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Windy conditions can be dangerous for motorcyclists.
It’s important to know the different types of wind you might face, and how to ride safely when you do.
In general, there are a few factors in addition to the wind that can change how the conditions affect your riding, this includes:
- The type of bike you’re riding.
- Other traffic on the road.
- Other weather conditions (rain, ice, cold, etc.)
As a rule of thumb, a heavier, more powerful motorcycle is going to be less affected by the wind than a lighter bike.
However, wind can still be hazardous to any rider.
Keep reading to find some tips on how to ride in the wind.
Types of Wind you Can Encounter on a Motorcycle
The main types of wind you’ll encounter when riding a motorcycle include:
- Crosswind or sidewind.
Headwind describes a wind that is blowing towards you. This can cause you to slow down and put fatigue on your body if you don’t have a good fairing.
A tailwind describes a wind that is blowing from behind you. You may gain a little bit of speed with a tailwind, but strong gusts can make it difficult to control your bike at times.
A crosswind, or sidewind, describes wind that is coming from your left or right (or both). This is the most hazardous type of wind a motorcyclist can face as it can blow them off the road or into other lanes.
Tips for Riding in the Wind
If it’s too windy, it’s best to wait it out before you ride. High winds making riding a motorcycle both dangerous and exhausting.
Another general tip for riding in the wind is to dress in warm layers. Even on a hot, summer day, the wind can make temperatures extremely cold when you’re riding.
Here are some other ways to make sure you stay safe in windy conditions:
- Use a larger, frame mounted wind fairings.
- Use good eye protection and a helmet that doesn’t rattle.
- Be prepared for wind gusts by looking for clues (trees, grass, other vehicles’ movements, etc.). If you know where to expect a gust, you’ll be caught less off guard.
- In headwinds and tailwinds, tuck down and low.
- Accelerate and shift smoothly.
- Avoid gripping the handlebars too tightly as you may need to constantly adjust to stay in position.
- Slow down when the wind is blowing all over the place.
- Maintain a safe lane positioning where you have plenty of room between other vehicles or the side of the road if you get blow to the side.
- Be cautious when passing through areas that may temporarily block the wind or create wind tunnels.
Riding in the wind can be much more tiring than ridding in calm conditions. Be sure to stop and take breaks as needed.