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2018 Kawasaki NINJA 650 ABS KRT
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Discussion Starter #1
It's cold. The holidays are over. All there is to do for the next three months is cast sideways glances at the mountain of tax paperwork on your desk and glare at the calendar as you wait for spring to arrive, right? For most of us in the good ol' US of A, any ride that you can get in between November and March is a bonus ride; it's a real treat!! Once "heated gear season" begins, my goal is to ride at least one day a week. But there are some special preparations to make and things to be aware of during those arctic jaunts.


You know how all your squid buddies make fun of you for being ATGATT in the summer? Well, now they're still going to make fun of you because you're still wearing it, and it's 40 degrees outside. The wind chill we create that feels great in the heat and humidity can do us considerable harm in cold weather. Keeping our bodies warm is paramount! There are almost as many winter gear options as there are winter riders: base layers, jackets, pants, liners, socks, boots, gloves, balaclavas, caps, scarves, and even Carhartts. Then there's heated gear (wired or wireless). Until you figure out the combination that works best for you, it's better to overdress and have to remove a garment or two then to find yourself miles from home with chattering teeth. Hypothermia is defined as lower than normal body temperature. The first clue your body will give you that you're getting too cold is shivering. If you start to shiver, stop and find someplace to warm up as soon as possible! Earlier in my riding career, I underdressed for a two-hour ride to a RiderCoach update in March in Iowa, because the forecast called for it to be pretty nice on the way home. The venue was a shop garage, big enough for a semi, with Reznor heaters in the ceiling. It was an hour and a half before I stopped shaking.馃ザ


How about your bike? In addition to the usual T-CLOCS pre-ride inspection, I like to let Sheldon soak up some sun to help warm up his tires. A touring windscreen makes a huge difference in rider comfort. Hand guards or heated grips keep your fingers toasty, and some bikes are even equipped with a bun warmer! Those of us with fairings get help keeping our tootsies a bit warmer than those of our cruiser and naked bike riding buddies, too.



So we're bundled up, our bike is prepped, and we're ready to ride! As our loved ones stand in the window, surrounded by the warm glow of a roaring fire in the wood stove, shaking their heads at us, we roar up the street like it's 99 in the shade, right? Um, no. REMEMBER: we're riding on 50/40/30/20 degree tires, NOT 70/80/90/100 degree tires. Because both the tires AND the street surface are colder, traction is reduced. Motorcycle tires are made of a much softer compound than cage tires. Why? Because in order to turn, we lean the bike, right? That means we need super-sticky tires to help keep us from sliding out. But when it's cold, they're less sticky (That's why racing guys use tire warmers before a race). So that means we need to take it easy on lean angles until they've warmed up a bit. Even then, they're still not going to perform quite like they do in the warmer months; they may not even get to their optimal operating temperature. A good rule of thumb is that the more layers you're wearing, the less traction your tires will have.



Ahhh, it feels SO GREAT to finally be out riding again!!! But things sure do look different, don't they? Those bare trees might allow us to see further through the curves, but due to the sun being lower in the sky, they cast some shadows on the road that we usually only see at dawn and dusk. This can make your vision seem a little wonky and possibly hide debris and defects. And after about 3pm, it really starts getting darker and colder pretty fast. Slow down a little. Take the opportunity to really work on good form and smoothness during these months. Then when the trees green up again and the sun lights up the pavement all day long, you'll have a good foundation to be ripping through the twisties again!



Remember, you're not the only one who's not hibernating. Some of our fine furry friends such as deer, raccoons, and--EWWW!!!--skunks are still out and about, especially at dawn and dusk. And how about the cagers? Our fellow humanoids aren't used to seeing bikes out this time of year. Couple that with reduced winter visibility and we may not even register on the threat scale. Always assume that you're invisible--and that the other guy is going to do something stupid. How do you know if the dude in the lifted RAM 2500 on the side street or the distracted mom in the white minivan (They never drive anything else, do they?) in the parking lot sees you? You don't. So how do you know what they're going to do? Your best bet is to look at the front tires. That tells you if the car is moving and in what direction. And the coolest (Ha! Get it??) part is that this strategy works in winter, spring, summer, and fall!



Winter riding is A LOT of fun!!! Motorcycle riding is a perishable skill, so any seat time you can get in the "off-season" will help to keep you sharp. Proper preparation and being aware of the peculiar characteristics of the winter riding environment will keep you riding all year long. So bundle up, let's ride!!!!

65293
 

American Legion Rider
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Earlier in my riding career, I underdressed for a two-hour ride
Talk about mind in gutter, I read that as stuttering undressed. I had to back up and try that line again. 馃檮馃榾
 
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2018 Kawasaki NINJA 650 ABS KRT
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Discussion Starter #3
Talk about mind in gutter, I read that as stuttering undressed. I had to back up and try that line again. 馃檮馃榾
As cold as I was, I might just as well have been undressed!!馃ぃ馃ぃ
 

American Legion Rider
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As cold as I was, I might just as well have been undressed!!馃ぃ馃ぃ
I know what you mean. I was just starting to get to the same point when I crashed in 012. Didn鈥檛 realize it was happening at first and I鈥檓 sure it was a contributing factor in the crash.
 
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On The Road Again!
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Winter riding is A LOT of fun!!! Motorcycle riding is a perishable skill, so any seat time you can get in the "off-season" will help to keep you sharp. Proper preparation and being aware of the peculiar characteristics of the winter riding environment will keep you riding all year long. So bundle up, let's ride!!!!
Yeah, right. It all looks good in print.
But this is New Jersey. Beginning with the first snow, they
slather the roads with SALT!
NO WAY will I subject my bike to that crap!
The damage it can do far outweighs the enjoyment
of a short ride.
Mine is in the shop for winter maintenance, and
there it will stay until the first heavy spring rain
washes the roads clean.
 
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The days are getting longer. But I am still taking the 0850 ferry off my Island. It is still dark at 0700 when I need to leave for the 0735 ferry. Hard to see what is on the road in the dark. Not a real problem at 40, but not good around freezing.
Around the property I have been able to study where all the water comes from. This past week I made a shallow ditch with drain rock and perforated 4 inch pipe, 120 feet long. We postponed work on the septic field, to late February.
Next week I will start insulation inside the house. Today I am getting ready for a trip to the mainland. Yami has one leaking exhaust gasket, that is only annoying. I check the air pressure and oil level. Do not bother with the air pressure in the forks. I need to check oil level in the diff and mid gear box someday. We have blue clouds and sunshine, after heavy rain last night. UK
 

American Legion Rider
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This past week I made a shallow ditch with drain rock and perforated 4 inch pipe, 120 feet long.
When looked into that on one of my properties they call it a French Drain. Don't ask me why. Just is I guess.
 

Visionary
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Good article on winter riding, especially the part about the tires not gripping well when cold, I've found that they never really get the same grip that they do in the summer and I ride rather conservatively on my rides, I ride plenty fast on the interstate but take it easy on side roads.
As for the salt, it's not good but it's not as bad in my experience as it seems it would be, my winter bike is 13 years old, has been ridden all winter for the last 4 years at least, and has no corrosion problems that I can see. I think I'll wear it out before it rusts away. The muffler cans ( not the chrome, the bare steel under it, think a car muffler and you get the idea) did rust and one cracked at a weld and I replaced them this year but they were really rusty when I bought the bike 4 years ago already. I do have one advantage, my Visions have no steel frames or many major steel parts, it's mostly aluminum and plastic which probably does help a lot with corrosion. My 1978 Honda will never see salt, it has enough corrosion already without helping it :cool:

Get em out and ride them!
snowvision.jpg
 
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When looked into that on one of my properties they call it a French Drain. Don't ask me why. Just is I guess.
Yes, a French drain. Often just gravel. I used 4 inch holy pipe, with landscape cloth on top. A thin layer of gravel under the pipe, then the cloth, then gravel on top. Water will run thru the gravel, and thru the pipe.
I have a plow unit with two swept back wings, pointed in front. Can dig a long trench very quickly. Often hit rocks, and usually takes three passes.
Just thunked. Also called a swale drain I think. I think I will use ditch. Swale yielded some results. UK
 

Nightfly
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Yeah, right. It all looks good in print.
But this is New Jersey. Beginning with the first snow, they
slather the roads with SALT!
NO WAY will I subject my bike to that crap!
The damage it can do far outweighs the enjoyment
of a short ride.
Mine is in the shop for winter maintenance, and
there it will stay until the first heavy spring rain
washes the roads clean.
I am in total agreement. I know there are riders who like to take on the cold and seem to believe it enhances their manhood to ride in freezing temps. Not me, those cold temps are meant for skiing, snowmobile riding, ice skating and a few others. I'm in Pennsylvania so our weather is almost the same. I'm not the typical rider found on this forum so I won't go into my dislike of cold weather riding. Nor can I pat those on the back for riding in freezing weather, it just isn't for me but those who do, have a good ride. My ride will be staying warm and dry. If I could just get that damn bike up a few steps and into my living room.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am in total agreement. I know there are riders who like to take on the cold and seem to believe it enhances their manhood to ride in freezing temps. Not me, those cold temps are meant for skiing, snowmobile riding, ice skating and a few others. I'm in Pennsylvania so our weather is almost the same. I'm not the typical rider found on this forum so I won't go into my dislike of cold weather riding. Nor can I pat those on the back for riding in freezing weather, it just isn't for me but those who do, have a good ride. My ride will be staying warm and dry. If I could just get that damn bike up a few steps and into my living room.
Looks like you have plenty of winter activities to keep you out in the fresh air! I HATE downhill skiing (Cross-country might be OK, never got to try it); ice skating is OK, but I'm terrible at it; and I've never snowmobiled, although I'd probably like it. We used to go sledding, but I got to the point that I didn't want to risk getting hurt and screw up my warm weather activities. Strangely, I preferred shoveling.

Two wheels is what I do!!! Back in Iowa I rode my bicycles as much as I could, year-round (I also had a bicycle in the basement during the winter and I did bike maintenance in the living room on the tile entryway. Lots easier than getting a motorcycle into the house. ;) ) The coldest day I ever pedaled it was 19 degrees, sunny, calm, and the roads were clear. It was heaven!!! And I rode my NINJA 250 to teach a class on a 28-degree morning because I wanted to ride home when it was in the 40s. The biggest reason we moved south was because we were sick of Iowa winters. I am just thrilled that it's pretty mild most of the time (55 today!) and what little snow we get is gone in a day or two, no shoveling required. But we do live in the "Ice Belt" so freezing rain is more frequent, but, again, typically the roads are just wet by midday (No, I don't ride those days). I need my two-wheel fix regularly or I get pretty surly so I choose to mitigate the risks involved in winter riding the best I can. "Manhood" certainty isn't relevant to me.;)
 

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I ride around my Island when the weather is decent. Same thing for the bike gang meetings. Main reason though, why I ride in the winter, is because of the ferries. It is colder sitting in my cage in the ferry line up, than it is riding. The bike is also half the fare of a cage. I always get on, and I am first on, first off. I need to leave here at least 30 minutes sooner if taking the cage. But if I have to I will. I do take the cage to the golf club on Friday nights, typically in December and January. UK
 

American Legion Rider
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Also called a swale drain I think. I think I will use ditch. Swale yielded some results.
Now you made me have to go look. This might clear up everything about this drainage system. Pretty sure you have created a French drain.
 

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I used to try to ride throughout the winters but found that over time I was enjoying it less and less and seemed to be doing it as if to prove something to myself. When I have to really bundle up, wear my warmest gloves, etc., that alone takes away a lot of the fun of riding. Most years I am happy if I can get one ride in each calendar month during the height of the winter. A bright sunny day with little or no wind, dry roads without ice in the shadows, can be a good ride even if the temps are down in the 30's. But for the most part, once it goes below 50 my riding slows down to little or none.

I used to get about 8 separate motorcycle magazines, and they would help sustain me during the long winter. And normally, attending the International Motorcycle Show in Chicago each February would provide a nice mid-winter break with something motorcycle related. But most of my magazines have gone out of business and the Chicago show was cancelled, so that makes the winter seem even longer.

One factor you did not mention relevant to safely riding in the winter. As bad as many car and truck drivers are, they are not surprised at seeing motorcycles on the road during the warm weather months. But once winter comes, they are even less observant and conscious of two wheelers sharing the road with them. Its always a good idea to assume that the car or truck driver does not see you at all, is oblivious to what is going on around him or her, etc. but this is especially important when riding in the winter.
 

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Fine writeup my Friend!

The trouble I have with active riding in SW Missouri during COLD weather is I get up so early to leave for work that the Temps are downright dangerous! I do get upset later as I sit in my Office and see that the temps are up and maybe I could take off early and get some riding in but the high temp of the day drops very quickly mid afternoon and this time of year, the Sun sets early and quickly.

I coasted 150 feet from my elevated Home garage to my Largest barn and started the Africa Twins engine, let it warm up and then went for a long ride of 35 feet to park it next to the Floor lift. It was like 20 degrees or so and the wind chill was probably -100 degrees F. That ride froze my Tentacles off.

Even Santa and Frosty the Snow man get cold sometimes!

**** I just got a 'Personal' invite for the preview of the 2021 Harley Davidsons!!!!!!!!!!!!

65305


Sam:)
 

American Legion Rider
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Let us know if it rides better than the African Twin Sam.:)
 
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I love the AT but I am going to sell it. The high Karate kick that is required to plant my chubby Arse on the seat is difficult at best for me, especially if I have something on the luggage rack! Getting off is a little easier but still twists my left knee, where I have been 'Bone on bone,' for 15 years!

It is one of the best bikes I have ever had but just look at that 'Lazy Boy-Barco lounger' setup on the Electra Glide!!!! It makes me want to reach for my remote control, my bag of Potato Chips and my favorite blanket!!! Yeah Baby.:)

Sam:)
 
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Somewhere I saw a video clip of a girl getting on a bike. There was another girl sitting on the passengers seat. I expected her to slide a leg between the passenger and the tank, they way I do when I have a bag on board. She swung her right leg over the head of the passenger. Yikes. UK
 

On The Road Again!
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Not me, those cold temps are meant for skiing, snowmobile riding, ice skating and a few others.
NO! Those temperatures are meant for sitting in front of the nice warm woodstove!
I hate being cold. I hate winter!!
And skiing?? No way in hell. I know too many people who still have recurring problems
from skiing accidents when they were young. When we were teenagers, one guy I knew
went off the slope into the woods at high speed and messed himself up really bad.
I don't know how big the tree was, but the tree won!! He was in a cast for a long time.
 
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Discussion Starter #20
NO! Those temperatures are meant for sitting in front of the nice warm woodstove!
I hate being cold. I hate winter!!
I agree wholeheartedly! You can't beat a warm, cozy fire on a cold winter day! (y) (y) (y)
 
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