Whether you’re hitting the road around the world or riding through the Australian Outback, there are few better feelings than motorcycling. It can be a fun way to head to and from work or go for a weekend’s ride. Or, if you’re an avid biker, the long haul trips can be the stuff that road trip dreams are made of! Unfortunately, there comes the time when the weather gets a little bit cooler and you have to change up your ride. While it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to put away your bike, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before staying on your bike.
From cooler weather to road conditions, the rules when it comes to winter riding are different. It might seem good to simply layer up and hope for the best. However, if you’re not interested in putting your bike away in winter, being prepared will keep you on the road. Whether it’s your skid plates, bash plates or chain guard, it’s important to have all the motorcycle parts you need, ready. Luckily, with the right gear and some winter road tips, you’re well on your way to some good winter riding.
Clothes for Winter Motorcycle Riding
It might be important to have all of your bike parts in tip-top shape for your winter ride. However, in addition to getting everything squared away, you’ll also need the right gear to keep you warm! After all, there’s more to winter riding than just a warmer jacket. For a comfortable winter ride, you may want to consider investing in some of the following motorcycle accessories:
- Heated Grips – Much like seat warmers and bathroom tiles, having a little extra heat can be a great thing in the colder winter months. But, when it comes to being on a motorcycle, it’s even more important to stay warm since you’ll be doing battle directly with the elements. Instead of risking cold hands, heated grips will ensure that you stay warm and focused on the road. A little bit of cold air may not hurt anyone. But, in the event that you happen to lose a little bit of feeling in your hands, it can be detrimental to your safety on the bike. It’s important when purchasing grips to invest in the right pair, and not just choose the most economical option. The grips that offer you a variety of temperatures can help you adjust to the weather so that your hands aren’t too hot or too cold.
- Gore-Tex Gloves – Heat grips for your bike might be a good place to start. But, to amp up your bike bound comfort, you’ll also want gloves to keep your hands and fingers protected. In the case of rain or snow, this is the best way to ensure that you can stay on your bike and don’t have to pull off the road unexpectedly. It’s important to have gloves that can keep you warm and still allow dexterity in your hands. While gloves with Gore-Tex are great for keeping your hands dry, there are a couple of options you can try for winter. The Held Cold Champ Glove has Thermo Plush fleece, Velcro adjustments and leather covered knuckle protection for a durable, winter glove. Another good option is the Rev It! Livengood Gore-Tex Gloves. Winter gloves can get bulky, but these ones are designed to be thinner so that you don’t have to sacrifice your ride or your warmth. With knuckle armour and knuckle protection, these gloves will keep you warm all year round without overheating your hands.
- Thermal Base Layer – It’s one thing to have the right jacket and the right gloves, but it’s important to start at the base to get it right. That means you’ll want some durable, comfortable clothes to make your ride as warm as possible without having you overheat or sweat. When it come to wet conditions, cotton is your worst enemy as it won’t keep you warm. Instead, you’ll want to choose tops and bottoms that have wicking properties so you’re not adversely impacted by sweat. Wool is a warm material, but merino wool can be even better since it won’t leave you feeling itchy in the middle of your ride. While you’ll want to choose the thickness of your garments based on how cold it really is out there, it can be great to have several options. If worse comes to worse, you’ll can add extras in your Givi bags.
- Lightweight Jacket – Once you’ve got the layers on that will keep you warm, it’s important to have protection from the elements like wind and rain. But, when it comes to being on the back of a bike, the traditional winter jacket won’t do. Given that many aren’t made with breathable materials, they may keep you warm but you may also sweat, which can lead to discomfort. For this reason, you’ll want to go with a soft-shell jacket that also has a warm inner layer. This will keep you dry in the incidence of wind or rain, but it will also add extra warmth against the elements. For this, the Icebreaker Merinoloft Hyperia Lite Jacket is one of the best options around. It’s a perfectly considered garment for the avid rider with features like zippered hand pockets and a drop tail hem. And, it’s thin enough that you can pack it away in your top box for the time that you need it.
- Head Cover – Outside of your feet and hands, the place where most of the warmth in your body is going to escape is your head. That’s why covering it up might be the most important thing of all! Hair and a helmet is a good start, but it simply won’t do for those colder days. Much like the rest of the garments you’ll be wearing for comfort, merino wool is a great option. With its wicking properties, you won’t sweat and you’ll be able to ride in comfortable style without any itchiness! Keeping your head warm is just as important as your hands, as too much cold can lead to road distractions.
- Shoe Covers – Since you’ll never know what you’re going to get in winter, shoe covers are a necessity. Whether you want to throw them in your tank or Givi bag, shoe covers become especially important on those long-haul journeys where you don’t know what to expect. Fortunately, these can easily cover your shoes in the event of a downpour and ensure that you won’t be feeling the cold or wet on your toes. The right covers will protect your feet and leg from the wind and rain, and keep your ride comfortable throughout. And, don’t forget about wool socks. In the event of extra cold weather, these will keep you toasty throughout, ensuring you don’t lose any feeling in your toes.
Tips for Winter Riding
When you’re hitting road conditions that may be more difficult in the colder months, it’s more important than ever to ensure you’re prepared for it all. There are plenty of motorcycle parts and pieces that can lead to road issues if they’re not in good working order. As a result, there are a few things you should do when motorcycling in winter weather:
- Consider Your Route – If you’re doing a bit of a long haul, it’s important to have a sense of where you’re going and any rest stops you may hit along the way. But, it becomes a necessary measure if you’re travelling alone! So, don’t take any unnecessary risks when it comes to road travel. Make sure that you research the areas you’ll be hitting before getting on the road. In addition to knowing places where you can eat, get gas and sleep, make sure that you have time allowances in case there are any hiccups. In cases where you may need roadside assistance, it’s good to have your phone completely charged. However, there are more remote areas where access may be limited. In this case, you may want an emergency radio or some device that, if worse comes to worse, can put you in touch with the assistance you require.
- Know the Road – If you’re riding alone in winter, it’s very important to have a sense of where you’re going. You’ll also want to know what you’re going to find along the way. But, in addition to all that knowing, it’s also necessary to have a sense of the road you’re traveling on and its conditions. Some roads in Australia are heavily trafficked and won’t be as affected by more extreme weather conditions. However, if you’re going a little further off the beaten path there’s a good chance you may run into some trouble spots. When it comes to winter in the north, it can be pretty hard to ride the roads without difficulty. The wet season will make many roads pretty rough to travel along, so it can be better to save it for another time. If you’re in the Outback, you’re more likely to get into a dust-up given the dryness of some areas. While this may be the kind of long haul you’re looking for, it’s a necessity to exercise caution. You don’t want to be on an outback road by yourself and get into an accident, as no cell phone signal and limited traffic will be a problem.
- Check Your Toolkit – One of the most important things before heading out on the road for any length of time is having the right stuff. While you might pack clothes and a rain jacket for a long-haul journey, you’ll also want to review the maintenance kit to make sure you’ve got everything you need. In addition to an adjustable wrench, hex key and screwdriver, you should also consider getting an air pump and a pressure gauge. If there’s anything that’s been removed, make sure it’s replaced before you get on the road. It becomes especially important in the potentially more dangerous months of winter to have the right tools for the job.
- Do a Once Over – Many bikers check out their bike on a daily basis. However, if you often forget about this, make sure to do a review before heading out on winter roads. Turn on your bike and make sure that all of the lights are in good working order. Check the tread on your tires and make sure there’s no significant wear. You’ll also want to look at all your motorcycle accessories to make sure that nothing is loose or showing signs of added wear and tear. From pipe guards and hose guards to heat shields, it’s good to give everything a once over. It’s not going to be good for you if something falls apart mid-ride so a bit of a review is good before you take it out each time. Last but not least, check all of the bike fluids and make sure they all look to be the right colour and consistency. If not, remove and replace them with new fluids. While something like brake fuel only needs to be replaced every 2 years, your manual should tell you when it’s time for new coolant.
From disc guards and frame guards to oil cooler guards, a lot goes into a motorcycle. As a result, many bikers dread the months of winter because it’s time to put their bike away until it gets a little warmer. And, while there are plenty of tips to equip your motorcycle for winter storage, you can still ride your way through winter if you like. Whether you’re looking for mountain bike accessories, mountain bike parts or dirt bike accessories in Australia, there are plenty of things that can keep you on the roads and trails. Motorcycle essentials like heated grips and the right gloves will get you through any kind of cold and keep you warm. If you’re going to stick with winter riding and looking for motorcycle parts near me, head to your local shop for some expert tips and advice!