If you’re looking to hit the streets this winter on your favorite motorcycle, you’re going to want to equip yourself with the very best in cold weather motorcycle gear.
Though it may sound like a crazy idea, riding your motorcycle in the winter can be a lot of fun: after all, no other season features the same kind of drama, adventure, and scenic beauty that winter does, and it would be a shame to miss out on it all because of a little fear!
However, one thing to keep in mind is that winter riding may be majestic, but it’s also much more dangerous than touring other times of the year. Fortunately, we’re here to help, because in this article, we will walk you through the most important clothing items and accessories that you need to keep yourself warm, dry, and safe through all your winter motorcycle adventures.
The base layer is easily one of, if not the most important clothing layer that winter motorcyclists need to pay attention to.
Because base layers are easy to get wrong.
For example, many motorcyclists assume that a base layer is simply a thin layer of clothing that fits snugly against the skin, allowing the rider to comfortably wear an outer shell, a heavy jacket, or even a long flannel shirt.
However, this isn’t the whole story: many base layers may fit snuggly against the skin, but this isn’t true for all base layers: some base layers are loose fitting, others are full body suits, and there are some that are comprised of individual parts.
Indeed, the most important function of a base layer is to regulate the rider’s body temperature, preventing it from getting too hot or too cold, while mitigating the negative effects of moisture build up.
For winter riding where the goal is to keep warm, motorcyclists should steer clear of materials like cotton because as the body warms up, it tends to sweat, and wearing a base layer comprised of cotton and sweat is basically like being hugged to death by a damp, smelly sponge, which as you can imagine, isn’t comfortable at all.
Instead, we recommend sticking to base layers made of materials like merino wool, spandex, or some other synthetic material that’s designed to not only keep you warm, but also wick away any moisture that might build up during your ride.
For specific base layer recommendations, please check out our top picks listed below:
Having produced top-notch motorcycle and motocross gear for a number of years now, EVS knows what riders want out of a base layer.
Designed to keep riders warm and dry, EVS Long Sleeve Tug Shirt is constructed with a lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking fabric that also works as a compression shirt, improving blood flow to the rider’s extremities.
Indeed, this base layer is not only effective at keeping you warm, but it’s also extremely comfortable thanks to the Lycra fabric, making it a top pick for motorcyclists looking for the best cold weather riding gear.
And like the EVS Long Sleeve Tug Shirt, the Alpinestars Ride Tech Winter Bottom also features a compression fit that helps reduce muscle fatigue, as well as improving blood flow to the rider’s extremities.
For additional comfort, this base layer also incorporates stretch ribs on the back of the knee to allow for full mobility and range of motion.
Dainese D-Core Suit
For a full-body, base layer solution, it really doesn’t get any better than the Dainese D-Core Suit.
Featuring a blend of Dryarn, Polyamide, and Elastane, all of which are environmentally friendly and recyclable, the Dainese D-Core Suit protects riders from the cold while keeping them nice and dry.
As a bonus, this suit is also treated to be bacteriostatic, hypoallergenic, and offers anti-odor protection, which seems like a no-brainer, but isn’t as common as you might think.
After the base layer is the mid-layer, and for riders in certain parts of the country like Southern California where it doesn’t get too cold, a well-built mid-layer, in conjunction with a base layer, is typically all you need to remain warm, even in the winter.
Mid layers usually consist of a fleece jacket that adds protection from the wind, though, if you already own a nice leather motorcycle jacket, this will also be suitable for colder temperatures.
Just remember that no matter how warm your leather jacket may be, leather is typically not suitable for wet conditions, as the water can cause the leather to crack if it hasn’t been properly conditioned, dried, or waterproofed.
For mid layer recommendations, please see our list below:
The ADV Spec Baltic Insulated Jacket is a packable mid layer designed to be worn under or over armor or with an outer shell.
This insulated jacket also features water-resistant fabrics on the shoulders and a removable hood, making it highly versatile and suitable for not only cold weather riding, but also for other outdoor activities like camping and hiking.
Klim Everest Jacket
This premium fleece jacket features an aggressive fit that delivers keeps riders warm without restricting their range of motion.
Additionally, the Klim Everest Jacket incorporates articulated patterning and textured nylon overlays that make moving between outer layers easy and help increase long-term durability.
And with a number of convenient pockets, this mid layer is also the perfect jacket for everyday use.
Equipped with Micro Carbon Fiber heat pads for top-of-the-line heat radiation, the Keis j501 Premium Heated Jacket provides an even layer of heat across the rider’s chest, back, arms, and collar.
What’s more, the Keis Premium Heated Jacket also features a lighter, thinner construction for a streamlined fit, allowing it to be worn with an outer shell of your choosing.
The outer shell, as the name implies, is a protective layer that prevents wind, rain, snow, or anything else from comprising the warmth that the mid and base layers provide.
That being said, outer layers are usually made of tough, weatherproof materials that are both lightweight and breathable. After all, even though the outer shell needs to protect the rider from, say, a rainstorm, it also needs to work with other layers, so it can’t be too heavy or too warm; otherwise, the rider will become over-burdened and uncomfortable.
For specific product recommendations, please check our top picks found below:
When it comes to motorcycle winter gear that will save you from torrential downpours, it really doesn’t get any better than GORE-TEX.
GORE-TEX infused products provide best-in-class protection against both water and wind without sacrificing comfort or breathability. Don’t believe us? Check out their guarantee: GORE-TEX is so confident in their technology that they will repair your item, replace it, or refund your purchase entirely.
This brings us to the Klim GORE-TEX Over-Shell Jacket: utilizing GORE-TEX’s 3-layer stretch performance fabric, this jacket provides motorcyclists with both water and wind-proofing capabilities that are perfect for stormy weather.
Additionally, this jacket incorporates ample reflective materials for low-light visibility and comfortable collar and wrist trims made out of neoprene.
In addition to being weatherproof, this rugged jacket utilizes the GORE-TEX Armacor 3-layer laminate reinforcements on the elbows and CE-approved Sas-Tec armor on the elbows and shoulders (both certified to EN 1621-1), protecting riders from impacts and abrasions.
With all this protection, you’d think that the rider would be prone to overheating, right? Luckily, the Sealand GORE-TEX Pro Jacket features two huge vents on both the front and back of the jacket, allowing air to pass through the rider, keeping them cool and dry.
As an added bonus, these vents can be opened and closed with a zipper, so if you need more warmth during an extremely cold ride, all you need to do is close the vents!
Featuring great water resistance and reflective materials, a tuck-away hood, and built-in adjustable waist and wrist components for the best fit, this jacket truly hits that sweet spot between performance and price.
Alpinestars Raider Drystar Pants
Another integral part of the outer shell is a waterproof pant, and the Raider Drystar Pants by Alpinestars are some of the best waterproof motorcycle pants on the market.
Featuring Alpinestars Drystar 100% waterproof and breathable membrane, these pants will provide more than enough protection from the elements during your winter ride.
These pants also feature a removable thermal liner and zippered gussets that help ensure a tight seal around the boot area.
Last but not least are 3 items that no motorcyclist can survive without: riding masks, gloves, and boots.
And when it comes to winter riding gear, these three items can make all the difference in the world. After all, what’s the point of layering your clothing if you can’t even turn your bike because your hands have frozen solid?
Built from water-resistant neoprene, the River Road Full Face Mask provides warmth and features perforated mouth panels for easy breathing. Best of all, this full face mask will easily fit under your favorite motorcycle helmet and can be worn with goggles or even as a standalone piece.
Dainese TRQ-TOUR GORE-TEX
Remember all that great stuff we said about GORE-TEX? Well, guess what: it’s in motorcycle boots too!
The Dainese TRQ-TOUR GORE-TEX motorcycle boot uses GORE-TEX’s breathable waterproof membrane, and features other conveniences such as D-Stone fabric inserts and a calf volume adjuster for added comfort.
Please note that while wearing a boot like the TRQ-TOUR GORE-TEX, it’s still a good idea to wear a nice pair of wool socks, as the added warmth and moisture control are indispensable on the road.
Do more with Sena
We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to motorcycle winter clothing, and we hope that you stay and explore all the other incredible riding equipment that Sena has to offer!