You have to be crazyâ€¦ or maybe just dedicated.
Finding a motorcycle rider on the road during the winter months feels more like a game of â€œI Spy.â€? You wonâ€™t see them often and compared to the summer months, seemingly non-existent. But a lot of riders stick with two wheels when the weather turns whether out of necessity or pure enjoyment.
Riding your motorcycle in cold and wet weather requires vastly different gear than any other time of year. In fact, many year-round motorcyclists own at least two sets of riding gear and depending on where you ride, three gear sets may suit you better. You may find cold and wet weather riding gear doesnâ€™t work in cold and dry weather.
Some gear, however, functions well in cold weather regardless of whether the clouds burst open or the sun shines brightly, barely influencing the mercury. Winter weather in northern states generally produces more wetter conditions than southern states which often endure a dry cold which bites harder. Itâ€™s not always wet and dry though, so to speak, as either climate takes on characteristics of the other a few times during the season.
Therefore, you have three options when it comes to buying the best cold weather motorcycle gear.
- You can buy one set of riding gear for the type of weather most common in your area and not ride when the adverse hits.
- Buy two sets of gear - one for each climate.
- Buy one set of gear that functions in both climates.
So, we have put together a list of the best cold weather motorcycle gear that will make your commute or long distance travels on two-wheels less a breeze and more a cozy, comfortable ride in the cold - rain or shine.
Winter Motorcycle Gear
1. Heated Grips
You need heated grips when riding in cold weather. If you have ever tried gripping with frigid fingers you quickly understand the need to keep your hands warm probably more so than any other part of your body. A number of options exist including complete replacement grips and clip-ons that fit over your existing grips.
2. Heated Riding Gear
If you donâ€™t want heated grips then you must have heated gloves. Think of the wind chill factor when riding. Cold air gets even colder when riding which easily cuts through regular riding gloves. Bottom line, keep your hands warm when riding not only for comfort, but safety.
Donâ€™t neglect the rest of your body, either. No one understands the wind chill factor more than a motorcycle rider. Depending on your tolerance level, you may find the need for a heated jacket or vest, heated pants or a heated liner that wears easily under your existing gear. Heated riding gear uses lithium batteries or plugs into the motorcycle battery with an included connecting harness.
Alternatively, think Gore-Tex when choosing your riding gear for cold weather. A good riding combination includes Gore-Tex pants and jacket because Gore-Tex keeps you dry when it rains but also breathes preventing you from overheating. Gore-Tex blocks wind and water from the outside, but allows body heat to expel making it ideal for cold and wet climates, but bearable in warm conditions as well.
Even in cold weather, you can still overheat during a ride depending on the amount of layers and type of fabric you wear on cold rides days. Gore-Tex riding gear eliminates getting caught off-guard when the sun rises in the morning and rain greets you in the afternoon making it the most versatile in cold and wet weather.
4. Waterproof Boots
Like the recommendation for Gore-Tex jackets and pants, choosing waterproof boots keeps your feet warm - preventing potential limited mobility issues similar to cold hands - and dry in the event you get caught in a downpour. The best of both worlds even if you only step into one. Waterproof motorcycle boots make up nearly half of the riding footwear we sell including Gore-Tex boots and other all-weather boots made of leather and/or additional waterproof materials.
5. Pinlock Visor
You could always spit on your helmet shield but we prefer a Pinlock visor to prevent the inevitable fogging that comes when riding in cold weather. The Pinlock has become a game changer for motorcycle riders and since the product was introduced several years ago, more and more brands offer Pinlock-ready face shields for their helmets. Read What Is a Pinlock Visor? for more information otherwise check out our entire selection of Pinlock visors.
Shop Pinlock Visors.
Outside of the Pinlock, try a fog blocker you spray on the outside and inside of the visor. It works!
6. Neck Gator or Balaclava
Those who struggle to stay warm in cold weather might find a neck gator or balaclava useful even when wearing a high-collared riding jacket. Wind always finds the smallest opening so additional protection around your neck helps maintain your core body temperature.
Motorcycle riders often purchase extra riding gear once problems persist. As you gain experience and extend your riding season (beginner riders should avoid riding in the rain) you will discover the need for extra layers or a different jacket. Some riders avoid wet weather altogether while others take the car once the temperature drops to a certain threshold.
As such, the selections noted work ideally for those riders who ride rain or shine in the cold who prefer having a one-set meets all criteria. Plenty of warm weather riding gear exists and a simple rain jacket thrown over the top of your gear gets you home without being drenched. Or you could go the full rain gear route and layer as needed depending on temperatures.