Have Fun Riding In The Snow

Tip #115 from the pages of The Total Motorcycling Manual

ride in the snow

Riding in snow is a lot like riding in the rain, at least until the snow really starts to build up. And while rain dampens every road surface, the real danger with snow is ice: It forms in corners where water runs off and then refreezes. It also forms much faster on bridges, where the air blows under and over the road surface. What to do?

GET KNOBBIES In Scandinavian countries, you can buy special studded motorcycle tires. Short of that, a dirtbike with knobbies will work better than most streetbikes. If you're stuck and just need to ride a short distance, you can sometimes rig up ersatz tire chains by wrapping rope or bungee cords around your rear tire—just make sure they clear the chain and swingarm.

FOLLOW THE TRACKS Staying in the tracks other vehicles put down helps—but only if they're fresh. If they're old, they'll ice up; you may be better off riding in the fresh snow next to them. Use more rear brake than front—this is normally the opposite of what a street rider would do, but riding in the snow is more like riding in the dirt.

WATCH THE LEVER In really deep snow, the stuff can upshift your bike when it presses up against the shift lever. You may have to ride with your foot on the lever to keep it down. When the snow gets much deeper than six inches (15 cm), it may be time to trade in for a snowmobile.