Winter Riding - Advice for A New Biker

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Winter Riding - Advice for A New Biker

Post by rwa.martin » Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:23 pm

I'm a new biker, having only passed Mod 2 in June this year, and I want to try and ride as much as possible through winter.

This morning I woke up to temperatures of around 1 degree with wet roads and plenty of mud (I live in rural West Wales). I had intended to use the bike but instead took the car and a bit of test braking got the ABS working without a lot of difficulty.

Although I know I need to build up experience in less than perfect conditions, I think I probably made the right decision in this case. However, it would be interesting to know what you more experienced riders would be doing in these conditions and I would welcome any hints, tips and tricks you have that might be of help to me.

Bike is a Honda 650 Transalp, tyres are the normal Tourances - 29psi front and rear.

Thanks in advance


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Re: Winter Riding - Advice for A New Biker

Post by RandG » Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:30 pm

Relax, don't grip bars tightly, everything smooth, throttle, brakes, gear changes. There is more grip out there than you think, but you must be smooth.

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Re: Winter Riding - Advice for A New Biker

Post by Paul-S » Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:39 pm


You did the right thing. If you do not need to take the risk then don't

I had to ride home from S Wales at dark o'clock on an AT with Heidenau K60s

Short report here ... -home.html

This in the Newtown - Crossgates road - ice under the snow was very slippy. Anything above 15 mph and the bike was sliding everywhere

Welsh20Invasion20201220038.jpg (35.93 KiB) Viewed 848 times
I (we) had to ride in the snow on our Pyrenees trip in 2013 and I have ridden when we have had our XRV winter meetings

Just run lower tyre pressures if you have to go out and be very carefull - no brakes, lower revs and higher gears, easy on the throttle

If you don't need to take the risk then I would not

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Re: Winter Riding - Advice for A New Biker

Post by scubabiker » Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:42 pm

i live in norway and work(ed) as a motorcycle mechanic, so i ride everyday, we dont get much snow here as its the south west of norway, but the best advice i can give is buy some winter tyres, they are a slightly softer compound than summer tyres, you dont need studded tyres really, and the uk has some daft laws about studs anyway.
also, run with a little less pressure on ice, more surface area on the ground, and more traction.
another one, use you back brake more than your front, i get into "winter breaking mode" its far easier to stay shiny side up when the back wheel locks instead of the front!
i actually had a spill last year on my moped, i had winter tyres on it, but it still went out, i went too hard into a corner and the tyres both slipped out sideways.
you just need to be careful is the main thing

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Re: Winter Riding - Advice for A New Biker

Post by Paul-S » Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:47 pm

One thing I forgot to add

If you're going to practice riding in bad conditions do it on a day that you are not going to work and preferable with someone else riding with you. If no-one at least let someone know where you're likely to be riding.

You need to be concentrating on your riding rather than "will I be late" etc

Lots of good advice coming your way

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Re: Winter Riding - Advice for A New Biker

Post by Earwig » Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:09 pm

Relax and take it steady (thumbs)

Do your advance training (thumbs)

Be prepared for things to go slightly pear shaped :( then get up and carry on B)

We all have to learn

Me Learning :pinch:

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Re: Winter Riding - Advice for A New Biker

Post by sprintster » Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:43 pm

My advice would be don't bother using your bike to commute to work if conditions are iffy! It's all very well learning how to ride in adverse conditions but when it's dark and your in a rush to get to work isn't the time to start learning.If you live in rural Wales it will probably take you longer on the bike anyway.I used to use my bike most days but when the temperature dropped below 3c it stayed at home.I don't care if some folk on here think I'm's not them picking up the bill if I bin my bike! (thumbs)

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Re: Winter Riding - Advice for A New Biker

Post by jackdaw » Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:15 pm

What everyone else says about snow and ice. Ice being the worst because you can't see it so well. Often the first you know of it is when you get that 'light' feeling on the bars/ through your feet and seat.
As well as this watch out in the milder weather. Leaf mush in the sides of roads, wash-out from side lanes after heavy rain, the green slimy stuff down the middle of single track roads, spillage from slurry tankers and the dreaded diesel spills. All these ill conspire to have you on your arse, sliding up the road. On narrow roads with limited visibility it helps to imagine that there's a JCB coming your way, just round the next bend.
Ride safe.

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Re: Winter Riding - Advice for A New Biker

Post by gspod » Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:38 am

3 things I would recommend:

1 - Extra training - After 30 years of riding I did a road and off road course last year and found them both excellent.
2 - My wife runs Tourance next tyres and the water displacement is excellent - on a run up to Scotland with 6 other various bikes the spray coming off her tyres appeared to be greater than any of the others - so if it's wet I take her bike (if she's not using it :whistle: ).
3 - If there's any chance of ice take the car, it's just not worth it. Obviously if you're attending a winter run or rally you will prepare properly but just for a commute ? - and believe me I hate taking the car (thumbs)

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Re: Winter Riding - Advice for A New Biker

Post by P4ulie » Fri Dec 05, 2014 11:05 am

I think if you have the option & the weathers dirty nasty...take the car. You seem to live pretty rural.

I don't have the option so am an all year rider. Just be aware you will be cold, the bike will be cold, the roads will be crap, it's usually dark / overcast / raining, so visibility is compromised & your reaction times lowered. There is plenty of grip but not to optimal levels, so you need to adjust your riding.

As others have said keep it smooth, brake gently & much earlier than normal. I came off on some ice last December braking for a roundabout. No warning, just a random patch at that particular junction.

Thankfully only minor damage to me & the bike but that was the end of my day before it had barely begun. I certainly wasn't doing inappropriate speed (I was well under 30 before I started braking) but gave me food for thought. I ride much further within my limits now.

As jackdaw says imagine a JCB round that blind bend......I've been confronted with similar enormous vehicles on my lanes or my regular heart in mouth pet hate, staring at a car / van overtaking a bicycle.

Give yourself plenty of reaction time, dress appropriately & winter riding can still be a lot of fun (thumbs)
With enough profanity, you can accomplish anything

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