Vertu Motorcycles' Winter Riding Tips
The temperature drops, the riding conditions become challenging and the majority of the day is met with poor visibility - winter soon comes around and has us questioning whether to ride or not... especially if the summer hasn’t been particularly great.
For some, the darker, colder months is time to put the bike away – in hibernation for a couple of months, whilst you keep it maintained, clean and prepared for summer’s adventures again.
For others, it’s time to pull out the right kit, gather some common sense and make a few adjustments to your riding style.
Braving wintry weather on your motorcycle needs you to be alert, organised and protected as much as possible from the elements.
Check out our Top Ten Tips for riding safely this winter:
1. Get your bike prep right.
It may be a chore, but it’s essential to make sure everything on your bike is clean and in perfect working order. Check your, tyres, controls, lights, oil and chassis.
This should include your indicators, the lubrication of your drive chain and checking that your motorcycle roles freely, without any resistance – this is a great indication that the brake pads haven’t stuck to the discs from salt corrosion.
If it’s been a while, take your bike out for a shorter ‘checking it over’ trip first, before any longer journeys you have planned.
2. Wrap up warm - cold hands are slow hands.
Anything below 10 degrees Celsius can affect your ability... If it’s cold outside, you need to make sure you have the right gear on. If you’re not wrapped up and winter ready, chat to one of our team today to get some kit organised.
We have a fantastic range of quality clothing and accessories readily available.
In terms of rider kit, your motorcycle helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment. Did you know a typical helmet is good for five years, three if used regularly? If yours is older, get it changed.
3. Their visibility of you is key.
Be visible with the dark setting in – it’s incredibly important to make sure you can be seen.
Remember, you’re not the only one journeying out during the dark, wintery months. All motorists are dealing with compromised conditions – give them the best chance of seeing you, especially when the sun sets, or the weather interrupts the view.
4. Make some space.
It’s common sense really – when riding during winter, give yourself extra room to stop and be gentle when getting up to speed.
Remember, there are a number of factors that can affect braking distances - from vehicle weight, speed, braking force and thinking time - all of these factors are exacerbated during winter.
It’s not the time to go hard and fast – be cautious and careful, leaving enough space to avoid meeting a hazard too quickly.
5. Beware of wet leaves and mud on the road.
The simple advice is to take it easy – with winter, you can never be quite sure what lies ahead in your path.
Save carefree open-road riding for those glorious dry summer days. Not only is there much less grip on wet, muddy or even icy roads, you’ll also be challenged by the wind and the rain battering you as you ride.
Fully use your lane; give yourself space to adapt, adjust, and slow down if necessary.
6. Watch out for ice, especially in the morning and night.
It may sound obvious, winter equals ice, which equals more danger when you’re on two-wheels, but ice patches are always hidden and even more lethal than they seem.
Even if it looks mild outside, ice patches could have formed overnight or black ice formed in the morning, which can radically reduce grip. Even though your tyres may heat up over time, initially cold tyres on a cold surface provides the least amount of traction.
7. Stay alert, stay sharp.
Remember, if you haven't ridden for a while, your skills won’t be as sharp as they were. Especially in winter, riders need to be more on the ball than ever.
Weather and terrain can be unpredictable – your reflexes need to be on point to help mitigate accidents.
8. Trickle chargers are a good idea.
Batteries don't enjoy the cold - have a trickle charger to hand to avoid any flats holding you back in freezing temperatures.
9. Keep an eye on weather forecast.
Try and anticipate what you could be dealing with, and never over-estimate your abilities...
If it’s snowing or going to snow, give it a miss. Although you may think you’ve got the experience and responses to stay safe, accidents still happen when the weather is this extreme.
10. Enjoy it.
We’re all in the same boat in winter – it’s cold and wet, but we can still enjoy the ride.
Stay safe, be prepared and take it easy. Summer will be around soon enough.
Want some more advice? Our friendly, yet professional team of motorcycle experts are happy to help. Contact your local Vertu Motorcycles retail site: