How many ride all year round? (Particularly in snowy climates)

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Re: How many ride all year round? (Particularly in snowy climates)

Post by bratmanxj » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:17 am

The cold is bearable so long as you have wind protection, hands are usually the first to show signs of windchill since they're sticking out in front. You can get an inexpensive set of "Hippo Hands" add wind & water protection OVER your regular gloves. Search HandleBar Muff and they're $26 on Amazon.

I'm gonna piggy back on here for more tire suggestions...
I ran K28s all summer and loved them dry or wet. I recently mounted a set of Duro 307s and was sliding all over the damp roads going to Toys For Tots last weekend and kinda scared how they'd be in the snow. I'm right on the IL/IN boarder outside of Chicago so our winter weather fluctuates pretty good and we'll get a pretty good amount of snow over the winter, but not enough days of snow to warrant ice & snow studs.
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Re: How many ride all year round? (Particularly in snowy climates)

Post by chaos2 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:47 pm

yeah. big windshield, Ural leg guards, one or more knobbies, 5-40 syn, etc. Ski and snowmobile gear (gloves, heated visors) seems to work better than mc gear in general, though you may give up some crash protection. I get by with layering, Vetter hippo hands and pinlock, others swear by electrically heated gear. As for the bike, I tried everything first couple year and the rust monster still attacked with gusto, now I just hope no vital pieces fall off. On the plus side, even if it was pristine it still wouldn't be worth that much, and I would never have the the fun of 2wd donuts or riding by PU trucks festooned with Harley stickers and see the occupants gawking at me passing them in snow and 10F weather.
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Re: How many ride all year round? (Particularly in snowy climates)

Post by RC20 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:55 pm

I agree on the studs, not worth it for the relatively few snow days in Seattle type place (very familiar with the area, gateway to AK, been through there 20 times maybe, my mom live up in Bellingham now).

Mine is just for enjoying the machine as I no long work (not retired, I just quit though setup to survive ok)

I am mostly limiting the rides to snow day or ice. They cost about $1 each and dry pavement (even if wet) will wear them out (or they can work out) - as I don't work I can pick and choose, a commuter has to get to work.
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Re: How many ride all year round? (Particularly in snowy climates)

Post by dale914 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:01 pm

Barry and Atlas, thanks for chiming in, almost asked you both directly. The rest of you, thank you for real helpful feedback. I'm currently using snow mobile gear. I never considered a heated visor and already the visor hasn't been doing me favors some nights. I'll have to look for a windshield, and back to Barry, atlas and other city dwellers, this is my first time living in a downtown apartment, where so I find water to rinse it with? I need to be more creative, I've found some drive through car washes a few miles away, but that's not ideal.
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Re: How many ride all year round? (Particularly in snowy climates)

Post by Lofty » Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:18 pm

Mac (Ammo) -- That's a great photo!
dale914 wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:38 am
This is my first winter with the Ural and it's my only vehicle in Seattle. I have the intentions of riding it all year round, my commute is typically 11 miles on Interstate 5.

Any winter time precautions that I need to take?

From those of you who have ridden through the winters, anything that I need to keep in mind, change, adapt? So far I keep rubber boots/pants/jacket in the trunk...

This is also my first winter through Seattle (previous winters were in Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Volgograd, Switzerland, so I am aware of what snow and cold are),...

I have the mud shin guards in place, and I'm aware that a windshield, guarded handle bars, heated handle bars and clothing would make my life better, but not sure that I need to go down those roads just yet.

I have the gear up, so I figure that if I get into a pinch, the 2WD should help, but will the factory tires be adequate?
In no particular order:

Consider the average travel speeds on Interstate 5. Be honest with yourself when determining if your Ural can keep up, and slow down, in an equally competent manner.

Heated gear is transformative, full stop. It will do more than make your life better; it will protect your core functioning. A heated jacket liner (or vest) and heated grips are my minimum recommendation here. Given your stated experience with winter climates in northern tier states, it's interesting to read that you don't yet have these items in your arsenal.

2WD provides peace of mind, and it can certainly help out in a few tough spots. A rider who makes intelligent choices and has good tires on his rig can easily get by with 1WD.

A full face helmet with a Pinlock insert is another baseline recommendation of mine. The effectiveness of my Pinlock-equipped Shoei Hornet X2 has been tested down to 15F, with a calculated wind chill of -9F. I've also read good reviews regarding snowmobile helmets that are equipped with heated face shields. Visors are the brim-type fitment on top of dual sport and off-road helmets.

Fairings and/or windshields are a personal preference. I don't use them, but I know other riders who do and who recommend them.

From my observations, the Ural community is not one that has really embraced traditional and proper motorcycle footwear. I'll just say that I've had a good experience wearing Sidi boots with Gore-Tex lining. I do trade some comfort for protection, but I also prefer to not need a podiatrist on speed dial. :wink: Another personal preference to consider.

I maintain shelf-stable energy bars and fresh water in the trunk, as well as air-activated hand/body warmer packets and a good first aid kit. The idea here is that I want a tool kit for myself, as well as a separate one for the bike, should my journey come to an unplanned stop when it's quite cold outside.

Best of luck as you join the ranks of year-round Ural riders.
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Re: How many ride all year round? (Particularly in snowy climates)

Post by codemonkey001 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 2:56 pm

I wear thinsulate gloves and use hippo hands. Still came dangerously close to frostbite on -10°F days (NB: -10°F when you're doing 50mph you're generating your own -45°F wind chill), so I added heated grip covers to the mix this winter. Thus far, they've been toasty warm down to 6°F. One adjustment I made for my commute was to find a backroad alternative where I could go as low as 25mph if I had to (plus I can avoid all the morons who think 4WD on their pick-'em-up trucks and SUVs means they can do 90 on black ice - I don't like sharing the road with them).

Only ran into two issues - hard starting (cough, cough, sputter, die when I give it throttle) at really cold temps recently fixed by putting in new properly gapped spark plugs in, and slush getting sucked up through the air intakes and passed down the branch pipes into the carbs. That second one was fixed by fitting a Frogzskin filter over the air intake.
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Re: How many ride all year round? (Particularly in snowy climates)

Post by RC20 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 3:09 pm

2WD provides peace of mind, and it can certainly help out in a few tough spots. A rider who makes intelligent choices and has good tires on his rig can easily get by with 1WD.


Fairings and/or windshields are a personal preference. I don't use them, but I know other riders who do and who recommend them.
Probably known but 2WD is almost lethal in use on the road. Its a locked differential and only for low speeds and where the drive train can slip (mud, deep snow slow speeds, sand) .

I always had fairings but its a preference though for me its a personal have to.

With it I can operate down to 20 degrees easily with still basic gear (not heated) -

This is also a matter of what you are used to. Living and working in Alaska down to -70 at times, 20 degrees is not bad (have to factor age in and in my case over 65 I can feel it at 15 and 10 degrees to any extent is going to needed heated gear)

Agreed fully on the core. I did long runs with a heated vest, even with fairing it got cold and the heated vest made all the difference at 40 degrees.

My current ensemble is arctic down pants (from my Pipeline days, amazing its still good kit) and the overcoat is down a friend gave me. That is good for 20 degrees and not sure how long runs yet. The arctic pants go over my regular pants (or leather if I have them) and I have a T shirt, over shirt, long sleeve shirt and a coat under the top. I am too fat for my heated vest right now, have to get the wife to add an expansion joint.

I am finding my hands get cold now so heated grips are on the look at list.

For me Seattle would be an easy do but its what you are used to (I hate the heat so I am cold oriented any way. )

My helmet is an old Shoei, no issues with it, glasses fog up (I don't wear contacts) but with motion that clears and I just adjust the shield up or down as needed. I don't have to worry about bugs in winter time!

What I think is the best vest setup is the Knatsu (sp?) that has a blow in air bladder. To work a vest needs to be tight, but if you gain or loose weight, its either too loose to work right or like me, no longer can zip it up.

One of the best wind break setups is heavy duty rain gear (Caheart, Helly9 Hanson, Peter Storm etc). I had that back when I was working construction so used it when I hit rain on the cycle and it worked wonders both for rain and cold temps. The bibs alone work well, add the coat. (rubber boots as well though I have gore tex shoes now and they stay dry so I can drop the boots from the kit)

The key is the rain gear is heavy duty. Years latter I laughed when they came out with light weight motor-cycling rain gear. Why? Its not like you are peddling on a bike (which I have done a lot and it would have helped a lot!). On a motor cycle Heavy is good.

Coming across the AK Border in July it was in the 45 area (odd for the interior as Anchorage was 80). I had the bibs on as I was not sure the road was not wet. While I hit two gully washers I kept them on as it was cold enough that the windbreak from just the bibs worked to keep me up to temp.

With the heavy duty stuff (its now a Helly Hanson set of bibs and a new Carheart upper long jacked I like as the hood comes off) I stay perfectly dry (I have a set of lined rubber gloves for that stuff). A couple of times in the past I got rained out of a tent and was warm and dry cycling with the heavy duty rain gear.

Maybe more than you wanted to know but a lot of experience with all that. One trip years I left Anchorage headed North and ran into a deluge up in the Mat Valley Pass. It was so bad I had not idea where I was at, all I could see was 100 feet in front of me (and I have driven that road a 100 times). But, I just kept the speed down and was perfectly dry and warm.
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Re: How many ride all year round? (Particularly in snowy climates)

Post by siberman1 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:56 pm

I have hills right down the driveway, up the hill, down the hill, etc. Since I live in the hills outside of town, the stock Duros suck in snow. I have gotten stuck just trying to turn around on a hill. GF was with me, embarrasing, but we both laughed anyway. I finally put on the Duro 307 Knobbies -- Pusher & Sidecar. Even if it is just flat, knobbie tires are better than the stock tires. JMO

They work far better than the stock tires. I just live with them in the summer, and even so, they are pretty low cost tires. Make sure you have the right air pressure - the bike can feel wobbly with low air pressure. If not 307s, then some other kind of Knobbie - I don't know the other brands.

You will find that your steering will be better if you have a Duro 307 on the front as well. 2WD is a total pain to try to steer, but it can help in low speed situations - like under 20-25 mph thereabouts.

If you don't have heated grips, get somethiung like the handlebar-brush guards the dual-sport guys use. They are simple mechanical attachment. Heated grips are also very nice, not difficult to install. I have older ATV elephant gloves (like a giant "L" shape thing that covers hands and goes back up sleeve 6"-8" inches or so. The mirrors come out throught the top in a grommet area.

If there is a smaller sideroad that parrallels the highway you usually go on, I'd suggest going on the smaller road. Slower, but possible safer.

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Re: How many ride all year round? (Particularly in snowy climates)

Post by windmill » Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:22 pm

Lofty wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:18 pm
Consider the average travel speeds on Interstate 5. Be honest with yourself when determining if your Ural can keep up, and slow down, in an equally competent manner.
Got a little laugh out of that one. :P

Speed, and Seattle traffic don't belong together in the same paragraph.....or even the same book?
But seriously, traffic speeds in the Puget sound region are really low at best, and well within a Urals capabilities.
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Re: How many ride all year round? (Particularly in snowy climates)

Post by windmill » Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:27 pm

A lot of folks have mentioned heated gear, but from my 13 years of commuting on a Ural in the Seattle area, I have found it really doesn't get cold enough to be worth the effort, and doesn't last very long because it gets wet so often.

As I mentioned before, truly waterproof rain gear is the key.
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Re: How many ride all year round? (Particularly in snowy climates)

Post by Pterodactyl » Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:48 pm

Studs are a good thing. This Bandag retread with studs was on the rear of a R1 Yamaha. The rider stopped by our place before riding up to Deadhorse, Ak in February. Traction was not a problem.

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Re: How many ride all year round? (Particularly in snowy climates)

Post by Lofty » Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:53 pm

windmill wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:22 pm
Lofty wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:18 pm
Consider the average travel speeds on Interstate 5. Be honest with yourself when determining if your Ural can keep up, and slow down, in an equally competent manner.
Got a little laugh out of that one. :P

Speed, and Seattle traffic don't belong together in the same paragraph.....or even the same book?
I'm honestly not familiar with traffic trends in that part of the country, and was just trying to be helpful. I get that it could sound funny to a local who knows better. :)
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Re: How many ride all year round? (Particularly in snowy climates)

Post by sagerat » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:20 pm

Commuted year round in Central Oregon on my 2004 Ural Tourist for several years Flycatcher windshield, leg guards, heated grips, lap robe, heated jacket for the really bad days, heated gloves (yes, heated grips AND heated gloves, I want those fingers to stay functional), balaclava, and a lots of distance between me and whatever vehicle I was following. Ran stock Duro and they were fine 95% of the time, but probably should gave gone with knobbies.

I was on surface streets, so mainly going 25-40 mph, but I did have one modest-side butte to climb up and over its shoulders between work and home. I would have have carb icing occasionally on the ride home when temps were high 20s-low 30s with high humidity. After about 5 minutes of running time, there'd be enough engine heat to keep the carbs cleared.
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Re: How many ride all year round? (Particularly in snowy climates)

Post by David Z » Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:18 pm

I'd like to, but 2 words stop me.

Those words aren't cold or snow, it's......

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Re: How many ride all year round? (Particularly in snowy climates)

Post by RC20 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:55 pm

They don't use that up here or much. I am keeping eye out and if I see it will forgo until cleared off.
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Formerly Owned: ( various rides on others)
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1 x R80GS (ok to start with, learned to love it for what it was)
1 x CB450K

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1 x 2019 cT Terracotta

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