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Author Topic: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?  (Read 1047 times)

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Online Vulcanbill

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Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« on: November 04, 2020, 06:18:47 AM »
I don't have a blinky the snowflake but it's getting chilly on the WV / VA border.  So begin the experiments to find the sissy factor. 

Duplicate post from the region 6 did you ride today thread:

"The app said it was 29 this am.  The Thermometer on the porch said 32.  No wind, no rain so I rode.  The Aerostich neck gaiter thing is bomb.  The other one I have is smaller and better for a little cold but this one is what you want when it's really cold.  I tuck it down into my Gerbings and all is well.  I wore my Smartwool gloves.  That's the last step before going to the Gerbings heated gloves.  I'm really not interested in yet another thing to do and undo if I can avoid it so that will be an ongoing experiment.  I have the Barkbusters and heated grips so by the time I need heated gloves, some other part of me will probably have already tapped out.  Legs and feet?  Meh.  I'll be able to go a few more degrees colder but not much.  I've taken to wearing clear glasses in the morning to deal with that obnoxious little bit of cold air that creeps in my shield.  Works like a charm.  The barn door Givi screen is the only way I can ride this cold.  It's just breaking through the air and putting it behind me.  Kinda love it.  Still getting used to actually looking THROUGH a windscreen but this morning I tucked in behind that thing like it was Captain America's shield.  I kinda feel like 25 will be my cut off but I'll have to confirm that the hard way."
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Online garry

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2020, 06:38:51 AM »
I generally try to avoid riding in below freezing temps for fear of black ice. I'm comfy enough at 35 with a Gerbings heated jacket and ski gloves. I suppose upper 20s is my limit if the roads are clear and dry and that would only be for the first hour or so until it warms up into the 30s. I have the Gerbings heated gloves but they are really bulky and uncomfortable so I generally use ski gloves. I could really use some plastic handguards for the SDGT to keep the wind off my hands. My head/neck is always in the wind as the SDGT windscreen isn't all that big. A ski neck gaitor helps but I generally don't need it as my clothing zips up the neck pretty well.
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Online Black Hills

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2020, 07:58:54 AM »
low 30's maybe upper 20's is about as low as I go these days. It's comfortable enough with a heated vest and grips, but typically I'm not going to ride far enough to make it worth the effort.

years ago my all time record was -18. incredibly dumb idea, but one of those things we "had to do" just to say we did it.

Coldest ride had to be 1990 when 4 of us rode from Mitchell, SD to Daytona for bike week. 27 when we left and I never really felt warm again until we got to Florida.
the above are merely the ramblings of a hamfisted fuckwit who has broken too many helmets.

Online miles

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2020, 08:41:47 AM »
Mid 20s and I start to get cold. Of course, I have a bike with no fairing, so I get the full wind chill treatment.


Also, I'm from Southern California so I'm only used to riding in perfect weather.
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Online Skee

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2020, 09:04:13 AM »
When I was youngER, i.e. around your age I was OK down to mid-30s (F) as long as the sun was out; low 40s in wet weather and dark skies.  (Hell, when I was young, I used to ride all winter in a snowmobile suit.  Digital blinkies hadn't been invented yet - rode many miles in the snow - I'm sure it was well below freezing.  I don't advocate riding below mid-30s, but that was a different lifetime.)  Now I have heated gear and I didn't feel like going out last Sunday when it was in the low 50s.  It all has to do with how well your body tolerates cold weather. 

HYPOTHERMIA WILL KILL YOU!  But not in the way you might expect.  The first symptom is a psychological feeling of overconfidence.  By the time you notice the first physical symptoms, you've probably started to make unconscious errors in judgement.  I know you are an experienced rider and may be well-aware of this, so don't do stupid stuff.  (I'd like to see you two again at a regional meet.)  My point is you've always got to factor unexpected temperature drops and changes in the weather into your plans.

A heated jacket is a good investment.  If you keep your body core temperature up, the rest of you still feels warm even when your fingers and toes start to tingle.

[Edit]  Just saw in your other post where you have Gerbings.  Sorry, thought you were riding naked.
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Online Vulcanbill

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2020, 09:20:03 AM »
When I was youngER, i.e. around your age I was OK down to mid-30s (F) as long as the sun was out; low 40s in wet weather and dark skies.  (Hell, when I was young, I used to ride all winter in a snowmobile suit.  Digital blinkies hadn't been invented yet - rode many miles in the snow - I'm sure it was well below freezing.  I don't advocate riding below mid-30s, but that was a different lifetime.)  Now I have heated gear and I didn't feel like going out last Sunday when it was in the low 50s.  It all has to do with how well your body tolerates cold weather. 

HYPOTHERMIA WILL KILL YOU!  But not in the way you might expect.  The first symptom is a psychological feeling of overconfidence.  By the time you notice the first physical symptoms, you've probably started to make unconscious errors in judgement.  I know you are an experienced rider and may be well-aware of this, so don't do stupid stuff.  (I'd like to see you two again at a regional meet.)  My point is you've always got to factor unexpected temperature drops and changes in the weather into your plans.

A heated jacket is a good investment.  If you keep your body core temperature up, the rest of you still feels warm even when your fingers and toes start to tingle.

[Edit]  Just saw in your other post where you have Gerbings.  Sorry, thought you were riding naked.

I'm beyond tolerating much discomfort just for cool points.  The moment it starts to go from annoying to uncomfortable, I'm out.  I'm saving us a fair bit of money by commuting on the bike so I'll try to dip in a little farther, just not a lot farther.  Since I think I'll be OK w/ the cheap 705s, I might even stay ahead.  We shall see.  Haven't been without heated gear of some sort for nearly 20 years.  Had a Widder vest back w/ my CBR1KF. 

How can you tell the difference between hypothermia and just cold arrogant douchebag? 
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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2020, 09:35:03 AM »


How can you tell the difference between hypothermia and just cold arrogant douchebag?

one goes away when you warm up...
the above are merely the ramblings of a hamfisted fuckwit who has broken too many helmets.

Offline Andrew

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2020, 08:20:41 PM »


How can you tell the difference between hypothermia and just cold arrogant douchebag?

one goes away when you warm up...

Not understanding how to use the gas pump, dropping your CC and not having the manual dexterity to pick it up or understanding why you can not hold it. Sitting next to a heater in the store because the attendant tells you to stay put,,,  until you get cold.....  YA I think I know WTF it feels like 

I for one do not ride when I begin to not feel the cold, but I do have heated gear now so YA BTDT and lived to tell. Also 32'f is the temp water freezes, so no black ice is not your friend (might also still be in the shaded areas)

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2020, 08:49:12 PM »
I've snowmobiled in below zero F- really there's not much difference.  I used to regularly commute in the 20's, as long as there is NO snow or ice- when it's dry out.
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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2020, 10:57:25 PM »
Mid 30s on my naked Airhead, no electric gear.

Layers and layers on the bod.  Thick winter moto gloves.  A Buff on the neck.  Knee high wool socks.

So dressed, about a year ago, when I still lived 200 miles from my sweetie, I made a point of riding 299/96 to her town to get there at 10 AM so I could wake her up.  (she sleeps to noonish most days)  The ride started at 5 AM in the dark.  I'm pretty sure I didn't stop anywhere after one mile from my old house.  Feet never touched the ground.

I got to her place, could barely park the bike, stumbled my way into the house, and slithered my cold self into bed.  "Eeeeeekkk!  What the hell?!?!?!?!"

It was a good hour or so before my hands and feet could make direct contact with her.  And about 2 PM before we got out of bed, fully warmed.

I have now also a Luftmeister (Windjammer copy) equipped /7 and an R100RS.  My friend highly recommends the RS.  "It's like you know it's raining, but none of it is hitting you!"  I'm looking forward to seeing what life behind a fairing is like.
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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2020, 08:52:26 AM »
I've snowmobiled in below zero F- really there's not much difference.  I used to regularly commute in the 20's, as long as there is NO snow or ice- when it's dry out.

this^ hundreds, probably thousands of people spend the winter riding a sled in sub zero temps. what is the difference? I did it with heated grips and that was it? 6-10 hours at a time.
the above are merely the ramblings of a hamfisted fuckwit who has broken too many helmets.

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2020, 09:56:41 AM »
For every ten years I age, my minimum riding temp goes up about ten degrees. I'm 61 and I rarely ride when it's under 50° now. That's for the streetbike. On the dual-sport, I'll drop down to low-mid 40's.

Offline BuckeyeRider

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2020, 12:14:58 PM »
I bought a motorcycle in late December (in Ohio) once and rode it home about 20 miles in 15 degree weather, without heated gear. Made it home fine, but that's goes on the list of "stupid shit I'll never do again."


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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2020, 12:20:53 PM »
At low enough temperatures I’m more concerned
with ice on the road than with comfort.
When it’s cold, I just turn up the heat:
jacket liner, grips, seat. And if needed,
heated chaps. ( Rarely )
But when the overnight temps are below freezing,
I really think twice about riding. Frozen runoff
is common in my area.
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Offline Sock Muppet

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2020, 06:27:39 PM »
Ural riders are stupid and don't care. -4°F

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2020, 07:43:09 PM »
Ural riders are stupid and don't care. -4°F

yeah but the bear has to put off some serious heat so how bad can it be
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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2020, 10:01:21 PM »
Ural riders are stupid and don't care. -4°F

Oh hai...
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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2020, 03:43:19 AM »
As a rule....not if below 60 unless I have to go somewhere...this is normally during a trip.

Most of that is comfort and prepping.  To ride when it’s that cold, I’m layering gear to keep warm and can’t loosen up for the ride like I would normally.

That said, I’ve still had to go forth in below freezing weather.  Managed okay.
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Offline Baxter

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2020, 10:44:20 AM »
I don't like the risk from ice, but I've ridden below freezing several times. Layers, winter weight gear, heated grips.
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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2020, 08:41:25 AM »
Rode overnight from DFW to Poverty Point Reservoir State Park to be there when they opened to get a stamp into my passbook. When I turned N off of I-20, I passed a stream that had soap all covering it. As the light of dawn broke, I could tell it wasn't soap. It was ice (lots of it... accumulated on the flowing water). Spent the night making time and with my heated vest, arm chaps, leg chaps, gloves, and sock all on vaporize.

Prior to that, I toughed it out with just layers, putting my gloved hands on the motor for warmth, and hugging the tank like I was trying to crawl under the paint. One such time was on my Zuke 350T (2-stroke) going from far NW OKC to Norman (about 30-40 miles). Ski gloves and more didn't stop me from having to pry my fingers off the grips when I got home. Couldn't tell you the temps other than "cold" and it was just one example. Make do with what you have. If you have the $$ to improve that, then do so.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2020, 10:06:05 AM by Bounce »

Offline OHScot

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2020, 08:54:56 AM »
38 degrees is about as low as I go.  In the past did a ride on a 1969 Honda 350 at 16 degrees.  The guy I was riding with just fell down at a stop light.  Swore he put his foot down, but it was still on the peg. :)
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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2020, 10:39:20 AM »
33 when I left this morning.  Not particularly pleasant but not really uncomfortable.  Backs of my legs were chilly.  Everything else was OK.  I could still go lower but I just don't see a need.  Maybe if it was daylight when I left but I'm more concerned with my ability to react quickly and accurately with bulky gloves and the neck thing that inhibits my head movement a little. 
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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2020, 11:43:17 AM »
Not sure of the temp but it was snowing, in May of 2020(go figure). Also I've ridden to work in upper 20's temps. Heated liner, heated gloves and heated grips. 30 minute ride.
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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2020, 01:04:55 PM »
Reading this thread makes me want to go back to
Cacapon for the Winter Meet. It was always the
2nd weekend of January. It seldom got above
30 degrees. Good times.
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Online sleazy rider

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2020, 09:44:53 AM »
I bought a motorcycle in late December (in Ohio) once and rode it home about 20 miles in 15 degree weather, without heated gear. Made it home fine, but that's goes on the list of "stupid shit I'll never do again."


Where's that damn like button. 


When we moved to this house in February of 1996, I had three motorcycles to move.  It was just under 30 miles every time.  It was also 11* and I didn't have heated gear yet.  Not just no, but....


Once heated gear got involved, it didn't bother me at all.  Rode to local breakfast gatherings several times in Jan/Feb.  I was the only one that rode.
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Online Skee

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #25 on: November 23, 2020, 03:39:39 PM »
Those of you that do ride in cold weather, do you lower your tire pressure, and if so how much?

I usually run 2 or 3 psi lower in both tires, but not sure why I do it.  Old habits die hard, I guess. 

I know a softer tire will slow turn-in and increase the contact patch at the expense of tire wear, but I haven't a clue whether or not that helps on cold pavement.
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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2020, 09:28:42 AM »
Nope. Test daily. Test cold.

Offline rgbeard

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #27 on: November 28, 2020, 10:53:36 AM »
Went on a long ride yesterday.  First one in a good while, and it was overdue for me.

Along the Pacific coast, I was fine, temps were upper 50s.  Then I began trekking inland to meet Miles and could feel the temps drop as I left the ocean's presence. 

My Flintsone-esqe motorcycle doesn't have anything fancy like an OAT, so I'll leave it to my own judgment, but I think we hit mid-40s.  It got my attention, but I was not dressed for cold temps, either.

I've done a heated jacket liner, and full-on Aerostitch riding suit during a SS1k, and handled wet mid-30s.  It taught me that my gloves were the notable weak point in my attire.

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #28 on: November 28, 2020, 09:56:54 PM »
 It was a bit chilly going over the mountain (5200') early this morning. Low 30's on the ambient temp sensor. Had the heated gear cranked up to full a couple times. My feet actually got cold which rarely happens to me. It was still a good ride though. We had the road to ourselves.

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #29 on: November 29, 2020, 07:16:15 AM »
Well, this week will be in the mid to upper 20s in the mornings and mid to upper 40s in the afternoon. One day it is supposed to have freezing precipitation. That will be a 4 wheeled day.

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2021, 02:56:29 PM »
Warmed up into the low 40s today - that’s 6 or 7 C - so I took the Versys out for a short spin.   The factory heated grips are near worthless below 50 F.  Had to take my gloves off to make sure they were working.  While They are better than nothing, they are not meant for cold weather riding.
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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #31 on: January 14, 2021, 06:10:12 PM »
It's supposed to be in the 80s here this weekend.  It's a good thing my new leathers are fully perfed.
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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #32 on: January 14, 2021, 06:14:14 PM »
It's supposed to be in the 80s here this weekend.  It's a good thing my new leathers are fully perfed.
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Offline stevent

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #33 on: January 14, 2021, 06:50:23 PM »
Coldest I've ridden in was 14 on my unfaired KZ 750. No fun at all but I was young and dumb and the car was tits up and I had to get to work. Over the years my basic rule of thumb was anything above freezing or fog, now a days it's more like above 50 and dry unless it's a special occasion.  I don't really feel like I need to prove anything anymore riding in crappy weather, which is ironic since my K bike has a heated seat, heated grips and a barn door windshield for the winter.
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Offline maddjack

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #34 on: January 15, 2021, 08:49:28 AM »
I used to ride down to about35 or  40, now that is rare,rather wait for a 50 degree day and not have to deal with my arthritis aching for two days after.And I am so over bundling up like Nanook of the North
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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #35 on: January 15, 2021, 09:01:55 AM »
For all those reasons - plus the salt mix they use today makes dry roads slippery - I look forward to the warmer days that will follow the first rains of Spring. 
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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #36 on: January 15, 2021, 11:29:00 AM »
I learned my tough guy lesson a couple weeks ago.  Hit a patch of ice and scared the crap out of myself.  No amount of coolguy is worth trashing the bike that I'm finally totally in love with. 
If a person's primary concern is increasing freedom, they should prepare for a reduction in average lifespan.  ---  Misanthropist

If you say "Gullible" real slow, it sounds like "Orange"

Online Meemuh

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Re: Cold weather riding - How low can you go?
« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2021, 08:12:19 PM »
I did a little bit in the 30-34 degree range today.  I believe I prefer it to be a little bit warmer...