Don’t cover your ears and try to tune me out, you know it’s coming! It’s that time of the year when we must plug the battery in, pour some stabilizer in the tank, and change the oil before rolling our two-wheel baby in a dark corner and put it to sleep for a few months. That's at least for the ones among us who don’t get to enjoy year-round summer—we’re looking at you SoCal. Some of us even got our share of snow already and it's only October! There’s a reason our bikes hibernate during the colder months and we dug out a few videos to help remind you why it's best not to ride in the snow.
First of all, it’s ducking cold. When the temperature drops below 50°F, there comes a point where all the layers in the world won’t save you from the bitter cold of the air. It finds its way in and there’s nothing you can do—unless you’re one to buy all that fancy heating gear. Even those have their limits.
Also, it’s slippery.
There’s a reason winter tires exist for cars: below 44°F, regular, “summer” tires start to lose traction. Winter tires compounds contain more rubber, which makes them softer, improving their grip even when the thermometer dips bellow the freezing point. Four season tires have a harder compound and that means that you lose major grip when the weather cools down, and that’s only on asphalt; imagine what it’s like in the snow!
Did I mention it’s slippery?
Speaking of tires, unless you’re one of those insane maniacs racing bikes on ice with studded tires that will gladly shred through gear and muscle if they’re given the opportunity, chances are your bike tires are crap in the snow. Another particularity of proper winter tires is the tread: winter tires have a deeper tread than standard all-seasons that allows snow to accumulate and helps provide additional traction. Sipes also provide extra grip in a variety of conditions, including slush and ice.
It’s like really slippery.
If you’re hell-bent on riding in the snow, there are a few models of winter tires you can look into for your bike (yep! That’s a thing). After all… it might be slippery, but it also can be a lot of fun, as demonstrated by our newest addition to the team, Justin. Just promise us something: if you head out on two wheels in the snow, please, please send us the video. And don't die.