The grip on a hot surface

We commonly talk about how grip can be an issue when the tyres are cold, there’s ice on the road or in wet conditions, and we tend to forget how slippery the road gets when it’s too hot.

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Asphalt is made grainy and tyres have marks so that they work together and give us proper traction and grip in corners. They work fine until something goes wrong.

You can expect to lose grip when riding in winter conditions, but we don’t often talk about the effect that heat can have on the roads.

Southern Spain is now boiling, well the hot country really, together with northern Africa, some parts of Asia… it’s summer in the northern hemisphere! and that means some trouble when riding bikes.

Tyres are designed to operate within a certain temperature range. Exceed those limits and the functioning will be affected and it is only our riding which can make the bike ride without problem.

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We all like to ride without much protection when it’s warm, so we ignore the fact that the asphalt can get more dangerous as tyres won’t be as sticky as they are in normal conditions. We can see how professional riders complain when it’s too hot in MotoGP, and the effect is that of the wet asphalt.

But you cannot see the temperature, so you should be cautious. I normally drop a foot and taste the road with the sole of my boot so I can get an idea how sticky or slippery the road might be.

So keep gearing a bit higher than usual, ride smoothly and don’t make any abrupt moves or acceleration / deceleration if you’re not sure of the road. Better postpone fun for a minute than crashing.

Whatever, just don’t fall down guys! And don’t forget to wear your protective gear no matter how hot it is!

See you on the road!


One thought on “The grip on a hot surface

  1. Marianne Guarena on said:

    Greasy is nasty. When we road in 113F a few weeks ago it was greasy. No fun. Thank you for the reminder!


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