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Winter Riding - Stone Cold Crazy

“You’re crazy; it’s too cold to ride!” Sound familiar? Even the coldest winter days aren’t enough to keep some of us off the bike. If you’re tempted to saddle up year-round, a little knowledge goes a long way toward another season of safe, relatively comfortable rides. Just to be clear, our definition of cold is somewhere between 20-50 degrees Fahrenheit. Take on snow/ice and you’re on your own, because that is crazy.


Winter riding can go from uncomfortable to downright dangerous if you’re unprepared. Cold wind is the biggest thief of precious body heat. When the wind-chill factor cracks like an icy whip, it can leave you gasping. The thermometer may register a reasonable 40 degrees at a standstill, but at 65 mph on a motorcycle, it’s more like 23 degrees. If it really is freezing, 32 degrees in the driveway turns into a potentially dangerous 12 degrees at that same speed. So what do you do?
The motorcycle you ride, and whether it has a fairing or windshield, will greatly determine how hard the cold hits you. Breaking that wind dramatically reduces the loss of body heat. More wind protection is clearly better, and big touring bikes offer the most. Sport-tourers offer just enough, while pure sportbikes, naked standards and cruisers provide little or none. Read more…

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