Sur­vive win­ter

Rid­ing in ex­treme cold can be a mas­sive chal­lenge HID­DEN DAN­GERS Damp and icy patches can linger un­der the shade of trees. Watch for ice around cat’s eyes – they of­ten hold mois­ture

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

Find­ing grip

It will take much longer for your tyres to come up to op­ti­mum op­er­at­ing tem­per­a­ture, so be cau­tious over the first few miles. Race or track day tyres sim­ply won’t work in freez­ing con­di­tions, even if it’s dry. Feed the power in smoothly, brake gen­tly and treat the road as if it’s slip­pery.

Stay warm

Cold hands won’t be able to op­er­ate the clutch and brake lev­ers ef­fec­tively. In ex­treme cases this can in­crease your stop­ping dis­tances, or lead to a loss of con­trol. Feel­ing cold will also af­fect your re­ac­tion times and cause rapid fa­tigue. Keep your core warm with heated cloth­ing and mul­ti­ple lay­ers. Heated grips will help pre­vent your hands freez­ing.

Trees and cat’s eyes

Ice can lurk in shad­ows, es­pe­cially in the morn­ing as it’s not had the sun to thaw it. Cat’s eyes can hold wa­ter too, which freezes overnight and makes them even more of a haz­ard, es­pe­cially in the morn­ings.

Hang back a lit­tle

Even in the dry your brak­ing dis­tances will be longer. The level of grip isn’t there from the front tyre, and your re­ac­tion times will be slower too. Give your­self more room to re­act to haz­ards ahead, and in­crease your stop­ping dis­tances.

En­durance test

A few hundred miles in the mid­dle of sum­mer is easy but in win­ter it’s much more drain­ing. Take reg­u­lar breaks to keep warm, and sched­ule stops into your jour­ney. Try not to push on through the cold. As soon as you start to feel un­com­fort­ably cold, take a quick break. Short, re­peated breaks are prefer­able to a huge de­frost af­ter a long jour­ney.

Mo­tor­way miles

In re­ally cold tem­per­a­tures, even in the dry and de­spite high speeds, your front tyre can re­main very cool, es­pe­cially if you are just cruis­ing at speed, rather than re­peat­edly load­ing it with reg­u­lar brak­ing. Be aware of this when leav­ing the mo­tor­way and ap­ply­ing your brakes, as you might not have the grip you’re ex­pect­ing. Also be aware that the tyre side­walls will still be cold front and rear, so ap­proach that first round­about with cau­tion. You might also find that your mus­cles have got colder than you think, rob­bing you of feel and re­sponse speed.


Take ex­tra care on mo­tor­ways as there may not be much grip­gen­er­at­ing heat in your front tyre

Adam Child MCN Se­nior Road Tester and year-round com­muter from York­shire

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