10 Ways to Stay Warm On Your Motorcycle This Winter
There are enough sunny days throughout the winter months
it’s worth getting out for a ride to make up for all those dreary days when you
won’t care to ride. And even though a day in January may be sunny, it can be
downright cold, so knowing what to wear and how to beat the chill will make your
ride much more enjoyable. Times have changed from even 10 years ago. We know a
lot more now about how to keep warm than ever before, technology is well ahead
of a decade ago and learning the art of staying warm can provide some great riding
So we’ve come up with our top 10 ways to stay warm. If you
have one or two be sure to email them over to us.
- Get The Wind Out – You’ve heard the term ‘wind
stopper,’ but just what does it mean? If the wind gets into your gear it
will rob you of your precious body heat. Don’t let it happen. If your riding
gear is allowing this to occur, replace it with better gear that won’t. We’ve
seen a lot of leather and textile sport gear that has elastic points at the
inner knee and on the arms. Great for spring and summer, lousy for cold
- Put On Your Rain Gear – One surefire way to
keep the wind out is to don a good set of raingear. Rain gear works as a
wind stopper and does wonders for maintaining your core temperature.
- Dump Your Cotton – Heard this one before? It’s
my latest mantra and I’d tell you to do the same thing if it were summer
too. Cotton gear can get down right uncomfortably cold if it gets wet or
retains the slightest amount of your body’s moisture. Leave it at home.
Cotton and motorcycle riding don’t mix well together. Dump your cotton
socks, tee shirt, underwear, jeans and sweaters. The sooner the better.
Get Some Synthetic Base Layers – Ahhh, so now
that we’ve dumped the cotton the question is what to wear. The answer is to
get some base layer clothing made of synthetics. Most base layer clothing
you can buy at an outdoor store is made for outdoor athletic activities such
as skiing, playing football or hiking. Brands like Under Armor were not
designed for ‘leisure activities’ like sitting still on a motorcycle for
long durations of time. We solved this issue when we developed our own line
of base layer clothing together with the folks at Andiamo.
Our line uses a different blend altogether of synthetic fabrics and does not
have a brushed interior so you won’t melt when you go indoors. Find out more
and consider a pair for yourself.
- Get Some Real Winter Gloves – Spending $25 or
$50 on a pair of supposed winter motorcycle gloves will not make you very
happy in the end. You need a glove that can insulate with wind crossing over
it at 60 mph. There are very few on the market that can do this for long. So
far BMW’s winter glove seems to retain body warmth the longest, up to about
an hour. You can get them at your local BMW dealer that carries the German
manufacturer’s apparel line.
If you need to retain heat longer consider using heated glove inserts (HeatPax)
or investing in a set of electrically heated gloves. TechNiche makes a line
of heated inserts. The best electric gloves we’ve found yet are made by
Gerbing’s Heated Clothing out of Union, Washington.
- Glove Liners – Already have an expensive pair
of winter gloves you don’t want to give up, but you’d like to shoot for a
little more warmth? The issue with winter gloves is that unless they wick
well, your hands will sweat in them and then get cold from being wet. Look
for a pair of Thermolite glove liners that will wick the moisture away from
your skin. We’ve seen them for sale at Seattle Cycle Center and other local
- Thermolite Socks – Thermolite is a great
fabric when used in socks, too. The folks at ProFeet out of Germany make a
great winter Thermolite sock that blends the synthetic fabric with Merino
wool to provide warm and dry coverage for your feet.
Keep Your Core Warm – The trick to keeping
your body warm for a long period of time is to keep the core warm. You can
do this by wearing a warm synthetic liner, dawning a fleece vest or
purchasing a heated vest or jacket. There are two types of heated vests on
The first is for the once-in-a-while rider who rides only several times a
year on cold days. It’s called an air activated heating vest
carbon charcoal air-activated packets, also known as HeatPax, that create
warmth for 16 to 20 hours. The packets are inserted into internal pockets in
the vest and can be suspended when not in use by placing them into an air
tight bag until they are needed again. The second choice is more for
the rider who likes to ride on a regular basis throughout the cold months.
For that we recommend an electric vest or jacket. Again my choice is the Gerbing version as it’s Widder counterpart provides for less surface
dispersment of heat.
- Let’s Eat – Okay, so while we’re on the
subject of keeping your core warm, what’s the most natural way to do it? By
eating of course. Filling your tummy full of food turns on the digestive
apparatus generating heat while it’s processing the food. If you’re cold on
your ride it may be time to park and get a bite to eat.
- More Heat Pax Please – We’ve already talked
about using HeatPax in your gloves and inserting them
into the specially designed vest by TechNiche. Go one step further and get
some for your feet to place at the toe points in your boots.
Here we’ve discussed ways to stay warm based on what you
wear and what you eat. There are several other tricks too like heated grips and
heated seats. But whatever tricks you use to stay warm on cold days it’s good to
know you have the chutzpa to enjoy the ride and not dread a forty degree morning
Patrick Thomas/Winter 2006
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