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Riding a motorcycle in the rain or snow is more challenging than driving a car in the same conditions. Not only riding in such circumstances requires some experience, but it’s also essential to have the right kind of equipment.
Having the right kind of tires is critical for your comfort as well as safety. These are made specifically to handle snow and slippery roads, making your rides safer than with regular tires.
It’s a law in some countries to have winter motorcycle tires regardless of whether it snows or not. However, even if it’s not a law in your country, you should consider getting a pair for your bike.
See our selection of top tires here for the rest of the year.
Top 3 Winter Motorcycle Tire Reviews
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Mitas – Studded
Mitas Trelleborg is a specially designed winter tire for off-road conditions. It’s not a street model as it’s made for off-road adventures during cold weather.
Trelleborg isn’t meant for highways or frozen grounds since its tread might damage too quickly. Riding in such conditions would cause excessive wear of the studs.
It’s a high-performance model with a PRO model stud pattern. It has approximately 250 studs produced using unique modes and technology.
The studs help it to handle snow and slippery conditions. However, it’s not a street-legal tire, so you should only use it when riding off-road on rougher terrain.
This is a rear option, although Mitas offers a matching front one as well. You should use them together as that’s when they work the best.
Shinko – DOT Approved
Shinko has been around for ages, making some of the best tires the market as to offer.
It has a wide range of products, but only a few works for the winter months.
Its SR733 is a front tire designed to match the SR743 rare model. The two are sold separately, but you should consider using them together.
The front one features a popular touring/cruiser tread pattern designed to work in different winter conditions. It’s a good choice for slippery surfaces and snow.
It’s a 4-ply rated, DOT approved model that’s safe and legal to use across the USA.
The tubeless construction allows easy mounting and versatility when it comes to bikes that it’s compatible with.
The 130/70-18 model has a rim diameter of 18 inches.
Metzeler – Great Grip
The grip is one of the most important things you should pay attention to during winter. It becomes that much more important the moment it starts to snow.
Metzeler Roadtec is one of the best models from the brand. It’s a touring tire with an enhanced grip on low-friction, wet surfaces. Also, it offers increased mileage and a high degree of compatibility with a vast number of motorcycles.
It’s a versatile model, suitable for several riding styles and road conditions. The new tread design provides an excellent mechanical grip for increased confidence on the road while its compounds provide extended mileage and consistency.
The large but short contact patch extends the overall life and performance of Metzeler Roadtec. It has a W speed rating and a 17-inch rim diameter.
How To Choose The Best Winter Bike Tire
Everybody needs winter tires regardless of the type of motorcycles. It doesn’t matter whether you ride a chopper or a sportbike, especially if it’s a law where you live.
However, you can’t just go for any winter types you come across. They have to match your motorcycle and style of riding so that they’re safe and comfortable to use. Luckily, most models are highly compatible.
You’ll have to choose between radial and bias-ply constructions depending on your preferences and needs. The two types are quite different, offering a different feeling, stability, and overall performance.
For this reason, it’s vital that you consider it beforehand. Think about the tires you usually use and what the construction type is. Try to go for the same in winter models.
See specific models here:
Size matters as it determines the quality of performance, especially when it comes to riding in slippery conditions. However, you can’t opt for any tires you like since they have to match your motorcycle as well as your riding style.
Go for the recommended size if you know it. If not, consult a professional so that you’re confident that the size of your choice matches your bike properly. Riding with options that are too large or too small is unsafe.
Traction is among the most important things to look for in a winter tire. It’s required for braking that’s always trickier to do when the road is slippery.
Tires have different levels of traction that are usually provided by the tread. However, compound and construction also have an impact on traction.
Make sure to pay special attention to traction as it can significantly improve your riding in the snow.
As we mentioned, the tread design has a significant part in producing traction. Since traction is critical in winter, you should take some time to consider this carefully.
Winter models have both deep and small grooves. Smaller ones are designed to grip the snow since snow sticks to itself easily. The combination of grooves allows them to collect the snow, while it also helps them to perform in slippery conditions where there’s no snow.
Your tires have to be able to handle the weight. It’s a matter of your weight and that of your motorcycle and cargo you’re carrying.
Some are made to handle a certain weight, while others might deform in the same conditions. For this reason, this is something you should think about in advance.
Tips For Motorcycle Riding in Winter
Check Tire Pressure
You should check the pressure more often in winter than you would in summer. And, make sure to use a gauge instead of just looking at them.
They perform differently when it’s cold, and you want to have an adequate level of pressure at all times.
Riding in all conditions besides warm and dry is risky. Rain is quite dangerous as wet roads are slippery even during summertime.
However, moisture on the road tends to freeze in the winter, making the surface more slippery. It’s equally as dangerous when it snows. For this reason, slow down in these conditions because there’s probably less traction.
If It Snows Hard, Stop.
If you find yourself on the road during a snowstorm, you should stop and wait for it to pass. Riding in the snow is dangerous, but it can be done if you’re careful and have the proper gear.
However, intense snowstorms are highly dangerous (see accident statistics). The road is slippery, and all that snow falling might make you less visible to other riders.
Find an Emergency Towing/Repair Service
Find the nearest reliable motorcycle tow company. This might not seem as important in the summer, but you definitely want to have someone to rely on during winter.
These companies have different charging rates or might charge you an annual fee. Pick and choose among your options, but make sure to have a business card on you at all times.
If you want to carry a repair kit, see this selection.
Wear Proper Gear
Proper gear is always essential, but even more so during slippery road conditions. In the winter, your chances of falling are significantly higher. For this reason, you want to have a DOT approved helmet, riding jacket, boots, winter gloves, and pants.
Falling from a motorcycle is the worst-case scenario. Still, you want to be ready for it happening since it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are winter studded motorcycle tires legal?
This really depends on the state you live in. Some states allow studded options at all times while others allow them during a specific period only. It’s usually from sometime in October to sometime in April.
Make sure to check this for the state you live in since some forbid it entirely.
What winter tire is best for cruisers?
Cruisers are relatively simple to match with different tires. Out of the three we reviewed, Shinko SR733 is the most suitable for cruisers.
However, make sure to check with your mechanic or another professional who can tell you if it would fit your motorbike.
How cold is too cold for a motorcycle ride?
It’s not recommended to ride when the temperature is below 32°F. Ice forms at these temperatures, making the roads too slippery to be safe.
Make sure to be careful and safe if you have to ride when it’s too cold.
Riding in ice and snow can be quite dangerous, so it’s always important to be careful. For this reason, you should have DOT approved gear so that you’re protected as much as possible.
Be careful at how you ride and consider the weather conditions before you head out. Try not to ride during heavy snowstorms because you’d be putting yourself and others in danger.
Choose the right winter motorcycle tires for your vehicle and riding style. Make sure to consider the manufacturer’s recommendations at all times because you want yours to match the vehicle perfectly.