There is no other feeling like driving your motorcycle in the cold winter snow. Enjoying the surroundings with the wind in your face is one of the key things you can experience when driving a motorcycle but is it even possible to drive it in the snow?
First things first, can you ride a motorcycle in the snow? The short answer is yes. You can easily ride your motorcycle in the snow, but there are a lot of factors that you need to consider to make this a viable approach and various threats that could occur.
This article will explain all the things you need to look out for and all the equipment you need to manage when driving a motorcycle in the snow.
Everything You Need To Know About Driving In The Snow
While driving your trusty motorcycle in the snow may sound like an exciting prospect, there are a lot of things to consider, such as the changes that the snow brings, as well as the dangers that come with the snow because, let’s face it, driving in the snow is no walk in the park and only gets harder if you try to do so with a motorcycle.
In this part of the article, I will talk about everything you need to know when planning on driving your motorcycle in the snow.
I will talk about what you should expect when driving your motorcycle in the cold snow, as well as the dangers that come with it. Moreover, you’ll also find out how you can ride your motorcycle in the snow safely and effectively.
Riding A Motorcycle In The Snow
Compared to driving in the summer heat, riding your motorcycle in the snow can be a very different experience. An obvious change you will feel immediately is that it will be much colder than normal.
It is a much more difficult experience than riding your motorcycle on normal roads. Driving your motorcycle at high speeds in the winter snow is a bone-chilling experience and can lead to various conditions such as frostbite or hypothermia.
The snow also has a major effect on the grip and traction of your motorcycle as well which makes it a much more difficult experience to drive on the snow, and if it is your first time doing so; you will have to take a lot of precautions when driving on the snow.
The snow will bring along with it a slew of new weather conditions, which will reduce visibility and limit the movement of your fingers and overall agility.
How To Ride Your Motorcycle In The Snow
The first thing you will want to do before driving your motorcycle on the road is to make sure it is fully prepped for the snow and capable of driving in it.
I will talk about this later in the article, so make sure you read the whole thing as this will benefit you a lot. You should also have an understanding of different snow types as well which can range from the following:
- Fresh Snow
- Compacted Snow
- Heavy Snow
Fresh snow is easier to ride in as it allows you to see the sides of the road, and it should compact under the tires, leading to easier traction.
This brings me to compacted snow which is snow that has already been driven on. A helpful tip here would be to drive close to these tracks.
You should avoid driving directly on top of them as they can get slippery, and you may even get stuck on them.
As the snow begins to clear, it will become slush, which is quite dangerous as the motorcycle can easily skid off the road, so you should adopt a cautious approach.
The last type of snow is heavy snow, and it is best said that you should avoid driving on this snow entirely.
Reasons Why You Should Avoid Driving A Motorcycle In The Snow
While you may be under the impression that driving in the snow is a fun and exciting experience, it is quite the opposite.
It is a grueling and difficult thing to do and comes with a lot of risks and dangers, such as:
The biggest danger you can face is your motorcycle slipping in the snow. Driving your motorcycle in the snow requires a lot more traction and stability.
Depending on the weather, you can easily get caught out in a snow storm which can be a very harsh situation to survive in.
Even without the threats of a snow storm, you can suffer from hypothermia or frostbite, as mentioned above, which lead to death, and the latter can result in amputation and surgeries.
You should think hard about whether driving in the snow will be worth it or not.
Preparing Your Motorcycle For Riding In The Snow
If you have decided that you have to take your motorcycle out in the snow, you should make sure that your motorcycle is perfectly prepared and equipped to handle the dangers of riding in the snow.
Here, I will highlight the main things you need to check before driving out in the snow and what you should maintain.
I will also mention various modifications and equipment that you should consider purchasing to make your life easier while driving in the cold, harsh snow so that you may avoid the many conditions I mentioned above.
1. Maintaining Proper Tires And Tire Pressure
If you feel as if your tires are not up to the task due to excessive wear and tear, it is recommended that you replace them entirely as they will not last long when in the snow.
It is also recommended that you invest in tire screws for added stability and safety.
If you feel your tires are in tip-top condition, then make sure that you check their tire pressure as the cold will affect the pressure, so you have to make sure that everything is stable and in an optimal condition.
2. Maintaining Your Power System And The Lights
The power system is the heart and soul of the motorcycle, and you have to make sure that it is functioning properly.
This means that you should look for exposed cables and make sure everything is in order. If you think that the power system is faulty, take it to a mechanic immediately and get it fixed.
You should make sure that the headlights are working if you decide to go out at night, they have to be in proper working condition as the snow can easily limit your visibility, and any more limitations can seriously spell disaster.
The lights should have a good intensity to them. The tail lights should also be in proper working order so that other people can see you in front of them.
Finally, the battery and its terminals also need to be checked and perhaps replaced if it is causing problems. A simple voltage check should help figure out what needs to be done.
3. Buying Motorcycle Modifications/Equipment For Easier Riding
You can consider various modifications when planning on taking your motorcycle out for a spin in the snow. The first thing that I will recommend is that you get heated grips.
As I mentioned above, the snow can cause you to lose your agility, especially in your fingers which is why you should install heated grips to make it easier for your hands to operate while under the intense cold.
Gloves can further amplify this effect. While this may not come under the category of equipment but winter-specific coolants should also be used.
You should have a good amount of oil and antifreeze to prevent internal damage and freezing.
Oil thinners can help further improve performance as well. If all else fails, you could use this as an excuse to buy a brand new motorcycle that is better built and equipped for the snow.
Tips For Better Riding On The Snow
Here are a few tips and tricks that every motorcyclist should know if they plan to drive in the snow.
1. Make Sure You Have The Proper Equipment
I have highlighted all the equipment you should purchase necessary for you to have a safer and easier time driving your motorcycle in the snow.
You should make sure that all your equipment is in proper condition and that you utilize it to its full potential to get the most out of it.
2. Avoid Driving The Motorcycle At Night
With limited visibility, even in the daytime, it is not recommended that you drive your motorcycle at night.
There can be different distractions that can cause accidents, and even if you are giving your full attention and focus to the road, there are still chances that you may miss some debris due to the lack of visibility.
It can lead to serious accidents, so you should avoid driving at night entirely.
3. Stay Focused At All Times
As discussed above, a lack of visibility can be a dangerous thing which is why you should divert all your attention and focus on the road and your surrounding so that you can avoid any debris or rough patch of snow that is in your way.
You should try to increase your range of vision as far as you can and make sure that none of it is obstructed.
4. Avoid Speeding
Driving in the snow is already difficult due to the lack of traction. There is always a chance of slipping, which can only increase if you are speeding.
You should also know that since the braking distance is also greatly increased, you will not be able to stop fast enough if you have to make a sudden stop while speeding.
This can lead to dangerous situations, so you should not speed in the snow.
5. Avoid Driving On Cracks Or Ice
Driving on cracks is extremely dangerous and life-threatening. If you see a crack in the road, you should try your best to avoid it, as even in the best-case scenario, you will end up with a ruined tire.
6. Adapt To A New Driving Style
With so many dangers that come with driving in the snow, you must adapt to a new driving style if you want to avoid any accidents.
If you have a habit of speeding, then it is time to break that habit and adopt a slower and more stable style of driving a motorcycle.
7. Know When To Call It Quits
Sometimes, there may just be too much snow for you to drive properly.
If you know that a huge snow storm is coming or that a huge amount of snow is expected to fall, it is best to give up driving in the snow entirely and wait until things start to clear up.
The question is not “can you ride a motorcycle in the snow”, the real question is whether you should try and do so?
There are many things to manage when driving a motorcycle normally and a lot of things to take care of. These are only amplified when you go driving out in the winter snow.
With the snow comes a variety of dangers that you have to look out for, so I would not recommend driving out in the snow unless it is necessary or unless you are perfectly confident in your abilities and have the equipment to safely do so.