For many motorcyclists, winter signals the end of the riding season. Some send their beloved bikes into hibernation, having thoroughly coated them in grease, tarpaulin and the bitter sweet tears of farewell, whilst others just leave them to rust on the roadside like sorry heaps of hopelessness.
As we’re all aware, motorcyclists are already at risk on the road. Although they take up the smallest modicum of traffic, they are involved in the most road traffic accidents. This is particularly the case when winter descends and, as Lord Eddard Stark keeps reminding us, winter is coming.
Therefore, come the New Year, don’t be the dude who forgets to renew his motorbike insurance who doesn’t dress appropriately for the change in season and who ends ups eating asphalt on black ice.
But, what is the best way to keep warm and focused on the road? After all, it’s incredibly difficult to concentrate if you aren’t properly prepared. Winter brings the frozen visor, obscuring the view with every exhalation. A lack of thermal gloves (and underwear) will lead to numb fingers (and bums), as will exposed midriffs – or any unprotected flesh for that matter (that little gap between your glove and sleeve? That gap will freeze over after ten minutes on the road, true story).
Dressing for the winter months needs to be conducted with military precision and in all seriousness, the human body tires a lot quicker when it’s cold, which could lead to slower reaction times and a poor judgement of hazards.
So for those who are determined to stay on the road this season, here’s our comprehensive guide to the best winter gear available, to ensure that you stay safe and warm whatever the weather.
The Leather All-in-One
It might be the most expensive item of clothing you ever invest in (£500-£1000 or thereabouts), but it’ll also be the most beneficial. Waterproof (in some cases), aerodynamic and wind resistant, the leather one-piece is a no-brainer for winter bikers, not to mention the fact it’ll improve with age and eventually hug the contours of your buttocks like a loyal lover.
The Anti-fog Visor
An anti-fog visor can be fitted into your current helmet, acting as a self-clearing screen that ensures you never have to put up with impaired visibility again. The plastic visor is optical in quality, meaning the crystal clear transparency will make you forget you’re even wearing a helmet. Not only that, but Pinlock visors are available in clear, yellow and light or dark tints, meaning you can match your specs to your leathers. Dreamy.
Still not convinced of their anti-fog abilities? We held one over a freshly brewed cup of tea and guess what? Not one mark – even the condensation was quickly cleared up by a super absorbent insert. Demystifying!
Long stigmatised as the key garment in a robber’s wardrobe, the humble Balaklava is an extremely effective face warmer. Yes, it might look at little silly at first, but you’re putting a helmet over it for god’s sake! And in truth, there’s nothing quite as painful as frozen little ears (and in my opinion, nothing quite as cool as a beard balaklava).
The Hi Viz
Dress like an authoritative lolly pop lady and be seen on the road. This is one of the most important aspects of any biking ensemble, come sunshine or snow. Poor visibility is a major factor in motorcycle accidents, so don’t deck yourself out in black like the headless horseman, or you may end up sharing some nasty similarities with the aforementioned villain. There’s plenty of hi viz gear online and some of it is pretty inexpensive, so shop around and think neon.
The Thermal Undies
Get your long johns out and thank the day you made such a wise investment. Seriously, if you team thermal underwear (from top to bottom) with a leather all-in-one, you will be as snug as a bug in a rug. Plus, you can save money on the central heating by wearing them in bed!
The Hot Grip
That’s right, self-heating handle bars. Halleluiah, there is a god! These beauties will your keep your hands warm throughout winter, plus they’re water proof (they’d be pretty useless if not) and have great grip control. Although this might seem excessive when you can just wear a good pair of gloves, these warm little handles of hope will become a great comfort during long, wet winter journeys.