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Thread: cold tempature Handling?

  1. #1

    cold tempature Handling?

    Hi there fellas. its getting dam cold here in east Tennessee nowadays, but I still love to ride and I got me some new heated gear to get used to. Im ridein a 08 RT with PR4GT tires and an 08 Harley electraglide with Metzlers 888s, and Im wondering just how much the cold will effect handling? Im not about to go roaring thru these mtns and it in the 40s. but I was just wondering if there was any guides for lowering speed as the temps lower. Ive rode in the low 50s* and running the speed limit on dry roads didn't seem squirelly or nothing but haven't run in the 40s in along long time . just wondering , thanks JB

  2. #2
    Registered User jandhumphreyme's Avatar
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    Living in Maine I've had the opportunity to ride in colder temperatures more than I ever wanted. There are only four issues which concern me regarding cold weather riding, the first is obviously ice, black ice or hoar ice either one can drop your ass in a second, black ice is common on bridges or shaded areas and can be hard to discern, hoar ice is a heavy dew that has frozen to a road surface. The second thing is sand or other traction material that may have been applied days before which is still on the road surface such as sand or gravel. Thirdly, keeping your extremities warm heated gear is great. Fourth is warming tires sufficiently before leaning into corners, I think much like in the racing world that warmer tires give better grip, shouldn't take too many miles to get them up in temperature, but slamming into that first twisty after just leaving the driveway is not wise IMHO.
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  3. #3
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    jandhumphreyme said it perfectly. Our temps are a bit below yours (minus 10F yesterday) but the principles he listed are sound no matter how cold your cold is.

    Pete
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    Rally Rat
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    Besides keeping your body warm (and therefore your brain more alert), beware that black ice (water that freezes clear and is difficult to differentiate from a dry road surface) forms frequently in areas of the road that are habitually shaded from sunlight.

    Also, tires need some 'flex' to maximize sidewall grip, and tires too cold are too stiff and can be hazardous to ride on in curves. It's the reason racers pre-heat their rubber just prior to the start of an event - maximize their grip right from the starting flag. My son and I aborted a May ride to the top of Pike's Peak one year @ 12,000' (snow 15' high next to the road) because, despite riding for over an hour, the tires were not even remotely warm to the touch - stiff as boards.

    Be cautious.

  5. #5
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    I ride in the cold and I have notice a large difference in tire traction in cold weather. Just be aware of it, don't try to roll through corner like a racer and you will be fine.

    The worst i have noticed are the tires on my Yamaha R1. When the temps are over 70F and the tires have a few miles on them they stick like glue. Hit the throttle in first of second and the tire will not spin and the front wheel lifts. The farther the temps are under 70F the worse the tires get. At freezing temps they are simply terrible. I notice the rear tire sliding on corners, and just about any amount of throttle and the rear tire is spinning and refuses to hook up.

  6. #6
    Dress for fall & avoid it AlanColes's Avatar
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    JB, it's all good advice here.

    I think you should look at it from the perspective that the handling will be the same, but the traction will be significantly reduced.

    Your Michelins will likely provide a little more grip than the Metzler 888 as, IIRC, the 888 is a pretty high-mileage tire. That usually translates into a harder rubber that adapts less to the cold.

    When you get daytime temperatures below 50F, the pavement never gets heat at all and will suck most of the heat out of your tires so it becomes impossible, under normal public road riding to build any heat whatsoever in the tires. The asphalt actually acts as a heat-sink and your traction will be much less than normal.

    That doesn't mean you don't have traction, just that it is much less than normal and requires a slower pace with smoother inputs to allow for a brisk pace.
    Regards, Alan - President BMWONS - BMWMOA/BMWRA/BMWONS/Airheads
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    Watch This!!! junkjohn's Avatar
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    It gets Damn cold here also, and I wish I could remember where I heard it, but I have always used the lower recommended PSI. For instance if it is recommended PSI front 32-36 I use the 32 in the winter. And 36-42 rear 36 in the winter. This could be wrong to do but I have been lucky for many years. Good luck and ride safe.
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  8. #8
    Hay JunkJohn I had done the min pressure in cold weather for yrs when I drove for a living up north, but for some reason somewhere along the yrs I had forgotten that. so thanks for the heads up. the rest of the ideals are all great reminders so thank you guys too. seems the older I get the more I need reminded

    I got a new set of PR4GTs the other day and in 45* days they seem stable with decent grip at max pressure runnin speed linits. hopefully Ill be able to get a few hundred miles a month this winter on decent days. some head therapy don't cha know

  9. #9
    Dress for fall & avoid it AlanColes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by junkjohn View Post
    It gets Damn cold here also, and I wish I could remember where I heard it, but I have always used the lower recommended PSI. For instance if it is recommended PSI front 32-36 I use the 32 in the winter. And 36-42 rear 36 in the winter. This could be wrong to do but I have been lucky for many years. Good luck and ride safe.
    John, I suspect where this recommendation stems from is the idea that in snow/sand/etc. (loose, low traction surfaces), one usually gets better traction from reduced tire pressures. This is why you will see off-road vehicles running very, very, low pressures and often installing devices to lock the tire-bead to the rim.

    That doesn't help with traction on solid surfaces like pavement. There would be some benefit to having your tires warm up quicker due to increased tread squirm, but the reduction in ultimate grip due to tire carcus flexing would likely more than offset that benefit.
    Regards, Alan - President BMWONS - BMWMOA/BMWRA/BMWONS/Airheads
    Current: 2019 R1250RT / '06 Ducati ST3s / '91 R100GS / '86 R80RT / '75 R90S / '73 850 & '70 750 Commando Prev: '14 R1200RT / '04 R1150RT / '81 Honda GL1100 / '77 Suzuki GS750 / '73 Norton 850 Commando

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