While most people enjoy the cold weather by breaking out the hot chocolate, there are some who like to ride and explore when the landscape turns white. India doesn’t get a lot of snowfall but the areas that do receive it, well, they make up for the rest of the country!
And yes, we are talking of the high mountain passes in the northern regions of the country. Ones that are cut off from civilisation for a good part of six months just because the snow is so heavy. If you are thinking of making this journey, here are a few things you should practice that will be helpful when riding in snow.
Stay light on the controls
The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. Operate the handlebars like you are wearing silk gloves. This is because while there is traction between the tyre and tarmac, there is hardly any such thing between the tyre and snow. A sharp input on the throttle that used to be just enough to get your bike moving on tarmac might land you face down in the snow. No matter if you are accelerating, braking or steering, being light on the controls is a must when riding in snow.
One input at a given time
On the street, you might be used to braking into corners or accelerating out of them. However, when riding on snow, it is better that you stick to doing one thing at one time. First brake, then steer and once you are out of the corner and back upright, should you start accelerating. Given the small contact patch of motorcycle tyres, giving multiple inputs at the same time will result in the tyres breaking traction and skidding out from underneath you.
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Ride in a higher gear
If you ride in a gear higher than normal, this means you are sending less torque to the wheels. This will make the motorcycle behave in a more docile fashion, instead of spinning the wheels because of negligible traction. It is essentially like traction control, something that is present on more expensive motorcycles, and moderates the power going to the back wheel. If your motorcycle is equipped with traction control, we highly suggest you make use of it.
Ride on fresh snow
Riding on fresh snow is much easier than riding on snow that other vehicles have driven over. What this means is that if the snow is fresh and kind-of fluffy, it will offer better traction. Where as if the snow has been driven over and is compacted from the weight of other vehicles, it will be much harder to find traction. Avoid wheel tracks of other vehicles and ride on fresh snow to maximise the traction available to you.
Take some air out of your wheels
If all of the above things are not helping, we suggest you take out some air from your tyres. This will slightly deflate them and give them a larger contact patch on snow. A larger contact patch will result in more traction for your tyres, which is a win-win for everybody. Do understand that riding with deflated tyres for long durations will result in you damaging the construction of the tyre, so use this tip sparingly.