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Discussion Starter #1
I plan on riding the bike for as long as I can. But being the new winter rider that I am, I'm not sure what to expect or the best way to ride as the road condition begin to become questionable. Obviously if I just don't feel safe riding, I'm not gonna ride.

I'm just looking for some hints/tips from some of our year round riding members for riding on less than optimal winter road conditions. I take the highway to work now, but there are back roads I can take if necessary. My biggest concern is riding with somewhat icy/slippery road conditions, and black ice that tend to occur during the the winter months of late December, January and February here in GA. It doesn't snow much....or often here, but I've also never ridden a motorcycle on snowy roads either.

Thanks in advance :smiley_th
 

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I plan on riding the bike for as long as I can. But being the new winter rider that I am, I'm not sure what to expect or the best way to ride as the road condition begin to become questionable. Obviously if I just don't feel safe riding, I'm not gonna ride.

I'm just looking for some hints/tips from some of our year round riding members for riding on less than optimal winter road conditions. I take the highway to work now, but there are back roads I can take if necessary. My biggest concern is riding with somewhat icy/slippery road conditions, and black ice that tend to occur during the the winter months of late December, January and February here in GA. It doesn't snow much....or often here, but I've also never ridden a motorcycle on snowy roads either.

Thanks in advance :smiley_th
I ride year round, but have never ridden in snow. And never plan to. Can't see what's under the snow, like sand or gravel, and the snow poses enough traction problems by itself, especially with street tires. Doubt I could make a quick stop on snow, and therefore will take the cage on those days. Maybe it's just my lack of confidence and experience.
 

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I try to ride as much as possible. Time I don't ride is when it rains, snows, or possible roads icing. I don't feel comfortable riding in those conditions so I just cage it to where ever I need to go. For me, i'd rather feel safe and ride another day.

Sorry, I don't have any tips on snowy or icy roads. But why would you want to drive on snow or ice? Its gets bad enough with 4 wheels. I can't imagine on 2 wheels.
 

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same here, i never ride when the roads are wet and the temps cold enough to freeze on bridges. surface roads arent bad, but the bridges and overpasses are a defferent story. ive slid lots of times in my truck on them. dont want to think what would have happend if i was on the bike.
 

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i agree :)
i try to ride as much as possible as well. You really got to pay attention on wet roads and freezing temp. I had a "slide" (thank God i didn't get hurt) last winter...pretty scary stuff you go over a frozen patch of water. "Got a 34º rule because of that" - Scootergptx.
 

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There are only two rules for riding a motorcycle on ice and snow safely. Unfortunately no one remembers what they are.

I think this little bit of wisdom is still on the portal page from time to time.

During my last year of high school (1971), there was another student who rode a 100cc bike all winter , even down to -30*F temperatures. He had attached an outrigger wheel on the right side somehow, which effectively gave him a sidecar rig. I did not know him, or know how far he lived from the school, but I suspect he never left the residential streets, or exceeded 30 mph. He may have had studded ice racing tires on the bike too, for as much as I know.

I do not think attempting to set up such a rig on your Vulcan for travel on higher speed roads would be advisable, if you were even thinking of it.

I agree with all the previous posters, that it is not worth the risk of sliding out on snow and ice to ride in those conditions. Ride in good weather, and take the cage if there is snow or ice on the roads, or any chance of freezing temperatures before you will get home again. JMHO.
 

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Rode down to 28 degrees last year to get to work - had no choice - but with the right clothes, snowmobile gear, balaclava, HiVis winter coat, it was kinda fun, you know the crazy looks from cagers. Rain in the Pacific Northwest can't slow a biker down or you would only ride a few days each month so, with the right gear winter riding is an option.
 

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Rode down to 28 degrees last year to get to work - had no choice - but with the right clothes, snowmobile gear, balaclava, HiVis winter coat, it was kinda fun, you know the crazy looks from cagers. Rain in the Pacific Northwest can't slow a biker down or you would only ride a few days each month so, with the right gear winter riding is an option.
I moved from Tacoma, Washington ..to Texas 6 years ago..and I am loving it! I am a new rider and enjoy the sunny weather!
 

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Columbus, Ohio
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Aside from the obvious about ice and snow,
riding in winter means riding in the dark. I wear a reflective vest over my black clothing.
LED rear lights are a good idea, as are light surging devices to make you more visible. Don't drive beyond your headlights--low beams. It is scary to dim for somebody and be in the dark, flying low.
Colder weather means condensation on your full face windscreen, so buy a defogging agent, or better yet, the Fog City insert that really does work, by providing a double pane of plastic, or be prepared to ride with the screen partially opened. That can really hurt your teeth and dry your eyes when it's cold.
Wind proofing your clothing is much more important, as is having a large windscreen that protects the hands as well as the chest and face.
Electric gloves make life worth living, again. No other glove I have tried kept me even close to comfortable...my electrics are sometimes too warm, so I have to turn them down or sweat. Imagine sweaty hands on a bike in the winter!
I use a fairly cheap rainsuit. Heavy vinyl, snap closure, bright yellow, no hood (it interferes with your helmet and catches rain. Nothing makes you quite as miserable as riding through a deep puddle and having massive quantities of water jump into your shoes. If your socks get wet you will be miserable all day, so either have a change of socks or wear waterproof boots or chaps.
When I commute to work I tend to ride like I drive. In a hurry. That is the most dangerous thing I can do, so I make a concerted effort to leave ten or more minutes early and drive in a calm, sedate, predictable manner, with little lane changing. I have a throttle boss/cramp buster that makes the miles much more comfortable.
Since my deer encounter a few days ago I have taken to closely following midsized trucks or large cars, the idea being that they will illuminate the road better and hit the deer for me. I stay close so deer are not tempted to cross behind them and in front of me. I find that deer are less common on interstate highways, and anyway, I prefer the controlled traffic, one way lanes, and controlled access. Big semis will blow you around, especially about fifty feet in their rear, where the wakes rejoin. Avoid that distance.
Bring a half cover for the bike. You will get rain or frost on it, especially if you work the night shft. A full cover will melt against the pipes. Check to see if your insurance will cover commuting...some don't without your specifying.

In closing, count on taking longer. do not drive like a kid on a bike in the summer. Passing, lane changing, and frequent acceleration will make you a hazard. You are doing this to save money, not to be a cool biker dude.

My three cents worth.
 

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Be careful and take it easy as it'll be dark and may be wet. If its wet, don't use any large inputs of any kind, throttle up or down, quick shift and quick clutch engage, deep banks left or right - all of this should be avoided. Everything should be nice and smooth, seemless and carful. The first thing to do is watch the weather reports. They will tell you the road conditions and if there's ice or black ice. If there is, obviously take the cage.

Not sure if you get snow down there but if you do be careful on that first nice day. By "nice" I mean no snow on the roads or bridges, dry conditions, sunny day, still cold out but worth a ride. If you get snow and the salt trucks have been around, the salt will still be on the road even though they're dry and its tough to see. If you hit a patch of that you might as well be on gravel. I came around a corner on a brisk but dry morning and luckily hit the patch on a straight away. My tires still did the 'wandering' thing and it was rather disconcerting. Had I been in a turn I'd have been down guaranteed. In the Summer I "have fun but be careful" in the Winter I "Be careful but have fun". Be mindful and stay alert. :D
 

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There are only two rules for riding a motorcycle on ice and snow safely. Unfortunately no one remembers what they are.

Well, I do. The two rules are:

1. Have the right equipment

2. Ride like you are transporting explosives.

The right equipment does not just mean warm gear, it means you need the right motorcycle. A 500lb cruiser with smooth street tires is not the right choice. A 100-250cc dirt bike with studded tires is.

Once moving, you have to slow everything down as much as you can, this means beging braking hundreds of feet sooner, and accellerate as slowly as possible. Slow the bike down to a complete crawl to make any turn, so you can avoid leaning the bike as much as you can.

That said, I ride my big ass FJR in winter, but not when there is even a chance of there being any ice on the roads. I will simply not ride if the temps are at or below freezing and the roads are wet.

If there has been no snow, the weather has been dry for days,it is very sunny and the temps are below freezing... I might go out for a short ride but will stick to local roads , I won't take the 20 mile highway commute to work however.

At temps above freezing and dry, you should have no real problems other than staying warm. But don't take the bike out if the roads have snow or ice on them....simply not worth it.

KM
 
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