How to ride a motorcycle in snow: The Ultimate Guide

how to ride a motorcycle in snow

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As everyone is saying, winter is coming. To some people depending on their location, winter might already be there with them.

That means that most motorcycle riders are gradually putting their bikes away to wait for spring. But when you think about it, is it too difficult to bear the fact that your bike will be there in the garage all the season without being unused?

For many people riding is their passion, and they conduct it all through the year.

There has been the notion that people should not be riding during winter, but to the passionate ones, this is the period that they get to go behind bars.

So if you have decided that you won’t rest and wait for spring to continue having fun, you need to understand how winter riding is and the precaution you should follow to keep yourself safe.

What’s unique about riding a motorcycle during winter?

Snow Ride

Winter riding is unique in many aspects; it does not entail feeling cold only. This is when snow falling is very ramped, and therefore there are many considerations that you will need to think about before hitting the road.

The snow falling, ice on the road, cold air hitting against your body, sleet, and other winter weather conditions will have a greater impact on your body and your motorbike performance.

Therefore, before starting your adventures, it is your responsibility to know what you can expect from snow riding and be ready to face and respond to them appropriately.

Some of the expected problems that you might encounter while riding on the snow are:

  • If you are the person who has always enjoyed flying at higher speeds during summer, you need to understand that riding at a higher speed during winter feels very cold to your body. When you ride on the highway for a small duration, it will chill your body faster than you ever expected. Therefore, if you haven’t insulated your body correctly, dangerous winter conditions like hypothermia and frostbite will invade your body. You need to invest heavily in the cloth you will wear during this period to retain body heat and avoid feeling cold.
  • With the snow all over the road mins, your motorcycle tires’ rubbers will shrink, decreasing their ability to grip the road properly. Even though your tires tend to get warm as you ride up, that’s not a good idea to rely on because as soon as you stop, they will cool down. Worse enough, if the tires on your motorcycle have limited threads, you will have less traction, and therefore this means that you will have to increase your stopping distances.
  • The falling of snow and ice could result in low visibility on the road. Even if you had not planned to ride in such weather conditions, you might be left with no option because winter always pops up when it is least expected, and if you were to reach a place urgently, would you cancel your plans?
  • Your fingers and toes will start losing dexterity since the body will be conserving heat on the vital body organs. This means that there will be limited agility while applying breaks or during throttle and a slower reaction time, and sometimes the reflex needs to be very quick to avoid skidding, so you need to take precautions.

Therefore if you want to ride on snow, you need to picture all these conditions since a bike is harder to control while riding on the snow when compared to the normal road, and your body will be straining to handle the condition.

So to curb the possible dangers, you need to adjust your gearing up and find garments that have the potential of retaining body heat, concentrate fully on the road, and adjust your mindset.

How to ride a motorcycle in the snow?

There are various types of snow, and to ride through the snow, you need to know the specific type of snow you will be riding on.

1. Riding on a fresh snow

riding on fresh snow

Fresh snow is snow that nobody has ridden on; you will be the first to ride through it. The surface is very clear since there are no tires tracks that one can follow.

First off, you need to understand that this is among the better motorcycle snow riding types as long as the road’s edges are visible.

This is snow that nobody has ridden on it, so while riding, your tires will get compacted, thus filling the grooves.

This will provide more grip on the surface since the tires will be sinking a little into the snow, making it mold around your tires.

Therefore this is expected to be straightforward, focus more on your stability.

2. Riding on already compacted snow

This is described as the snow covering the very busy road that is being used frequently.

So there are clear tires where other road users like the motor vehicle and motorcycle riders have been driving from.

When you find yourself in such a situation, a quick response is riding through the used part of the road.

The part where other drivers and riders have been stepping on, and sometimes that tends to be the worst choice.

This is so because the compacted snow in the tires might have polished up, meaning that there will be limited grip, and hence the road will be more slippery.

Therefore, if the unused part contains fresh snow on the road, concentrate on using that part.

3. Riding your motorcycle on a slush

riding on snow slush

This is after the road has been used several times and the bulk of the snow is reducing. You are now left with a slushy and wet road to ride on.

The major benefit of riding on such a road over the compacted ones is that your motorcycle tires can cut through the melted snow, thus getting in contact with the road, which means there are limited chances of skidding.

Also, take your time and concentrate on the road; never anticipate being a hero because that will lead you to make many mistakes that might make you dirty.

Just focus on the road and be relaxed by flexing your body muscles.

Wear the correct motorcycle gears that can retain body heat for long durations:

Riding comfortably on the snow starts with the right choice of garment, and it is all about layering.

If you have not layered your garments properly, you will be freezing while riding, which is never nice. It makes your body tenser, and thus it won’t be able to react to a situation quickly.

Therefore, you need to dress warmly, but this means you need to embrace the proper layering method. Consider having appropriate full leg and full sleeve clothing, and they should be suitable for motorcycle riding.

The appropriate motorcycle garments are mandatory because, with the numerous strains and difficulties that one might be undergoing on the road, their body will be sweating.

Thus one needs to wear clothes that allow the body to breathe and wick away any moisture. After putting the moisture-wicking clothes on top of it, add your main insulation layer in the middle of the finish with the waterproof one.

Dressing up for colder snow rides looks bulky and cumbersome, but they are essential because the body needs real protection. Having waterproof clothing is recommended because it will prevent your body from soaking while you navigate through the colder snow.

snow helmet

It would be best if you had full-face and flip-up motorcycle helmets that are conducive to use during the winter season. Also, top up with a neck warmer to cover the gap between helmets and the edge of your jacket.

Also, riding safely on the snow means picking the whole kit, so other considerations should not be left out.

Look for hand warmers to keep your hands toasty and prevent them from freezing after riding for a long duration on the snow. These are easy to wear, and you should never lack them.

Another thing is the Heated Handlebars. This is very conducive, especially if you are in for long rides, and the thing is that they are easy to install and inexpensive to purchase.

Essential riding techniques for snow

First, you need to know that snow riding is not recommended for beginners and inexperienced people.

They need to focus on building up their skill using warm seasons like the hot summer since there are very few risks associated with summer rides compared to riding on the snow.

Therefore if you feel confident enough that you have the conversant skills required for a motorcycle snow ride and are ready to hit the road, master this technique fast; they might save your life.

snow on motorcycle

Therefore, you can try performing the below practices.

  • Get your tires warmed up; this will help improve traction and thus your stability on the road. There are numerous ways to get your tires warmed up; you can opt-in for a few options and settle on the one that works best for you.
  • Because the road is filled with snow and slippery, it will take you longer to break your motorcycle, so increase the distance between you and vehicles, tracks, and other motorcycle riders.
  • Always be observant while riding because there will be limited visibility during the snowfalls. Other road users might be concentrating more on the blind sport and neglecting to focus on other road users. Therefore, as much as you are keen on observing the blind sport, observe the motions of other road users.
  • Riding on snow is very different from riding on the regular road. Therefore you need to derive techniques that work well on you. You can borrow some techniques from dirt bike riders because this feels like riding on a muddy road. These skills are fundamental because a snowstorm might catch you up or hit a patch of ice unexpectedly, and therefore you will need to employ those skills to avoid skidding.  
  • Resist the urge of panicking; you might be caught up in that situation unexpectedly, so you need to calm down and gather confidence to motivate you that you can do it.

Group riders in snow

Riding in a group is the best way to explore the road while taking in some vistas together; it is a whole package that no one will ever wish to miss.

Winter road

Also, it will boost your confidence, especially if it’s your first time riding on snow, because there will be more help. Then because you are riding as a group, it means that there will be more eyes observing the road; thus, there will be more visibility.

Even though riding in a group is more fun and enjoyable, you should always observe the etiquettes of group riding. Always use your motorbike because you are the only one who understands it better.

Another bad behavior that most people are always tempted to engage in is chasing other motorcycle riders who are far gone.

This will get you into more danger than good since other riders are more skilled than you, and they know how to maneuver well, and in case of any challenge, they know how to handle it better.

The consequences for this are magnified now that you are riding on the snow, which means there are more chances of skidding.

Also, while in a group ride, ensure your helmet is fitted with the proper Bluetooth headset for easy communication.

If you are not sure about the best Bluetooth headset, you should check up on our other article that has outlined all the best Bluetooth headsets.

Snow motorcycle maintenance tips:

Riding on the snow is a bit different from riding on the normal road, and thus it could be hard on the motorcycle.

So as a good motorcycle rider, it would be best if you never forgot to take your motorbike for maintenance.

Snow contains a high quantity of salt that is very corrosive to the metal, so after enjoying your adventure, take a cross-check on your motorbike.

Also, be always observe the tire pressure of your motorbike since tires tend to lose pressure easily during snow rides.


Riding in the snow could be very challenging, but the above tips will help you get the fun out of it.

The adventures that come with motorcycle riding never end, and a passionate rider will always make it through the snow riding. It only requires a little preparation and willingness to try new things.

Riding on snow is fun when conducted under precautions since it will help you learn other skills making your riding experience more adorable.

Also, while riding on the snow, try as much as possible to increase your visibility since it will increase the chances of you being sported by other road users.

Therefore try and incorporate some reflective leads on your outer garments. Maintain a reasonable distance between you and the subsequent road users since you will require more distance to stop your motorbike.

When riding in a group and facing some challenges, don’t hesitate to inquire from your colleague. That will not undergrad you, but it will make you sure of what you are doing.

If you think you have some more points regarding the topic, then you should write them in the comment section below.

We are happy to hear from you.


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