Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: Long Distance Cold Weather Riding - Part Two: Your Motorcycle


Long Distance Cold Weather Riding - Part Two: Your Motorcycle

I believe that successful cold weather riding is finding the perfect combination between the motorcycle gear that you're wearing and the motorcycle that you ride. What I mean by the latter is rigging your ride so that it does provide the best wind protection to help your layers effectively block out the cold, allowing you to continue riding longer. Here are a few general items to consider when preparing your motorcycle to go the extra mile in the chill. These accessories apply to any motorcycle and are very general.

Windshield: The windshield is probably the most effective motorcycle accessory for blocking out a good portion of the wind blast that comes from moving forward. Many motorcycles have windshields as a stock accessory and there are many companies such as National Cycle and Memphis Shades, to name a few, that can outfit your bike, regardless of shape or size. They also come in handy during summers when the bugs are larger than your head. Find the windshield that matches your height and riding style.

Seat: Keeping your butt from freezing to your seat can be an easy task with a sheepskin seat covering. Like the seat covers that are used in cars, natural sheepskin assists in temperature regulation and also helps to keep you dry by preventing water and moisture from pooling in the recesses of the saddle. I personally use the sheepskin pads made by Alaska Leather on my FJR1300. They make lots of sizes to fit the many types of seats out there and are definitely worth the investment. Did I mention that their fuzziness also adds a little plush as well?

Legs and feet: If you don't have the bike that has a decent amount of leg covering, some alternatives include leather engine bar covers, leg chaps, and leather leg gaiters. For the most part I've found that a combination of on-the-bike and worn equipment will help legs stay warm effectively. Unless you're riding a Goldwing-esque bike, this will always be a challenge.

Hand coverings: If you're the proud owner of a dual sport or enduro-style bike, there's probably a company that makes hard plastic hand guards for your model. Some possible alternatives to this extra layer above the gloves include ATV mitts and Hippo Hands. If you're using the removable type of hand covering, be aware that wind can push the fabric into the brake and clutch levers as that can activate them earlier than you'd want them to so please test them before riding.

Aside from typical luxury items such as a GPS or radio/MP3 player, these additional accessories can help make cold weather a lot more tolerable and your bike a lot more versatile. Don't forget to follow proper maintenance schedules, have fun, and ride safely!