If you live in a cold climate, you can still ride your dirt bike during the colder winter months. There ain’t no excuse to store your bike away.
Sure – it’s demanding and you’re going to have to outlay some dollars on gear and modifications, but let’s us allow you in on some secrets.
You can certainly ride a dirt bike in the snow and cold weather conditions as long as you are prepared in advance. This includes layering up and making some potential modifications to your dirt bike so you’re equipped for the colder conditions. Unless you’re below freezing, then most dirt bike engines will still perform relatively well.
Altitude does have some effect on performance. In other words, the higher you go, the less your motorcycle can breathe but for most riders, then will be just fine.
Winter Dirt Bike Riding Tips
The challenges are certainly worth the risks. You’ll find the trails and tracks to be much quieter and you’ll be building up skills when it’s otherwise the off-season for other riders.
You really have no excuse with our tips to help you get through the colder months with your dirt bike.
Here’s what we can share:
1. Invest in some cold-weather riding gear
Get yourself a good jacket and riding pants. You may wish to wear thermals under each which will help to block the wind chill quite considerably. Also get yourself some cold weather ADV riding gloves instead of your typical MX gloves.
2. Be mindful that cold dirt bike tyres offer less grip
Just like racing motorcycles or street cruisers, you’ll need to warm your tyres up before each ride. This will enhance the grip quite considerably. If you can (and if you’ve got a registered dirt bike), then find a quiet bitumen road in which to pre-heat your tyres by swaying side to side.
3. Install some hand guards
If you haven’t already fitted a set, then dirt bike handguards are massively helpful to block a considerable amount of wind from chilling your knuckles and affecting your grip strength. You can buy either the wide square-style guards or a full wrap-around handlebar guard.
4. Watch for windburnt skin
It’s actually true that you can develop windburnt skin from riding a dirt bike in winter, especially on your hands and face. Keep this in mind and aim to layer up where possible. This is an effect of continuous wind being struck against the skin causing intense dryness among other issues.
5. Invest in a heated winter riding jacket
Did you know that you can get 12v heated winter jackets? These are one of the best investments money can buy. Adventure riders commonly use these when covering large stretches in colder months and these are certainly helpful to keep you riding for long out there on the trails. The only downside is that they’re heavier and yes, you’ll need a 12v outlet installed.
6. Buy some dirt bike winter tyres
Not all dirt bike tyres are created the same, with some offering more channel and grip for winter riding though these same tyres will wear out faster in the warmer months. Consider having 2 sets of tyres – one for winter and one for summer. For snow riding, we can recommend studded tyres which are easily sourced online for most dirt bike makes and models.
7. Be mindful of internal sweating
While you are layering up with clothes to stay warm when riding your dirt bike, you can inadvertently take things too far. If you start mildly sweating under your clothes, then this moisture could lead to you becoming colder and unable to retain heat so easily. Essentially, take off layers as you need.
8. Invest in some heated grips
Again, we’re using the word ‘investment’ here. These are relatively cheap and can make a real difference in your enjoyment when riding offroad in the colder months. They’ll allow your grip to stop being so tight and slow to respond and the power comes from the engine, though much less than a heated vest or jacket.
9. Consider a better helmet or goggles
Just like having winter and summer riding tyres, you should consider a seperate helmet just for winter riding which has less front-end ventilation. A pair of goggles that perfectly fits and minimizes air inflow will be very helpful. Some riders also wear a neck guard between their jersey/jacket and the helmet.
10. Consider an adventure fairing
Now we’re moving slightly into adventure-riding territory, but an adventure fairing will help deflect a lot of wind when riding at higher speeds. Think of the Dakar Rally, only those large fairings help riders to reduce fatigue over many hours of riding at higher speeds. You’ll be more away from the low-budget essence of dirt bike riding but will help reduce the wind effects as well as opening up the way for riding on highways.
11. Monitor the weather
There’s winter and then there’s harsh winter. By monitoring the weather with many of the riding apps available, you can look for opportunistic windows where rain is unlikely and where you can make the most of a good day. Then again – don’t just rely on technology but learn to read the weather including cloud directions and wind speeds.
12. Keep the boots dry
We’ve left one of the best until last on this list of dirt bike riding tips for winter riders. Keeping those boots dry will help you ride for longer, so do try to avoid those creek/river crossings and use goretex where possible. This also includes replacing your boots when they get too worn out since boot technology has risen quite considerably over these recent years, with both summer and winter versions available for some makes and models.
If winter is coming, then don’t let snow or simply cold whether discourage you from heading out on your dirt bike. You can certainly have a lot of fun out there if you come prepared for the battle!
When others are at home relaxing on the couch, you can be improving your skills and generally having much more fun. This time without the crowds or the harsh heat of the summer months.
So there’s Frontaer’s top 12 tips, so it’s time to make it happen!