If you’re planning on riding your motorcycle or scooter over the winter months, then you’ll be preparing to deal with some challenging driving conditions. Bikesure has put together some top tips for making winter riding safer and easier as well as a guide to the best bikes for new riders facing their first winter on two wheels.
Bikers in the UK face a diverse set of challenges ranging from snow, ice, rain and wind to subzero temperatures – sometimes all in the same day! While there are very few parts of the country that get blanketed in thick snow for extended periods of time, even a mild covering of snow can bring chaos to the roads, especially if it melts and refreezes. Motorcycles become a lot more risky to ride during the winter, so new riders should be extra cautious when they take to the roads.
For most urban riders, the overall condition of winter roads won’t be as bad as those in the country, but that doesn’t mean you should complacent about the dangers – black ice is as big a hazard in town as anywhere else.
Our tips for riding in winter
If you’re planning on riding a lot during winter, it might be a good idea to get winter tyres fitted. These can help to improve grip in wet and icy conditions, but can have the opposite effect when it’s dry. Obviously, you need to take more care than usual, regardless of what tyres you have, as even small amounts of ice or snow can be dangerous.
If it’s cold enough for ice you should also be wrapping up well while you’re on your motorbike or scooter, with a waterproof outer layer. As most heat is lost through your head, a full-face helmet will help to keep you warm, but you should make sure it has ventilation to stop the visor from steaming up. Don’t forget your feet either, rubber boots will stop you getting damp and cold down there. If your clothes are too bulky that can affect how you drive, so just be aware when you’re trying out your winter wear for the first time!
Of course, the other main risk of riding in winter is the longer period of darkness at either end of the day. A hi-vis vest will help you stand out on the roads, or you could add reflective strips to your coat and bike. Anything that heightens your visibility to other road users could be a lifesaver.
In terms of actually driving, keeping an eye out for patches of ice involves knowing where they’re more likely to be. The closer to the kerb you get the more likely it is there’ll be ice lurking, ditto any areas in the shade or dips in the road.
If the roads have been gritted then you should attempt to clean your bike once you’re done riding, as the sand and salt can be extremely corrosive. This damage can be mitigated by using grease and an anti-corrosive spray.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a bike that’ll handle winter roads nicely is wheel size. Larger wheels provide a more stable ride, which can help to reduce the potential dangers of winter driving.Motorbikes