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It was below freezing out today in central Pennsylvania. While braking moderately, I lost traction for a second on my rear tire (Metzeler Tourance). I slowed down, realizing that cold tarmac and cold rubber aren't sticky.

Does lowering tire pressure improve traction on cold asphalt? I was running around 34 psi.
 

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Honestly, lower pressure doesn't help that much, though running really high pressures (40+) certainly won't help. 34 PSI seems reasonable, there's just not much grip, learn to deal with it.

Gets cold enough to make a difference only a couple of times a year where I live now. "Iron road" days, easy on the throttle, brake early.
I used to ride in ice and snow fairly regularly, so the drop in grip from cold isn't much of an issue.


Pete
 

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The only really good answer is slow down. Since the tire rubber gets harder the small increase in contact area is not going to make a big difference IMHO.

You could get tires with silica which would help but are harder to come by.
 

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Coldest temperture I have ridden at was single digit F, but I have thousands of miles riding in below freezing temperatures.


After using up the OEM tires I only run Tourance non-EXP tires. I run them at about 42 psi rear and about 40 psi front. I have on occasion stupidly let them get down to 35 or so PSI and never saw any real-word difference in traction (but did see drop in fuel mileage.) Last night I turned over 50,000 miles on my 2012DL650 and was in the middle of heavy snow coming down. The tires were reasonalby good in those conditions but the truth is the there isn't a ton of traction so you just have to be gentle.

..Tom
 

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Nothing you do will make a tire stick on very cold pavement when it too is cold.

However, running air pressure at the lower end of the recommended range will allow the tire to build heat quicker and maybe be a bit warmer once warmed up. This would make a difference. But caution is justified till you get used to the cold temps. Your 34 psi is already at what I consider the lower end of acceptable pressure.

Just like riding in the rain, I slow down when it is very cold out.
 

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Coldest temperture I have ridden at was single digit F, but I have thousands of miles riding in below freezing temperatures.


After using up the OEM tires I only run Tourance non-EXP tires. I run them at about 42 psi rear and about 40 psi front. I have on occasion stupidly let them get down to 35 or so PSI and never saw any real-word difference in traction (but did see drop in fuel mileage.) Last night I turned over 50,000 miles on my 2012DL650 and was in the middle of heavy snow coming down. The tires were reasonalby good in those conditions but the truth is the there isn't a ton of traction so you just have to be gentle.

..Tom
HEAVY snow, Tom? Dammit we are getting it next then...:furious:

Ride safe!

Tim
 

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once the temps get below freezing, (and I've been out as cold as -25°f) I limit my tops speeds, below freezing, 70 top speed, below 15°f, top speed 60, below zero°f top speed 50-55mph max, any faster and wind chill turns your helmet into a ice cube

tires is last concern, hypothermia is a more important consideration

winter riding is a blast, FREE HORSEPOWER, but you have to be very disciplined



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Playing with the air temp isn't going to make much of a difference on the summer tires you are using on your bike. The only thing that would is to use a softer compound tire with a more aggressive tread pattern and you could even stud them like they do for ice racing.

That's why they recommend snow tires for vehicles in the winter, softer compounds & different tread design for more grip. If you are going to be doing a lot of winter riding than you need to change out the tires. Usually the cheaper bike tires are made of softer compounds.
 

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HEAVY snow, Tom? Dammit we are getting it next then...:furious:

Ride safe!

Tim
It was lake effect snow coming off of Gerogian Bay. I have a lot of ways to go home but to save on 407 costs when leaving work later I have been taking 404 up to Bloomington and then across 47 to Goodwood Rd to Port Perry. The snow started on 404 somewhere around Elgin Mills or 19th but got real heavy on Bloomington I think after Warden. It pretty much ended after Goodwood. I think the heaviest had two or three inches of fresh snow.

Note to self: when there is lake effect snow around stay further south!

..Tom
 

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It was lake effect snow coming off of Gerogian Bay. I have a lot of ways to go home but to save on 407 costs when leaving work later I have been taking 404 up to Bloomington and then across 47 to Goodwood Rd to Port Perry. The snow started on 404 somewhere around Elgin Mills or 19th but got real heavy on Bloomington I think after Warden. It pretty much ended after Goodwood. I think the heaviest had two or three inches of fresh snow.

Note to self: when there is lake effect snow around stay further south!

..Tom
Ya it's the sudden stuff that has always got me into trouble, those squalls can get nasty fast and end just as quickly..even just the crappy road conditions afterwards are nuts...

Pretty lucky in Milton, stuff normally stays north!

Back to topic, Maybe lowering my psi does nothing other than increase comfort in my mind, but I'll continue to do it. Aside from slightly quicker tire wear, I see no other downside
 

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It's only been mentioned once before, but rubber compound has a lot to do with how much traction is available in colder weather. I have found some tires to warm up quicker than others. Dig around the internet, you'll find some brands & models of tires that are better than others for cold weather.
 

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Wouldn't riding your brakes a little help warm the tires? We don't get a lot of super cold weather, but I always ride fairly slow for the first few miles to get the tires warmed up .
 

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It was just above freezing in Eastern PA this morning and - for the first time in quite a while - I scratched a peg on my way to work.

I'm still using up a set of Shinko 705's. I complained here about skidding around in the rain with them a few weeks ago. Based on that thread, I've aired up to 40psi and now they're running great in the cold.

I'm more afraid of deer these days than traction.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the replies everyone!

Snow? That's a whole n'other issue. The one time I got caught in a squall I found out quickly that 2% traction wasn't enough to keep the bike upright -- I had to plant my feet several times to make it home safely. Truly scary. I don't see how riding in snow is possible above about 10 mph, without studs.
 
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