Winter Riding in Germany


Winter is not over yet. And if you want to ride you bike in slippery weather conditions, you might want to check a couple of things first.


Based on the law in Germany you need to have “Winter Tires”, means they need to be approved winter tries with an “M&S” or “Snow Flake” symbol. Otherwise you will be fined and get points on your record.
And because we are talking about tires right now, it might be useful to cut the tire pressure by about 20 % of normal. The reason is pretty simple. Asphalt temperatures are very low (around +2C down to -15C even without snow on the surface) and the tires might have a hard time to build up some temperature. A side effect is that you get a larger footprint on the ground, more rubber more grip. A test with 40-50% lower pressure in my tire showed that the handling gets bad (or worst) so I figured 20% is OK for every day winter riding.

I prefer the new “Heidenau K60 SCOUT”, cause their thread is just perfect for my riding style.You find more information here at the test I did for them. Check the following links here.

Another thing is your personal riding style. Base on reduced grip levels in cold temperatures you should change to something I would call “Winter Style”. Throttle and Brakes should be handled with a light hand, touch not pull. If your bike has ABS (Anti-Block-System) and maybe even a ASC (Automatic Stability Control, a kind of anti-spin you know maybe from your car) you mostly can’t do anything wrong cause the electronic is working it’s way and helping you a lot. If you don’t have these electronic helpers, you right  hand and your right foot is to be controlled by your BRAIN. With power levels beyond 100 PS it is critical to keep your horses at bay.

Riding in freezing but sunny weather is adding an extra danger. The SUN! The street is clean and dry, but there is a short stretch of wood coming up, here the condition can change faster than you can say “Oh Shit Oh Shit”. Moisture, fog or leaves of trees can change the grip to ZERO and you can’t even see it, because of a glaring sun. So handle at least the entry into this territory with care.

Winter Fahr Tipp Nr. 1  –> http://youtu.be/loOhwCEdCt4  Glätte
Winter Fahr Tipp Nr. 2  –> http://youtu.be/dzwczM73bfQ  Waldeinfahrt

One more thing, most of the riders tend to forget when the seasons are changing.
I like to ride in the summer with a darkened visor on my helmet.The time around mid November should be the moment where you change that to a clear visor, otherwise you find yourself in a situation where you mis-calculated the time of your ride and you have to drive home in the dark.Trust me it is NOT Funny to have the visor open, cause it is too dark and the temperatures are way below freezing. In winter times I ride with a clear visor and use the build in sun-visor.

Yeah and then the permanent danger of CAGER (car driver ==> in a cage). I might need to explain something first. Here in Germany we have seasonal license plates, means a bike can ride his motorcycle from (example) month 04 to month 10. Has something to do with cost and insurance (might be another blog int he far future, laugh).
Anyway by the 1. of November 80% of all motorcycle rider in Germany have their bikes parked in the garage and wait for the 1. of April next year. What does that has to do with the danger of cagers one might ask.
It seems that around the 15. of November ALL car driver in Germany forgot that there are still motorcyclist on the road, cause they have something we call “Ganzejahreskennzeichen” literally translated to “All year around hero license plates”, smile. It now helps to wear neon colored jackets, but more importantly it is good to have a working horn with as much db as possible. And yes you need to use it quite often in the winter, specially around dawn or if you come on your way back into rush hour traffic.

If I remember anything else, this blog will be extended.

 

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| Bilder : Copyright bei “Jörg Wenzel“ |
| HashTag: #WhyAskWhy                          |
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