Darkside snow tire commute test - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 12 Old 02-11-2017, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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Darkside snow tire commute test

For those who followed and helped (@oydnar) with my autumn adventure of getting a '2012 dl650a outfitted for winter commuting, today turned out to be the real test. I've been riding in, about 5 miles each way, all winter. But we haven't had much snow in Connecticut and what has come hasn't really left much behind the next morning. Thursday's storm was different. We got about a foot and work closed the office. My wife said, "Just a heads-up, I'm going to ask you not to ride tomorrow."

So, tomorrow (today) came and I was like, eh, they probably have things pretty well plowed. And why did we do all this work to get a studded snow tire on the rear wheel if I'm going to let a little snow deter me? Plus, don't I want to learn my limits nice and close to home, with wife, ambulances, and 2 hospitals just a few minutes away, versus on some adventure someday? "I think I'm going to ride today," I told her, along with all that explanation, minus any mention of emergency healthcare. "Okay..." skeptical tone.

Off I went, fully armored including the carbide studded overshoes. So, the streets were not so well plowed after all. "The main streets will be better," I thought. Wrong. Worse. The big roadways must have had more cars during the actual storm, packing the snow before the plows could get it. It wasn't too bad, though. Felt a bit like riding on gravel. I slipped side to side a bit, but the one thing I never had trouble with was accelerating. That car tire on the back delivered consistently.

The ride home was a different story. It is hard to describe but something in the snow on the street made it more slippy. Not exactly slush...more like if you mixed powder snow with a bit of shampoo. I was riding pretty much at the top of my ability, and was truly in Adventure mode the whole way. I don't have any experience going down at speed, but I felt like I couldn't rule that out. 20 mph was top speed. Somehow I made it all the way back to my driveway. Well, in front of my driveway. I turned wide to get a straight shot through the bit of excess the plow left in front of the ol' suburban homestead. I pause a moment, and then went to start my approach... well I was turning a bit, and I guess leaning a bit, and it was a slow easy slide out at 0 mph (but maybe 30 degrees / second angular velocity). Laid it right down in front of the house with the old man across the street watching, confirming his likely first thought that I was an idiot for riding in the first place. And he was almost certainly right.

No damage, and I found myself having no problem picking it back up in the snow. So that was reassuring, and of course it is always good to learn more about your limits without involving ambulances and hospitals.

And now I think I can say I'm a real Adventure rider. Well, an Adventure Commuter anyway, and a bona fide Stromtrooper.
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post #2 of 12 Old 02-11-2017, 01:41 AM
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confirming his likely first thought that I was an idiot for riding in the first place.
Aren't we all...


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I think I can say I'm a real Adventure rider.
I would agree!
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post #3 of 12 Old 02-13-2017, 05:24 PM
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I enjoyed reading this especially when you were told not to and decided to test yourself closer to home in bad conditions...I have done EXACTLY this a few times in torrential rainstorms to build skills and test gear. I'd rather go down close to home than on a long trip...your reasoning is sound in my book. I still have fogging issues and have ridden down in the low 20s but not in snow...I commend you.
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post #4 of 12 Old 02-14-2017, 04:12 PM
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You're my hero, man. Boldly go where lesser men won't.
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-14-2017, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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I showed a buddy my post and his reaction was that I was being a bit selfish...that there was too great a risk that my going down could become another driver's problem, and I think I basically agree with him. Given traffic density and how close to the edge I was during the ride home, I wouldn't commute in those conditions again.

The snow tire and studs front and back make more sense as a bit of insurance for commuting in winter on roads that are generally clear. Still ride as if there is ice, just like you treat every firearm as loaded.

I'm still happy I did it. I mean, how often does a doughy middle aged guy get to hear things like "you're savage, bro!" yelled sincerely to him from the sidewalks of the capital city?
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post #6 of 12 Old 02-14-2017, 09:23 PM
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Given traffic density and how close to the edge I was during the ride home, I wouldn't commute in those conditions again.
I am probably in a more unique situation living in a rural area and no commute, when I ride I am rarely in a traffic situation

one of my adverse weather rides that was over 75 miles of freezing rain, sleet and snow, I probably didn't see more than a dozen other vehicles on the road (saw almost as many in the ditch)

even in the summer, I hear "you shoud do a track day" and I reply why would I want to ride in such heavy traffic, a dozen other riders on the same mile experimenting with their limits is heavy traffic compared to the majority of my riding mid day, mid week, I rarely see other vehicles on the rural roads I ride
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post #7 of 12 Old 02-14-2017, 10:10 PM
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-15-2017, 07:47 AM Thread Starter
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That's what the Ural is for!
Yes, please!!!
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post #9 of 12 Old 02-15-2017, 08:36 AM
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I test rode a Ural about 15 years ago, unless they have improved a lot, no thank you

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post #10 of 12 Old 02-15-2017, 09:38 AM
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Whereabouts in CT is your commute? One of my coworkers told me she was a few cars behind someone on a bike on Rt 22 a few days ago, going about 20mph because of the snow
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