If you are a considering riding through the winter months you won’t only have to contemplate the shorter days and riding in the dark, but the cold will be a real issue. The best way to prepare for this is by making sure you are equipped with the best motorcycle protective clothing you can afford. We examine what to consider before riding out on winter roads.
Firstly, it goes without saying that you need a roadworthy bike that has been serviced and kept in good condition. In particular, good tyres with plenty of tread kept at the correct pressure and brakes with good wear left in them. Check all the lights and indicators and make sure the headlight allows good visibility of the road at night. If not the bulb can be changed for a brighter variety. This is very straight forward to do and can make a tremendous difference to your ability to read the road and allow you to enjoy the ride. That’s the bike sorted. What about yourself? It’s good to prepare yourself with hot drinks and food before getting on the bike. It will keep you alert longer and improve your endurance in cold conditions.
I find the best way to dress is to use a thermal base layer, followed by one or two thin layers before I put on my motorcycle jacket and motorcycle waterproof over suit. Finishing off with a hi-viz bib helps to be seen, although is not fool proof!
As you probably know, it’s always the feet and hands that feel the cold first. This is why it is really important to wear a good pair of insulated motorcycle gloves. There are loads to choose from. Just make sure you get a pair that are warm but not so thick and bulky they impede use of the controls. In addition, you can fit a pair of handlebar muffs. Better still upgrade to heated grips. This will really transform the comfort of your ride and improve bike control.
For the feet I prefer a pair of insulated socks or walking socks inside a good pair of waterproof motorcycle boots.
I find that if you have any exposed areas around the neck the wind chill will very quickly start you shivering and you’ll want to get off at the earliest opportunity. A good motorcycle neck warmer either a balaclava or traditional neck warmer will help. Make sure they are not too thick or they can restrict your head movement which is vital for checking blind spots and shoulder checks.
If you are still finding it hard to keep warm or you have to undertake longer journeys on a motorcycle, then it really is worth investing in heated clothing. Heated clothing has really improved over the last few years and the prices have become more affordable. As a starting point you could try heated gloves and then a heated waist coat. You will be able to ride in the harshest of conditions and still keep a smile on your face.
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