Now that the winter has hit hard and cold, some riders may opt to store their motorcycles safely in their garages till the next riding season. However, there are those die-hard fans that will battle the biting cold to be atop of their bikes. Regardless of the type of bike you are using (Ural sidecar rig or a three wheeler); consider the below-mentioned factors when riding in winter:
· Right helmet (that emits heat in case of an accident to avoid swelling of the head)
· Safety clothes (to keep you warm)
· Good lighting
· Good quality engine and finally
· Winter tires! Your tires should give you a combination of good feel, good grip and longevity.
What to check for when shopping for winter tires
Standard tires have good dry traction; however the same can not be said of their wet traction. Tires, whether manufactured by the same manufacturer or not, differ greatly in their tread patterns and their rubber compounds because each is made for a different riding surface. Street bike tires have different tread patterns and contact patch compared to dirt bike tires. Similarly, summer tires can not be used during winter because their wet traction is not as good as that of winter tires hence end up being very slippery.
Winter tires have wider grooves and narrow slits at the edges of the tread area to get as much water from their contact patch as possible. Another notable difference is that winter tires are made of material that remains soft and maintains a good grip well below zero degrees Celsius. The standard tires, however, are made of rubber compounds that stiffen as the temperature drops hence their grip starts to reduce below seven degrees Celsius.
What kind of tires to you use
There are a number of winter motorcycle tires available in the market from notable brands. The brand you choose for your motorcycle depends on your preference. Here are the few brands available currently:
1) Winter Shinko Motorcycle Tires - These have a considerable good grip and last long.
2) Trelleborg has two types:
i. Army Specials - They are great; the rubber stays soft even when the temperature gets really low, but do not last too long.
ii. Kenda - They have a good compromise between traction and longevity.
3) Bridgestone TW 301/302 - They tend to be slippery.
4) Metzeler Karoo - They are of standard quality.
5) Pirelli MT21s - They are of standard quality.
6) Dunlop D606 - They are of standard quality.
Michelin Tires have two types of winter tires, Alpin and Pilot Alpin, but they are designed for cars only. Snow chains may work just fine, in absence of winter motorcycle tires.
We are all aware that slippery roads require more grip therefore good tires are essential for winter riding. To optimize the road performance of your bike, it is important to buy tires that are designed specifically for winter weather to prevent your bike from slipping. It is also important to check tire pressure as under inflated tires can affect your bikes handling significantly.
Arline W is a motorcycle expert affiliated with 4wheelonline.com, one of the country's leading retailers of Shinko motorcycle tires. For more information contact them on 813-769-2451 or visit them along 6605 North Nebraska Avenue.