Plan ahead for safe winter riding
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While many will be packing up their leathers, putting the rego on hold and putting the tarp over their baby for the colder months, a few of us more hearty souls will carry on the good fight and continue riding throughout the winter. Here are a few tips on making sure your winter riding goes without any nasty surprises.
As a motorcyclist you are more at risk of a serious accident if your bike breaks down. The risk increases significantly while riding in wet weather. Ensure servicing is up to date to prevent any parts failing due to poor maintenance.
During winter your tyres become even more vital to keeping you shiny side up — wet roads make for slippery roads. Before the bad weather hits, check your tyres have plenty of tread and are in good condition. If you have sport/track biased tyres, consider investing in a pair of touring tyres which perform better in the wet.
Check your bike’s chain is in good condition, tight, and appropriately lubed. As the weather gets wetter you will need to stay on top of chain lubrication as water can cause some lubricants to be washed off your chain, causing excessive wear. Check every couple of days or weekly depending on conditions.
Bad weather = reduced ability to stop. Check your brake pads have plenty of meat on them and your brake fluid is in good condition. Bleeding brakes with fresh fluid will give you better brake feel, to help with pulling up in a hurry and preventing brakes locking up.
Your battery’s general life is three to five years at best. If your battery is getting closer to the end of its life span you may notice it takes longer to start your bike as the weather gets colder. Chilly weather can affect the chemical reaction which powers your battery. If this occurs, it is a sure sign that you need to replace the battery to avoid your bike cutting out mid-trip. There is nothing more embarrassing than pushing your motorbike on the side of the road ...
While keeping your bike in good condition for the winter, you also need to be looked after. Applying helmet wax is the safest way to clean and protect your helmet from the elements — you will find it at good bike stores, and it will stop water blurring your visor.
If you don’t already, invest in a rain suit to keep your gear protected from the elements — even the best gear can leak in a heavy downpour, so protect yourself and enjoy the ride.