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B-Rock

Cold weather riding...

13 posts in this topic

Hey guys, I just have a few questions about your cold weather riding experience.

This year I am going to try and ride for as long into the winter as I can (both on and off road.... I will be switching over to studs once the ice comes).

Do any of you have any tips or tricks for getting your cold bike started in the morning (ie switching to a hotter spark plug)?

What about things to be aware of that might cause problems (ie. switching to a lighter oil)?

and lastly, but most importantly; What tips do you have to keep as warm as possible (ie best helmet or gloves)?

All suggestions are welcome!! :thumbsup:

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lol ride inside P

its the wind that makes you cold (not the cold)

wear a rain jacket under all your clothes (shirt, rain jacket, sweatshirt and coveralls of some sort) i use my hunting gear

90% of heat loss is through your chest and head

yes lighter oil helps summer i run 20-50 summer 10-30

i give it 1 pump on the throttle to start and prefer 2 not use the easy button

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Most of the guys here use grip heaters and tape off sections of the rads so you can open them up gradually if the bike starts to run warm. As for starting the bike cold I wouldn't recommend the easy button either, better to choke and kick with a twist of the throttle before trying to start the bike. You can also use those big grip cover style mits that the quad and snowmobile guys use. WR Dave.

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thanks for the great comments so far guys!

keep'em rollin in though.

Ya that easy button just killed my battery last fall, so I learned on that one.

What about helmets? Should I just break down and buy a full face snowmobile helmet with the neck cover thing? Or do they make MX stlye helmets with a conversion kit or something?

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Provided there isn't too much snow, I ride all year as well. One thing I've learned is to keep the bike on a battery tender during the off times. I can use my easy button without a problem. Also, Thor used to make some really nice cold weather stuff, fleece-lined jerseys and neoprene gloves. They may have discontinued it, but I know you can get some of it on EBay from time to time. I can't remember what the line was called, but you might be able to find it with a little net search...SC

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Most of my cold weather riding is done on the street. Full side-zip insulated ski or snowboard pants, felt-pac boots , heated vest and heated grips and I'm good to go for 100 miles at a whack at 20 degrees F. But that's on a road bike with a windshield and lowers. Ice racing is more comparable to what you will experience on the WR. I'd suggest going to a local meet and check out the machines and riderwear.

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Other than the exterior layer, I wouldn't wear anything moto specific for warm clothing. What do offroad motorcycle clothing manufacturers know about cold weather? That's not where their focus is and the products they put out IMO are half-ass and overpriced at best. However, I would use an enduro jacket and pants on the exterior since they are tough will stand up to falls, branches, etc.

I spend a lot of time in the Rocky Mountains and if I'm wearing something for cold weather, I'm wearing a brand name that specializes in this type of clothing - i.e. Moutain Hardware, The North Face, REI brand, Columbia, Outdoor Research, etc.

Basically you want to layer so as you warm up you can take a layer off - you never want to sweat in the cold - being damp is what speeds up hypothermia as temps drop or your activity level drops.

Avoid Cotton on any layer.

First/ base layer (layer closest to your skin) should be thin, polyester/nylon/spandex/silk or some mix of materials that wick moisture away

Second layer should be an insulating layer - fleece, wool, down

Third layer should be a breathable water/wind resistant shell (enduro jacket in this case).

A "soft shell" under an enduro jacket with a medium thickness base layer should be sufficient for most really cold conditions.

Gloves, use a base layer glove then another insulated glove over the thin base layer that allows you freedom of movement

Head - find a balaclava that fits under your helmet. They make some that are thin on top (to fit under a snowboarding helmet), but thicker around the neck and mouth - that's what I use.

REI's website, and many others if you do a google search, has a tutorial on how to dress properly - learn from the companies that specialize in these things.

http://www.rei.com/LearnShareDetailArticlesList?categoryId=Travel&url=rei/learn/camp/cllayersf.jsp&cm_re=LS*LL*HTC_layering&vcat=REI_SSHP_MENS_CLOTHING_L4

http://www.rei.com/LearnShareDetailArticlesList?categoryId=Camping&url=rei/learn/camp/bkclothf.jsp&cm_re=LS*LL*HTC_backpack_clothing&vcat=REI_SSHP_MENS_CLOTHING_L4

http://www.rei.com/LearnShareDetailArticlesList?categoryId=Camping&url=rei/learn/camp/clsinglelayerf.jsp&cm_re=LS*LL*HTC_soft_shell&vcat=REI_SSHP_MENS_CLOTHING_L4

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For extreme cold weather riding, do a TT search for the user Frostbite. Haven't seen him on this forum for a while, but the archives should yield lots of good snow and ice info from him. Like how to scare away polar bears. :thumbsup:

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.... I'd suggest going to a local meet and check out the machines and riderwear.

Thats a great idea man, thanks!

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Other than the exterior layer, I wouldn't wear anything moto specific for warm clothing. What do offroad motorcycle clothing manufacturers know about cold weather? That's not where their focus is and the products they put out IMO are half-ass and overpriced at best. However, I would use an enduro jacket and pants on the exterior since they are tough will stand up to falls, branches, etc.

Couldnt agree with you more on that Tagger. :thumbsup:

As a veteran camper and bushman I have learned some great tricks on how to stay warm in the bush. I guess I just needed some confirmation on how the same "rules" apply to riding.

My biggest concerns are gloves and helmets. I'm not sure whether to go with a full snowmobile helmet , or jsut wear a balaclava under my MX helmet.

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+1 on the Grip Heaters:thumbsup: I use the Enduro Engineering ones and at first glance I thought. "these things won't last".... well they have outlasted every bike I've owned... one trick is to insulate the bar end on the LH side with heat shrink or something else because the bars will act as a heat sink and the right side will get much warmer than the left hand side because the throttle tube insulates the bars from the grip heaters... I know one guy who actually uses a throttle side grip on each side because the insulation coupled with the grip heater makes it too fat for a normal grip to fit over...

Anyway, I can't say enuf about the grip heaters, I love them up here in WA state not only on snow / cold rides but in the rain when your hands get wet and cold they offer a total attitude adjustment:ride:

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