Imagine yourself piercing through dirt roads with your dirt bike or hiking up a cliff. The cold and icy wind biting at your face. Your adrenaline levels rise. Sounds like a dream, right? That is, until you find yourself in a hospital bed, getting treated for prolonged exposure to cold temperature — aka hypothermia. But, how cold is too cold to ride a dirt bike?
Generally, it is recommended not to ride a bike below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit) outside. This is because as soon as the ground is frozen, you’ll face a higher risk of losing control of your bike, sliding, and even getting into an unforeseen bike accident.
But if riding becomes necessary in times of need despite all the dangers, make sure you are properly geared up for it.
Truth be told, it still all comes down to your personal preferences. However, there are still some ground rules that you must follow if you are to ride a dirt bike below zero temperature.
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How Cold Is Too Cold To Ride A Dirt Bike?
What Are Cold-Weather Hazards?
Sure, dirt biking is incredibly thrilling and adventurous. Nonetheless, it comes with its fair share of dangers.
Even in ideal road conditions or temperatures, biking can be quite dangerous – and even more so when winter arrives.
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Frostbite And Hypothermia
Continuous exposure to extreme temperatures and icy wind can be super dangerous for your body. If you are not geared up adequately in the face of the ice-cold wind, the consequences could be fatal.
For The Bike
Additionally, there are similar dangers for your bike as for your body when dirt riding in the cold.
For starters, cold weather can lead to suspension issues in your bike. This is a common issue faced by numerous dirt bikers in winter weather. And the suspension will only start working properly once the fork fluid is warm.
Secondly, the icy winds can also freeze your bike’s gas. Make sure to keep your bike covered and parked in warm places to keep the gas from freezing up.
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Limit Your Speed
Never ignore your gut feeling — just like you wouldn’t while taking major decisions.
Always pay heed to that tiny voice inside your head asking you to slow down. If you have to give it a second thought because of the weather and road conditions, it’s better just to stay inside.
Understanding your limitations and speed in times of emergency is the key to safe dit biking.
And not just for yourself, but also acknowledge your bike’s limitations. Keeping it inside in harsh weather is better than venturing out on an icy road if you have a carbureted bike.
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Make Sure You Gear Up Properly
Gearing up is a must for winter bikers. A leather jacket is enough for casual bikers; however, things are not so simple if you decide to take out your bike in icy temperatures. Make sure you layer up as much as possible.
But if you still decide to go with a leather jacket on a winter night, make sure to throw on an undershirt for improved insulation.
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Winter Bike Riding Jacket
Ideally, a bike-riding winter jacket is a more suitable gear for such days. They provide both improved insulation and better road rash protection.
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Full Finger Gloves
Besides that, fully covered gloves are necessary for winter dirt bikers. Don’t forget thermal underwear to keep your legs warm.
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Lastly, don’t forget your helmet if you don’t want your eyes and nostrils to freeze up. Make sure to paint the inside of a helmet with anti-fog spray to avoid your hot breath fogging up the visor from within.
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How To Prepare Your Bike For Riding In The Colder Months?
Install Heated Grips
Make sure your bike is prepped to face harsh winter weather and road conditions. Heated grips can be super helpful for winter bikers as they keep the hands warm enough to avoid hypothermia or frostbite.
What’s more, they can also prevent your hands from going numb below zero temperature, increasing friskiness and providing extra safety for bike riders.
Check Your Antifreeze
Before you take out your bike for a ride, make sure to check the antifreeze. Antifreeze plays an influential role in keeping the bike’s engine cooled down due to the ethylene glycol compound in them.
If you take your bike for a long spin out, make sure the engine’s revved up with enough coolant or antifreeze.
This will keep your bike from getting heated and crashing down in the middle of a remote mountainous area.
Double-Check Your Lubrication
To avoid any accident, ensure your bike is properly prepped for a long spin out on rugged roads in harsh winter conditions. You can certainly not afford to be stranded in a remote area with your broken bike in below-freezing temperatures.
You can use grease or other lubricants to keep all your bike compounds moving and keep them from seizing up. So make sure your oils are in place, and your dirt bike is ready to hit the road in the winter season.
Opt For Studded Snow Tires
If you haven’t already installed studded snow tires in your dirt bike, then you, my friend, are calling accidents upon yourself. Taking out your bike for a spin on snow-capped and frosted roads without studded snow tires can be extremely dangerous.
Studded snow tires keep the bike afloat on icy roads and prevent them from slipping because of the strong, small pieces of metal installed inside. Also, they provide extra traction to your bikes and make the glide smoother and safer for winter weather.
Go For A Snow Bike Conversion
Opt for a snow bike conversion if you live in a colder, mountainous area where rugged and harsh roads can never be avoided. Snow bike conversion includes replacing the rear ends of the bike with tracks usually found on snowmobiles.
Whereas, in place of the front wheel, a snow-converted bike features a single ski. Basically, a snow converted bike is a marriage of dirt bike and snowmobile safer and more fun.
Don’t Always Trust The Online Rider’s Advice
Don’t trust the internet. You will often find people claiming heroic incidents of riding dirt bikes in the coldest weather with no problems.
But no one’s ever telling the whole truth. Don’t listen to these riders because one wrong slip or turn can change your life forever.
If you do need to look for some advice, ask dirt bike riders living around your area. They can be more open and honest about the harshness of weather and road conditions on your chosen route.
Always Ride At A Distance From Other Vehicles
Make sure you keep away from other vehicles since jammed braking is rarely an option in collision cases. Winter weather and road conditions can turn your bike’s tires hard and lose the added traction.
This further increases the braking distance and makes jammed braking impossible in times of emergency.
So you ask us, how cold is too cold to ride a dirt bike, right? Here is your answer.
While riding a dirt bike in winter can be dangerous, accidents can definitely be avoided if you are geared up and well prepared in the face of adversities. And when you know how cold is too cold to ride a dirt bike, then you can make clear decisions.
While we understand that there might be no limitations to your love for dirt biking or an alternative to that adrenaline rush, taking precautions for safety reasons is still recommended. Happy biking!