Winter riding

Max Rider promotes seasonal riding to help keep your skills up to scratch. We want to make sure that come summer, 'rusty riders' are a thing of the past.

The Great British weather can often put many riders off, especially during the winter. But this season can offer some of the best riding conditions – think of those crisp, sunny days...

Bear in mind the issues outlined below and you will have a great opportunity to really get the best out of your machine at this time of year.

Road Conditions

One of the greatest concerns for any motorist, particularly motorcyclists, is frosty road conditions and ice. The closer the temperature reaches freezing point, the greater the likelihood of ice.

Some machines will have air temperature gauges fitted, which is a good indicator for ice. They can be fitted to bikes retrospectively and may be a wise investment if you ride regularly during the winter.

Certain areas can be more susceptable to slippery conditions and ice. For example, bridges are susceptible to ice because of the expanse below and normally freeze quicker when air temperatures drop.

Areas of road that are shielded from the sun, such as under tree canopy or alongside high hedgebanks, will take longer for the sun to reach them and are often more likely to stay icy longer.

Sudden movements or braking on ice can lead to crashes. As well as the wet leaves, damp conditions and frosty roads, road grit can also lead to a greasy or loose surface, so bear this in mind.

Remember: stopping distances are increased significantly depending on the road conditions. Road conditions

Road Conditions

Most bike shops will have a good range of winter clothing, which is essential for seasonal riding.

As well as getting over the hurdle of feeling uncomfortable when riding in the cold, cooler temeratures can also lead to quicker fatigue.

A decent pair of gloves is essential for winter riding and worth paying extra money for.

It's also worth splashing out on a decent pair of waterproof boots!

Reflective clothing may not make a fashion statement, but on dark mornings and evenings, they really do increase conspicuity. Other road users

Other road users

Car drivers will have even more excuses not to see you during winter months.

Misted-up windscreens and icy wing-mirrors will restrict visibility so assume you haven't been seen, because chances are you haven't.

It's worth bearing in mind other issues that can affect visibility during these months such as fog, longer hours of darkness and low sun. Winter bike maintenance

Winter bike maintenance

Bike maintenance is essential during the winter. In particular, checks should include:

Brakes - should be checked before riding. A good idea is to test them as you're walking the bike out of the garage and as you're moving off (check that there's no traffic behind first!) This will give you a chance to test rear brake as well.

Lights - make sure they are cleared and wiped regularly to be as effective as possible.

Tyres - both tyres should be checked regularly. Make sure the treads are at the legal limit and the tyres are free from splits. Check pressures, particularly as the temperature changes.

Steering

Winter conditions will increase corrosion on your machine because of the extra moisture and salt on the roads.

This means pre-ride checks are essential whether you're nipping out for a quick spin or if you're planning a day out. If you're going on a long ride, plan ahead and get plenty of stops in.

Some days you may just have to admit defeat and stay in. In the case of all road users, not just motorcyclists, in certain conditions it's better to only go out if essential.