Are you battling the elements in your riding gear? Is it too hot? Is it too cold?
Layering is the solution!
Motorcycle Riding gear is very utility specific. There are various manufacturers producing different types of riding gear. It’s a whole different kind if you want to ride the track, and something totally different for urban-city usage, and Touring/ Adventure Touring gear is poles apart from street and track gear.
Track gear is generally referred to as “leathers” as it is primarily made out of cow hide. Leather provides the most amount of resistance to abrasion and considering that you may be flying off the motorcycle and touching down at very fast speeds, leather does the job perfectly.
But wearing leathers in the stop-and-go traffic of the streets? No Way! Race Track gear is very aggressive in fit and is definitely not comfortable. Street gear is made from Textile, or polyester/nylon, and is designed to be a lot more comfortable for day to day use on the bustling city streets.
Wearing street jackets on the highway isn’t a bad idea if you are looking for protection, however touring jackets are way more comfortable as they are designed to give the rider the most amount of comfort and the least amount of fatigue. Touring gear is primarily made from Textile, and they come with panels that open up to ventilate in case of warm-hot weather riding.
Even though you buy the correct gear for the correct temperature, we all know that they can’t be 100% efficient in what they do. What’s the solution?
We warm-blooded beings need to keep our body temperature regulated at all times and need to keep ourselves within the “comfort-zone” of our body’s tolerance to varying temperatures. Our body reacts to different temperatures in its own unique ways.
Layering aids your body to tackle temperatures and keeps you comfortable in different climates. However, one of the key reasons to have at least one layer underneath your riding gear is because riding gear is made from Polyester- in lay man’s terms, it’s a derivate of plastic. The inner layer of the jacket or pant can be rough and can prick your skin and cause irritation too. Having a skin friendly layer to separate your skin from the unfriendly fabric.
The lining on helmets too, are made of polyester. Wearing a layer underneath helps avoid contact with your skin, and also absorbs the sweat from your head in case you are riding in hot and humid weather. For hot weather riding, You can choose from a range of 100% pure combed cotton balaclavas or skin-friendly polyester balaclavas to keep you cool during those hot sweaty days. A few manufacturers also use “Coolmax” material in the balaclavas, which helps keep cool. You can also substitute with a full face balaclava with a little more cumbersome neck gaiter/neck buff which are multipurpose. Balaclavas are also manufactured with fleece and other insulation materials like “Thinsulate (it’s thin, light & warm) also available for cold weather riding. A few also come with a built-in neck gaiter that prevents the wind from entering into your jacket through the collar opening.
Some would think that being cool on a hot day is as simple as taking off clothing! Guess what? Layering helps!
You can use moisture wicking, body fit full sleeve T-shirts and Pants made from skin-friendly polyester to keep you cool. You can also use a simple cotton skin-tight T-shirt and pant as well, however, they are not as efficient when it comes to cooling your body down.
Base layers are also available with thermal properties, where they trap your body heat and keep you warm from within. These layers have to be low profile so that it does not affect the fit of your riding gear.
Socks too, come in various types for use underneath riding gear. Manufacturers produce thin, sweat absorbent, breathable socks to keep your feet ventilated in riding boots. Socks are also 3D woven to increase the rider’
s comfort from seams digging into your skin during extended use. A few also come with ergonomically placed stretch panels to hold on to your heels and ankles to increase blood circulation, very similar to compression socks.
Riding socks are also available in varying lengths as per your riding style and boot type and are also available in thermal materials like fleece and silk. A few manufacturers also make breathable waterproof socks using a “Gore-Tex” membrane to make the socks breathable and waterproof.
Glove liners keep your hands from getting wet or from freezing. Low profile silk glove liners are very efficient to insulate your hands when you are riding in the cold. You can also get yourself fleece glove liners that are considerably cheaper than silk, however, you will lose the feel-factor from the glove because of the thick fleece layer.
A good grade layer will work efficiently, last longer, cause lesser fatigue, fold compact and dry fast after being washed. Be it whatever the weather; whatever the terrain or motorcycle, you can always layer yourself to increase your comfort during a ride.