This week’s blog has been written by a rather shy (but extremely knowledgeable) J&S team member. So here are their tips for winter:
It’s winter. So now, like many other riders around the UK, your motorcycle is tucked up in the garage awaiting the warmer, drier days of spring and hopefully summer (if we get one!)
BUT, every now and then you just can’t help but notice that one rider…. riding to work in the middle of January. When it’s 3 degrees outside, windy and raining, he/she is still out on his/her bike braving the British weather in the name of motorcycling.
If you choose not to ride to work very often but have often wondered if it’s worth it riding all year round, then here are a few tips that will help you as they have helped me through 10 years of British winters.
Sadly, that gorgeous 1-piece race suit or Marlon Brando leather jacket are just not going to cut it on their own! They’re going to need some help to deal with the lower temperatures, rain and wind that we seem to have so much of here in the UK. Now you have a few options open to you, if you’re looking to keep things on a budget there are still some real world solutions for riding in less than favourable weather.
For example, that leather jacket and jeans combo can be waterproofed using treatments such as NikWax Leather Restorer (which I use myself, and it keeps more rain off me than you might think!) For heavier rain, you could even get yourself a lightweight over-jacket/suit that is 100% waterproof and really will keep the rain at bay, personally for when the rain gets really bad I have an Oxford Products Rainseal jacket a great bit of kit that folds up nicely into panniers for nice and easy storage.
Alternatively, you could go the full mile and get yourself some dedicated winter kit. The world of textile equipment has come on leaps and bounds and for day-to-day riding, in many areas, completely outshines traditional leather garments. They’re often warmer, comfier, easier to wear, have plenty of pockets and some even come with storm collars to keep the wind and rain out even more. A great example of something like this would be the Frank Thomas Jupiter Jacket or the BKS Endeavour jacket. Both have lots of storage and matching trousers too, and fit nice and easily over your work clothes if you get them a size larger too, so great for riding to work in.
Being seen is just as important. For most people the idea of a bright day glow yellow jacket is about as sexy as last week’s underpants. But you can’t deny the benefits of been more visible and therefore safer! Which has to be sexy, right? So what are your options? You have a few, the jackets I mentioned before do come with some nice flashes of yellow and reflective panels which will help, but not everyone wants to be day glow all the time so a nice high-visibility waist coat/jacket is ideal for chucking on over your main Jacket. This also packs away easily under a seat.
You can also get over-trousers which really do well at keeping everything “south of the boarder” nice and dry, but a little tip for you. If you do wear over-trousers, and you need to get them on quickly with your boots already on. Keep a spare plastic bag (yes I know, you will probably have to spend 5p to get one now!) and put your foot inside the bag before you put your foot/leg into the trousers, this will help the trousers glide over your boot and stops that awful snagging on the heel and toe you sometimes get, and also makes life easier on the over trousers and will undoubtedly help them last much longer and remain rip-free for years.
Looking after your bike in winter is important too. If your bike has a chain it’s going to require a bit more cleaning and lubrication than normal, but if you use a high quality chain wax this process is made fairly painless. The key here is not to over lubricate as that will just attract more road grime, which means more cleaning and therefore more lubrication etc. Basically think sparingly with the Dr Bike Chain lube, and clean about once a week in mid-winter.
As for keeping the bike clean and rust free, there’s one thing I ALWAYS bathe my bike in come salty-season, and that’s ACF50. It comes in a nice spray tin, and actually KILLS corrosion and stops muck damaging your metals.There’s no real need to apply to your paint work, a decent wax/polish will do just as good, save the ACF50 for your electrical and metals, it’s not water based so won’t interfere with the electronics! WD40 is great for shifting stubborn muck and grease/tar and other nasty stuff, but it’s water based and will eventually wash off so it’s not ideal for using on electrical and exposed raw metals, certainly don’t use it on your chain! It’s hydroscopic and will attract moisture in the long run and dry out seals on your chain.
Hopefully these few basic tips will keep you happier in winter, and even encourage you to leave the car at home and take the bike to work more often! If nothing else, it’s going to save the stress of being stuck in traffic and fuel costs too!
If you’re thinking of winter riding or just thinking about a new bike for when the weather gets better we’ve got a Kawasaki launch event on January 29th January to check out all the new Kawasaki models at our Oakmere and our Doncaster stores. The details are here: J&S Northwich and Doncaster Kawasaki 2016 preview day.
Until next week – keep safe!