And no matter how warm it is outside, the engine, chassis, tires, brakes and even the driver need a while to get up to operating temperature.
At half past five in the morning, you don’t just jump out of bed and run a half marathon. The circulation has to get going after the rest phase, the organism has to be ramped up. The same applies to your motorcycle with its engine, chassis, tires and brakes. Like the human circulatory system, they also need to reach operating temperature before they are ready for optimum use
Anyone who is unresponsive in the morning before the third cup of coffee (or knows someone who is) will easily understand that the motorcycle is not ready for top performance right from the start. A gentle driving style at medium speeds gradually brings the engine up to temperature.
Rule of thumb: On the first 5 km at most half nominal speed drive. This gives the oil, which is more viscous when cold, time to become thin. Then it gets everywhere and develops its full lubricating capacity before it really gets down to business. The mixture preparation system – i.e. carburetor or injection – only works precisely when the engine has
engine has warmed up so much that no more gasoline condenses on the channel walls.
The oils in the fork and suspension strut behave similarly to the engine oil: when cold, they are more viscous than when warm. This has an effect on damping: The suspension elements respond sluggishly when riding over bumps, and the bike behaves bucky and uncomfortable.
Too high a speed can now easily cause chassis unrest. Apart from the suspension elements, these can also be attributed to the tires, as they are responsible not only for grip but also somewhat for damping: When cold, they appear glassy, absorb shocks only reluctantly and pass on road irregularities, e.g. longitudinal grooves, as unwelcome steering impulses.
Test drives with temperature sensors showed that targeted acceleration and heavy braking on straight stretches heat up the tires best. This is particularly easy with ABS motorcycles: Rolling upright, they can be braked hard before red lights, where you have to stop anyway. When doing so, be sure to watch out for traffic behind you! Only when the tires feel more elastic than they do on the first few meters can you also take curves more quickly, bit by bit, and thus bring the tire sidewalls up to temperature. The warm, elastic tire rubber presses itself into the depressions in the road surface and really clings to it.
But it’s not just the vehicle that needs to be brought up to temperature before the ride, the rider does too. The head and body must be awake and warmed up before getting on the bike. For example, by doing a few squats and light stretching exercises before the start, the rider can ensure that his muscles are well supplied with blood, his joints are more flexible and his reactions are faster. Just five minutes of warm-up training is enough to put the body and mind in a heightened state of responsiveness and prevent tension.
The front tire is still too cold if, for example, the motorcycle turns in unwillingly or follows every longitudinal groove. When riding, a cold tire is noticeable relatively quickly in the steering. Adjust your riding style accordingly!
Dull brakes are rather rare, because most stoppers grip well even when cold. But if they feel doughy at first, bring them up to operating temperature carefully by deliberate braking.
No one should drive hot-headed, but the body may be warmed up. You don’t have to do an endurance run for that: A few squats and loosening exercises for the foot, hand and neck muscles are sufficient preparation.