As soon as the first major snowfall hit, I’d pack away my dirt bikes along the side of the garage wall and have to look at them daily as I waited for spring. Once I realized a few die-hard dirt bike riders were still at it in the winter, I started looking into it. Other than dressing warm, your dirt bike is the biggest consideration. Those knobbies may be great in the dirt – but not as much help on ice or 3-foot drifts.
If you’re going to ride your dirt bike in the snow for more than a few minutes, you’ll want to install a shield or protector for the carburetor – otherwise your carb will ice up, and your dirt bike’s performance will suffer. If you look around long enough, you can find commercially made shields for some bike models, but a homemade solution is fairly easy to come by. I’ve seen protectors made from cutting plastic bottles or milk jugs to shape… inner tube pieces zip-tied to the carburetor… and a modified hand guard complete with its own mounting screws. Avoid using any kind of tape to hold the shield in place – it’ll often lose its grip in cold and/or wet conditions, and any fuel and oil drips will loosen up the adhesive. The carb area is also an awkward place to clean tape goop out of.
I mentioned heated grips in the clothing article, but forgot another quick tip. If you have access to the right size shrink tubing, put some on your clutch and brake levers. A double-layer is even better if you can manage it. This will help insulate your fingers from the heat-sucking metal on the levers. In the summer, if the shrink tubing bothers you, it’s easily removed with one slit along the length of the lever. A few layers of electrical tape can help if you don’t use the shrink tubing, but it’s harder and messier to remove in the spring.