When it starts getting dark at 4pm, and the icy mornings descend on us, it’s easy to understand why a lot of motorcyclists decide to lock up their bikes
in the garage until spring. However, if you’re reluctant to give up your bike in the colder weather, there are precautions you can take to help keep
yourself safe and comfortable whilst riding in less-than-perfect conditions.
Keeping warm when out riding
This is an obvious one, but when it comes to riding in winter keeping warm is a key consideration. After all, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. We’d recommend wearing several thin layers including a warm base layer, to allow you to add or remove clothing depending on your temperature. You should also invest in a decent rain suit, as we’re all familiar with the unpleasant feeling of arriving at your destination soaking wet and shivering.
As well as helping you feel more comfortable during your ride, wearing the right gear is also important for safety. A good-quality pair of warm and waterproof motorbike gloves will prevent your hands going numb – which could affect your control of the bike and ability to break. A pair of waterproof motorcycle boots are also a must, as cold and wet feet can become a distraction. We’d also recommend wearing a neck tube to keep the wind out rather than a scarf - as a scarf could restrict neck movement and therefore visibility, as well as needing to be kept tucked in.
Taking care of your bike
Adding anti-freeze to your motorbike’s system is necessary in low temperatures, to prevent your radiator freezing. Antifreeze usually needs to be diluted with distilled water at a 1:1 ratio, unless you’ve bought the premixed solution.
Anti-corrosion products are necessary in winter to prevent salt from the roads causing your bike to rust. Spray on corrosion protectors therefore need to be applied before going for a ride, and you should wipe and rinse your bike off with a hose once you return.
Staying safe in treacherous conditions
When weather conditions are sub-optimal, it’s more important than ever to ride defensively, to help prevent an accident occurring. Increasing your breaking distance, signalling earlier and driving slower when there’s a risk of ice are all ways you can minimise your risk of coming off your bike. These should help you keep in control; especially as cold tyres have less grip on the road.
Dark, grey days also worsen visibility, so we’d recommend wearing a reflective jacket, or at least not wearing dark colours.
We hope these tips will help you stay safe when commuting to work or just generally riding around during the winter months. If you want to make sure your suspension is in top condition to provide you with the smoothest ride possible, get in contact with us to book your motorbike in for suspension servicing.