Riding during winter | GTAMotorcycle.com

Riding during winter

Copiye

New member
I want to buy a motorcycle to commute, but the winter in Canada is really rough with all the salt and black ice on the road. Does anyone ride during the winter months or should I just stop riding because its too dangerous and stick with public transport?
 

Lightcycle

Rounder of bolts, Dropper of tools
Site Supporter
I want to buy a motorcycle to commute, but the winter in Canada is really rough with all the salt and black ice on the road. Does anyone ride during the winter months or should I just stop riding because its too dangerous and stick with public transport?

There are some places in Canada where you can ride comfortably all year round.

But the GTA is not one of them...

That said, I know a couple of people who own beater bikes and don't mind getting them coated with the salt and brine that they lay down on the roads to melt the ice. Good way to speed up the rusting process and eat away at your paint. If you must, low horsepower and skinny tires are your friends in the snow.

 
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Baggsy

Well-known member
Site Supporter
I've known people who've ridden year round, or taken a week here a week there off, in the GTA.

It's not like it's Montreal or Ottawa. The smog seems to split the snowstorms around the city and hold the heat in.
 

motorsiklo

Active member
My riding instructor ride all year. He doesn’t have a car. Hadn’t, had one for many years. He has a big BMW. Don’t know the model.
 

GreyGhost

Well-known member
Site Supporter
I ride a lot in the winter in the country. Pick my days though not a forced commute and I dont have that many other vehicles to worry about. Some days are too slippery and you are hanging on for dear life. The colder it is, the better. I dont ride if it is around freezing and snowing. For winter commuting, i would make the default public transit or a bicycle with studded tires and pull the bike out on nice days.
 

MacDoc

Well-known member
Site Supporter
I used to ride all year and even a few years ago would go out if roads and weather permitted.
Worry about salt etc is over stated - bikes might suffer some minor corrosion but it's nearly all aluminum and plastic and just don't pressure wash the bike which can allow brine into seals.
You do have to be careful with hypothermia and stay ahead of it as can cause slow reaction times. No cotton....as with skiiing "cotton kills".
There are lots of methods of keeping warm these days and it's fun on a crisp morning.
Black ice is a worry but not so much on urban roads that have traffic....if your shift starts at 4 am ...then it's a concern. Go on ...have fun....the season is only going to get longer.
Toronto has the distinction of placing fourth in the list of longest frost-free seasons of all the cities in Canada. For 203 days of the year – just eight fewer than Victoria, the mildest city in the country – Toronto is proudly frost-free. By Canadian standards, this means that it's actually pretty warm for most of the year.
 
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Aens

Well-known member
I've ridden in as low as -5c before windchill, on the highway for a couple hours. Exposed flesh is an issue. Appropriate gloves is the highest priority (Revit Kodiaks are what I finally settled on). Underarmor Base 4.0 was enough for me, no heated gear needed, but it is not appropriate office wear so a full change is needed both to start and end the day.

Also, you have zero grip till the tires 'warm up', or what passes as warming up in winter. Also, slush and actual snow is not happening on street tires.

Motorists also seem to totally forget about motorcycles on the road during winter.

To sum it up, commute is not worth it, but you can definitely get some riding in on those sunny dry winter weekends to scratch that itch.
 

Mad Mike

Well-known member
I normally change to a car sometime in December, then back to my bike sometime in March. Every ride in the winter is a game-day decision. Temps below 5c can have black ice, to and from work is dark for most people, you can't find winter tires for anything bigger than a scooter.

The biggest issue with salt is dulling shiny zinc plating on things like sprockets, brake line ends, spokes, and fastener heads. A properly maintained bike should last a normal life when ridden in the winter.
 

Klaatu

Well-known member
Site Supporter
There are a couple of reasons why I don't ride in late November and on. Even in good conditions, your tires are cold and the pavement is cold. But one of the main reasons is, people are not looking for motorcycles. Right now people see motorcycles around them all the time (and they still don't see us) Now it's December and a nice day, you are probably the only guy out there on your bike. They are not expecting motorcycles, so when they finally look up from texting there you are. I know I'm surprised when I see a motorcycle out in December, but that's just me.
 

Mad Mike

Well-known member
There are a couple of reasons why I don't ride in late November and on. Even in good conditions, your tires are cold and the pavement is cold. But one of the main reasons is, people are not looking for motorcycles. Right now people see motorcycles around them all the time (and they still don't see us) Now it's December and a nice day, you are probably the only guy out there on your bike. They are not expecting motorcycles, so when they finally look up from texting there you are. I know I'm surprised when I see a motorcycle out in December, but that's just me.
I ride all year, I don't really see any awareness differences in driver awareness.

My favorite winter ride is on Dec 24. I put on a Santa costume and ride from 7 & 48 to Vaughan Mills and back. A Santa suit is the highest vis riding wear I've ever worn.
 

nobbie48

Well-known member
Site Supporter
I rode winters many years ago, through ice and snow and hail. The #1 benefit was learning to control a bike when it doesn't want to follow the rules. I've never ridden dirt but either will prepare you for the unexpected other times of the year.

That was before cell phones, cup holders and the other distractions common today.

A light bike is easier to control than a 900 pound Goldwing.

Heated gear is available to keep the fingers nimble and the chest cavity warm. Hypothermia dulls the brain.

A visor cakes with snow and snow in your face at speed hurts the eyes. Take your pick. Get used to doing the finger wipe.

With minor frost bite you just lose a bit of skin.

Corrosion isn't the end of the world but I wouldn't go all out for a pristine bike.

I don't know if the seat foam has changed but back then it was like sitting on a log.

Sport riding is different from commuting. Public transit isn't all that bad in Toronto Proper but if you're in the burbs you have to pick your times.

A car is definitely a better option for numerous reasons. I did it because back then M/C insurance was dirt cheap. Now it isn't so a car becomes more practical other than possibly parking.
 

Dimitri

Well-known member
I know a couple of guys who ride virtually all year. That window mid January to mid March they tend to not ride as that's when we get dumped on the most.

All local in the city though within a few km's in what are now all 40km/h zones. Never met anyone who says they jump on the highway.

I used to cycle all winter but cycling keeps you warm.
 

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