10 Tips for Riding Your Motorcycle in Winter – How to Stay Warm and Safe

A male motorcycle rider in winter. It's important to stay warm when riding a motorbike in wintry conditions.

You are wondering what safety tips you should follow for riding your motorcycle in winter. Well, you have come to the right place!

It’s pretty tempting to jump onto your motorcycle during the winter and speed off. But let’s face it; winter is never the best time to ride a bike. The risks of suffering an injury, damaging property, and succumbing to hypothermia are high.

The good news is that you can safely and comfortably ride a motorcycle in the winter. All it takes is due diligence and implementing the ten cold-weather motorcycle riding tips we’ll share in this article.

Why Should You Ride Safely in Winter?

Having a safe cold-weather ride in the winter comes with these benefits:

1. Avoiding Hypothermia

Below-freezing-point temperatures cause a severe body temperature loss called hypothermia. Its symptoms include excessive shivering, shallow breathing, and slurred speech.

In the worst-case scenario, hypothermia can cause heart failure and eventually death. However, you can avoid this predicament by wearing the right winter gear for optimum warmth.

2. Avoiding Personal Injuries

Hypothermia is not the only risk of riding a motorcycle in the winter. Since the surfaces are usually slippery, you could easily crash and injure yourself.

But you can avoid the risks if you are careful and wear the right gear.

3. Avoiding Damage to Property

It sometimes gets blurry during the winter. You are likely not to see clearly. The chances of losing control and damaging other cars and people’s property are higher.

A motorbike parked by a roadside in winter. The bike's headlight is on since wintry conditions often lead to poor visibility on the roads.

10 Winter Motorcycle Riding Tips

While winter is not the best time to ride a motorcycle, you can do a few things to make your ride safe and comfortable. Check them out below.

1. Prep Your Bike for Winter

If you must ride in the winter, you must winterize your bike (prepare it for the winter).

Here are a few things to get you started:

  • Check the tires for inflation and warm them up by accelerating fast and braking hard
  • Grease up the motorcycle’s metallic parts to warm them up
  • Check the battery to ensure it is powered up and in good condition
  • Cover the bike to protect it against the harsh weather.

2. Wear the Correct Motorcycle Gear: Layer Up

You must keep warm while riding a motorcycle in the winter to avoid hypothermia. This means wearing the following motorbike gear:

  • Full-finger gloves to keep your hands and fingers warm
  • Waterproof jacket to protect against wetness
  • Waterproof motorcycle riding boots to keep your feet warm
  • Full-face helmet (preferably heated option) with an anti-fog visor to protect your face against fog
  • Thick socks to keep your legs warm
  • Neck warmer to keep your neck warm
  • Insulated riding pants to keep your lower body warm.

Other motorcycle winter gear includes thermal underwear, heated motorcycle seats, hand-warming packets, and heated motorcycle riding hand grips.  

3. Increase Your Visibility & Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Other road users need to see you from a distance. By wearing a reflective helmet or jacket or tying a reflective band or strap around your helmet, that’s possible.

While at it, be vigilant of your surroundings to avoid any danger.

4. Ride in a Group

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There is always safety in numbers. Riding in a group gives you the mental and physical assurance that your fellow riders will rescue you if something happens. And since you are close to one another, it feels safer.

5. Practice Winter Motorcycle Riding Safety

It’s crucial to observe winter motorcycle safety practices. Such practices applicable for winter motorcycle riding include:

  • Fueling your body by taking enough complex carbs and proteins to keep your body warm
  • Stopping as frequently as possible to avoid cold numbness
  • Checking on your fellow riders often (and they’ll do the same).

6. Check the Weather

Not all winter weather is dangerous for motorcycle riding. Generally, temperatures below freezing (320F/00C and below) are the worst for riding a motorcycle as they can cause hypothermia or frostbites.

But once you reach about 500F and above, you can safely ride your motorcycle with the right gear.

7. Slow Down, Please!

Just because you have the right gear doesn’t give you the license to overspeed. If you must ride in the winter, you have to slow down.

The ground is usually slippery, and the surroundings are a little blurry. Slowing down will keep you safe.

8. Have a Local Bike-specific Tow and Repair Company in Mind

The chances of your motorcycle breaking down are much higher in winter than in any other season. If it ever comes to that point, have a local mechanic or tow company in mind that you can call to come to your rescue.

9. Keep Your Distance

You must keep your distance to avoid hitting other vehicles and people if you come to a sudden stop. Preferably, stay at least 20 feet behind other motorists to offer yourself enough room to bring your motorcycle to a smooth stop.

A man riding a red dirt bike in winter snow. It is not advisable to ride motorbikes in the snow because of slipperiness.

10. Do Not Ride in the Snow

Don’t ride in the snow unless you have the right cold-weather motorcycle clothing. You could suffer a severe case of hypothermia, which could be life-threatening.

But even with the right gear, you must ride carefully as the surface is slippery. If it’s not a must, don’t ride in the snow.

Just before you go…

What about riding in other weather conditions? Check out our other articles on riding in different weather:

People Also Ask

Although we have shared the basics of riding a motorcycle in the winter, there are many questions people often ask about the topic. See my answers to these below.

Is It Bad to Ride a Motorcycle in Winter?

Winter is not the best time to ride a motorcycle. Once the temperature drops to the freezing point, your body could suffer hypothermia, a severe case of a drop in body temperature.

If you must ride in the winter, ensure you wear the right gear, such as a waterproof riding jacket, boots, full-face helmet, and thermal underwear.

A motorcycle rider riding on a snow-covered road between trees on either side. Riding in the snow is unsafe and risky, more son in a remote forest area.

How Cold is Too Cold for Motorcycle Riding?

Riding a motorcycle is not advisable when the air temperatures are below freezing (below 00C/320F).  

Ice forms at such a temperature, exposing you to extreme coldness (hypothermia) and frostbite.

How Do I Prepare My Motorcycle for Winter Riding?

You can prepare your motorcycle for winter riding by:

  • Warming up the tires before riding – that’s by a quick acceleration and fast braking
  • Maintain the bike through lubrication and cleaning
  • Checking for repairs and replacements
  • Covering the motorcycle from the harsh winter.
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!