Ice Riding – How To Make The Polar Vortex Work For You

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Ice Riding – How To Make The Polar Vortex Work For You

It’s cold, but that does not mean there’s not a way to make it work for you on two wheels. In honor of the Polar Vortex that’s dropping temperatures across the country, we present three of the most impressive ice riding videos we’ve seen to date. Stay warm out there!

148 mph on Ice?

148 mph is certainly not slow. On ice, it’s certainly insane. Buell sent rider Craig Jones to Sweden to test the boundaries of speed on a frozen lake. This is the result.


Extreme Motorcycle Drifting On Ice – Jorian Ponomareff

French stunt rider, Jorian Ponomareff also took his bike to Sweden (it must be cold there) to show off his ice riding skills. In typical Monster Energy fashion, this video is over the top but it doesn’t make the riding any less impressive.


ICE – World Championship Ice Racing – Bloomington, IL

Imagine flat track racing on an ice rink…that’s what this is. This video not only features actual race footage but also includes rider interviews that explain what it’s like to race on ice in such tight quarters. There is also footage of quad, barstool and kart racing thrown in for good measure.


Are you going out riding in this weather? We want to know.

  • JT

    Nope, Chicago’s weather is too rough rough for a newb like me. Plus with temps below zero it’s a bit too cold. My threshold is about mid 30′s for now.

    • E Brown

      I’m in Chicago as well. The cold isn’t a factor with good gear, and the reactions from people are hilarious. (I had a little old lady crossing the street in front of me pause to say “Son, you’ve got BALLS riding in this.”) What keeps me off the road at time like this are snow and ice, as none of my rides have the tires for it. I’m hoping the spell of rain and warm temps will clear the streets next week, so I can get back out there.

      • JT

        My jacket and pants aren’t bad they’re just not heated. I can layer up too, it’s my hands that can be an issue. I have heated grips, but the wind is still working against them. I do need to invest in better gloves though since I just have the cld weather Bilts. Any suggestions?

        • E Brown

          Exact same issue – layering worked for everything but my hands were still cold within 30 minutes or so. The solution for me was heated gloves rather than heated grips. Grips warm your palms while wind saps the heat from everywhere else, but other factors were 1) I’ve got multiple bikes and wanted a solution that would work with all of them and 2) I could get battery-powered gloves and not worry about taxing the electrics on my older bikes with plug-in gloves or adding heated grips. I’ll have to follow-up on how they do, since I got them after the roads turned to icy crap. :)

        • Michael Howard

          I’d suggest trying some glove liners, but they might interfere with the heated grips. Some of the warmest gloves I’ve used are Olympia’s Cold Throttle. Though thinner than my BMG Thermosports, they do a much better job of keeping my hands warm.

        • Jeffw

          Handlebar muffs over heated grips work wonders down to around -10F. They’ll set you back less than $100 and don’t have cords or batteries to muck with. I’m currently trying out Tucano Urbanos.

  • zedro

    How about a primer on tires and studding. I’m still on the fence this year to outfit my KLX with the proper footwear as I have my snow machines to distract me. And I did try with my regular knobbies and only got the slowest donut maker ever.

    • Khali

      Check german brand Heidenau tires. You want your tires to be at least M+S, but better if you can fit one of the “Silica” models which are true winter tires. Im planning on trying them next winter.

  • Michael Howard

    Cold temps here in the Midwest have never stopped me. I can handle a bit over an hour of sub-freezing temps without heated gear before I start getting uncomfortably cold. But ice/snow on the streets keeps the bike parked at home. The tupperware is too damn expensive to risk dropping it. Again. If I had a little dual-sport beater, though…

  • Rameses the 2nd

    Polar Vortex is already gone. No one sane will ride in this weather. It is hard to drive a car with snow, pot holes, and salt on the ground, let alone riding a motorcycle. Stay warm and work on your bike, if you need to, but stay away from riding. Riding season will be back by the end of March.

    • JT

      I may try on Sunday since it’s supposed to warm up depending on the road conditions. Plus I need to dial in my new shocks.

    • Kirk Roy

      This depends on where you’re at but, as for the Washington, DC area, it’s pretty easy to ride year round. I’ve been doing it for almost 20 years. Current round trip to work is about 110 mostly highway miles. All year is riding season.

    • Aaron Averett

      Other than being cold, it wasn’t so bad here in Texas. There wasn’t any ice or snow.

      In fact, if my bike hadn’t already been taken apart for carb work, I’d have ridden every day this week. Fingers crossed that the UPS guy brings me the parts I need today.

  • NOCHnoch

    I ride every day there’s no snow/ice on the roads, so I was out today, yesterday, and the day before when temperatures were at 5 degrees (not counting windchill) here in NYC. I had a sweatshirt under my riding jacket, Under Armour leggings under my Maple jeans (quite toasty due to the fuzzy kevlar lining), and Rev’It Bastion gloves. That said, although I ride a fully-faired sportbike, I couldn’t ride for more than 10 minutes without my fingers becoming dangerously cold, and there’s no way to ride fast as my tires simply won’t reach anything close to normal operating temperature.

    • Jesse

      I was commuting in similar conditions in MA earlier this winter. I added heated gear and real armored (and lined) over pants, because my commute is a little less than hour each way, and it was dangerously cold without them.

  • Lee Scuppers

    Or get one of these:

  • Brian

    I am disappointed, as I was expecting you were going to post something more like this ->

  • Blake Bryce

    Rode last week in 20 degree weather. Caught a chill and was sick for the next 5 days. Think I will wait it out.

  • Mark Dooooooooo

    See a lot of dirt/ice stuff being talked about in the states, but no mention of speedway. sideways on the dirt and mental quick on ice.

  • mms

    This week has been rough. I commute 32 miles a day, round trip, in Virginia. On Tuesday, when it was in the single digits, I got to work ok, but the bike died. Have been having a lot of trouble with heated gear. The wired harnesses keep shorting out because of the wet, and the battery powered stuff doesn’t do much at below freezing temps. I’d like ice tires with retractable screws , hit a button and they retract so I can ride on pavement.

    • Kirk Roy

      Gets some dielectric grease for your connections. While I’ve never had problems with the wet (been using wired/heated gear for about 15 years now, rain or shine).

      • mms

        I’ll give it a shot, thanks! Only been here for a couple of months, hadn’t lived anywhere with “winter” since I was a kid. Difficult adjustment. Never had problems with the heated gear in CA, but it also never got below 35. I refuse to buy a car :P I sure wish people would stop calling me crazy though. They don’t seem to realize it’s a wee bit rude.

  • PeteN95

    It doesn’t get that cold in Seattle, but my buddies and I formed an ice racing team one year to race the Numb Bum 24 hour Ice Race in Northern Alberta. The team has been going for over 10 years now and it is unlike any other type of racing. The course is over 10 miles long with over 150 turns, both quads and bikes racing, several plow trucks are on course during the race, and I have ridden at -43 degrees!

    • Brian

      fargon iceholes….dis a means ah fargon war !!!
      (sorry, couldn’t help it as it is a great film reference)

      • Aaron Mezger

        It’s an 88 magnum. It shoots through schools.

  • Piglet2010

    Don’t be Normal, ride in Bloomington.

  • Jeffw

    Went out for a ride Monday when the high was -11*F to test the gear. Clutch cable busted outside a dealer i was shopping for helmets at. They weren’t willing to touch a BMW so i had to come back the next day and ride it home floating the gears when the temps soared up to 1 above. Put in the new cable today. Riding home from work in a freezing rainstorm (had already laid it down going down a straight road leaving the industrial subdivision at work), i went from the salted boulevard to the unsalted turn lane toward my house and noticed the rear wheel had decided it was sick of following and tried to pass the rest of the bike on the right side. After five or ten feet of this i wrestled it back in line and was wondering what the name for that move was. Just came across this- ‘drifting’, thanks.

  • Stuki

    Finally someone found a place to ride a Buell in comfort, without being cooked by glowing headers….. :)

  • Stuki

    Riding exclusively on pure Ice is really not that big a deal. Just fit sufficiently studded tires. Heck, riding exclusively on anything at all is not all that big a deal; even on water you can just fit pontoons, a rudder shaped front and a riversteamer derived rear……

    Much more complicated from a utility pow, is to have a bike that can handle intermittent ice and snow, while still being both legal and safe on the tarmac (and in Europe, cobblestone and cable car tracks) that most year round utility riders will have to contend with, should they choose to make their bike a year around conveyance.

    It’s similar problem facing those who wish to drive from SF or LA to the ski slopes at Tahoe or Mammoth. Fit winter tires that are ideal for mountain conditions, and wear them out/melt them on the way there and back; or slide around on all seasons. On cars/trucks, chains are a functional, if far from ideal, solution; but on bikes? Talk about awkward and unsafe handling……

  • Bruno Mancia

    if you rally want to know…. here it is…:-)


    ill be riding my bike on the hot, sandy beaches of malibu