I know this is going to come as a bit of a shock to some of you but as any fan of Game of Thrones knows, “Winter is coming”. Yep, the time of rain, snow, ice and presents is just around the corner and it is time to start to get prepared or you will wake up one day soon and find out it is too late and winter is here.
What you need to do is either get the old winter hack out of the shed or buy another one. The benefits of running a winter bike are many. Obviously it gives you an excuse to buy another bike but beyond that it means your pride and joy can stay tucked up in the garage away from all the yuck. This of course saves you from constant cleaning and the mileage you put on it will be fun miles not, soggy grey, teeth clenched, grimacing miles. It also makes sure it is still worth something when you decide to part ways
One side effect is that having a winter hack can also be a lot of fun. This is because you are not so concerned about dropping it and so you can concentrate on enjoying yourself and keeping warm. You will be surprised, come spring, how much your riding skills have developed just because you spent a winter not worrying about a minor scuff or scrape.
And here is one we made earlier
So what should you buy? Well anything will do really, as long as it is cheap, but there are certain things you should consider. This is a hack and so you want to be able to service and work on it yourself. It is best to chose something simple, a single cylinder trial bike, something like an old XT is perfect. I used to have an XT600e and I really regret getting rid of it. Anything naked should fit the bill though, the lack of fairing makes it both easier to work on and there are fewer bits to break if it does take a tumble. If you want some more hints about what is good to buy then take a look at what dispatch riders are riding, and even better, what dispatch riders used to ride. Those older machines will probably be cheaper and there should be a plentiful supply of them floating about and therefore easy to source cheap spare parts for. The one thing you don’t want to buy is something exotic or less than popular because finding bits for those can be a nightmare.
$465 on EBay as I type, perfect !
So you have a new, old, winter hack and now what? Well, check it out, look for dodgy wiring and repair anything that looks suspect and make sure the battery is in good condition, it will probably have a lot of work to do in the next few months. Give it a service; new oil, clean the air filter and check the plugs, nothing too serious. Then do the cycle parts, brakes, chain and lube the cables and then the most important part, make sure it has good tires. That is the one thing you should not go cheap on, winter demands good tires.
After that you can consider some luxuries. I would suggest handlebar mitts at the top of the list. They are the best kit for keeping your hands warm but absolutely crap in the “cool dude” competitions. Maybe some leaver guards would be a good idea, and some crash bars or bungs. Might cost a little extra now but it will add to the chances of just being able to hop on again after a spill. Oh and while we are at it, just for fun, why not give it a totally in your face paint job? After all a Day-Glo green and pink bike will be a lot easier to see on a shitty day…..and it will give you the chance to express that artistic side of your nature!