All-Year Motorcycle Riding: Tips and Tricks


As the riding season in the Northern hemisphere is drawing to an end, some of us simply refuse to put the bikes away.

If you’re determined to ride on, rain, sleet or snow, check out these simple tips to make autumn motorcycle riding safer and more fun!

                    Keep the Brrr out of the Braap

Cold weather riding isn’t for everyone, but the right gear can absolutely transform your early morning commute or your weekend getaway. Sure, you can simply brace against the wind and the rain and suffer through – but being cold and miserable just takes away from the ride. Besides, when you’re concentrating on your freezing fingers or your wet boots, your focus on the road diminishes and you take greater risks than necessary.

all-year motorcycle riding
Riding all-year round? Make sure to layer up!

So gear up!

  • Invest in waterproof riding gear. It doesn’t have to be the latest gear chic: if you can’t afford the high-end, GoreTex-lined stuff, simply get waterproof overalls. Yes, it won’t look as stylish as the newest Klim or Dainese – but it will keep you dry!
  • Don’t want to shell out $400 or more for GoreTex lined riding boots? Get GoreTex socks instead! They retail at around $70 in outdoor shops and keep your feet bone dry even in torrential rain.
  • Layer up. Don your wicking undershirt, your thermals, and a thick windproof turtleneck under your jacket – multiple layers keep the warmth better!
  • Plug in. Get a set of heated grips – they make a world of difference, especially on longer rides! Not enough heat? Invest in a heated jacket and never shiver in the saddle again: heated jackets are by far the most effective way to stay toasty warm, even if you’re riding through a snowstorm.
Check your wheels

No, seriously: check your tire pressure, the condition of your chain, your brake pads, and your brake fluid. Riding in cold, wet conditions means there now are additional hazards on the road, so you want your bike to be in the top shape.

all-year motorcycle riding
Riding in the snow CAN be fun – just make sure your bike is in top shape!
  • Check your battery. If it isn’t up to snuff, get a newer, stronger one: motorcycle batteries loose up to 50% of their power in cold conditions.
  • Clean your bike more regularly: in some states, they put salt on the roads – and salt can cause some serious damage to your motorcycle.
  • Keep up with your maintenance: make sure your bike is fully serviced before you hit the road in again. Checking wheel bearings, brakes, and electrics should become a regular routine in the winter months.
  • Get a bike cover! Constant exposure can lead to rust and other damage, so keep your iron steed sheltered.

all-year motorcycle riding

Lighten up

No, we don’t mean your mood: we mean your bike and gear! Clean out your panniers, leave the heavy road trip toolkit in the garage, and find the time to finally unpack your camping gear off the bike: in bad weather, the road can get slippery in seconds and you don’t want all that extra weight when you need to brake in tricky conditions.

When it comes to your gear, make sure you’re visible enough. We motorcyclists are hard enough to see in great weather, so when the days go dark and rainy, survival on the road becomes that much harder.

all-year motorcycle riding
Tough road conditions and bad visibility is a recipe for danger
  • Water crossings, braking on slippery roads and battling traffic in bad weather conditions is more or less guaranteed if you’re determined to ride year-round, so make sure your bike is light and nimble enough. Ditch all the summer road trip extravaganza and ride with just the bare minimum!
  • Are you bright enough? Check that your turn and brake signals are bright and visible enough, and think about getting some auxiliary lights: when the weather’s bad, the visibility can decrease drastically – so make sure you are seen. And yes, fluorescent vests and helmets aren’t exactly a hot trend, but donning the dayglo in the winter season can save your life.
all-year motorcycle riding
Even the most scenic road in fall/winter can suddenly become treacherous. Be prepared, and ride on!

What all-year motorcycle riding tips do you have?

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