In the past, the only thing to keep you warm on a cold day's ride was heated clothing. But now, innovations have been made in motorcycle accessories and gear that can make it possible to ride for an hour or two without having to "plug in." Read on to learn more about the best motorcycle gear for cold and/or rainy weather.
First and foremost, what you wear directly next to your skin will play an important part of keeping you warm when you're riding out in the cold. A good base layer that wicks moisture away from your skin is essential. Wool and natural fabrics (other than cotton) do a pretty good job, but generally the best performance comes from synthetic blends like lycra, polyester, and rayon. Avoid blends designed for active sports however, as they can "over wick" the moisture from your skin and leave you feeling itchy.
Like the aforementioned base layers, you'll get the best results with non-cotton, synthetic blend socks that will wick the moisture away from your feet. Make sure your socks aren't bulky and will allow an airspace to form in your motorcycle boots, thereby providing extra insulation.
The next part of keeping warm on a cold ride is to wear a warm jacket liner. Most jacket liners from shelf brands like Teknic and First Gear will do fine when temperatures are in the 60s or higher, but below 60 degrees takes a more serious jacket liner, with a thin lightweight mid-layer made with Primaloft, to trap and retain heat.
Textile jackets and pants are the preferred shell for riding in the cold. Textile tends to give a little more space, allowing you the room you need for a good mid-layer inside. Look for textile motorcycle riding gear with zip-out liners so you can adjust it to whatever weather condition you're in.
Your fingers have the least amount of "warming ability" of anything on your body, so short of buying heated gloves, there are no gloves on the market that will allow you to retain heat beyond an hour or so of riding. That being said, it pays to add a set of quality glove liners and winter gloves to your riding gear. Aside from that, when temperatures go below 50 degrees, plan to stop every hour so move around, pump some warm blood through your system, and warm up your fingers.
In really cold conditions, wearing your rain gear will not only add an additional layer and help retain your body heat better and longer, but it will keep you dry too. Unfortunately, when it comes to rain gear, many people have learned the hard way that even though a manufacturer claims their rain gear is waterproof - it's not. Don't buy low cost gear if you want to stay water tight. Spend a little more, ask around and then purchase a reliable brand and model.
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