As we come into the colder winter months of the year it is often a time when people decide to hang up their motorbike jacket, boots and find themselves a warm drink. This sounds like common sense to many readers, however I have some news for you, these people are SOFT and unprepared. As the saying goes, you need a bag of cement to harden *%&#* $&*$ up!
There is no reason why you can’t be one of those who chooses to ride all year round and enjoy your passion for motorbike riding, isn’t being out on the road the whole reason why you got your motorbike license to start with?
While many will leave the discussion at this point and either curl up by the fire, or the much harder alternative of just heading back outside for another few miles on your favorite road, there is a sensible option, one where you can motor on in comfort. It is all about having the right gear for the job.
The extremities are the areas that you need to think about, none more-so than the fingers. Cold fingers aren’t pleasant and can be unsafe too if you are struggling to manage the clutch, brake and throttle effectively. A good set of winter gloves will keep the wind out and with the correct inner lining should also keep the fingers toasty warm. It is also worth trying to find gloves that have some level of water resistance as any dampness added to the cold wind will quickly turn your fingers to ice.
Put away the summer vented jacket and find something warm. The first step is to try and cut out the wind. Once this is gone then you have the option to layer up.
Once you have a jacket that has done the job of cutting out the wind you can then add layers underneath. These may just be an extra long sleeved shirt (or a thermal). An extra layer or two of cheap clothing is much better than a single overly heavy jacket as you can then manually perform your own temperature control as you go about your day. It may be freezing when you first set out on the road in the morning, but by the lunch time stop the weather has heated up and you only need a single layer under the jacket.
Loose fitting pants allow the air to flow to the skin, which then makes things cold. Think about wearing a pair of tights/long johns that grip to the skin and will keep your legs warm all day. Nobody has to see them, so you don’t have to worry about losing your man card.
Neck warmers play two important roles. Firstly they keep the neck warm as intended, but the second role is that they often will block the wind from traveling up into your helmet. Now your whole face is staying that little bit warmer, all from a cheap and simple piece of clothing.
Wind Deflectors / Hand Guards
Now we are almost starting to cheat, as this makes a huge difference. Wind deflectors do exactly as they say, they “deflect the wind”. You may find that once you install a set of these on your motorcycle (which may cost even under $100), you can then ride with your summer gloves and not have any problems at all. These also have the added benefit of protecting your hands from rain and may also provide additional protection to your levers in the event that your motorbike decides to have a little lay down on the ground.
The ultimate in cheating to keep your hands warm. Heated hand grips are often temperature adjustable and will leave your hands anywhere in the range from “no longer freezing” to “my f^#^%# hands are sweating”. For only a couple of hundred dollars it is hard to beat these if you truly want to spend the whole year out on the road.
Choose to implement some or all of the above items and you can safely spend the whole year out on the road, doing exactly what you want to be doing on two wheels.