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Hi, I was wondering how grip is affected in very cold weather. For example how safe it is to ride, when it's 2 celcius, how much grip potential is lost in this temp?
 

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You definitely without a doubt loose some grip. How much, not sure. I ride a bit in the cold and do the New Years Day ride here in Missoula if possible. Front brake use is SUPER Gentle, it will cause the tire to slide, back is used gradually. All braking is done very thoughtfully and carefully. Turning is more up and down, leaning is not so good. Go carefully and attentive, it can be done.
 

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There is no question that cold tires on cold roads equals less grip. Gentle throttle inputs, gentle braking and gentle steering/lean angle are very important skills to hone. As the sun disappears (think shaded roadway) it becomes even more important. Ice, dampness, dew, etc. all come in to play in the shaded areas. Add elevation to the mix and there's even more to consider.

All that said, if tires are allowed to warm up to their designed operating temperature, you should be able to enjoy a ride at 35 degrees Fahrenheit, provided of course that you are wearing appropriate low-temp gear!

YouTube is filled with examples of cold-tire crashes in all sorts of conditions if you need more evidence.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
2 Celsius is in an icing danger zone. Pay attention to road surfaces. They can ice up even though the temperature is a couple of degrees above freezing.
But isnt the asphalt a bit warm, that is you need below 0 c for the surface to build up icy coating?
 

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If you travel at or around posted speed limits and the roads surfaces are clean you won't have a thing to worry about no matter how chilly it gets.
... after the tires are warmed up. There is a reason the Gran Prix racers put warmer blankets on the tires while in the pit area.

Last year in the mountains I had a pucker-moment with cold tires. Went into a curve and experienced a skip-skip-skip slippage, or drift if you will, with the front and the back. As a point of info I'm still on the OEM Trail Wings.

I backed off my speeds for another 15 minutes until the tires were warmed up and then they were fine for the rest of the day.
 

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2 Celsius is in an icing danger zone. Pay attention to road surfaces. They can ice up even though the temperature is a couple of degrees above freezing.
ONLY if there has been a prolonged cold snap. This time of year - roads are warmer ....in Jan and on - different story.
Bridges can stay cold tho after a cold snap overnight and cause icing.

Front tire does not warm above ambient at all ( I have a TPMS ) but rear warms in about 10 min at highway speeds.
 
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But isnt the asphalt a bit warm, that is you need below 0 c for the surface to build up icy coating?
Yes but your thermometer isn't reading road temperature, it's reading air temperature. And above freezing the air can hold more moisture which then can condense on cold surfaces (like cold roads) causing icing to occur.


..Tom
 

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... after the tires are warmed up. There is a reason the Gran Prix racers put warmer blankets on the tires while in the pit area.
....
Yes because they are very soft racing compounds that simply don't grip until the are **very** hot.

Apart from the fact that street tires lose some grip when cold there is likely an order of magnitude difference on the loss of traction for race tires compared to street tires.

..Tom
 

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ONLY if there has been a prolonged cold snap. This time of year - roads are warmer ....in Jan and on - different story.
Bridges can stay cold tho after a cold snap overnight and cause icing.

Front tire does not warm above ambient at all ( I have a TPMS ) but rear warms in about 10 min at highway speeds.
I suspect your tire temperature sensors are not giving you proper information. Is it located in the valve stem or within the tire carcass?

My Garage is heated, typically 10 to 15°. My Gps tells me the tire pressure when the bike moves. In every case, even at temperatures down to -15°c or +5f. my tire pressure **increases** when riding on both front and rear tires from what it was in the heated garage. This is true of my Tourance Next on the front and for Tourance Regular or Next on the rear and true for the Anlas Winter tires on the bike now.

If the tire never got over ambient temperatures, and if ambient temperatures were lower than the starting temperature, then the pressure/volume/temperature rule would mean the pressure should **drop** when riding in colder that the heated garage temperatures. Buyt it doesn't it rises which show the temperature *within the tire* must be higher than the Garage temperature.

Even simpler, if your tire pressures go up when riding after being parked outside long enough for tire temperatures to match outside that proves the tires are getting warmer than ambient.

..Tom
 

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Hi, I was wondering how grip is affected in very cold weather. For example how safe it is to ride, when it's 2 celcius, how much grip potential is lost in this temp?
I've ridden down below -15c, +5°f, and there is a surprising amount of traction available *when riding*, at least with Metzler Tourance and Anlas Winter tires.

It was probably the biggest revelation when riding with ABS on my 2012 DL650 and Traction control on my 2015 DL1000. On taking off on cold dry roads with tires that have warmed up through normal riding the bikes normally have enough traction they could wheelie and there is a surprising amount of traction when braking hard. More than a typical wet road for sure.

However, all it takes is a little bit of sand, or salt, or some ice, and traction severely drops so yes you have to be careful.

..Tom
 

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I'm not an expert, but that's never prevented me from throwing my $.02 into the discussion.

First off, I do ride in cold temperatures, some times down into the high teens. I've never had an incident where I felt the tires lost grip purely because they were cold. That being said, I do ride a bit more gingerly when the road surface and/or tires are truly 'cold'. Call me confident, but not stupid.

That being said, think about it in terms of car tires. Here in 'da Nort', there's solid reasoning for switching to winter or snow tires come the White Season. Contrary to popular belief, it's not just because those tires tend to have more aggressive treads for snow traction. Typically, the tires -- the good ones, at least -- are made with different rubber compounds that offer better grip in really cold conditions, regardless of tread depth and presence of snow/ice.

Taking it back to the MC world, I think it's safe to assume that cycle-tire manufacturers are not going to put too much time/money/effort into creating tires that are designed for optimal cold-weather conditions, since 99.9% of riders in cold-weather climates (otherwise known as 'The Smart Ones') will put their bikes up for the season the first time temps drop into the 40s.
 

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Another very important factor that you need to account for is the age of your tires. Tires that are more than two years old (mfg date, not purchase date) tend to become harder due to many conditions like humidity/temperature cycles, UV exposure and natural degradation of the rubber compound. This tire hardness only become worse at low temperatures.
 

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I have commuted on a Honda VFR and my V-Strom 650 in temperatures as low as 2 degrees C. I try to take it VERY easy with acceleration/braking/turning (heck, all the inputs), and am pleased to report that regardless of tire brand/model/age, I haven't had a traction event.

The biggest problem has been my cold hands, which I think are now fixed by both chickening out and taking the car, and fitting First Gear electric gloves. Heated grips are not enough for me, as my thumbs and the back of my hands still got very, very cold. These gloves are capable of hurting my skin, so the issue has become keeping the temperature control at or below medium.

https://firstgear-usa.com/mens-gear/gloves/heated-carbon-gloves.html
 

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Yeah - I use First Gear heated glove liners and I have some heated inner soles.
 

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I generally raise or lower my cold tire pressure by 1psi for every 15°F

F38/R42 @ 75°F would drop to F33/R37 @ 0°F or rise to F39/R43 @ 90°F

the extra flex lets the tires get hotter, and compensates for colder road surface
 

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... after the tires are warmed up. There is a reason the Gran Prix racers put warmer blankets on the tires while in the pit area.

Last year in the mountains I had a pucker-moment with cold tires. Went into a curve and experienced a skip-skip-skip slippage, or drift if you will, with the front and the back. As a point of info I'm still on the OEM Trail Wings.

I backed off my speeds for another 15 minutes until the tires were warmed up and then they were fine for the rest of the day.
I'd bet you a large sum of money that it was either road conditions and/or rider input that was the cause of your "pucker moment". Not many street riders can use get their tires to ideal temperature.
 
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