Most people still using their bikes would have noticed a change in road conditions over the last few weeks, most notably the constant presence of a layer of water which seems to always be there. Gone are the days of hot sunny weather, dry roads and grippy tyres. I’m sure those of us still running around on Bridgestone S20′s are finding it increasingly difficult to lay the power down.
There doesn’t seem to be a ‘winter’ tyre as such any more (adventure and enduro bikes aside), which probably explains why 63.2% of people in the latest MCN poll said they wouldn’t buy winter tyres. Having said that, the latest batch of ‘Sports Touring’ tyres are capable of offering great levels of grip in the wet as well as being increasingly durable, those amongst us who are shredding their rear tyres within 3000 miles will surely be appreciative of being able to get double the mileage from a tyre which does not lose out too much in the grip stakes.
As we get deeper into winter its as important as ever to check the condition of our tyres and their suitability for the next few months of riding. Your much more likely to want a tyre that has good grip on winter greasy roads then ones that enable you to confidently and easily get your knee down. I’ve already noticed my lean angles reducing as the weather is getting worse. The bike often reminds me of reduced grip levels by spinning up under power ‘it’s not the summer anymore, you need to adapt your riding style’ is what I keep telling myself.
Reduced visibility, reflection from overlaying water and the ever increasing amount of ‘rainbow streaks’ everywhere you need to lean is a constant reminder of the added dangers of winter riding. The least you can do is make sure your wearing suitable rubber, routinely check they remain at the correct pressures and make sure they have not fallen foul to any foreign objects. Water and grease are fantastic lubricants that will assist that stray nail to stick to your tyre and slice its way straight through.
There are some great sport touring tyres available these days and tyres like Dunlops Sportmax Roadsmarts, which might even be enough to convince you to ditch your quickly worn out sports rubber and enjoy the benefits of reduced tyre wear and perfectly satisfactory levels of grip. And who knows, maybe next summer when it’s raining you may even take the bike out for a ride.