Home / Can You Ride a Motorcycle in the Winter? What You Need to Know

The motorcycle is a versatile, cost-effective way to get from point A to point B. But what happens when it’s winter? Can you ride a motorcycle in the winter? The answer to that is both yes and no.

Winter motorcycle riding can be difficult and dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. You need to be informed about safety and have the proper gear.

So let’s take a moment to look over the information on how to find motorcycle gear that will keep you warm, safe, and comfortable in the winter while riding your motorcycle during the cold months of the year.

The Difference Between Riding in the Winter vs. The Warmer Months

It is important to be aware of how winter changes the conditions in which you ride a motorcycle. These are some differences that will affect your performance and safety.

Road surfaces become much slicker in cold weather due both to lower air temperatures and precipitation. These conditions mean that it takes longer for your tires to grip when going for a ride in the snow or starting on a surface that’s slick with ice.

It also means there’s less traction when trying to stop at higher speeds because the road has even less grip than usual—if any!

You need greater stopping distances in these situations, so adjust accordingly—give yourself plenty of room between you and other vehicles around you by slowing down early, especially during inclement weather events, such as rain, sleet, or hail, where visibility can suffer greatly.

Prepare Yourself By Dressing For Winter Weather

Prepare Yourself By Dressing For Winter Weather

Wearing the proper riding gear in the winter while on your motorcycle trip is critically important. Adequate gear will be the difference between a good experience and a bad one when motorcycling in the winter weather conditions previously mentioned.

All of your layers should be windproof, waterproof, thermal-insulated, and (most important for your base layer) breathable—basically everything you need to keep yourself warm without overheating or sweating too much!

We won’t leave you hanging with just that, though, so don’t worry! Here is some of our most recommended winter gear:

Your outer layer needs to have some degree of water resistance so that rain can’t soak through from the outside, and with these, you’ll stay safe, dry, and warm.

Other Winter Riding Gear

A full-face helmet is another crucial piece of equipment for winter motorcycle riding. With the cold air hitting your face, you need all the protection that a helmet can offer to reduce wind chill and prevent frostbite on exposed skin.

Wearing a neck warmer or gator neck is also a great way to keep your upper body warm and protect it from that icy cold air. You don’t want it to sneak in through your jacket.

Now that you are appropriately dressed, let’s talk about your ride!

When preparing your Harley-Davidson motorcycle for cold weather conditions, there is routine maintenance you should take care of beforehand

Winterizing Your Harley-Davidson Motorcycle

When preparing your Harley-Davidson motorcycle for cold weather conditions, there is routine maintenance you should take care of beforehand.

Always keep fresh antifreeze in your cooling system, even if you don’t plan on riding your motorcycle during the winter.

Make sure all of your hoses are in good shape—nothing can be more devastating than a busted radiator or hose when miles away from home!

You should also invest in some quality winter tires for the season! We recommend Harley-Davidson Winter Tires, which will give superior grip and braking abilities in wet conditions and on hardpack & packed snow. Make sure to check your tire pressure while you’re at it!

Last but certainly not least, you may want to also think about getting heated handlebars and a heated seat if you’re planning on doing long rides in the wintertime since these will keep you comfortable regardless of how many hours you’re out!

Keep in mind that even with the proper riding gear, riding in cold weather conditions is still very challenging and dangerous

How to Ride a Motorcycle in the Winter

Now that you’ve prepared yourself, it’s time to hit the open road! Keep in mind that even with the proper riding gear, riding in cold weather conditions is still very challenging and dangerous. It’s recommended that only experienced riders ride during the harsh winter months.

Conditions and Distance

It’s important to be constantly aware of what conditions are like around you and how those will affect your motorcycle at all times—especially since everything could change without much warning due to freezing temperatures or sudden precipitation.

Things to keep an eye out for:

  • Loss of traction from snow and ice
  • Loss of traction from road salt, potholes, and other damage
  • Loss of traction from hidden and black ice

Start by giving yourself plenty of room between other vehicles, particularly trucks and buses, which produce a lot of wind blast from their large surfaces pushing through the cold air. These blasts of air can also cause turbulence for motorcycles behind them if they’re driving faster than average speeds, too, so we recommend trying to stay away from these whenever possible during winter weather events!

Preparing Your Tires

Tire traction can be a significant challenge in the wintertime, especially on wet, icy roads. Unfortunately, cold tires don’t have a great grip during these harsh conditions. To combat this, we recommend using special motorcycle snow tires or warming up your tires and your motor first to keep your ride healthy and increase your tire’s ability to keep road contact!

Can You Ride a Motorcycle in the Winter?

In the end, the answer is yes—you can absolutely ride a motorcycle in winter. You just need to be prepared and know what’s going on around you so that you have a better chance of surviving it!

Set Your Motorcycle Ride Up for Success at Harley-Davidson of Kingwood

Now that you have an answer to the question, “Can you ride a motorcycle in the winter?” it’s time to start investing in your safety and your Harley so you can enjoy your ride without worry. At Harley-Davidson of Kingwood, our team of Harley experts can help you find the new or pre-owned bike of your dreams and give you the tips you need to ride it safely all year long! 

Just come on down to our showroom on Northpines Drive in Kingwood, and don’t forget to schedule a test ride so you can take your dream ride out for a spin today!


Harley Davidson of Kingwood blog author
Harley Davidson of Kingwood

Harley-Davidson of Kingwood is your #1 Texas Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealer. Our full-service facility offers new and pre-owned motorcycles, parts, maintenance, riding apparel, and everything else you need to get your Hog on the road. As a winner of the Harley-Davidson Gold Bar & Shield Circle of Excellence, we’re committed to providing top-notch customer service every day of the week. Stop by and visit the Harley-Davidson of Kingwood Showroom on Northpines Drive in Kingwood, TX!