Snow/winter riding information

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

  1. Don Coyote

    Don Coyote Long timer

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    After these last few weeks of regular snow around here, I'm feeling pretty confident dealing with really messy stuff. I did take my first two falls in a few years this week, but going down at slow speeds in slush and snow is probably the best, most painless lesson on the limits of traction you can get.

    A few of the most obvious tips:

    Start with the right gear. Numbness and loss of visibility from fogging are important to avoid. A lot of options to stay warm out there, but two of the best value items i've found are handlebar muffs and a helmet that takes a good chin curtain. Pinlock visors aren't the perfect solution to fogging, but short of a top line snowmobile helmet, I'd go with that.

    I'm commuting in a city and staying with my 80/20 dual sport unstudded tires. I've been impressed at how well a Kenda 761 has done around town and getting me up the hill to my house. My front is a Distenza which has some cupping, but has held the road in some sketchy turns.

    The back tire does all the work, the front just steers. Smooth on the throttle, feathering the clutch in dicey situations, easing off when the rear feels like it is slipping. Keep an eye way ahead to anticipate braking situations so it can be accomplished with just the rear. This is where ABS will really earn it's keep.

    People say the F650GS ABS sucks and since i notice the back end sliding before it kicks in i'd agree, but it is good enough that i think it has kept me up a few times. I also started engine breaking a lot this past year and it was an important habit to get out of early in winter...

    Probably the most important concern to me is staying as far from cagers as possible unless it means a more traveled and cleared road.
  2. RRVT

    RRVT Wild and Crazy Guy

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    Recently somebody told me that the Vermont State Police had told a guy on a motorcycle to get off the road when he was riding during a snowstorm. Then yesterday at the Montreal motorcycle show I was chatting with a Surete du Quebec officer about their winter laws. Quebec residents are required to have winter tires on their cars during winter months and since there are no officially approved winter motorcycle tires, Quebec riders are not allowed to get on their bikes from mid December till mid March. The guy confirmed that since I am a Vermont resident, I would not get a ticket. But he did tell me that if the conditions were dangerous (snowstorm, icy roads), they could apply a different law, something about driving in dangerous conditions, and not allow me to continue riding.

    Just curious, anybody heard about bikers being asked to stop riding in bad conditions?
  3. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    It depends. A case can be made, and has been in Quebeck, that "winter tires" are required, therefore eliminating motorcycles from eligability during certain times. I have not heard of it in the US, but it is possible.

    Jim :brow
  4. SnowMule

    SnowMule [angry moth noises]

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    Catch me if you can? :dunno
  5. randyo

    randyo Long timer

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    fwiw, at least my rear tire meets legal Quebec winter requirements, but not my front, no mountain & snowflake symbol even though its studded and knobby

    I've never been asked to get off the roads, but I never stopped to give them a chance either. One LEO had the opportunity there were several cars off the road, wreckers pulling them out and LEO standing there watching, I just gave them wide berth on the snow covered road as I rode past, the LEO looked dumbfounded.
  6. windmill

    windmill Long timer

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    The closest I have come to having an official issue was at a chain enforcement checkpoint on I-90 when it was mandatory chains except for awd vehicles.

    I pointed out to the Statey that I had a studded rear tire, 2wd, and chains with me for all 3 wheels.
    He asked me where I was going, and I said "up to the summit to ride the snowmobile trails". He just said "ok" and waved me through.

    I'm thankful I live where the ninny's and cowards haven't taken over.
  7. Don Coyote

    Don Coyote Long timer

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    I just had a 15 minute chat with a LEO who wanted to see who the kook was riding the F650GS as i was leaving a night club last night. He knew more about my Dakar than most anyone i've meet IRL and gave me a rundown of the steeds hanging in his garage waiting for spring. I hit him with as much technical detail as i could just in case he was screening me for roadworthyness (although the roads and sky were pretty clear), but he just seemed genuinely interested in talking about cycles.

    I've also been told by a friend who knows someone in the city PD that most of the force are aware of me as the guy riding the BMW around in the dead of winter. No hassles here...
  8. Mgbgt89

    Mgbgt89 Long timer

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    My favorite part of riding in the snow is passing some dumbass in a 4wd SUV slid off the road and into a telephone pole. Then again, those idiots are my biggest fear when i'm riding in less than ideal conditions.
  9. blackcap

    blackcap Been here awhile

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    hi all, ive got a bit of a strange question that i thought might not be so strange for you guys considering the riding you all do. it got to do with snow/mud chains. im riding a DR650 around the world at the moment and being in SE Asia right now have found that mud is a pretty common road building material here. and not the nice mud that makes a rider look good blasting through it. this is the slippery shit thats hard to walk on. i used chains once before to get out of the jungle and they worked really well.

    [​IMG]

    now im starting to think about running some 50/50 tires and carrying a set of chains with me all the time. this would give me better tire milage and good grip when i need it. this will mean i wont have to be loading the bike down with heavy and awkward spare offroad tires that dont get as good milage as something more road oriented.

    i know this is off topic, but i figured that guys that have more experience with chains than me are probably going to congregate here and could let me know of anything that i need to be aware of when running this kind of setup. good idea? bad idea? why? thanks in advance
  10. jules083

    jules083 Long timer

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    TrackmasterII's on the way, should be here Wednesday. KLR is gone, looks like my KLX is the new winter bike. :clap
  11. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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  12. LittleRedToyota

    LittleRedToyota Yinzer

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    no, it is not.

    in fact, if you're smart about it, it makes you a much better rider.
  13. LittleRedToyota

    LittleRedToyota Yinzer

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    since winter is upon us, here is a commuting-home-from-work video from last winter to get into the spirit of things...

    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/HEFEM7mNzto" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  14. DC2wheels

    DC2wheels Castle Anthrax troll

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    EXCELLENT!!

    Are you running studded tires? (didn't read back into this thread at all)

    First winter with my DRZ. 8 miles to my office, so I'll use the Suzuki or our gas engine 3/4 ton crew cab (aka the 9 mpg gas hog)
  15. LittleRedToyota

    LittleRedToyota Yinzer

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    i do not. i just run DOT knobbies in the winter. (i prefer pirelli XCMHes, but pretty much any DOT knobby will probably work equally well on winter roads.)

    nice. just go slowly at first. ride around a bit some weekend or something when you don't actually have to be anywhere to get a feel for it. riding on snowy roads is an absolute blast. icy roads aren't really what i would call fun, but as long as you're careful and patient, they're not a problem.

    it really helps you with clutch, throttle, and brake control as well as balance.
  16. Dysco

    Dysco Puppy wrangler

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    Since we're reposting vids... Studdies take all the bad sketch out and let you focus on the other idiots on the road.
  17. Mambo Dave

    Mambo Dave Backyard Adventurer

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    I didn't see where you were from before watching, but at 3:30 in I had to stop the video and check - sure enough, it looked like Pittsburgh to me at that point, and that's where you're from.

    Very neat seeing the 'burgh from a moto in the snow.

    When I lived outside the 'burgh I had moto's, but inside... it just looked like misery to ride in that traffic.

    I think it may have hit 88 degrees here today. I wanted to take the Jeep, but it wouldn't start, so I had to ride the DR650 and sweat it out at stop lights :D
  18. LittleRedToyota

    LittleRedToyota Yinzer

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    i actually like riding around pittsburgh...way better than i liked driving around it (which is probably why i never got around to fixing my truck and eventually just sold it.)

    i don't have to commute on the parkway in rush hour traffic or anything like that, though.

    anyway, nice to hear from a prodigal yinzer! :freaky
  19. jules083

    jules083 Long timer

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    :wave :lol3

    I'm about an hour from you, right by steubenville on 22. If you ever want to ride shoot me a pm or something. A snowy day sounds fun anywhere, and there are many many trails down my way if you're so inclined. I'm laid off and bored for the next few months, it's our slow time of year.

    Any trails on the western side of Pittsburgh? I've never ridden in that area, haven't found much besides pavement and some 'questionable' areas. I have one trespassing charge already for trail riding where I thought was allowed so I'm a bit nervous about exploring alone now.



    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Tapatalk 2
  20. Mat

    Mat Long timer

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    With studded TKC80 I actually prefer icy to snowy, at least after a certain amount of snow has fallen. That is when it gets difficult with my setup.

    I guess a lighter bike and knobbier tires would be a better solution, but as I am cheap and most of the time the roads are snowless, I stick to my one bike :)