Weather can present a couple of concerns when you’re a motorcycle rider. It can affect rider comfort and it can have a huge impact on available traction. Both factors can greatly compromise rider safety.
Factors that can compromise traction are cold temperature, extremely hot temperatures, high winds and precipitation.
Tires work best over a certain temperature range. The sportier the tire, the smaller the range (that’s why you should never run race compound tires on the street). When a tire is too cold, the compound is too hard and it can be very slick or slippery. Lowering the tire pressure will allow a tire to generate internal heat that can improve traction. However, it may take a little time to bring the tire up to operating temperature so extra care should be taken when braking or giving it some throttle. Excessive heat can also make a tire feel greasy and lack traction. In this case you would add air pressure to minimize the affect of the heat. In both cases you should consult your MOM (Motorcycle Owners Manual) to determine the proper air pressure.
Wind can have an affect by trying to alter your path in the case of a side gust. It is important to identify the situation and prepare yourself for wind breaks like tree lines, passing trucks or other obstructions to the flow of the wind. Be prepared to react and compensate for sudden gusts.
Precipitation is probably the scariest climate change to deal with. A postman may have to deal with snow, sleet, rain and hail but a rider shouldn’t have to. The biggest problem with precip is the loss of traction. The use of brakes and throttle must be smooth (more info on braking is here ). It is also important to tackle things like painted lines, railroad tracks or other changes in traction while the bike has no lean angle when riding in the wet.
Weather extremes can also cause hypothermia, dehydration or heat stroke. In all cases there is riding gear to keep you as comfortable as possible. Multi-layered jackets, electric heated apparel, vents, mesh and breathable membranes like Goretex can make your ride as pleasant as possible. Comfort is all in the preparation and most things can be handled in moderation. If the weather is dicey don’t bite off more than you can chew and keep your ride length reasonable.
Weather apps make it easier to plan but as you know they are not fail safe. In many regions of our country the saying is “if you don’t like the weather wait 20 minutes”. Always ride prepared and always wear protective gear – ATGATT – All The Gear All The Time!