Plug In Or Layer Up, You Don't Have To Be Cold
The following items are taken from discussions on various Motorcycle forums, from Newsgroups and other sources. Somewhere in here you're likely to find a solution suitable to your climate and riding style.
A cold weather primer. This article by Steve Manes covers the gauntlet from gear to cold weather hazards. Excellent reading.
Is it also wet where you are? Check out this article on "Safety Bits: Foul Weather Gear" by Veteran Motorcyclist Mark Yater.
And then there's the Plug In stuff. There are a ton of links out there for heated gloves, heated grips, heated socks, heated vests and probably even heated helmet liners. Just be sure you get a high quality temperature control unit like those offered by Warm and Safe of San Diego.
Individual Tips From The Net
Paul Sweeper Says:
I just wear a good leather jacket, chaps, heavy gloves and "turtle fur" to cover the neck and lower face. Also tend to wear the helmet more regularly during the colder days. Keeps me comfortable down to 20 degrees (actual static temp).
Mike Harrison Says:
I bought a pair of gloves at the surplus (Army) that has some kind of liquid in the seams. It has a place for a hand/foot warmer ( the kind in the package)in the palm of it. You just wiggle your fingers and the liquid circulates the warmth. They were around $70. I've only put the hand warmers in them once. That was on a 200 mile ride with temp in the low 30's.They keep your hands toasty!!
Gary Russell Suggests:
Tip One: Go to a sporting good store or ski shop and you can buy cheap hand and foot warmers for about a $1.00 for 2 hand warmers and $1.00 for two foot warmers. Simply place them in your glove (top of hand) and under your toes between your socks and shoe. Your feet and hands will keep toasty for 7-8 hours!!!
Tip Two: As a skiing instructor I spend all wiinter going down hills from 25-50 mph in weather always under 30 degrees, mostly 20-25 degrees. By wearing double layers you can't let the "sweat" evaporate or go thru the layers. The wetness sits on your skin and chills you! You are better getting gloves that are 3 system. That is, they have a windproof and waterproof layer, a breathable layer and an insulating layer. Try ski gloves..$45-$60 but make sure they have the above features!
The same applies for outerwear. A good ski jacket shell is waterproof, windproof and breathable plus has ventilation zippers and doubles as a spring/fall jacket. These are made of tough, abrasion-resistant material (I carry skis with razor sharp edges on my shoulders everyday). There are great colors for bikers ($300 New, $100-150 used). A simple fleece layer under it is all you need and maybe long johns on a brutal day.
Or, windshield, leather jacket, fleece($15) and long johns ($12)! Ski socks ($15)cover all the way to the knee and are also great with silk liners or silver thread liners ($7 very thin). The neck gaiter can cover the upper chest and be pulled over the nose! It's windproof and made of fleece($12) I rode this early spring (Mid-March) with no discomfort and I didn't even have a windshield!
Breathability, Windproof & Waterproof are the key factors in anything whether it be ski clothing or motorcycling clothes!!! And the stuff last for years and years and years!!!
And Gadget Says?
Ok, I'm a little reluctant here because people tend to want to throw things but...I live in San Diego. Yes, land of 365 day a year riding. Ok, 364, I try not to ride in the rain.
However, I do a "lot" of winter riding at higher elevations which can bring temperatures into the 30's (I know, such a wus). My normal cold weather garb consists of a ski type neck protector made of a flexy material that doesn't allow air to penetrate called the HeadGator. A full face helmet keeps the ears warm, gloves and leather jacket lined with "Thinsulate" keep the torso and hands toasty and a pair of Thinsulate lined Wrangler Jeans keep the legs really toasty. The insulated jeans pretty much do away with the need for chaps. If I'm going to be out all day in the cold I don thermal underwear top and bottom and take along a couple of those fishermans pocket warmers fueled by lighter fluid. Those puppies get hot! . Not much of a guide but if you live in an area where snow and ice aren't an issue it's probably all you need.
JustJohn Contributes His "System"
OK, now I ride to work and back 5 days a week and i start in the mornings at 3-4am and come home in the afternoon between 2-5pm with 100 miles round trip and most of itInterstate..Leather Jacket and Chaps till the temperature get`s in the 60`s, then my Hein Gericke comes out (with-out the Liner)Jacket,Pants, Gloves and Boots till the low 50`s and then I`ll put my Liner in and get the Full-Face helment and go till high 30`s and now it is time for the electic vest and that is going to work till Freezing and then I break out the Pick-Up Truck!! when it rains i have the FROGG rain suit with my Leathers but when i am wearing the Hein Gericke Gear, no need to worry, it`s water resistant!!