If you are lucky enough to be the owner of both a motorbike and a car then it doesn't take a genius to work out which one you are likely to use when the weather gets cold! If you don't have a choice then you need to make sure that wear the right gear to keep warm, dry and comfortable, and that your bike is up to the task of taking on the winter roads.
Winter maintenance for your bike
In cold or snowy weather the gritting lorries will be out in force. In these conditions you need all the grip you can get, but the downside is that your bike is likely to rapidly get coated in all the salt and grit that gets thrown up from the road. This will eventually dry on your machine, and if left on your brake callipers and discs, not only increases wear but can reduce your braking ability. If you have to ride regularly in these conditions it is a good idea to clean these important areas more often than you would normally.
If your bike has ABS it's a good idea to take it out on a quiet road and check that it works ok. Your ABS will be even more vital on winter road surfaces so if there are any problems you should get it checked out.
If your motorbike has a chain drive then make sure this stays clean and is properly lubricated.
If you can afford to, change to winter tyres. Your local dealer should be able to advise on which tyres are most suitable for your motorbike and the conditions. Make sure your tyre pressures are correct for your model of bike.
Make sure that all your lights are in order and that the lenses are clean.
Winter maintenance for you!
Make sure you wear the right clothing for the conditions. Remember that ambient temperatures that hover around freezing can actually be pushed way below the line when you take into account the 'wind chill' factor of being on a motorbike. If your hands or body are not comfortably warm it can affect both your judgment and your ability to use the controls of your bike, which cause you to have an accident. If you do get too cold then just stop somewhere for a hot drink and warm up a bit.
Winter clothing advice
Wear plenty of layers to keep your body warm, a good quality thermal base layer or under-suit is a good start. Further layers will also help and make sure your top layer is both windproof and waterproof.
Wear good quality boots with one or two pairs of thermal socks and a decent pair of warm gloves to keep your hands and fingers warm. It may be worth investing in some 'heated' gloves or other clothing, some of which can actually connected to your motorbike for extra comfort.
See and be seen
Wear some form of 'high viz' reflective waistcoat or strap. If you are traveling to and from work in the winter months the chances are both journeys will be made in the dark.
Opening the chin vents on your visor may just direct cold air into your eyes. Inexpensive anti-fogging sprays may be of some help or you could invest in a secondary visor attachment which effectively gives you 'double glazing' and can avoid the need for too much ventilation.
Keep a damp cloth handy for wiping anything that might be thrown up onto your visor from the road.
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