Summer in the northern hemisphere means sunburns, relaxing at the beach, and long weekend rides on your motorcycle. It can also mean extremely hot days or high humidity levels, or both. Riders will have their different ways to try to cope with hot weather; some wear textile and mesh in the hotter months, some stick to leather year-round, and others opt for no gear at all, which is a really bad choice when it comes to safety.
There are a lot of different options to keep cool during the summer that will help keep you comfortable and more focused on enjoying your rides. Here are some of the ways to keep you cool while riding a motorcycle in hot weather.
1. Mesh Gear
Leather looks great and offers wonderful protection, but nothing beats a decent textile ash jacket for staying cool. Mesh pants and jacket give you airflow while you go around town on your bike on steamy days. Pretty much all major gear manufacturers offer mesh gear in summer designs, so there are a lot of different options from which to choose, to suit any style or budget.
2. Cooling Products
Cooling accessories like vests are meant to be worn under ventilated motorcycle jackets. These keep you cooler in extreme temperatures. You soak the garment in water, let it absorb as much as possible, then wring it out. You then wear this under your ventilated outer gear. The water will slowly evaporate, helping you keep cool. Besides vests there are also zipping liners for certain jackets, wristbands, and collars to help keep you cool.
3. Wet Yourself
While not as technologically advanced as previous methods, the old-fashioned way to keep cool has been used as long as people have been hiking and biking. Simply wet yourself and your gear in water and head out. It won’t last as long before you start to dry out and get hot again, it is an option for when you don’t have any other choices.
4. Technical Base Layers
Designed to keep you comfortable and dry, different base layers are meant to be used for different climate scenarios. There are moisture-wicking base layers, cooling layers, and more. There are long-sleeved tops, pants, and even one-piece zip-up suits for every occasion.
5. Hydration, Hydration, Hydration
It is essential to stay hydrated when riding in hot weather. No matter if you’re commuting on asphalt or out on the trail, you’ll need to stay hydrated. This will keep you from making poor decisions that could be dangerous. Hydration backpacks are an easy and effortless way to stay hydrated on a bike.
6. Colour of Gear is Important
Lighter-coloured gear could potentially keep you a couple degrees cooler compared to darker colours. White textiles and leather might be harder to keep clean and looking nice, but it may be worth it to stay cooler in the hot sun and extreme temperatures.
Used across many applications in different industries, Gore-Tex is meant to keep you comfortable in all temperatures. It’s a waterproof, breathable membrane that stops you from losing too much moisture in hot and cold weather. If you have too much airflow you can lose too much of your body’s moisture and become dehydrated.
8. Cover Yourself
It may sound counter intuitive when it’s super hot outside, but staying fully covered will help protect your skin and stop you from losing too much moisture as your sweat evaporates from your body. Either of these issues can cause discomfort and even disorientation. Always wear sunscreen to cover areas that aren’t covered by gear.