I'm thinking that we who are riding this winter should go for a ride New Year's Day and post it as a "virtual" ridereport, if you can get other riders together all the better.
    #29
  10. Dysco

    Dysco Puppy wrangler

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    Let's straighten some stuff out about the studs:

    You're going to get right around 4,000 miles out of a rear Kenda Trakmaster before losing all the studs and losing your ice grip. On the front, I was getting 8k miles before it went terminal (no studs, totally worn to the casing). This is riding mostly on dry pavement and mostly freeway speeds (80%) with very little braking. Plan for 3k miles on the rear and 6k on the front for max traction- side lugs help dig through snow, too.

    The only drawbacks on dry pavement are increased stopping distance (but not dangerous) and mandatory earplugs. My max speed was 90MPH but I typically kept under 80 because of the stopping distance. Tire pressures should be up near 30PSI. As far as wear goes, I think the studs extend mileage more than anything.

    I haven't heard from anyone who rode enough to wear out tires like I did so that's all I have to go on. I ran them from November to April.

    As a side note, I had no motorcycle off-road experience when I studded my first set. I learned a TON on my daily commute and never crashed. If you start slow and stay reserved when the cages are around, you'll be fine.
    #30
  11. Dysco

    Dysco Puppy wrangler

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    Beat to the punch! ....stupid work...

    :lol3
    #31
  12. Macushla

    Macushla Foxy Moron

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    Can you guys provide a link or the name of the company that makes the electric gear (jackets, vests or gloves)?
    Thanks.
    #32
  13. Macushla

    Macushla Foxy Moron

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    Nevermind, I found it.
    #33
  14. da 919_ster

    da 919_ster Banned

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    do they make a specia studded snowtire for sb's. I have always wondered this.
    #34
  15. snowrider

    snowrider Long timer

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    If by "they" you mean a manufacturer, then no. But these guys have it figured out....

    http://www.iceroadracing.net/

    Apparently the tire technology is a secret though.
    #35
  16. Oznerol

    Oznerol Motion Enthusiast

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    Well, I've now ridden in snow -- sorta. I rode to go into the office today to take care of a few things. When I went to leave, I found it'd started snowing. But it was just flurries, and was melting when it hit the ground, so it wasn't much different than riding in a cold rain.

    I stopped by a bike shop one the way home to buy some overdue winter gloves. By the time I was done at the shop, the snow had started coming down much harder, and was accumulating a bit, though not on the roads.

    Underway, my visor fogged/iced over quickly, so I kept it at an angle that let me see out and kept my glasses mostly clear. Traffic was heavy, and of course I was learning to deal with the bulkier new gloves at the same time, so on the whole it wasn't the most enjoyable ride I've ever had. But I only had a few miles to go, and they passed uneventfully.

    I've ordered one of the Respro Foggy masks recommended on another thread to deal with the fogging, but I'm thinking an electric visor like the one Dysco mentioned is the only real solution for riding when the snow is actually coming down.

    Thanks for the other comments and suggestions; I'm starting to think that this is doable, and that I might not even want to limit my winter riding to commuting.
    #36
  17. KL5A

    KL5A Bugs are the new black

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    True enough, you might want to go out and do a little trail riding!

    [​IMG]
    #37
  18. AdvCav

    AdvCav Stay Alive - Stay Aware

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    I have a beater LTD440 with Bridgestone M77/78 knobbies and short sheetmetal screws in the outside knobs. I run low, low air pressure and with low seat, low power, and low cost, this gets me through my residential 3 mile commute(<20mins). I encounter mostly thin ice and frozen slush. I will increase tire pressure if I know the roads will be dry. This keeps the studs off the road for the most part but MX knobs on the street are never going to handle great. The tires are not DOT and neither are sheetmetal screws.
    #38
  19. snowrider

    snowrider Long timer

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    Only one short snow ride so far this year. Riding on snow is really spooky when there's a big notch in the middle of the steering head bearings. I stopped riding it when I realized what was going on. Hopefully the shop will have the bearings in stock.
    The TCK80s seemed to hook up pretty well though.
    #39
  20. RLK

    RLK 4,949

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    I'm in for the duration this winter, as I was last year. Last year I was on Maxxis 6006 tires because that's what was on the bike when I bought it. In June I put on Kenda 270s, kind of a 70% dirt 30% street tire. I only go about 500 miles per month. My bike, 1982 Honda XL250R, has no power and no brakes so tires last a lot longer for me than for most riders. I'm on pace to get 9000 miles out of these tires and change them in late spring.

    My commute is 4 miles, about 3 of which can be interstate if I want but when its slick I take residential streets to avoid traffic. I'm not worried about crashing so much as I am about being crashed into.

    Friday it snowed about 3 inches. the knobs kicked ass and hooked up fine. Saturday morning it was 7 degrees F, I could have ice skated home. (I work 3rd shift) Pure glare ice all 4 miles. I'd have loved screws. Yesterday most of the ice melted and re-froze in spots. Tonight there will be mostly dry pavement and only spots of black ice in the shaded areas. Screws would be totally wrong. Studs sound interesting but during the long streches of dry weather we get, they'd just grind away to nothing before the next storm comes. So I use the bare rubber for everything.

    I'd love to know more about the electric visor. How much current does it draw? How does it work?
    #40