Experienced bikers know that motorcycle riding in cold weather is another story compared to riding in the summer. The harsh winds, chilly atmosphere, and foggy roads make it more difficult for you to navigate the roads.
Plus, apart from observing common safety standards, you should also practice other things to make sure you stay safe. Adhering to these safety rules will not only keep you safe but ensure that others stay safe as well.
Here are 10 motorcycle riding tips you should keep in mind when cruising in cold weather or during the winter:
What Should I Remember When Motorcycle Riding in Cold Weather?
Use Your Brake Lights More Frequently
Riding in cold weather means you’ll face foggy and/or misty skies and snow-filled roads. Doing this first tip when motorcycle riding in cold weather helps other drivers know about your presence.
This is especially true on highways when drivers travel at faster speeds. The foggy weather makes it harder for the eyes to see other vehicles even if they’re already in front of you. Not using your brake lights means you may get hit from behind because they didn’t see you and your motorcycle.
Therefore, brake lights help in making your presence known. So, make sure that they’re in proper condition first before heading out. Broken or flickering lights won’t do any good. Don’t just ignore them and repair them if they’re not in their best working condition.
Apply Brakes Every 5 Minutes When Motorcycle Riding in Cold Weather
This motorcycle riding in cold weather tip is related to the previous tip. If you’re riding along a foggy road, then using brake lights will make your presence known to the driver behind you.
However, your brake lights won’t light up until and unless you apply brakes.
This is why you must constantly use the brakes to start the rear-end brake lights. This won’t only signal your presence but also warn other drivers to slow down. But, applying the brake once isn’t enough—you constantly have to remind others of your presence.
We suggest applying your brakes at regular intervals. A 5-minute interval should be an ideal frequency and is enough for the job.
Plus, by applying brakes, you’re also driving at a slower speed than what you would normally do in the summer. Maintaining a lower speed is crucial when motorcycle riding in cold weather since the lower temperature makes it harder to focus.
Check the Health of Your Brake Pad, Disc, and Drum Brake
Your motorcycle must be in its best condition before each ride. However, it becomes more important during the winter—especially the braking system.
You see, the cold weather and foggy roads make riding tougher and lower concentration. This means you may want to halt the motorcycle even more. Additionally, if you become too close to another vehicle, you need to slow down or even halt. This is why your motorcycle braking system needs to be in absolutely good condition before motorcycle riding in cold weather.
Make sure your disc brake, drum brake, brake pads, calipers, and braking fluid are in good condition. If not, visit your service shop or mechanic for repair and maintenance.
Follow the 2-Second Rule
The 2-second rule is fairly simple. It means that the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you must be the distance you can travel in two seconds using your current speed.
Let’s say you’re traveling at 36kmph. So, your speed per minute translates to 0.6 kilometers. This in turn translates to 10 meters a second. Therefore, the safe following distance here is 20 meters.
The possibility of road hazards increases when motorcycle riding in cold weather that’s why safety protocols become more important.
Wear Motorcycle Gloves If Motorcycle Riding in Cold Weather
Riding gloves become more essential when riding in the winter. This is because the cold weather will slowly affect your hands. Your hands will eventually start feeling numb and your grip on the handlebar will loosen up.
The level of numbness on your hands will also increase the longer you ride.
So, to protect your hands from the weather and keep them from going numb, wearing riding gloves is a must. Regular gloves won’t do since they don’t give the same comfort and grip compared to riding gloves.
Lastly, wearing gloves when motorcycle riding in cold weather not only prevents calluses, numbness, and fatigue. It makes you look extra cool, too!
Wear Layers Over Layers
This is an obvious tip. If you’re riding in cold weather, dress like you’re riding in cold weather. Period.
In short, wear as much clothing as possible to keep you more than warm and comfortable. Take note that there’s a difference between standing in the cold and riding in the cold.
For example, the temperature dramatically decreases when you’re riding in the cold versus when you’re just out there. If your clothes only keep you warm enough when standing outside, this won’t be sufficient at all.
When motorcycle riding in cold weather, wear at least three layers of clothes including your motorcycle jacket and other gear. Remember that the higher the speed, the larger the impact of the wind.
Install Hazard or Fog Lights, Especially When Motorcycle Riding in Cold Weather
Hazard or fog lights are very helpful if you’ll face foggy weather the entire winter season. Some modern motorcycle models already have fog lights attached. However, this isn’t a universal feature that comes in all motorcycle models.
If your motorcycle doesn’t have hazard or fog lights attached yet, consider installing them. They’re particularly vital if you live in an area that has foggy weather throughout the winter.
Fog lights help provide extra beams when motorcycle riding in cold weather. But, if installing them, make sure to check the legalities in your area. There may be rules specifying the maximum distance the lights can shine, their maximum height from the floor, etc.
Plus, check the power requirements of the fog lights before installing them. For example, if they drain more power than what your bike can handle, then installing them would make no sense.
Make sure to keep these requirements in mind before installing auxiliary fog lights on your motorcycle.
Keep Your Helmet Visors and Face Shields Clean
Riding in cold weather is never easy. Aside from the discomfort it causes your body, the foggy roads also make it difficult to see beyond five meters.
Motorcycle riding in cold weather will want you to pull down your helmet’s visor. Visors are there to protect your face from the harsh cold winds passing against it. However, this creates a small issue.
Pulling the visor or shield down will only blur your vision if it’s not clean enough. An unclean visor will affect your vision and worse, will force you to drive without the visor pulled down. This means cold winds will continuously hit you in the face—and you certainly don’t want to experience that.
So, make sure to clean the visor properly before heading on your trip.
If Motorcycle Riding in Cold Weather, Be Extra Careful When Overtaking
Overtaking becomes more complicated when motorcycle riding in cold weather. You need to consider the vehicles behind you, those coming from the other direction, and the ones you’re overtaking.
You have to think about these and the fact you’re riding in foggy weather where you can’t see anything clearly. Plus, the roads can be slippery as well.
We suggest being patient and continuing with the low speed so you don’t have to overtake. But, if you really have the urge to overtake, do it with caution. Remember to do all the things we mentioned above. You may also use horns when overtaking if it’s a common practice where you live.
Most importantly, don’t speed up too much when trying to overtake. If you have to speed up a lot, then maybe there’s no need to overtake in the first place.
(Critical if Motorcycle Riding in Cold Weather) Repairs and Regular Check-ups
These are perhaps the most crucial tips when motorcycle riding in cold weather. They seem so basic, yet many riders tend to forget them.
If any part of your bike isn’t working at its maximum capacity, you have to address that. But, ensuring that your motorcycle is at its healthiest is important for all seasons and not just in the winter. Remember that a healthier motorcycle equals a longer life expectancy.
Moreover, preventive maintenance is far cheaper and less stressful compared to reactive maintenance and repairs.
In terms of the winter season, the cold weather causes a lot of damage to your bike’s components. For instance, engines become tougher to start. Low-quality motorcycle engine oils won’t function well under cold conditions, which makes it extra difficult to start your bike.
All these problems are common during the cold weather. So, make sure your motorcycle is in a healthy condition even before winter starts. Schedule an appointment and service your motorcycle to save you from all the headaches.
Motorcycle riding in cold weather can be a huge pain—and we 100% agree with that. But, as long as you follow these tips, we assure you that you’ll get by just fine.
Happy shopping and be safe on the road!