Motorcycle Rides

How to Ride a Motorcycle in High Wind

How to Ride a Motorcycle in High Wind

1. Importance of Riding Safely in High Wind

Riding in difficult weather conditions can be dangerous. Though most motorcyclists are wary of rain or snow, they often overlook a common hazardous weather condition: high wind.

Strong gusts of wind can make it difficult to maneuver a motorcycle. Strong winds can cause rollover of heavy base vehicles like trucks, trailers, or campers, so what do you think about the balance of a motorcycle?

High winds can lift a vehicle slightly, reducing contact between the road and tires. Losing balance on the road can result in an accident. This article will help you learn how to deal with high winds while riding a motorcycle.

2. Types Of Wind

Here are the types of wind you may encounter on the road:

2.1 Tailwind

A tailwind comes from behind the motorcycle. Being the least disruptive wind, it hardly affects handling when traveling at high speed. In fact, a tailwind can be beneficial since it can help increase your motorcycle’s speed and improve fuel mileage. However, a strong tailwind means that you must apply the brakes earlier and harder to slow down and stop in time. Be careful not to let a tailwind cause your motorcycle to travel too high over the speed limit!

2.2 Headwind

A headwind is an incoming wind blowing against the front of your motorcycle. You can reduce air resistance by reducing the front surface area of your motorcycle.

Try riding low behind the front fairings and windshield while tucking in your arms and legs close to the motorcycle. Keep your body as streamlined as possible to reduce drag. Headwinds can also slow down your vehicle. If the headwind is making it difficult to accelerate or see ahead, try to choose another route or take a break.

2.3 Crosswind

Now, this is something you need to be careful about the most! Crosswinds dramatically affect the riding by quickly pushing you off the road or into another traffic lane.

A crosswind is an incoming wind that blows perpendicular to your line of travel. Because crosswinds push against the sides of your motorcycle, it is more of a struggle to maintain balance. Try to ride behind the wind as much as possible, relax your body, and stick a knee out in the direction of the crosswind. You can also lean the motorcycle toward the direction of the crosswind to counterbalance. Apply all these three methods to counteract the crosswind and experience safe riding!

3. Tips For Riding in High Wind

Here are tips on how to ride a motorcycle in high winds:

3.1 Add Saddlebags and Tank Bags

Saddlebags and tank bags can increase the surface area that can block tailwinds and headwinds that cause extra drag as air moves the motorcycle. It can have the same effect as crosswind because it hits from either side.

Be careful not to add too many large bags on windy days. Add bags of the appropriate size based on your motorcycle’s size and model.

3.2 Be Careful Riding Behind Large Vehicles

By riding behind larger vehicles like trucks you can get out of the way of high winds. However, you must travel at a reasonable distance behind larger vehicles to see what’s ahead in the adjacent lanes and avoid crashing if they suddenly brake. The trucks can push a lot of wind around them, pushing you forcibly away into another lane or sucking you in.

On the other hand, buildings, mountains or hills, etc., can’t suck you in, but they can give a very immense amount of air with pressure as you ride behind them. It can cause severe damage. So, try to stay alert before moving away or around all these.

3.3 Choose the Safest Lane

What do you think? Is there any safest or best lane to ride in? With lane choices, there is no one-size-to-fit answer!

Lanes on roads, or highways vary in size and direction. If you travel on a dual-lane road, you likely prefer to stay in the middle or leftmost lane because the traffic tends to be less heavy. On a multi-lane road, you will likely prefer the lane that helps you avoid crosswinds and has the least traffic.

3.4 Protect Your Eyes

Protecting the eyes is as important as healthy food for health. How will you ride if you can’t see anything?

In high wind, small particles of dirt or sand might fly into your eyes. Wearing goggles will help keep your eyes covered, preventing them from being blinded due to incoming debris or eye infection.

3.5 Check The Weather

Checking the weather is necessary?

Before going on a ride, make sure to check the weather forecast. Research your destination, route, expected wind speed, and possible road hazards. If the weather forecast indicates bad weather conditions, it is best to wait until the weather conditions are better.

3.6 Reduce Fatigue

A major side effect that most riders don’t think about is “fatigue.” Riding slower, leaning to counterbalance, changing lanes, and adjusting your riding position can cause you to become worn out. Try to take short breaks if you are riding continuously across long distances. If you are on a long ride, you must take a break, rest for a while, see the weather condition, and move with proper caution.

3.7 Pay Attention to your Surroundings

Pay attention to your surroundings to determine where the wind is coming from. Plants and trees will lean in the direction of the wind, which will help you pinpoint where the wind is coming from.

3.8 Keep Your Body Low

Riding by keeping your body low helps a lot!

Try to tuck your head and back behind the windshield or front fairings to keep your body streamlined and allow air to travel around you.

If you sit upright, there is more surface area for the wind to blow against. You can also shift your body and motorcycle’s weight by leaning in the opposite direction of the wind.

3.9 Relax Muscles

When riding, don’t stress yourself out, and try to relax your muscles. Keeping your body loose will help reduce drag and let your motorcycle travel unimpeded.

3.10 Ride in the Direction of the Wind

Try to avoid traveling against the wind. Instead, travel in the direction of the wind and follow routes that continue along this way. If your destination is on the other side, try to figure out another way except for this one. If you are still not committed to moving in the direction of the wind, follow the tail or cross wind rule to go on.

3.11 Pull Over and Rest

Having to battle high incoming winds can cause your muscles to become worn out.

If you are tired, pull over and rest for some time. Wait for the weather to get better or regain your strength before resuming your ride.

3.12 Stick Your Knee Out

When riding against a crosswind, stick your knee out in the direction of the crosswind to counterbalance.

For example, stick your left knee out if the crosswind is coming from the left or vice versa. The same you can do for the wind coming from the right. Over time, you will automatically understand how far to stick your knee out to counteract the crosswind.

3.13 Wear Appropriate Gear

Wear appropriate gear for specific weather and riding conditions to improve safety.

When there is high wind, it means you are going to face severe weather conditions, so how will you manage?

Choose appropriate gear that will help protect you from severe or fatal injuries, such as a durable helmet.

3.14 Check For Road Hazards

Don’t forget to check for road hazards (animals, rough roads, gravel, bumpy edges, uneven expansion joints, slick surfaces, standing water, debris, snow, ice, or objects that have fallen from a construction site or another vehicle). While going for a long tour, you need to be careful about all the hazards coming on your way.

Check for the route and see which type of alerts are on Google Maps to check your intended route to see if there are any road hazards along the way. Sometimes some routes are safe, but the wind is unpredictable. Therefore, you need to learn how certain objects will be affected by them.

3.15 Use Bluetooth Devices

If you are traveling with a group, Bluetooth devices will allow you to communicate with your companions. Rather than shouting over the wind, you can speak directly to other riders using Bluetooth devices helped a lot to the riders in staying near their team.

Suppose you are on tour with your friends, and there is high wind on the road; how will they know where you are? High music helps in staying near the companions that can lead you away from any loss and tackle any issues due to wind.

3.16 Stronger The Wind, The Looser the Ride

As described earlier, you can leave your muscles relaxed. Your mind and body both demand relaxation as high winds leave them worn. In this case, take a break and let your muscles get relaxed.

When there is high wind, you can leave your body loose. It will work accordingly to the law of sailing.

3.17 Slow Down When Necessary

If it is difficult to ride at high speed, move to the left or middle lane of the road where you can reduce speed and better balance even in high winds.

3.18 Go Off-Road

If there are sudden complications, such as the road being blocked or uneven terrain, try to change to an alternate off-road trail.

3.19 Install a Windshield

A windshield offers better protection and comfort from poor weather conditions. A windshield can block wind, rain, or snow in case you are suddenly caught in bad weather while riding a motorcycle.

3.20 Overtake at an Angle

Give yourself plenty of space and time before trying to overtake at an angle in windy weather. For example, if you are switching between lanes while accelerating, try to angle your motorbike slightly to reduce surface area and wind resistance.

3.21 Be Metally Relaxed

Don’t get panic. Riding a motorcycle in the high wind will be easy if you don’t get stressed out. Whatever the speed of the air, there will be a way to get out of this situation.

3.22 Watch Out for Debris

While riding across the mountain, hill, or highways must watch out for debris. It might be possible that there is not too much high pressure of wind at the bottom, but it is at the top.

So, make sure to be attentive to this situation. While riding, paying attention to your surroundings is necessary to keep you safe from destruction.

3.23 Have a Tight Grip on the Bars

Make sure to hold the handlebars tightly to ensure you don’t lose your balance if a sudden gust of wind hits your ride. If you think your current handlebars lack durability, replace them with ones that offer a better grip and riding position. Make sure the replacement handlebars can be installed on your motorcycle’s model.

3.24 Know Your Motorcycle

Choose a motorcycle that is durable, lightweight, has good balance, and is easy to handle.

If you are an experienced rider, try to choose a customizable cruiser or touring bike. If there is no fairing, windshield, durable seat, or comfortable handlebars, you can easily install them as aftermarket parts.

There are also many accessories that you can utilize to make the motorcycle best suitable for you. Don’t use any motorcycle if you don’t feel comfortable. Just make it best before you use it!

4. FAQs

4.1 Can Wind Noise Damage Your Hearing?

Any noise above 85 dB can result in hearing loss. According to research conducted by the Henry Ford Hospital Department of Otolaryngology (HFHO), wind noise while riding a motorcycle can be loud enough to cause hearing loss. The likelihood of hearing loss is more likely among motorcyclists who travel non-stop for more than 30 minutes at high speed.

4.2 What Wind Speed is Too Much for a Motorcycle?

A wind speed over 50 mph is considered too much for average motorcycles, while wind speeds between 20 to 30 mph are usually too much for lightweight motorcycles.

4.3 How Can Extreme Wind Speeds Impact Motorcycle Riding?

Three different types of wind are headwind, tailwind, or crosswind. All of the following have a different impact on driving. Extreme wind speeds can make it harder to steer your vehicle.

They can also make riding hazardous as they can break large tree branches, dislodge roof tiles, etc. that could litter the road or fly at your head. When riding at extreme wind speeds, be aware of your surroundings.

4.4 How Do You Deal with High Winds on Highways?

Follow the following rules on how to deal with high winds on highways:

  • Install windshield
  • Follow the direction of the wind
  • Thoroughly research the route
  • Know your destination
  • Wear appropriate gear
  • Stay relaxed

5. Conclusion

Your motorcycle riding experience in high winds can be fun or a struggle depending on how effectively you deal with them. This guide will hopefully provide useful tips and methods to deal with different situations involving high winds if you proactively teach yourself.

Losing confidence and getting panicky or anxious are all common reasons for all sort of riders that causes crashes. So, without thinking too much about the current situation, think about how to get rid of it. Also, don’t ride beyond your or your motorcycle’s capacity. Follow the above-shared tips and give comfort to yourself while riding in the high wind.  If you are facing motorcycle storage issues then you should consider getting motorcycle LUGGAGE like SADDLEBAGS, TANK BAGS, SISSY BAR BAGS, and BACKPACKS.

Photo Credit: @bartelsharley

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