Winterise your Bike
Winter riding stresses your bike more than you might imagine. Soil turns to mud once saturated and that mud can really plaster a bike, packing on weight and giving moving parts a real pasting of grit. So it pays to think ahead.
‘Just little things, like spraying silicon all over the engine and under the mudguards can pay dividends’, says Eddy. ‘It stops the mud sticking so the bike stays lighter and when it comes to cleaning afterwards the dirt falls away that much easier.
‘Then there’s the stuff like extra protection because you’re likely to drop the bike more often. At rocky places like Tong, sump guards are an absolute must, and items like disc guards really pay off. Think about radiator guards and adding a fan on a four-stroke as they soon get hot when stuck. Hand guards are essential: I prefer simple hand guards to the wraparound type as they’ll keep your hands free if you go over the handlebars, and they’re lighter [less effect on the steering].’
‘This time of year other things start making real sense, like the plastic chain blocks because they flex slightly where with the metal ones if you bend them, they stay bent. It’s in winter rides where you really test kit like this.
‘Talking of chains… I run them a bit slacker, especially at muddy events as the mud will pack between the chain and sprocket - effectively tightening the chain. When it comes to suspension, I like to run the bike a bit lower in extreme going, so we push the forks through the clamps a little bit, put a little more sag in the shock, speed up the rebound a little bit so it’s a bit more lively. That way if you do get stuck in a rut the suspension is working a bit faster. And stock suspension for this kind of riding is fine, you don’t need race suspension, but if you do have race stuff think about softening it off.
‘This time of year I revert to a stock pipe and silencer as well. Aftermarket stuff is good for racing but for riding over the winter and messing around with your mates, a good bit of advice is to put the stock system on. It works wonders - it’ll soften the power off and it’s generally stronger so will take the hits better.
‘As ever, wire-on your grips. So many times, especially in the wet you see them falling off or twisting round. You can use harder grips this time of year as well, with harder ends because you’re going to be leaning the bike up against rocks, and dropping it, so you’ll need harder-wearing kit.
‘When it comes to tyres for this kind of stuff - I recommend you use a good enduro tyre because they work really well on rocks, logs, everything. And new ones too. This is not the time of year to be running knackered, rounded-off knobblies. We run mousses but for the average rider, with heavy duty tubes you could probably go down to 8-10psi while for normal tubes never go below 12-13psi.
‘And finally, if you’re running a two-stroke it normally pays to jet them a bit richer in winter, so they’re not as aggressive, a little bit torquier, and less likely to cold-sieze.’