Originally Posted THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2011
When the weather turns cold most riders put their bikes away for the winter, but with the right clothing there’s no reason to stop riding.
The key to staying warm is covering all exposed skin and layering your clothing. You should dress in at least three layers: the base layer, an insulating layer and an outer weatherproof layer.
The base layer should be silk, polyester or other synthetic material. It is designed to wick moisture away from the body. To do its job it must be snug fitting.FirstGear makes a base layer specifically designed for motorcyclists. Cotton is not good for the base layer; it will trap moisture next to your body and make you cold.
Next is the insulating layer, it should be loose fitting to trap warm air close to your body. Wool or synthetic fleece is good for this layer. I use synthetic fleece mock turtlenecks. The snug fit at the neck helps keep cold air out. For my legs, I usually wear jeans tucked into my boots for this insulating layer.
The outer layer should be wind and water proof. Running into an unexpected rain storm in the summer is inconvenient. Without waterproof gear in the cold it can lead to hypothermia. I use the Joe Rocket Nano jacket and pants with liners. They do a great job of keeping the wind and rain out. I also wear a full-face helmet and Balaclava made of Gore-Tex wind stopper fabric to keep my neck warm.
Hands and feet can be particularly challenging. I use glove liners and Gore-Tex thinsulate gloves. On very cold days or long rides I use disposable hand warmers between the glove and liner in the palm of the gloves. For my feet I use thin synthetic socks under wool or wool blend socks and Gore-Tex thinsulate motorcycle boots. Again, on really cold days it is tough to beat the disposable toe warmers.
Another option is electrically heated gear. A complete setup (jacket, pants, glove liners, socks and controller) will run about $600, but for about $400 you can get a jacket, glove liners and controller that will do the job in most circumstances.
If your willing to wear an extra layer or two or invest in electrically heated gear, there’s no reason not to ride year round if the roads are clear.
Steve Graybeal, Parts Manager @ Diamond Motor Sports