Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Preparing for Winter Riding – Part 1

I learned a lot the hard way last year trying to ride my Ural through the winter. This year, I decided to start getting ready much sooner, so I would have time to finish before the snow flies (instead of after like last time). However, It seems a bit funny to be working on winter stuff now since the temps are back into the 60s and low 70s.

First, I got a replacement pair of Tourmaster Venture Pants. (Thanks Zach!) The pair I wore last year worked really well, but I melted part of the leg on the old pair on the Ural’s exhaust. While I was still learning to ride it, I put my feet down at a stop (totally unnecessary) and it melted quite quickly. Lesson learned? No need to put a foot to the ground until dismounting. It’s also easy to stand on the pegs to get access to pockets.

Tourmaster Venture Pants

I washed my coat, pants, and clava in Nikwax Tech Wash. The tech wash works to safely clean and restore wasproof textile motorcycling gear. It’s very easy to use. Just toss some into the washing machine along with your gear. Hang dry and done. The tourmaster Epic 2 and venture pants worked very well last year, but I wanted to make sure the waterproofing was ready to go. The extra waterproofing helps with the wind too. 

garment protection for coat, pants, boots and gloves

I used the Camp Dry on my Sidi On-Road boots and my gloves. Just spray it on and let it dry. It works best to clean the boots and gloves first. The treatment is recommended by Gerbing too. I put two coats on my boots and gloves.

When riding in the cold, it is very important to stay dry. Getting wet will get you into hypothermia territory very quickly.

I bought a box of these Little Hotties hand Warmers and Toe warmers as a backup to the electrics for this winter. As tested on a recent ride, they work very well!


I also wanted something “better” than my tourmaster “winter” gloves. The tourmaster didn’t fit well, and they were only ok on the warm front. Zach @ MotoPrimo had showed me the Knox Zero gloves this past summer. I immediately wanted them. I finally got myself a pair on Monday. They are great! Lots of armor, insulation, and waterproof. They should do well as a backup to my electrics and for the days that don’t quite warrant all the extra wires.

Knox Zero Gloves

My Gerbing electrics are working well as tested this past weekend. I need to check out my winter helmet and clean it. I think I now have my gear sorted for the winter riding season. There is still a lot of bike prep left to do on the Ural!


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  1. Chris

    Highly recommend some inexpensive grip covers to keep the wind off your gloved hands while riding....see link below. I prefer heated grips to heated gloves and with the grip covers, all is well in really cold temperatures. My motorport riding pants are vented so I just wear rainpants on top of them to keep me warmer.

    Grip Covers

    +1 on using a balaclava, I use a maxit gaitor to keep my neck and head insulated from the cold, works great.

    Last winter I found this keeps my visor from fogging up on really cold days:

    Cold Avenger

    You already alluded to most of the stuff I mention here on riding in really cold weather:

    Riding in Cold Weather

    Looking forward to the snow....


    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  2. Perfect timing Chris! I'm gearing up for winter too.. I have no heated gear.. yet. So I'm kinda looking into that, wiring the bike(s) for it. As well as doing the small things.. chin skirt/balaclava, anti-fog, got heated grips but probably add some muffs.

    Heated jacket would be very nice, as this morning it was 41 when I rode into work, but it will be 80 when I leave!

  3. Dear Chris:

    I used a more time-test and stressful approach to my first cool weather ride. Thank God for that animated cartoon series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Without it, motorycle glove designers would have had to start from scratch.

    I'm just getting around to mounting the pig-tail for my Gerbings stuff this weekend.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  4. I'm headed for Michigan in October to find a new winter helmet. I'm going to try on some snowmobile helmets. it is a little difficult to find a Ski-doo helmet in Missouri ;-)

    Good post.


  5. Dom:
    I have muffs, they worked great last year. I use hippo hands I found at a garage sale for $10. My winter helmet has a breath guard built in, so it doesn't fog. I am also looking forward to the snow!!

    Which tires are you using this winter? My Uralshina's are about ready to be replaced. Duro's are on unknown backorder for the entire US. Kenda's K335s seem promising, but not enough reviews.

    clava/skirt look for Shampa. I have two of theirs and they are great. Anti-fog spray/wipes never worked. Get a breath shield instead. Heated grips are nice, but heated gloves are better. Grips just do your palms and fingers, but not the tips, thumb or back of the hand. Muffs are nice, get the kind with the hoop in the opening for easy hand in/out. Gerbing is the heated gear to get. It has the best warranty. Tourmaster is cheaper if you don't plan on using it much, but the warranty sucks. I've used both and would pick Gerbing every time.

    Dear Jack:
    The Gerbing stuff is awesome. I've enjoyed mine a few times this week on the way to work. I use my battery tender cable rather than the dedicated pigtails. It keeps the wiring cleaner, and is available on all my bikes. I am adding a second to my SV and Ural since last year I had them wear out on me and break in the cold!

    When looking for a snowmobile helmet, make sure it has a solid shield. Most have a very flexible shield that has more in common with a 2liter bottle than a proper motorcycle helmet.

  6. Chris

    Just bought one Kenda335 for the pusher tire's replacement....I'll let you know how they do. I run Duros on the other two wheels.


  7. Chris: Thanks for the heads up about the shield. This is one of the reasons I wanted to be able to check out the helmets in person. And, it's a good excuse to visit home base. Plus, HJ wants to check out some XCountry roller-skis. Could be an expensive trip LOL.

  8. Chris, I didn't know we had the same taste in boots! I love my Sidi On Road boots--my favorite. Hubby bought me a pair of battery operated socks--their okay but so far I've never ridden in such cold weather that my feet get that cold. But I too love those hand warmers! Thanks for the cleaning review!

  9. Dom:
    Thanks. I'm very interested in how they work out.

    Good luck! :)

    Hmm... I thought we talked about our love of Sidi boots when I was in Chicago. The handwarmers are fun. I used a pair on the way to work and it stayed warm for 10 hours! I looked at the battery operated socks... my feet got plenty cold enough last year. -11F is cold!

  10. I've always had good luck with the NikWax products. Totally sold on them. Bought some "hotties" but haven't used them yet.

    Got to find new boots this year. Guess I'll have to check out the Sidi's!

  11. irondad: I'm impressed with the "hotties" They last much longer than I expected them too. The Nikwax stuff DOES work great!

    I've had my on-roads for three years now. They are nice boots. I've used them in 105F and -11F. Just change up the socks and they will keep you comfortable.

  12. They did get cold in -11F though even with good socks. Not enough room for insulation. I could only ride an hour at a time. With a heatsource in the boot, they'd do better in the extreme cold.