Cold Weather Riding Safety

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Cold Weather Riding Safety

Postby tanddrew » December 27th, 2009, 11:30 am

I first read this post on another forum; it was posted originally on a police bikers forum.

By Lt. L.P. Walker

This is a notice to all motor officers, and especially those who may not have experienced much cold-weather riding. Motorcycle tires and pavement interact differently at colder temperatures giving a rider less traction than he would have in warmer weather. It’s good to remember that riding in cold weather is roughly the same as riding in wet weather.

Colder temperatures affect the rubber compounds in motorcycle tires by making them more rigid and less flexible than they are in warmer weather. This means that the tire has a weaker grip on the roadway surface. Of course the center part of the tire will heat up after a few minutes of riding and give more adhesion, but the edges of the tire that do not contact the surface during normal straight-ahead riding remain colder than the rest of the tire. During tight turns, these cold edges contact the pavement and can lose traction against the cold pavement and cause a front wheel slip that can be disastrous to the rider. In temperatures in the 30’s and below, this becomes much more pronounced.

It’s good to remember that cold tires against cold pavement can cause a situation similar to riding on wet pavement. So treat colder weather the same as you would wet weather, and remember to ride safe.
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Re: Cold Weather Riding Safety

Postby poor_yorick » February 6th, 2010, 12:22 am

Thanks, tanddrew. Great advice. Interestingly, this was not mentioned in a recent MOST class I took here in CO. It's something that a rider probably doesn't realize unless brought to one's attention.

So, do you have a take on how well "still safe", broken-in motorcycle tires dissipate heat in cold weather? I had a blowout years ago in the car on the highway here in CO because (I believe) we got going too fast too soon on the Interstate before sunrise. Temp was in the low teens that morning. Tires had a C rating for heat which I hadn't really considered until then. We purchased them when we lived in Atlanta. Anyway, we were doing the speed limit which was 70. The right rear failed. Had both hands on the wheel at the time; we slowed and moved over to the shoulder safely. Car had been parked outdoors the night before. I won't ever buy another set of C's due to that blowout. No need to.

Thanks again.
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Re: Cold Weather Riding Safety

Postby Dennis » February 6th, 2010, 6:45 am

Great advise! Never thought about it, thanks

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Re: Cold Weather Riding Safety

Postby Shady » February 6th, 2010, 7:39 pm

I ride like a puss. Prolly doesn't matter that much for me. Never really that aggressive in the twisties (turns). I do keep my brake and clutch levers covered though (three fingers) all the time. Nice info though for those that ride fast and hard in the colder temps. We have fairly Nice and moderate temps here in the southeast (alot warmer than say the New England states). For precautionary reasons I still keep "tha girl" safe under her cozy "bikeport" (heh heh) when the temps get below 30 degrees F. Also on a side note Lemon pledge (generic brands work as well) will repell rain on your windsheild and help make scratches less obvious, which also can improve vision, therefore make you much safer. Ride safe folks, it is a jungle out there.

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