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How to prepare your bike for winter riding?

In the previous article, we talked about the general principles of driving in the city in winter. Now I would like to review the necessary technical improvements that will make your winter travel easier. In general, tourists or enduro owners travel on motorcycles in winter. Touring bikes are better suited for tricky weather, so in winter, with proper preparation, they will carry the road much easier than any chopper or sportbike. Few people use a motorcycle in winter for daily commuting to work, usually they are prepared for one-time outings to nature or a fun time off the city highway.

For winter driving you will need:

  • Replacing candles with “hot”
  • Decide whether to change the oil to a less viscous
  • Install windscreen
  • Replace tires with more suitable for winter or studded
  • Additional lubrication of moving parts, cables, oil seals
  • Installation of heated handlebars
  • Installing additional protection
  • Working with the fuel system

Replacing spark plugs

From a technical point of view, winter driving creates problems for the engine due to low temperatures. With simple spark plugs, you are unlikely to get far. You know that the spark plugs are individually tailored for each motorcycle model, but do you consider the nature of the ride? A “hot” spark plug is called a spark plug, which heats up in less time and uses up its supply more slowly, and a “cold” plug heats up for a long time – it cools down quickly. “Hot” plugs are suitable for modest engine displacement and short distances, while “cold” plugs are relevant for long journeys and powerful engines. The logic behind installing a “hot” plug is simple: in winter, high-speed driving is not encouraged, but short trips at medium or low speeds are much more common.

In case you leave your regular candles behind, it is helpful to have a spare one with you in a warm, dry case or pocket when driving in winter.

Should I change the oil?

It is believed that in winter the oil thickens and therefore it must be changed to a less viscous one. Check the temperature range of the oil you are currently using. Is it suitable for the weather in which you are going to ride? Someone objects that less viscous oil will only help when starting the engine, others claim that in winter the oil warms up more slowly and this increases fuel consumption. If you are changing the oil, then in terms of viscosity you can use a less thick than recommended in the manual.

Installing a windscreen

The windshield will make you feel more comfortable. It is logical that for enduro you are unlikely to do this, but for long-distance travel on the same touring motorcycle, the difference between riding with and without a windshield in winter is obvious.

The engine itself is also insulated. The essence of installing wind protection or revising the radiator is to make it easier for the engine to reach the desired temperature, and not lose precious heat from the oncoming frosty stream.

Winter tread or studded rubber

Also a question of setting goals. If you know that you have icy expanses in front of you, then spikes are preferable, because on rubber without an additional metal bonus on ice, only acceleration without maneuvers is possible, otherwise you will lose grip when cornering. However, thorns are not the best argument when driving in deep snow, most often a motorcycle is dug in such conditions, and on the asphalt it goes over to the side of evil – slippery.

Alternatively, a large tread block shows itself well. For city driving, it is also advised to look for tires designed for a racing track in rain conditions. Modern manufacturers can offer different options to choose from. But do you really need a motorcycle in winter in the city?

In winter, the pressure in the wheels is reduced by about 0.3 in order to increase the grip of the wheel with the road surface.

Additional lubrication

Once again, they lubricate the moving parts of the motorcycle, as well as the cables and oil seals, which can become stale in the cold and not perform their functions properly. In addition, after driving through the snow, the lubricant plays the role of protection against corrosion, so it is better not to be lazy and process everything once again.

Installation of heated handlebars

A trifle, but nice. Hands freeze the most, and only then knees and feet. In order not to be distracted by the cold, installing heated handlebars will make your trip much more enjoyable. As an additional option, you can use a windscreen for your hands.

Installing additional protection

If in the summer it seemed shameful to you to ride with crash bars or other attachments to protect your motorcycle in case of falls, then it’s time to put them back in place. In winter, it is not recommended to ride a motorcycle even on public roads precisely because of the number of falls and the highest accident rate of motorcyclists.

Fuel system

Motorcycles do not like water, no matter how you try to prove them otherwise, driving through puddles or storming the track into a ford. Condensation that forms in the cavities of the motorcycle during temperature changes can significantly damage the engine. With regard to the fuel system, pilots do it in two ways:

  1. Fill the gas tank to capacity
  2. Use fuel stabilizers

It is up to the pilots to decide the degree of motorcycle conditioning before riding in the winter, depending on the goals. For some, a change of tires is enough to ride in the snow for a whole weekend, while others are seriously making adjustments to the complete set of the motorcycle so that a long journey is not frustrated by poor preparation. We have touched upon the basic points that will be required for a successful winter trip.

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