How to Ride a Motorcycle in the Wind

Photo of a Person Riding a Motorcycle on a Road Between Trees where the wind is high at high riding speed. You can expect high winds when riding a motorcycle at high speeds.

You’ve probably heard repeatedly that the wind is unsuitable for motorcycle riding. Now you wonder how to ride a motorcycle in the wind and do it while observing utmost motorcycle safety.

But is all wind bad for motorcycle riding? How can you gear up for the condition, and what riding techniques can you use?

This article answers these questions and many more. The goal is to help you understand the risks of riding a motorcycle in windy conditions, know what to do in such situations, and successfully maneuver your bike.

Let’s get started!

Wind Strength and Motorcycle Riding Safety

Not all wind is dangerous for motorcycle riding, and you can tell that from its speed, which is measured by an anemometer or a home weather device like WeatherFlow Wind Meter.

From the speed, you can tell how dangerous the wind is, as discussed below:

Less than 15 mph  

A wind speed of 15 mph (miles per hour) may affect smaller, lightweight motorcycles, but not bigger ones. Even so, you can still ride lightweight motorcycles if you gear up correctly and use the correct riding technique.   

16-20 mph

Wind speeds from 16 to 20 mph will probably affect smaller motorcycles, especially those weighing below 400 pounds. You may, however, not have a problem maneuvering one if you are an experienced rider.  

21-30 mph

Once the wind speed reaches 21 mph, you will probably feel some discomfort even with a motorcycle weighing above 400 pounds. However, you may not have a problem maneuvering a bike weighing over 700 pounds.

30-40 mph

Riding a motorcycle weighing below 700 pounds is risky when the wind speed is between 30 and 40 mph. In most cases, the wind is likely to knock over the bike.

40 mph plus

You should be careful riding a motorcycle once the wind reaches 40 mph, regardless of the bike’s weight. 

At 40 plus mph, sizable objects start to fly, and you are more likely to be knocked over when riding in such high winds. That’s unless you gear up correctly and master a few motorcycle riding techniques, which we’ll share in this post.

Blurry image of a man riding riding a motorcycle on an open road. You can expect more wind when riding a motorcycle over an open area where there is no windbreak.

Types of Wind That Affect Motorcycle Riding

The wind comes in three types, depending on the direction it’s flowing from, as follows:

  • Headwind – This form of wind blows against you from the front. It usually slows you down, making the riding tiring.
  • Tailwind – This form of wind blows in your direction. It pushes you forward, saving you gas. However, it can cause you to lose control of the bike’s speed if it’s too strong.
  • Crosswind – This form of wind blows from the sides and often gets accompanied by strong currents or wind gusts, which can toss you off the bike.

Dangers of Riding a Motorcycle in Windy Conditions

Here are the general dangers that come with riding in windy conditions:

  • Flying objects – Strong wind may cause things to fly, which could hit you and cause injuries on the face and body.
  • Dust – Dust could get into the eyes and interfere with your visibility, exposing you to a crash.
  • Fatigue – Strong wind, especially headwinds, makes riding more difficult and tiring.
  • Strong wind can knock the motorcycle over – If the wind is too strong for the bike, it can knock it and you over.
A man riding a motorcycle and having a cloud of dust blow up behind him in the wind.

What Motorcycle Type Is Better for Windy Conditions?

Not every motorcycle is suitable for riding in windy conditions. As shared, smaller and lightweight motorcycles (below 400 pounds) are not best for riding in windy conditions with an average speed of over 15 mph.

Another important note is that you need a more aerodynamic motorcycle to ride against headwinds. You’ll have better chances with the following types of motorbikes:

  • Standard/naked motorcycles
  • Dual sport motorcycles
  • Adventure motorcycles
  • Sportbikes
  • Touring motorcycles
  • Sport touring motorcycles

As for the tailwind and crosswind, any motorcycle type will do well if you use the right gear and riding technique.

What Motorcycle Gear Is Better for Windy Conditions?

Essentially, you need a full-face motorcycle helmet to protect your face and eyes against dust and flying objects.

If you don’t have a full-face motorcycle helmet, consider protecting your eyes with motorcycle goggles and your ears from the wind noise with reliable earplugs.

If your neck is exposed, tie a bandana (or scarf) around it to protect it from dust and flying objects. Furthermore, wear a long-sleeve shirt or a jacket to cover your arms.

Motorcycle Riding Techniques for Windy Conditions

This video will be loaded from, a reliable and safe video-sharing third party. By playing it, you accept their terms of service, and their use of cookies. The video will deepen your understanding of this topic.

Wearing the right gear alone is not enough to beat the wind when riding a motorcycle. You must master a few techniques, as follows:

How to Ride a Motorcycle Against Headwind

When dealing with headwinds, your goal is to reduce the frontal area that the wind hits. You can do that by riding low under the windscreen and trying to make your body as streamlined as possible.

If the wind is too strong, identify a wind block like a building, hill, or large truck to hide from the wind until its strength reduces to a level you can ride safely. 

How to Ride a Motorcycle in Tailwind

Since tailwinds push you forward, you should create a safe distance for stopping to avoid hitting something. 

While at it, remember to take a low position under the windscreen, just like you do against the headwind. This position allows excess tailwind to flow over your body to the front of the bike.

How to Ride a Motorcycle in Crosswind

The best way to deal with the crosswind is to loosen up and allow the wind to flow naturally across your body. Don’t panic!

Also, ride behind your motorcycle’s windscreen as close as you can. Additionally, try sticking out one knee or lean the bike in the crosswind direction to counter its charge.

 A man riding a sports bike. Sports bike riders usually lean forward to improve aerodynamics when riding a motorcycle in headwind.

Just before you go…

Knowing how to ride a motorcycle in wind conditions helps to avoid the dangers of the situation. Overall, it takes the right gear and technique, but don’t forget to consider how strong the wind is and if your motorcycle is heavy enough to withstand it.

Here are other articles on the site that you will love:

People Also Ask

Though we’ve covered the basics of how to ride a motorcycle in the wind safely, you may still have some questions for which some answers would come in handy. 

How Windy Is It Too Windy to Ride a Motorcycle? 

It is usually too windy to ride a motorcycle if your bike is too small or too light (below 400 pounds) and the wind speed is above 20 mph. You can also tell it’s too windy if there are flying objects and too much dust when the wind blows.

Is It Safe Riding a Motorcycle in Windy Conditions?

Riding a motorcycle can be dangerous when the wind is strong as it can cause objects to fly and hit you. It could also cause dust to flow in the air and get into your eyes, interfering with your vision and riding. Or worse, a strong wind can knock you and your motorcycle over.

Can Wind Knock a Motorcycle Over While Riding?

If the wind is too strong (over 30 mph), and the motorcycle is lightweight (below 400 pounds), it can knock over the bike while riding. This usually happens when you don’t use the correct riding technique against the wind.

About Alex

Hi Friends! Welcome to Motorcycle Exploits. I'm Alex! If you ever had any personal hindrances or doubts about your abilities to ride a motorcycle, then you are in the right place, Mate! My desire is to help you overcome any fears and other personal struggles you have so that you, too, can celebrate your EXPLOITS!