How to Ride Dirt Bikes in the Snow

While dirt bikes are more commonly ridden in warm weather over dirt, sand or mud, many adventurous enthusiasts enjoy rides during the winter over snow and ice. Special care must be taken, however, to modify the bike and outfit the rider beforehand. Under the right conditions and with the right preparation, riders can safely enjoy using their dirt bikes during cold weather.



  1. Prepare Your Bike

    • 1

      Examine the terrain you will be riding in, and the conditions of the ground. Leonard Keen of “Dirt Rider” notes a general rule that “the fluffier the snow, the less traction you will have. Ideal conditions are those in which the snow is dense and less than 8 to 9 inches in depth.”

    • 2

      Take measures to protect the carburetor from the elements. Install a retail protective shield, or wedge a piece of plastic in place over and in front of the carburetor.

    • 3

      Consider installing special snow tires on your dirt bike that feature spikes or screws. While it may be possible to use ordinary tires designed for dirt and mud as you ride over snow, your bike will suffer from a lack of traction. Do not attempt to use ordinary, non-winterized tires when the ground has frozen or the snow is crusted with ice.

    • 4

      Take measures to keep your hands warm. Install electrical grip heaters in the handlebars of your dirt bike, or wear winter riding gloves.

    Prepare Winter Clothing

    • 5

      Wear several layers when riding in the snow. Try to use “wicking” materials, such as polyester, polypropylene or other artificial fabrics. Carry extra layers with you while riding to bundle up more when needed.

    • 6

      Wear a jacket large enough to cover several layers of clothing. It should feature vents to help regulate excess body heat, as well as pockets to hold gloves and extra clothes.

    • 7

      Select and wear riding pants that allow you to be flexible and maneuverable while fitting over your boots and keeping snow out. Use the pockets to keep important items, such as your wallet and snacks.

    • 8

      Take care to avoid fogging of your riding goggles’ lenses while riding. The best way to do this is to simply control your body temperature, as overheating will promote fogging.

      If you wear winter sports goggles, do not attempt to wipe off moisture from the inside, as this risks damaging the thing anti-fog coating applied by the manufacturer. Instead, place them face-down on something warm, such as your bike’s radiator or inside your jacket pocket. If you have anti-fog coating, apply a new coat before every ride.

    • 9

      Wear a couple layers over your feet, such as a wicking material next to the skin, ordinary riding socks over that, and waterproof material on top. If possible, consider removing the liner of your boots to allow more comfort and avoid restricting blood flow to your feet.

Extra Tips:

*Β While riding, keep a watchful eye on the airbox to ensure that it does not become covered or clogged with snow, which could choke the engine.

*Β When dressing for winter conditions, avoid wearing layers made from cotton.

For Dirt Bike maintenance parts and more, check out our sponsor