Thinking of motorizing straight on through winter

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by bluegoatwoods, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods New Member

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    I haven't motorized through the heart of winter yet. It's just too cold. I've always gotten by with my pedal bike. Much warmer.

    But last fall I finally bought a studded tire. (Should'a done it 30 years ago. Oh, well....) I was definitely impressed with the results. It allowed me to ride in icy conditions that used to put me in the car. I was impressed enough that this summer I bought another one. Now I have two.

    So my alternatives are...1. Put both studded tires on the pedal bike. (more sure-footedness) 2. Put one on the front of the pedal bike and one on the front of the motorized bike. 3. Put both on the motorized bike.

    The downside to #3 is that if the motor bike is down for any reason, then I have to rely on the pedal bike with regular tires. Of course I could just switch out the studded tire wheel on the front of the motor bike. But that could be clumsy; if it's time to go to work and there's something wrong with the motor bike I need to hop on that pedal bike and go now. Even taking 15 minutes for a swap is pushing my luck.

    Having a studded tire on the front of each bike would cover a lot of situations. But I'm thinking that I'd really rather have studs on my rear tire too when I'm motorized. When it's icy, anyway. (and I learned the hard way last winter that you do not hold your studs in reserve, in the interests of saving wear on them, with the plan of putting on when it gets icy. Those icy conditions have a way of sneaking up on you.)

    Maybe I ought to get moving and order a third studded tire. That way I could have two on the motor bike and one up front on the pedal bike.

    One other concern is the avoidance of freezing to death. On a pedal bike I still think of 20 deg F as a 'nice day'. In the teens is okay. Single digits is getting uncomfortable. But I've learned a few tricks (mostly last winter) for staying even more comfortable. So I might be able to 'calibrate' myself downward. Maybe even enough to do it motorized, which is colder than pedaling after all.

    On one of my earlier motor bikes I made a faring out of plywood. I gotta admit it was ugly. But it kept the wind of of me. I was riding in the low 30s and felt fine. I think I can do better now that I've got better techniques for foot and hand comfort. One problem with that faring was that it put an obvious load on that engine. But maybe that's a plus, really. I want that engine to be operating in it's power band. But I don't want to go very fast. The extra load could be more good than bad.

    Anyway...one of the points of this post is to see what others think in terms of tips and tricks. Any of you other riders from the frozen north ride all year? What's been your experience? Anything I should avoid?

    edit: let me elaborate just a bit. I'm a very experienced winter rider. Just on a pedal bike, not motorized. Advice about how to stay dry in a cold rain or how to keep my eyes and brain from freezing in the heart of a deep freeze is welcome. After all, I might learn something. And so might others who read the thread. But this type of advice is not really what I need.

    What I need is observations and advice specific to motor biking in winter.
     
    #1 bluegoatwoods, Oct 1, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  2. caduceus

    caduceus New Member

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    I've got studded tires for the rear of my motorized trike that I've used on my motorized bicycle in winters past. I wouldn't ride without two on my motorized bicycle. Were I in your position I think I'd get another studded tire for the pedal bike. To keep my eyes from icing up I've worn a set of goggles for years. My daughter gave me a motorcycle helmet that's patterned after the World War II German Landwehr helmets. Wearing that helmet and the goggles makes me look a lot like Sergeant Schultz of the old Hogan's Heroes show. All I need is the greatcoat.

    However, for warmth when the wind chill is like minus forty I wear a furred bomber hat which works great with the goggles. Insulated bib overalls, a Carhart jacket, heavy socks, and padded leather gloves complete the ensemble. This winter I may splurge and get some battery-heated gloves for my trips uptown.

    This year I already splurged and bought a handle-bar mounted windshield for the trike. That arrives later this week and will probably be the subject of a later thread in the appropriate section. And I like the idea of making a lower fairing for the trike. I've got a 48-tooth sprocket on there right now and the four-stroke Honda handles hard headwinds fairly well.

    One thing you didn't mention was long your commute is one way. My uptown trips are two to three miles one-way so I can get by just throwing on the bib overalls a hoodie sweatshirt, bomber hat, goggles and gloves. If I were riding greater distances I'd seriously consider a snowmobile suit, gloves and helmet setup. People around here ride snowmobiles all day in minus twenty weather wearing them.

    One tip I learned years ago, bring an extra pair of socks. Your feet'll get wet and it's miserable working the day through with cold wet feet. When I was a kid we used to have four-buckle overshoes to wear when it got sloppy. Those might work too.
     
  3. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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    An all-season, all-weather commuter myself I've found that bundling up snug may be warm, but it's somewhat hazardous as well - when riding on the icy/snowy chunky junk on the side of the road a quick dexterity is often needed for yet another last second save... so I tend to wear far less bulky clothing than you'd expect given the location, usually all that's needed is "normal" cool weather clothing (jeans, sweatshirt, jacket, etc) the main difference being I'll just wear my rain gear over it...

    ...and what a difference! I'm just as warm as with true winter gear, but I'm not stumbling around like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man lol, If you've not tried it ya outa ;)

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  4. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    Geoff, you have bigger ones than me. I wouldn't even drive my pickup if the streets looked like that third photo, let alone get on a bike. Sheesh!!!!

    Tom
     
  5. xseler

    xseler Well-Known Member

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    How do the 'studded' tires perform on dry pavement?
     
  6. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods New Member

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    Caduceus; Frostbite Falls, huh? You'll have to keep an eye out for my ol' pals Rocky and Bullwinkle for me. (But I suppose you've heard that one before.) Anyway, my commute is six miles, one way. It's a pretty do-able distance even in winter. Not too short, not too long. My instinct tells me that you're right about having two studded tires in winter; I can imagine my drive wheel slipping and sliding quite a bit. But I'm also a bit worried about a driven wheel causing too much wear on those studs. Still, I think I'm going to test the matter this year. Could you give me a lead on where to find that handlebar mounted faring? With a lower faring to cover legs and motor plus that, I'd have no doubt about my ability to ride in anything.

    Barely Awake; we're already on the same page as far as winter clothing and dexterity are concerned. I use rain gear as an outer shell. My bibs are a woven nylon-type material, as opposed to a sheet of pvc. (Though even that would be acceptable.) Underneath I wear sweat pants and sweat shirt. One bonus: you change at the end of the workday, you come outside in the winter weather with everyone else whimpering around you and you feel like you're wearing pajamas. It can't be more comfortable. If I'm certain of no cold rain, then I'll wear a cotton (uninsulated) jacket on top. Two if it's pretty cold. One or two plus a rain jacket if it's really cold. There's some changing of coats depending on wind conditions. I've reached the age, too, where I often have to remove a coat when I reach the uphill on my commute. My internal thermostat simply doesn't have the range that it used to have. For my feet I start with a plastic shopping bag on my bare foot. Good wool socks over that. I wish I'd stumbled onto that idea years ago. My feet have always been a weak point for me. They get cold easy. But wrapped in plastic I'm far more comfortable. And I can figure out why. My feet still sweat, but the socks stay dry. Clean, too, for that matter. Over that I might put another layer of plastic if I'm concerned about deep cold. Then almost any boot that I care to wear. The boots themselves are no longer important. Over that (below, say, freezing) motorcycle boot covers. Comfy feet.

    I might have to add layers on a motor bike. I haven't experimented yet with this very much. I'll just have to learn.

    One small tip for anyone considering the sweat pants/shirts. Buy plenty and replace often. They'll lose comfort and warmth as they get dirty and as the 'nap' wears down. And they're cheap anyway. Wearing new ones that are still in good shape, you are literally almost as comfortable riding your bike as you would be wrapped up in clean sheets and blankets lying in your bed. It really is that good.

    exseler; Studs on dry pavement are not all that bad. You can hear them 'clicking' on the pavement. And it does kinda pain you to hear that. You can hear those expensive studs wearing away bit by bit in conditions where they're not needed. But you get over that because you know you've got them when you do need them. Which could happen at any moment. And I think that I do feel some rolling resistance. But even that is not all that bothersome. For the security that they give, you don't feel that it's a bad bargain. Granted I won't be setting speed records. But I'm not trying. In winter I'm deliberately going pretty slow.

    It takes a little getting used to, but not much.
     
  7. caduceus

    caduceus New Member

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    Amazon.com has the handlebar mount shields. Got mine yesterday and installed it. Took about three tries, but I was able to set it close enough to be able to comfortably sit in the still-air pocket behind it. I'll post some pictures of the installation later today.

    We're actually about 70 miles north and west of Frostbite (International) Falls, MN. Have seen plenty moose and squirrel.

    Woody
     

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  8. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods New Member

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    "Boris, darling, wotabout musse and squerrel?" might not be a bad signature line, now that I think about it. It was hard to like Natasha Fatale. But it was kinda hard not to like the sexy communist temptress, too..

    Anyway, I did get one reminder of one difficulty today. It was my first rain commute since, I suppose, the spring. Maybe last fall. Going to work was downright pleasant compared to that darn Sun which hasn't left me alone for months. Coming home, though, it was dark. It wasn't actually raining but the roads were wet. About half my commute is off-road as well and I was reminded that, even with good light, wet (or hard packed snow/ice) conditions make it difficult to see exactly what you're about to ride over. I knew this. But I hadn't been thinking about it for awhile.

    Barely Awake mentioned that dexterity is important in slippery conditions. It's true. And my motor bike is somewhat shy of fully dextrous. It's a rather heavy and almost clumsy machine as a matter of fact. I also noticed that my boot covers rub against my clutch and magneto covers. Which adds to the clumsiness. Even if only minorly.

    So I might have to lower my sights a bit. Maybe try to ride the motor bike when I'm sure of cleared roads only. And save the studs for the pedal bike when there's a chance of new snow/ice or evening freeze of daytime melt. Stuff like that.

    It would be an accomplishment to ride on through and demonstrate that I can ride a motor bike in any winter conditions. But it would still be an accomplishment to merely come close.
     
  9. maniac57

    maniac57 Old, Fat, and still faster than you

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    Consider a small sealed 12v battery system to power heated grips.
    I used them for years on all my motor toys in the frozen north. (chicago)
     
  10. caduceus

    caduceus New Member

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    I've been checking out heated gloves for the same reason. Cabellas has a nice set for a something like $199.
     
  11. LabRat

    LabRat New Member

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  12. caduceus

    caduceus New Member

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    Wow! I don't remember when I've ever seen such nice ice! That was one nicely frozen river.
     
  13. maniac57

    maniac57 Old, Fat, and still faster than you

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    The heated grips are much cheaper, although less convenient.
     
  14. Dan

    Dan Staff
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  15. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods New Member

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    Yes, Dan. I have seen that thread and it's a good one. I'll go ahead and look it over again, too.

    Someone, I think it's Killer Canuck, mentioned that making your own studded tires is tedious. I'll testify. I started making one a few years ago. I never finished it. It gets very, very tiring.

    Also I was worried about my ability to keep the screw heads from wearing holes in the tube. Can be done, no doubt. But I suspected that it would be another headache. For a mere $50.00, I'd rather have one ready-made dropped on my porch.

    Not that I mean to be discouraging; this is a great project for those who are a bit more hardcore DIY'ers than I am.
     
  16. Dan

    Dan Staff
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    Just reread that. Killer had me rolling.

    I know what you mean, Blue Goat. Does seem like it would take until spring to get em done. (then, why bother, lol)

    What I thought was genius, putting the tire, inside another tire so they wouldn't puncture the tube.

    The creativity here amazes me. Some where between Rube Goldberg and Edison.
     
  17. Kioshk

    Kioshk Active Member

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    I bought a pair of these last Winter:

    $10
    Northstar Deerskin Men's Work Gloves w/Reflective Band Thinsulate Insulation XXL

    [​IMG]

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Northstar-D...US_CSA_MWA_Gloves_Mittens&hash=item20d8208ef3

    They are SUPER warm, they have perfectly placed reflective material on the knuckles soz oncoming vehichles' will definitely notice you at night, and the very pliable though thick deerskin is great for handling hot engine-parts in an emergency. I highly recommend them; at $10 delivered, you can't go wrong.
     
  18. bill2781

    bill2781 Member

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    nice gloves kioshk and thanks dan for sharing that post I might have to make one and put it on a extra wheel mabe even set it up with a sprocket already mounted for easy and fast conversion to snow and back to normal wheel /tire use
     
  19. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods New Member

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    You're right. I noticed that too and I was impressed. My first thought was, 'Can that possibly fit in there?' Clearly it did. And I reckon that's now one tough tire 'assembly'.

    Kioshk; good looking gloves at a fine price. And if other people read this, then that'll be a useful post. Thanks.
     
  20. rogergendron1

    rogergendron1 New Member

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