Some riders put their bikes into storage over the winter because they don’t get the same enjoyment when it’s cold, dark and wet as they do throughout the summer. This is fine, and we’ve provided some top tips for storing your bike over the winter months to help keep it in the best condition ready for your next ride; but if you enjoy riding all year round then it’s important to have the right motorcycle clothing and equipment to hand.
Motorcyclists take their clothing seriously, no matter what anyone tells you! Leather motorcycle jackets are every bit a fashion accessory as they are a practical and safe piece of clothing for wearing when riding; but in the winter some leather suits and jackets just aren’t up to the challenge.
When the weather takes a turn for the worse, and the daylight hours are at their shortest, some hardy souls continue to ride and take advantage of a spare few hours to get out on their bikes whenever they can – but before you do, it’s definitely worth ensuring that you’ve got waterproof, windproof and high visibility clothing in your wardrobe, or out in the garage, to keep you warm, dry and safe throughout.
Waterproofs and high visibility motorcycle clothing
It sounds fairly obvious that your winter motorcycle clothing should be waterproof, and that you need to be seen in all kinds of weather, but you’d be amazed at just how many riders find out – in the worst way possible – that their clothing isn’t as high vis or as waterproof as they may have thought.
The likes of Alpinestars, Dainese, Rukka, RST, Ixon, Spada and many more leading brands spend years developing their motorcycle clothing ranges; ensuring that their jackets, pants, boots and gloves keep riders safe and dry throughout the winter. After all, if you’re going to go out on your bike in the freezing and pouring rain, the least they can do is provide something to keep you warm, dry and visible, right?
When it comes to choosing waterproof and high vis motorcycle clothing there are a few things you need to be on the lookout for. Firstly, while you want your jacket or pants to look and feel great, you also want them to be “laminated” which helps to prevent the water from penetrating the leather affecting not only its quality over time, but also how warm and dry you are on your bike!
Jackets including the Dainese Laguna Seca D-Dry motorcycle jacket are the perfect example of a laminated jacket, offering all the comfort and style you expect from a Dainese jacket combined with the brand’s own D-Dry waterproof membrane to prevent the water from getting through to the material.
Next on your checklist should be breathability, because even in the chilly winter conditions you want to be wearing something that lets you moderate your own temperature, too. While clothing items like base layers are great for keeping you warm by being close to the skin, a breathable motorcycle jacket such as the RST Rider CE Men’s Textile Jacket or the Spada Hydra Ladies Textile motorcycle jacket will help to keep you warm and dry, while also allowing you to let some fresh air in to keep you comfortable, too, with extra ventilation or removable inner linings.
In order to tick both of these boxes, any motorcycle clothing including jackets, pants, boots and gloves made from Gore-Tex – including Drystar from Alpinestars or D-Dry from Dainese – is guaranteed to offer a waterproof, breathable fabric membrane that offers riders everything you could possibly ask for in one single winter motorcycle jacket. This will help to keep you warm and dry on cold, wet days and comfortable on the crisp, dry winter days we all love.
Finally, but by no means least, you should also be looking for a high visibility motorcycle jacket – or full motorcycle suit – that catches the headlights of other road users to help keep you safe in the harsh, dark winter conditions. Alpinestars has an excellent reputation for quality motorcycle clothing including boots, gloves and leather suits; and this extends to their Alpinestars Hurricane Rain motorcycle jacket which has been specially designed for poor weather and visibility.
Offering the best of both a comfortable, breathable motorcycle jacket with the practicality and safety features of the high visibility design; this is the ideal winter motorbike jacket. Alternatively, if you prefer an all-in-one motorcycle suit then the Alpinestars Hurricane Rain motorcycle suit goes one step further and offers you a comfortable, waterproof and high visibility pair of pants to boot.
Windproof motorcycle clothing
Now obviously, just because it isn’t freezing cold or pouring with rain, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t windy out there. Being blown about on your bike by strong gusts can be very dangerous, making many choose to leave the bike at home – and quite understandably, too – but if you are venturing out on your bike in any kind of strong breeze it’s important to be wearing windproof motorcycle clothing as the speed you build up on the bike will only add to the strength, and chill, of the wind.
The Dainese Dolomiti Gore-Tex motorcycle jacket is a prime example of a windproof jacket that is also breathable, waterproof and built to keep riders comfortable. The removable Gore-Text inner means you can stay warm throughout the winter, and cool during the summer, while also adding an extra layer of protection against the wind.
In addition to the torso and upper body, the hands take a significant amount of wind impact when you’re riding so it’s vital to have a pair of motorcycle gloves that help to keep your hands warm and dry – especially when they’re so important in accelerating, braking and changing gear!
Utilising their own version of Gore-Tex technology, the Alpinestars Stella SR-3 Drystar motorcycle gloves have been developed to be comfortable, waterproof and windproof to ensure that all riders have a stable grip on the handlebars, levers and accelerator. As every rider will testify, cold hands can make riding a nightmare – even on the most beautiful roads in the world – so be sure to look for gloves that offer protection against the wind and elements, too.
Additional winter clothing accessories
There are also a number of other items of clothing you can wear to stay warm, dry and visible; and a number of different treatments and accessories you can try that will further enhance the waterproof, windproof nature of your winter motorcycle clothing and equipment.
Nikwax Visor Spray-On rain repellent can be applied to the visor of your helmet to create a clear, clean surface that sheds the water kicked up by other road users or sent down from above. The same company also produce a range of leather cleaners, helping to remove any dirt and grease that may have been splashed up off the road.
Base layers, as we mentioned earlier, are another great way of keeping yourself warm by creating an extra barrier between your skin and the clothes beneath your leather jacket. Even with the vents open on your jacket to allow the free-flow of air to keep you cool, a base layer will help to keep you warm and some even work in the opposite way to remove sweat in order to keep you cool in the summer.
There are all kinds of different base layers available, ranging from long sleeve tops like the Rukka Outlast Base Layer Shirt to the collection of Spada fleece neckwarmers and the Spada Chill Factor 2 balaclava motorcycle base layer which have been designed to plug any gaps between your clothes, leather jacket or trousers and your skin. You also have options including the RST Thermal Wind Block Gilet to wear beneath your leather suit, a pair of
You can even go one step further with a full thermal base layer suit that can be worn beneath your leathers or your leather suit to create a solid, single layer with no gaps. The Dainese D-Core Air Suit is the perfect option here, providing a small amount of pressure on your muscles to keep them warm, while the seamless construction means that the air cannot penetrate and get through to the skin. This means that if you do get warm out on your bike you can choose to open the vents on your leather suit or jacket and allow some air in without having to worry about the winter chill getting to your bones!
In addition to the advancements in thermal clothing and base layers in recent times, heated clothing has come a long way in the last few years. KEIS have a range of products that include heated insoles for your boots, heated inner gloves to go inside your main pair of motorcycle gloves and a wide range of bodywarmers, connectors and controllers.
The RST Paragon Thermotech heated waterproof motorcycle gloves offer riders the opportunity to switch on a heating element built into their jacket, trousers, gloves or boots in order to stay comfortably warm throughout your ride.
These heated gloves from RST are made from the typical premium grade cowhide, but are fitted with a heating element and on/off button that offers three heat settings and up to 4-hours’ worth of warmth. The battery can then be charged by plugging the connector inside the gloves into the mains through a universal charger – and don’t worry about how they’re going to fit, the RST gloves come with a drawstring adjustment for a comfortable fit.