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How do You Stay Warm in <40°F Weather?

Joined
Jul 15, 2018
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179
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US
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Trevor
I'm now commuting year round on my bike which I haven't done before. I can handle off road rides in the cold, but the chill of road speeds is a lot more intense.
How do you stay warm in serious cold weather?

I have a heated jacket, but my legs and neck get extremely cold. Those two are my main focuses.

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Tom

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Tom
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I stay quite comfy with ballistic overpants. As for my neck, my first gear Kilimanjaro has a collar and never have a problem keeping my neck warm. A silk scarf works well, thin enough that it won't bunch up an the fine weave keeps wind out.
 

Texas T

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You're part of the way there... heated gear is the only way to go. Gerbings or Warm n Safe. See @Ken Phenix for custom heated gloves and WnS heated gear, or if you so desire he has some of the older Widder heated gear available.

Balaclava for your face/neck is going to be best for keeping that part of you warm and shielded from the wind/cold.
 

Jeff S

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I went electric last year (right after a VERY cold couple days of riding), and LOVE it. The magic of electrics is that you wear layers enough for the ambient temp, say 35 or 40, then use the electrics to counteract the 70 mph wind chill. Stop at a red light or enter city traffic, and switch it off to prevent sweating. For me, keeping my core and hands warm also keeps the rest of me warn enough, but if that's not enough for you:

Legs: I guess get heated pants. My legs don't bother me with high-quality thermals and pants with winter lining.
Neck: I use a wool scarf usually, or a bakalava-type thing that is really uncomfortable but warm. I like the idea of a silk scarf - it's surprising how warm that stuff is. I have a silk sleeping bag liner and it makes a huge difference on chilly nights.
 
Joined
Dec 11, 2017
Messages
407
Location
DFW
I don't tend to ride in temps less than 50, but when I do, I use something called a gaiter that fits around my neck and just long johns under the jeans. I have heated grips for my hands.

The gaiter is something like this and I got mine from Academy for about 10 bucks
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Messages
3,458
Location
Texas
I would put on snowpants over my jeans for my legs in the cold. Wind proof, water proof and warm. Now my commute is too short for that.
 
Joined
Apr 26, 2006
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Seabrook, TX
First Name
Dave
Ride a fully-faired touring bike. :rider:
Short of that, windproofing and electric heating. I only have a heated vest, but the bike has heated grips and seats. The combination of the fairings and heated seat work well enough for me that I have not needed to consider heated pants riding around Texas. I have heated gloves for longer rides in the cold since the grips don't do a great job; they help, but my fingers still get cold.
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2010
Messages
283
Location
Alvord, TX
I would put on snowpants over my jeans for my legs in the cold. Wind proof, water proof and warm. Now my commute is too short for that.
2nd on this one. I purchased some returned men's ski pants off Amazon for $26. I pick black and a couple of sizes larger so I could slip them over my clothes. Road to work at about 30F at 75MPH for 40 minutes and they worked fine. Ad said they were water and wind resistance.
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
341
Location
Paradise
I used to wear a rainsuit over warm base layers. Lately I just have rain pants to keep my knees from freezing. A fleece vest under my leather jacket and a silk western bandana over my neck and face. I have some warm guantlet gloves that are good down about 40 degrees, but below that and I need grip heaters. I reminded myself that my grip heaters need to be repaired soon after these last couple mornings. When it gets in the lower 20's I get headaches anymore from the wind, so that is usually my cut off. This is for an hour commute, shorter rides the cold don't really matter. I can tell you long days in the cold wear you out. Do not ride to Ohio to visit family over the holidays....
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
341
Location
Paradise
Actually the most annoying part is what to do with all the layers you don't need on the ride home in the afternoon most days. Don't forget to pack your normal weight gloves in the morning.
 

Texas T

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Some good recommendations here on rainsuits and ski pants. When I first started riding I wore my dad's USAF parka underpants as outer gear over my jeans and they worked well.

Frogg Toggs are also excellent for keeping the wind from ever hitting your clothing to begin with, which is a big part of keeping warm in the first place.
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2014
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Krum Tx
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Michael
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I typically ride with two baclavas in the cold. One is a super thin one that pulls over the nose. The other is called turtle fur. It's a think piece over the head so it fits in the helmet and the lower section is thick fleece. It pulls down over my jacket collar. I also have a wind hammer on my helmet so with that combination, I'm general good down into the mid 30s.



****Windjammer might be somewhat permanent. They say it can be removed but I don't see it possible without leaving a mess the helmet. That being said I love it and don't see a reason to take it off even during the summer. *******
 
Joined
Jul 15, 2018
Messages
179
Location
US
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Trevor
I've definitely had headaches lately from the cold air on the back of my head.

Looks like I'll start wearing the frog togg pants on top and invest in a balaclava.

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Joined
Aug 3, 2017
Messages
64
Location
Decatur
Did not happen to me nor did I witness it but I did see pictures of the aftermath. I promptly took my Balaclava out of my riding gear.
I have a very close friend with a long time association of B.A.C.A. (Bikers Against Child Abuse) and on one of his winter rides a few years back. One of the older and very accomplished Brothers had on a balaclava and it slipped down over his eyes and with the heavy winter gloves he was unable to get it readjusted. He had to attempt to get off the throttle and get stopped with zero visibility. Totally destroyed his Gold-wing along with his right leg. Now has multiple plates and pins and can no longer hold up a heavy bike. Dude is a trooper though he is still carrying on his mission only on three wheels now.
 

Tom

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Did not happen to me nor did I witness it but I did see pictures of the aftermath. I promptly took my Balaclava out of my riding gear.
I have a very close friend with a long time association of B.A.C.A. (Bikers Against Child Abuse) and on one of his winter rides a few years back. One of the older and very accomplished Brothers had on a balaclava and it slipped down over his eyes and with the heavy winter gloves he was unable to get it readjusted. He had to attempt to get off the throttle and get stopped with zero visibility. Totally destroyed his Gold-wing along with his right leg. Now has multiple plates and pins and can no longer hold up a heavy bike. Dude is a trooper though he is still carrying on his mission only on three wheels now.
Had that happen to me. Luckily, I was on a long straight stretch of US90 out by Marathon. I was able to get a finger of my left hand in one eyehole and pull it over enough to kinda see. I down shifted without the clutch and got in neutral so I was able to come to a stop. Ended up taking it off and hanging it on a fence post. Next trip out it was still there but the trip after that, it was gone.
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2020
Messages
5
Location
Lubbock
I wear my normal sand 3 jacket and pants with the rain and thermal liners in for colder weather and A* Corozal boots. Once it is in the low 40s I'll wear base layers under that. Upper 30s I'll wear a Dainese balaclava and low 30s call for Hippo Hands. Gloves are non insulated but waterproof A* but I do have heated grips.

I only own a motorcycle so I ride to work every day including all winter like that and I'm in Lubbock. We didn't get to cold this year but I've rode in the upper teens like this comfortably. I cut the mouth and nose area out of the balaclava for fogging my glasses so I just use it to keep my neck and chin warm.
 
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
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2,056
Location
Hangin' out at the "bars"
Once, back in the 80's while riding back to my home in Fort Davis at the time, I encountered a storm and cold front around Sonora coming in from the West that I was totally unprepared for gear-wise. Wearing Jeans and a Wrangler denim jacket with helmet and boots and riding a Sportster I pulled off I-10 and into the Dairy Queen in Sonora. There, I asked the gal behind the counter for two trash bags, and then scrounged up some newspapers I found in the dining area. Off to the bathroom I went to cobble together a layer of newspaper covered by trash bags between skin and clothes. That make-shift gear kept me warm and dry enough to finish the rest of the trip back to the house at the Observatory.

Blocking the cold wind and rain and adding a small layer of insulation will do the trick, and there are as many ways to accomplish this as the imagination can come up with based upon the materials at hand. For commuting there will be many longer-term options than newspaper and trash bags.

Nowadays an electric vest has been the best way I've found to keep the core heated. If the core remains comfy, the blood-flow can carry that warmth to the nether-regions.

Add rain gear over clothes for blocking wind on the extremities to mitigate heat loss, and layer as needed underneath. I found some waterproof over-gloves from a hiking gear outfit that block wind to the hands so they stay warm. The over-gloves do stow away easily when not needed. Dedicated all-weather Winter gloves are a better option. A bandana or scarf to cover the neck from the chin down to where it is tucked into jacket is also easy to stow.

For the vest, look for a brand that uses carbon fiber ribbon for a heating element instead of Nichrome wire. It is more comfortable, will not break from repeated flexing, and should last a very long time. The vest I have is a Tourmaster, but others have this technology.

Other than the vest, the rain gear, bandana, and over-gloves always stay on the bike so I can avoid the need to repeat the DQ Ice-Cream Sandwich technique ever again. But I have that option in the quiver, should such circumstances conspire against me.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 13, 2014
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Michael
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Once, back in the 80's while riding back to my home in Fort Davis at the time, I encountered a storm and cold front around Sonora coming in from the West that I was totally unprepared for gear-wise. Wearing Jeans and a Wrangler denim jacket with helmet and boots and riding a Sportster I pulled off I-10 and into the Dairy Queen in Sonora. There, I asked the gal behind the counter for two trash bags, and then scrounged up some newspapers I found in the dining area. Off to the bathroom I went to cobble together a layer of newspaper covered by trash bags between skin and clothes. That make-shift gear kept me warm and dry enough to finish the rest of the trip back to the house at the Observatory.

Blocking the cold wind and rain and adding a small layer of insulation will do the trick, and there are as many ways to accomplish this as the imagination can come up with based upon the materials at hand. For commuting there will be many longer-term options than newspaper and trash bags.

Nowadays an electric vest has been the best way I've found to keep the core heated. If the core remains comfy, the blood-flow can carry that warmth to the nether-regions.

Add rain gear over clothes for blocking wind on the extremities to mitigate heat loss, and layer as needed underneath. I found some waterproof over-gloves from a hiking gear outfit that block wind to the hands so they stay warm. The over-gloves do stow away easily when not needed. Dedicated all-weather Winter gloves are a better option. A bandana or scarf to cover the neck from the chin down to where it is tucked into jacket is also easy to stow.

For the vest, look for a brand that uses carbon fiber ribbon for a heating element instead of Nichrome wire. It is more comfortable, will not break from repeated flexing, and should last a very long time. The vest I have is a Tourmaster, but others have this technology.

Other than the vest, the rain gear, bandana, and over-gloves always stay on the bike so I can avoid the need to repeat the DQ Ice-Cream Sandwich technique ever again. But I have that option in the quiver, should such circumstances conspire against me.
I had almost the exact same experience riding back home to the observatory from Las Cruces. I was riding on 62/180 in mid January and when the sun set it got cold. I dropped down 1111 into Sierra Blanca and pulled into a gas station at 17 deg to thaw out. My buddy came and picked me up. And I spent a few days in bed.
 

Jcstratt

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Oct 23, 2014
Messages
354
Location
Fort Worth, TX
I struggled with different setups until I ran across a Firstgear Thermosuit on sale a few years ago. That suit combined with a cycle gear freeze-out balaclava keep me toasty even when it’s below 20*F. I wear boots and heavy cotton winter socks, nothing fancy and feet even stay warm. I ride all year round. I call it quits only if there’s ice or when it hits 25*F and that’s only because tires run out of grip in both cases. Ride to live/live to ride/park my scooter from Oct til Apr??? I call BS on that one!!
268284
 

budzrex

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Well the easiest way for me it to turn the heater up a notch and flip on the heated seats crank up the tunes and enjoy the enclosed comfort of the Challenger

But if on the bike Gerbings full heated riding gear, jacket and gloves, legs never get too bad, good insulated riding boots and two pair of socks and I have been
good down to temps until there was ice then it is the warmth of home or the nearest motel
 

Jcstratt

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Oct 23, 2014
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Fort Worth, TX
I file it under info that’s good to know! Lol
I rode for 2 1/2 hours this afternoon and didn’t die or anything. Hot doesn’t bother me in the least. Maybe it’s because I grew up in south Texas, maybe it’s the 2 years I spent in Saudi, maybe the 8 years I spent in Lost Wages...Idk, maybe I just love summer 🤷‍♂️
Mostly I just refuse to sit inside being useless over heat...or covid...or whatever current crisis du jour...I’m reserving that for when I’m too old to move
 
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