Why staying warm can save your life when riding your motorcycle

Why staying warm can save your life when riding your motorcycle

Stats show that there are more motorcyclist casualties in winter than summer –that’s despite there being fewer bikers out on the roads. But don’t take our word for it! – that’s according to the Institute for Highway Engineers. This is mostly down to fewer daylight hours and poor weather conditions, but there is plenty of evidence to show that lower temperatures are a risk all on their own. A little bit of cold can be invigorating, but prolonged, bitter cold is dangerous and can even lead to hypothermia or frostbite. Factor in the wind chill, and a day that feels brisk while you’re walking around can turn into a bone-chiller when you’re cruising the streets. Anything you can do to make yourself (and hence other road users) safer is a must. A warm rider is safer than a cold rider.

What happens when you get cold on the bike?

Riding, you lose heat fast. Your core temperature determines what your body does, so it’s crucial that this temperature should be kept warm. Feeling chilled is unpleasant but worse, it’s distracting, and can have a huge impact on your reaction times and levels of concentration, two things that are vitally important to any rider who wants to stay safe on the road. Being cold can lead to shivering, exhaustion, confusion, memory loss, slurred speech, drowsiness and cramps. Numb fingers and toes will result in a loss of control, just when you need to stay sharp.

I’ve got chills… they’re multiplying! The dangers of wind chill

You’re most likely to be riding into the wind, so you’re facing even lower temperatures when you account for wind chill – the ‘feels like’ temperature that can easily turn zero degrees into minus 20 degrees, especially during a UK winter when the winds are blowing down from the north- east. Wind chill can strip away heat from a body at speed. As you’re riding down the road in cold air, that air is constantly taking away heat from your body at a faster rate than your body can produce it. Your core temperature falls and, once your internal temperature touches 35°C, hypothermia sets in. 

Heated motorcycle clothing to keep you safe in winter

Heated Motorcycle Gloves can help save your life when riding

And yet… the risks of cold-weather riding can be mitigated by wearing decent heated motorcycle clothing. Heated bike gear is getting better, more comfortable and more sophisticated all the time and will keep you toasty, at a regular temperature, in even sub-zero temperatures, meaning that you’ll stay more alert, more supple and be better able to cope with emergency situations.

Extremities are especially vulnerable to the cold. If you’re not already a convert to heated gloves, now is the time. They’re an easy entry point to the wonderful world of heated motorbike clothing! Your best bet are Gerbing’s hybrid XRLs heated motorcycle gloves: comfortable leather gloves that contour to the hand. The XRL heated gloves are waterproof, windproof and breathable. Power them from small batteries slotted into the gloves or hook them up to the bike battery. And is there anything worse than cold feet? You’ll be wanting 12V heated socks.

Heated Motorcycle Socks

Both three-layer and laminated Gore-Tex motorcycle jackets can be fantastic at keeping you warm, providing they’re well designed and allow for free movement (you can’t go wrong with Dane’s top-of-the-range Nimbus). For extra warmth, wear a heated jacket liner – our pick would be Gerbing’s Premium Heated Jacket Liner, which is new for 2020. Worn under your existing outerwear, it evenly distributes warmth throughout the body via over 35 meters of heating wire. Get the maximum benefit from a jacket liner by wearing a snug base layer underneath, such as Dane’s 4-season Base Layer top.

Heated Motorcycle Jacket Liner by Gerbing

Riding with cold legs is miserable, and cold air will make your legs cramp up. We’d recommend Gerbing’s super-comfortable and warmest-ever heated trouser liner, which connects to the jacket liner as well as Gerbing’s heated socks. Constructed from a Teflon-coated, wind-resistant, soft nylon shell utilising Thinsulate® insulation, they are stretchy, compressible, water-repellent, durable and lightweight.

Waterproof Gore-tex motorcycle trousers

 

Wear them under your usual motorcycle trousers or, if you’re in the market for something new, Dane’s Lyngby Air Gore-Tex Pro motorcycle trousers are a great buy for riding in extreme climates.

Heated motorcycle clothing opens up a whole new world of winter riding. Enjoy and above all stay warm and stay safe!