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Top Tips for Motorcycle Road Trips in Winter

Top Tips for Motorcycle Road Trips in Winter

Jan 10, 2022

Picture riding your motorcycle through the snow, wind whipping at your face. Sounds like a blast, right? It can be, but riding motorcycles in winter presents its own set of challenges that many motorcyclists aren't prepared for. From the chilling cold to unpredictable weather and road conditions, there are special considerations you need to keep in mind to ensure you're safe and warm while out riding. 

In this blog post, we will discuss our top tips for cold weather motorcycle riding so that you can enjoy every mile of your winter ride.

1. Wear Winter-Ready Motorcycle Gear

When riding motorcycles in the winter, it is important to wear the right protective motorcycle gear. For example, wearing a thick jacket with thermal layers underneath will keep you warm and protect your skin from wind burns or scrapes. It can also be helpful to wear waterproof or water-resistant gloves so they won’t get wet when riding in the snow. Similarly, riding boots will keep your feet warm and dry while riding a motorcycle during cold weather.

Here are some must-haves for riding motorcycles in winter:

  • Base Layers (full leg, full sleeve)
  • Full outerwear winter riding suit (jacket and pants)
  • Grippier riding pegs
  • Tightly-sealed helmet with a fog-free face shield
  • Heated gloves or grips to keep your hands warm
  • A waterproof helmet communications system
  • Neck warmers 
  • Snacks and water

2. Do Proper Motorcycle Prep for Winter Riding

Before planning a road trip, you'll want to get your motorcycle ready for riding in the winter. First, you'll want to get a tune-up and check that all of your fluids are at their correct levels. This is especially important if it has been months since you last rode in cold weather or changed out oil or fuel filters - even though riding in colder temperatures may not impact these fluids as much, riding in colder weather can make these fluids more likely to break down. 

Check the air pressure on your tires and look out for any cracks or holes that might be developing - if you do see a hole, patch it up with some rubber solution. Be sure to check that your antifreeze is fresh (for water-cooled engines) and that your battery is in good shape. Finally, before riding motorcycles in winter, check the weather conditions. Ensure there aren't any blizzards or strong winds in the forecast and have a full tank of gas before riding off.

3. Watch for Salt, Black Ice, Fresh Cracks, and More

Safety is a major concern during cold weather motorcycle riding. Make sure you watch for salt, black ice, fresh cracks, and any other potential hazards on the road that could cause an accident. Be sure to keep your eyes open and be aware of what's around you at all times, as riding during the winter can make even the best roads hazardous.

Black ice is especially dangerous because it's so difficult to spot. The best defense against black ice is riding at a slow speed, which allows you to have more control over the bike should you suddenly hit slippery areas of the road or an icy patch. If you're riding as a group, riding slower may also help to reduce the risk of accidents from riding too closely together.

4. Increase Your Following Distance and Visibility

One of the mistakes that many riders make when riding motorcycles in winter is that they don't understand how cold weather affects their motorcycle riding. They assume that because it's not summer, the roads will be empty and safe to ride on as fast as you please. In reality, many people are simply staying indoors during this time of year which means more traffic overall.

To improve riding safety, keep an increased following distance behind the vehicle or other bikes in front of you. Also, use high beams whenever possible because cold weather makes it harder for drivers to see motorcycles at night. Finally, make sure that you and your riding gear are as visible as possible (i.e, more reflective clothes, adding lights to the back of motorcycles).

5. Watch the Throttle and Ride Smoothly

biker on a bridge

Riding motorcycles in winter can be a lot of fun, but riding too fast on slippery surfaces is never good. Your bike might have all the power it needs to get up and go, but that doesn't mean you should just mash down on the throttle when riding. Accelerate slowly out of turns, so you don't lose control. During cold weather motorcycle riding, you should also try to ride smoothly without making sudden changes to your speed or during braking.

Get Your Bike Ready for Winter Riding

For those riding for long distances in cold weather on their motorcycle, ensure that you let someone know where you're going and how long it will take for you to get there. If the weather seems to worsen, tell them that you will turn around and head back or make a stopover until the weather clears up. Don't take any unnecessary risks riding in cold weather, even if you're an experienced rider riding a high-end motorcycle for winter riding.

Ultimately, you want to enjoy your ride. When it comes to riding motorcycles in winter, we know you want to be best prepared. At West End Motorsports, we are here to help you get set up with riding gear that will allow you to ride safely and comfortably in cold weather and aftermarket parts and accessories to customize your bike for riding in winter. Find everything you need online to ready your bike for winter riding.