Life as a biker often does not rhyme with winter, but it is also true that we often find ourselves discussing a commonplace that almost never finds a response in reality.
From hard and pure motorcyclists it is very easy to be told that winter “is a season like any other“, while the most prudent indulge themselves with considerations such as “the cold is not good for the tires“, or “I don’t want to risk to ruin the hulls“, or even “it is good that the beast rests before the spring awakening“.
We can safely say that the truth in this case lies in the middle.
Winter is a season where low temperatures, but more generally all weather conditions, can bring some discomfort to both the motorcyclist and his motorcycle, and it is for this reason that we reasonably tend to use the motorcycle in moderation trying to find alternative solutions when we are dealing with prohibitive weather conditions.
It is also true, however, that today, with due care and with all the precautions that modern technology and equipment are available to us, it is possible to organize ourselves to better face the winter season (for those who, for work or other reasons, cannot do without the motorcycle) or in order not to miss the opportunity to take a trip out on the weekend or maybe reach a fair or a motorcycle rally.
Make sure you have the right “shoes”
Without prejudice to extreme conditions (snow or ice on the bottom or during snowy phenomena) which by now also prevent by law from venturing on a motorcycle, it is useless to go around it: before jumping in the saddle on any winter day, the tires are the first element to be evaluated carefully. The road surface in this season can easily present itself in very heterogeneous conditions at distances of a few tens of meters: if on a sunny day we are traveling on a dry straight stretch with full exposure to the sun, we could find ourselves in a moment to face a hairpin or a wide radius curve in the shade, perhaps still wet or, worse, with unpredictable “patches” of ice. It is clear that physics are ruthless on two wheels and in these conditions, but starting with the right rules helps us a lot. In general, it is always a good practice to make sure that you have tires with a tread that has not already exceeded 50% of consumption, in order to have at least a good draining capacity in wet conditions. Furthermore, if during the summer we scrambled the tires for a few track sessions, in all probability we subjected them to thermal and mechanical stress which in some way altered, albeit slightly, the tire’s ability in terms of grip.
To avoid finding yourself in April telling unpleasant winter anecdotes, our dispassionate suggestion is to always have new tires that have specifications for road use only. Road tires are in fact able to guarantee, compared to a sports/racing tire, a high level of grip even at temperatures below 15 ° C and also ensure a high drainage capacity in wet conditions thanks to the tread layout specifically designed for these conditions.
The right dress plays its part
The choice of suitable and, why not, also technologically advanced winter clothing allows us to travel comfortably, warmly and, above all, safely. Unfortunately, we often find ourselves struggling with makeshift clothing such as “having more is better”, therefore thinking only of counting the number of garments to be worn rather than evaluating the quality and suitability of each garment worn. Today it is possible to find on the market motorcycle clothing such as jackets and trousers with high thermal holding capacity as well as excellent rainproof and passive visibility characteristics, not to be underestimated especially in rain or low visibility conditions. In addition, the choice of gloves and boots is of fundamental importance: for gloves there are both standard solutions (classic winter gloves) and innovative solutions such as electrically heated thermo-gloves, while for boots, often much more exposed while driving, there are as many valid solutions. For hand protection, the use of padded handguards together with heated knobs is also increasingly popular, especially in the tourism sector. Finally, particular attention must be paid to the choice of helmet and in particular to the ventilation system which must guarantee a correct anti-fog effect on the visor: for the latter there are also anti-fog solutions such as specific sprays or the more efficient “pinlock” system.
Also for “her” the due attention
If on the one hand it is true that modern motorcycles are designed and manufactured to ensure correct operation and the same performance even in harsh climatic conditions, we must not forget that they are not indestructible objects. It’s good to consider the fact that in winter the roads are generally dirtier and often, especially in the colder areas, they are sprinkled with salt or other products necessary to avoid the formation of ice. All this mix of materials settles easily on all the low parts of the bike such as fairings and exhausts, but also and above all on rims, brakes, hubs and final transmission. It is therefore advisable to consider washing the parts affected by the accumulation of these debris more frequently, which could cause severe corrosive phenomena over time, and properly grease the final transmission (if it is a chain transmission) to avoid damage or abnormal consumption due to dirt deposited.
Winter can be a wonderful backdrop to enjoy a motorcycle experience alone or in company but as always, beyond all the technical and technological devices we have just listed, to travel serene and have fun at the same time can never missing a fundamental ingredient: prudence.