It's that time of year again, with wind, rain and possibly snow making the morning commute and indeed all transport experiences decidedly harder to deal with.
Time to store the motorbike away for winter?
As far as many of our motorbike breakdown cover customers are concerned, it's time to store the bike away and forget about it until Spring.
If this applies to you also, and you have no plans to ride your motorbike over the winter months, why not check out our advice on how to store your motorcycle safely and securely over winter?
However, if you’re planning on braving the elements, and continuing riding your bike throughout the colder months, read on for our tips on staying warm on your motorcycle in winter...
Why is it good to ride your motorbike in winter?
While riding a bike in Winter doesn't sound like fun, in some ways it is an ideal period to take advantage of your bike's merits.
Congestion gets a lot worse around now, both due to the fact that more people drive instead of walk to work, and the fact that driving conditions dictate slower speeds. The humble motorbike, however, can weave its way among traffic much more easily, and parking is easy in comparison to the car.
Unless it’s snowing or you're trying to keep traction on an icy road, riding in the cold doesn’t present any specific problems for the way your bike handles - The only problem is the cold.
What risks are there from being cold on a motorbike?
Being cold on a motorbike is not only uncomfortable, it can also present it’s own risks. A cold rider is going to have less coordination, and may struggle to operate their bike’s controls. Reaction times can also be slower due to feeling the cold.
How to stay warm on a motorcycle in cold weather?
Staying warm on a motorcycle in cold weather can be remedied with relative ease, even if you have to invest some cash.
On the bike itself, a windscreen can make a big difference – even a small one. This acts to slow the wind speed down, which can have a big wind chill factor at high speeds.
Even if you purchased a bike without a windshield or windscreen installed, it is possible to buy aftermarket windshields to help protect yourself while riding.
A motorcycle windscreen can be added to any motorcycle, whether you ride a Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, or another type of bike.
Stop digits getting cold by investing in some heater grips for your motorcycle handlebars.
What clothing is good for keeping warm on a motorcycle in winter?
Clothing is the only guaranteed way to stay warm on your motorbike.
One of the best cold-weather riding tips is to layer your clothing. Several thin layers of insulation work better than thick ones
Your choice of clothing layers should leave you comfortable, and warm, but not be restrictive, so as to impair your ability to handle your motorcycle.
Newspapers, or even plastic bags can be stuffed down your jacket for extra insulation, Otherwise, consider investing in thermal underwear,
How to keep your hands warm on a motorcycle?
Asides from investing in heated grips, hand guards and good quality gloves will keep your hands warm,
Gloves should be thicker on the back of your hands than on the palms.
You could also look to purchase a pair of handlebar muffs to help keep your hands warm when riding your motorcycle in cold weather. But be warned this latter item can press down on the brake or gear lever at high speeds.
Keep the draughts out
Air blowing up your sleeves or trouser legs can bring a real chill to your body when riding your motorbike in winter.
To help keep you warm on your motorbike, you can get an all-in-one jacket and trousers to keep the draughts out.
Alternatively, separate jackets and trousers that zip up tight can be equally as effective.
Be aware also, that your neck has a lot of blood near the surface and can therefore be responsible for a lot of heat loss – so invest in a neck tube or good old fashioned scarf too!
Wear water resistant clothing
When riding your bike in winter, it’s important to stay dry.
If you are caught out in the rain or snow, your body will likely stay colder for longer.
Be sure to wear clothing that is water resistant and moisture-wicking so you can dry faster and stay warmer. An outer layer of clothing that is made of Gore-Tex is ideal for winter motorbike riders. Gore-Tex is one of the best known and most effective materials, which is great at keeping water out but also lets moisture escape.
We also have some tips on how to look after your motorbike during the colder months. Find out how to protect your motorbike this winter here.