Winter Tires

The first thing to upgrade on a motorcycle for winter riding is proper winter tires.

Spiked tires are a must since there will be ice on the roads, especially on the small streets around our home.

It turned out to be quite a challenge to find M+S tires for a street bike. The tire sizes on the Yamaha FZS 600 are 110/70-17 on the front and 160/60-17 at the back. I wanted M+S rated tires with deep tread pattern and spikes. Spikes can be added later as long as the tread pattern is suitable and the rubber is soft enough for freezing temperatures.

The bike is in a shop at the moment, having these tires fitted:

Sava Mc32 100/80-17 and 130/70-17.

Sava Mc32 front tire

Sava Mc32 rear tire

The tires were sold by Storm.

They have a little bit of tread pattern to promise at least some grip on snow, and they have 120 car spikes to help on ice. I would have liked a more aggressive tread pattern but these tires were the best I was able to find.

The speed rating on these tires is R, 170 km/h. I will not get even close to those speeds in winter.

The front fender is very close to the tire and will get filled with snow. I will need to find a way to fit a fender several centimeters above the front tire. I am in the process of looking for a replacement fender and need to improvise an attachment for it.

I had heated grips fitted at the same time.

I have ordered engine crash bars in case I drop the bike and also a steel shield for the radiator, to protect it from a flying tire spike.

I will get the bike back from the shop in a couple of days and will post pictures of the tires and heated grips.

The Beginning

Motorcycling is a seasonal activity, or so the common wisdom says. I decided to break that rule.

I will ride a motorcycle through the Scandinavian winter. The coldest temperatures will be around -30 C (-20 F), there will be lots of snow and ice.

The original idea was to by a 50 cc moped scooter. I quickly discarded that idea since the moped is slow, limited to 45 km/h (28 mph) and I would have to keep to the bike paths where they are designated for mopeds and ride on the road and street elsewhere. Too complicated.

Then I entertained the thought of a 125 cc enduro. The problem with this approach were the high prices for such bikes. For 1 000-2 000 euros I would get a thrashed motorbike sized for children. There are some large bikes, e.g. Rieju Marathon, but the prices are too high for such toys.

The next step in my research was a full size street enduro or a super moto. The problem with these is the high price. In my winter bike budget range, 1 000-2 000 euros, I would get only an early 1990s bike. I do not want the mechanical problems of such an old vehicle.

This lead to the not-so optimal choice for winter riding: a standard 600 cc street bike.

I found a bike within my budget, a 2000 model Yamaha FZS 600 Fazer with 44 000 kms (27 000 miles), kept in like new condition. Here I got my money’s worth.

2000 Yamaha FZS 600 Fazer

Let us begin the journey of setting up a street bike for winter and snow riding and riding it.