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cold weather, tires


H C Edwards

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I ride all year, but not normally when it gets down around zero. But I've been traveling the past few weeks, so now that I'm home, I took the GS out today for around an hour. Temperature was 8 degrees. I don't ride very aggressively when it's that cold, because I always had the feeling the tires are cold and stiff and don't grab as well. True, or is my imagination working overtime? I switched to Pilot Roads around the 20K mark since I don't go off road, because they were advertised as being good in rain and cold.

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I use the same tires year round, but have noticed a slight bit of extra play when really cold.

 

I am not sure any tire will work better when that cold.

 

Jim cool.gif

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Modern tire construction and compounds are pretty consistent at all temps. Like anything else, they do stiffen somewhat if it gets real cold. If temps get in single digits you may notice some difference, but how many of us are riding then? Thanks to the folks at Gerbings I've ridden in the low 30's, but haven't noticed any problems with traction. Right now I'd kill for temps in the 30's cuz it was -6 here this am. I do recommend running nitrogen in your tires to keep 'em cool in the summer cuz heat is the real tire killer, especially when combined with low tire pressures. Ask Ford and Firestone.......

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I know some disagree, but I am of the opinion that using nitrogen in tires is unecessary, especially since free air is mostly nitrogen anyway. No matter what's in the tire, don't forget that tire pressures drop with declining temperatures, and should be checked accordingly.

 

Jay

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I know that dedicated snow tires for cars have more silicone in them to keep them more pliable in the cold. They do greasy quick in teh heat. I guess there isn't a huge demand for cold weather MC tires though.

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I'd suspect that the rubber compounds used in high performance MC tires would be similar to those used in high performance car tires. Traction in the car tires is MUCH reduced at temps below 40F - so I run snow tires on my cars in the winter, even though we have snow infrequently. I would also suspect that the higher mileage MC tires might actually have more cold weather traction than the sportier tires. No proof, just an swag. All in all, I cut my sportiness factor back in winter riding due to gravel & salt on the road. Cold temps can't help with traction.

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