|Yamaha XT250 Winterbike|
|Written by Lars H|
|Friday, 03 September 2010 20:46|
Living in Denmark, which I did from 1966 to 1991, the winter can be a hard and cold experience for a die-hard motorcyclist like my-self.
Having purchased my first motorcycle in 1972, a Triumph Bonneville T120R which I kept for 16 years, motorcycles have been my preferred way of transport and enjoyment....and many times cause of desesperation of course....but the motorcycle reliability has thankfully improved vastly since then.
Refusing to stove away the motorcycle during the winter-season, as most sensible people would do, I continued using my Triumph in any weather-conditions regardless of snow, ice and finger-breaking cold.. ...in 1976 I even went singlehanded to the famous Elefanten Treffen in Nürburging in Köln in a heavy snowstom in January....but found that the enormous amount of salt used on the roads would make havoc on first the electrics, then the mechanics of my bike. And oh yes by the way, I had a "Forrest Gump" experience there......which made the organisators change the future location of this meeting to Austria !! But that's entirely another story !
In that period I had some 35 km driving to my work, over cozy country-lanes ( cozy only in spring and summer mind you ) which were in many cases never kept free from snow....and with the cars making ruts in the packed snow and ice made motorcycling more an act of continous circus-line-balancing that was good....and in case of crashing.....the car og lorry behind had little chance to skid to a halt before actualle ramming you firmly down into the snow.
First I purchased a CZ175 ( that's a two-stroke, 175cc Czek manufactured motorcykle, very simple and unsofisticated ) and prepped it for winter-use only....but the two-strokes fuel-oil-blending would not collaborate when the temperatures went below -10ºC....which would often happend.....and the slight weight of the bike and poor suspension would make it jump around like a crazed horse on the uneven packed snow. So something more drastic had to be found....if I had to choose between motorcycling in winter or making sure my kid's weren`t made fatherless.
I set my eyes on a Yamaha XT250, the big Off-Road deal back in the 1980's..: .it had good ground ground clearance, torquey 4T engine, water-proofed electrics, and was very reliable....so this was to be converted to a dedicated winter-bike, saving my Triumph...and my life too.
Having completed the "usual" winter-preps.....a long "manual" in this issue written by me was publised in the Danish motorcycle club-mag "Touring Nyt "........and to the surprise og the editors awarded a 2nd prize as best article !
....I set out to really make this bike snow and ice handling supreme....
The tires fitted was TRELLEBORG winter-tread, soft-rubber, and with more than 180 spikes in each ! Now that would handle the ice !
The snow was to be dealt with by adding a set of ski's....yes.
Many have tried fitting ski's to the motorcycles, the Swedish Police for one, but in all cases the solutions used have been cumbersome and when used, the ski's had the tendency of taking the control from the driver and just heading the bike straight out of the curves...
So my approach was to allow the ski's only to give stability by having the feets resting on them when in use but in no way to interfere with the direction or tilting of the bike.
To this means I fitted short ski's, fully-free pivoting, fixed to a springload swing-arm. When removing the feet from the small footpegs they would swing up and away.
Thus when driving throug uneven snow I would swing down the ski's by pressing down on them with the feet....and "stand" on the ski's while handling the bike with full freedom and inclining it.....the ski's, being fully pivoting and free swinging, would adapt themselves to the direction I wanted tho take, and also they would stabilize the bike sideways so the ruts could be handled smoothly....
It really worked GOOD !
Once, just after a heavy snowfall leaving one foot of fresh virgin snow on the roads and no cars on the roads, while "ski-ing" at high speed I meet a policecar out inspectioning the roads accesibility.....and on seen me happily ploughing through the snow the set after me to inspect......I kindly slowed down to let them approach, then slowly speeded up again to my former speed, took a 90º curve carving through the snow....and the police went straight ahead into the field unable to take the curve.
Oh, personal equipment for handling -35ºC environment doing 80-100 km/h on a motorcykle ? Moon-boots, artic-suit, artic gloves, handlebar-luffs, fully enclosed helmet, visor with defroster....and a venting chimeney for the breath expelled....or you would end up with rimforst-packed helmet inside !
Picture above : showing of the ski's to other mc-winter-nuts in -35ºC during the yearly winter Krystal Treff in mid-Norway.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 18 October 2012 09:16|