Winter Clothing

. Wednesday, November 04, 2009
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How you dress for motorcycling can depend on the type of bike you ride. The top sports bikes for 2009, as chosen by Motorcycle News (MCN) are the Triumph Daytona 675, long standing favourite the Yamaha R1 and the new Aprilia RSV4. However, in terms of sales, Honda`s ever-present Fireblade is the unsurprising biggest bike of 2009. Honda`s Honda CBF125 is the biggest selling `naked` bike, while Yamaha`s YZF125 has also sold well, suggesting an appetite for smaller engined bikes in the recession.

The primary concern when dressing for any type of bike ride should be safety. You should try to choose armoured clothing, which has plates and padding in vulnerable areas to protect you. This is true for jackets, trousers, boots and gloves - many riders will only concentrate on choosing a good jacket, or may simply choose a `tough` ordinary jacket, particularly for shorter rides. For long rides, the issue of comfort becomes a more important consideration. Comfort is generally the result of two factors: the material the clothing is made of and the fit. For example, leathers are the traditional answer to giving good friction resistance in the event of an accident, but can be bulky on long journeys. They are naturally insulating, which is an advantage in colder weather, but if journeys involve a lot of start-stopping through traffic, you can quickly become too hot in the summer months. Therefore, for longer journeys, a range of synthetic of materials are now available. Many of these come with adjustable cuffs and legs, as well as flexible joints. Some of this type of clothing offers the ability to remove body armour, which can be useful for wearing the clothing when not riding. If you use a sports bike, you`re more likely to want close fitting clothing, as this will feel more comfortable with the very rigid riding position these bikes offer. For tourers or other more upright bikes, a looser fit may feel more natural, especially when on longer journeys.

You should try to look at the ventilation offered by different clothing, as this is a big selling point of more expensive equipment. Ventilation should be designed so as to keep you cool and dry when you`re not moving, but also insulated. Premium level clothing does this by offering sealable vents. To cope with different weather conditions, it may be easiest to find a light, but protective main jacket and trousers and supplement this with waterproofs as necessary - although a large proportion of synthetic type jackets are now already waterproof. You can become surprisingly cold when riding more than a short journey, especially given the unpredictability of British weather, even in the `hotter` months. The best way to tackle this is by choosing specialist thermal clothing, such as those offered by North Face in the UK. These sit comfortably underneath your clothing to offer a good level of insulation, while being designed to be light and unobtrusive.

Now that the clocks have changed and winter is on the way I know quite a few bikers put away their bikes until next year but love to ride all year round and as long as I'm warm and dry I find at times motorcycling during the winter months can be more fun than the summer ones, just was long as there's no snow or ice around!

The key to staying warm, dry and safe is LAYERS

I'm a big fan of North Face clothing and often wear my North Face fleece over my EDZ base layer t-shirt, over these go my winter jacket which is the excellent Belstaff Discovery

My winter trousers consist of my usual EDZ base layer leggings and then, depending on how long I'm going to be out and the outside temperature I wear either my excellent Hein Gericke Oxan II leather trousers or my Wolf 2030 textile trousers.

On my feet are my all time, all year favourite boots the Altberg Clubman Roadster. These are the best boots I've ever worn and even now after over 60K miles and 7 years of use they are still warm and 100% waterproof.

On my hands I wear my trusty Hein Gericke Pathan Gloves along with a set of Oxford heated grips.

I find that wearing the right clothing that keeps me warm and dry enables me to still have a great time on my bike over the winter so if you normally don't venture out on your bike at this time of year, give it a try and remember to wear as many different layers and to have fun!