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Andy Downes  says:

What’s your best winter survival tip?

If you were to share with everyone else your best winter bike preparation tip that keeps your bike working smoothly and looking great despite the colder months which would it be? Perhaps it would be a cheat that saves cash on your kit? Or maybe a riding tip that helps keep you safe and comes from years of experience. Despite the...

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  • Posted 3 years ago (12 December 2011 14:08)

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Aug 06

Posts: 11

inewham says:

extremeties and air leaks

Instead of spending 10 quid on glove liners from a motorcycle shop, stretchy 'magic gloves' for a couple of quid a pair from your local market work just as well and are as thin as the merino ones I bought from a bike shop

Never mind heated grips nothing beats handlebar muffs

You lose a fair bit of heat around the neck but your chest will get cold fast if the wind gets down your collar so wear something to block the wind out of your collar, a buff or one of those fleece collars over the top in addition to a scarf or whatever underneath

A kidney belt does wonders to keep the small of your back warm if your back protector is in your jacket.

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Jul 09

Posts: 7

JustChillOut says:

Totally agree with the need to keep the extremities warm to start with. Heated grips are a must, muffs are a bonus when it drops below about 4. Alpinestars GoreTex Boots were the best £140 that I ever spent. Really warm (only need warm socks for long journeys) and completely dry (3 winters old now).

I picked up a windproof running top from Aldi the other year for less than 20 quid. It's really thin, not at all bulky under my bike jacket, has a high collar and is really really warm. Just that and my work shirt under my jacket and I've been toasty down to -4. 

Divvy 600 so I always make sure the engine is fully warmed up before I leave and add Silkolene FST to the fuel to stop carb icing (been caught out a few times). Wash down weekly, plenty of ACF50 and a scottoiler to keep the chain happy.

As a rule of thumb, if I can get safely out of my drive, I'll ride. Some people people really need to man up...

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May 03

Posts: 175

Rich748 says:

Wear a balaclava

If there were one bit of winter kit I couldn't be without, it would be the balclava my dear ol' mum bought me about 18 years ago. It still comes out when the weather gets chilly and is better than the newer, flasher ones I've bought bought since!

A pinlock or similiar is also a godsend, and I'm also an advocate ot the cold water hose down every day- although there were a couple of weeks last winter when the hose was frozen solid for days, and it's scary how fast the rot sets in if you leave salt on your bike. My GSXR1000 has now seen 2 winters and the only problems I've had with the bike are corrosion related.

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Feb 08

Posts: 161

davdamos says:

I agree with off road or dual purpose trialie or similar. Stretchy latex gloves (the medical bum exam type) work under thick bike gloves, that way even if the gloves are wet your hands aren't :-) Last thing, leave earlier than normal to allow for slow moving traffic and maneuvering through deep snow or over ice :-) I say these things yet this is my first winter of actually owning a bike, and it hasn't snowed yet...

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Dec 10

Posts: 247

blue200tdi says:

Rubber gloves under your bike gloves is a sure fire way of getting freezing cold hands, they will cause condensation from the heat of your hands, then your hands will be wet and they'll get very cold!

Just buy waterproof gloves in the first place, mine cost me £36 about 15 years ago, they are still waterproof and warm, I even use them in the snow to make make snowmen for the kids and snowball fights!

Thermal underwear is cheap and very worthwhile, if you're really a tightwad, wear your OH's tights, yes really, they work very well. lmao!

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Jul 11

Posts: 42

cdlacey says:

Be Prepared!

I ride all year round, except in heavy snow, and I do the following..

If you know you're going to be travelling some distance by bike in crappy conditions, plan ahead as much as possible.

Take an extra thin layer or two in a backpack/tailpack, along with a cheapo waterproof jacket. If you get caught in freezing rain, being able to put extra layers on to keep you warm and dry could be massively advantageous.

Tell people when to expect you, and your likely route. This is particularly pertinent if riding at night, as you could have an off and no one would look for you, and in many situations no passers by may see you.

Take a small high calorie snack and keep it with your extra layers, along with a drink of water as well. If you are in the country and the mobile reception is poor, you can break down/crash with no way of contacting anyone. Being able to keep yourself fuelled and watered can make a huge difference to how you feel, as well as having a proven impact on mental sharpness.

When riding, try to be as smooth and consistent as possible. In poor weather other road users are also distracted, having a motorcycle approach at speed can cause them to flinch as you pass, or worse appear as though they have seen you when they haven't. Don't second guess them, it's not worth it.

Don't be in too much of a hurry, 9/10 you'll get to where you're going cheaper and faster than the car in front, don't feel you should cross the wet double white line on a bend just because there is no oncoming traffic, it's not a race.

Try to avoid "bulking up" too much in the cold. Firstly, thin layers are more effective, and secondly restricting movement means you are inclined to miss out safety techniques more readily as they are harder to perform. If you're warm but can't look over your shoulder, you might want to reconsider your gear choices.

Gear choice, on powerful bikes.. Choose the highest gear that isn't straining the engine. When there is less grip, anything that translates a clumsy throttle movement more quickly to the wheels can be bad news. Sure the bike will feel less responsive in 6th at 40mph, but that can be a good thing in poor conditions.

Uprate your headlight(s) to HID, I did this on my Super Blackbird and it makes a massive difference. Being able to see broken branches, blown litter, manholes etc more clearly and at greater distance allows you to plan more effectively, and therefore give yourself more time to react. If you already have epic headlights, you know exactly what I mean.

All the other stuff I can think of has been either covered in the original article, or by the posters below. ;)

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Aug 02

Posts: 4

etennant says:

I have always Waxoyled the bike in the Autumn.   Works great.  ACF50 sounds interesting.   Heated grips are mandatory.    Last year I bought some Snow Claws - yet to try them in anger though !

It is time tyre manufactures supplied winter tyres in this country.  It;s a disgrace they don't.  The softer compound of winter tyres would help a lot.

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Aug 02

Posts: 1556

superbol says:


Bolt yer battery to an optimiser n cover yer bike up !

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Jul 04

Posts: 240

dropdeadfred says:

6 P's

Proper Preperation Prevents Piss Poor Performance!

2 thin layers are better than 1 thick, and put them on the radiator to get them nice and toastie before you put them on, same with gloves, UNLESS they are wet, and leather, trust me they shrink!

Thin balaclava, scarf or neck tube less restictive and just as warm. Avoid owt that covers ya nose if ya wear specs, they steam up every time you breath out.

Pinlock insert or similar is a must.

As for the hands, 2 words HANDLEBAR MUFFS!!! they mat look a bit daft but they stop wind chill on backs of the hands but also keep them DRY. And if you can get heated grips in the mix you'll be sorted. I only have the bar muffs and I'm still using summer gloves on all but the very coldest of early mornings or late nights.

Other than that its usual stuff, rinse bike off daily, keep lights clean and wear some reflective clobber, arm bands are better than nowt.

Safe riding peeps,...DDF


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Aug 09

Posts: 56

gavinfdavies says:

1) Heated grips

2) Water proof kit (Hein Gerricke Tour Cool LT - very expensive, but totally 100% waterproof and very warm)

3) Well maintained bike. Rinse it if you don't have time to wash it, and a well lubed chain.

4) Clean Visor, Clean Headlamp, good bulbs.

5) Kawasaki ER6N - 20% of the list price, 0% finance, 55mpg (at 70-80mph cross country!), and 20,000 miles in 7 months without missing a beat. Get in my son.

6) Ride all year round. It'll give you the skills you need, and keep them honed. Just go to a track day in early spring, and watch half the fast group fling their bikes down the track of the first outing of the year. Meanwhile, us poor people who ride their salt encrusted bikes to the track day ride round the outside and then ride home...

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