The following story about Cold Weather Preparation came to us courtesy of Enduro Engineering. Since they’re based in Michigan and spend a considerable amount of their riding year dealing with the elements of winter we thought who better to help us with a guide to “Winter Prep”. Here goes:
Once you have decided to get out and ride in the cold and snowy conditions of winter, there are some things that you will need to do to your bike to have fun in the snow. You will also need to make some adjustments to your normal riding gear to keep warm and comfortable in the colder weather.
Snow Ride – Bike Prep
1. Install a set of grip heaters. This should be considered a must. You will not be able to hang on to the bike or operate the throttle, clutch lever and front brake lever when your fingers are numb due to the cold.
2. Wrap the clutch and brake levers with cloth athletic tape. This will help insulate your fingers from the cold metal levers.
3. You have a couple of different options for achieving the traction you will need. The first option is to buy a set of tires made for riding in the snow. Most motorcycle dealerships should be able to get you a set of Michelin studded tires for $575.00 or so. If you don’t want to spend that kind of money you can always screw some Kold Kutter ice screws into your existing tires. Twenty bucks will get you 250 per bag. They come in various lengths from 3/8” up to 1-1/2” long. You should use 5/8” for the rear and _” for the front tire unless you are using tube protection. You will need about 3 bags to do a rear tire and 1 – 2 bags for the front. We prefer the studded tires.
4. If you ride a two stroke you will need to richen up the air fuel mixture to compensate for the cold temperatures. Usually a couple sizes up on the main jet along with richening the needle one clip position is enough. Make sure the jetting is good before you ride it hard. If you’re not sure, it is best to be a little on the rich side.
5. Cover the sides of your two stroke carburetor to prevent icing problems. Snow will be thrown up and around the carburetor. This could eventually cause the carburetor to freeze up, leading to fuel starvation and/or a stuck throttle. A set of plastic roost deflectors like the Enduro Engineering units work well. Just zip-tie them in place.
6. If you will be riding in deep snow, stop and check your air box periodically for snow buildup. Two strokes will sometimes suck enough snow into the air box to cause the filter to plug and freeze. Four strokes are not as prone to this problem.
Snow Ride – Riding Gear and Prep
1. Start with a good set of polypropylene full length thermal underwear. Wear your normal riding jersey over the polypropylene underwear.
2. Buy a good pair of fleece lined Gore-Tex socks. The fleece lining will keep your feet warm while the outer Gore-Tex shell will keep them dry.
3. Now you will need a good cold weather Enduro jacket and pants, preferably .
We use the Moose Monarch Pass jacket and pants. The Moose Expedition jacket/pant combo is also good.
4. Choose a glove that is well insulated over the back of the hand, yet thin and smooth over the palm of your hand so that you feel more of the heat from the grip heaters. We recommend the Moose (Mossy Oak Break Up) ATV gloves. They feel like a motocross glove on the palm, yet keep the back of your hand warm like a heavier winter glove.
5. Treat your riding boots with some type of water repellant to help keep your feet dry.
6. Helmets vary in the way that they are ventilated. If you feel too much cold air around your head, you might want to wear a thin stocking type cap or a balaclava like street riders wear under your helmet.
7. Now that you’re riding in the snow, you will need to see where you’re going. Normal goggle lenses won’t cut it. They tend to fog up in cold weather. We recommend a dual paned goggle lens. You can get them at any good dirt bike dealer.