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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my guide how to ride in exceptionally cold weather.

Firstly I would purchase Freeze-Out Warm'R Gear. The articles I suggest are the socks, pants, half zip shirt, balaclava, neck gaiter, the full suit, the glove liners.

If you don't have good cold weather motorcycle gear I suggest you purchase iLM Madbike winter gloves, Viking Cycle Bloodaxe Leather jacket, Viking Cycle Saxon pants, Bates 8" GTX Ultra Lites Boot.

Optional but highly recommended:
Majestic Fire Apparel Nomex fire hood (great for 50 degree days or used in addition for colder days)
Explore Land 100% cotton Shemagh (incredibly versitile for anything from keeping bugs out with high airflow to preventing all air and keeping you warm) I strong suggest watching a youtube tutorial on the many different methods of wearing a shemagh. A Ninja wrap and a Cowboy wrap are my go-tos for helmet use.

I would like to state that it takes experience and a learning curve how to properly wear a shemagh as well as the neck gaiter. When using and gear with your helmet you need to keep in mind that you need helmet airflow to prevent fogging. The neck gaiter will fall to low to block air if you do not ensure it's location while using a helmet. Harass me all you want and call it common sense, but EVERYONE who uses that neck gaiter says they hate it and it's terrible because of how they can't position it properly. Trust me it's a great product if you learn how to use it.

Alrighty...so now you've got all your gear. Now I insist you start in 50 degree temp and go for short rides around the block experimenting with different gear combinations to get a feel for what makes you comfortably warm. I have a high cold tolerance so I could go out in shorts and short sleeves and be perfectly fine...

Then I say go out in 40 degrees and find your combination again. For me a standard pant and short sleeves under my Bloodaxe jacket and Saxon pant is good. I wear the Majestic Nomex firehood for neck warmth. I wear the iLM gloves for wind/water proofing.

Then I say go out in 30 degrees and find your combination. For me I wear ANY thermal layer, in addition to the above articles. I also wear a full length additional pair of socks.

Be cautious of black ice.

Make sure your tires warm up some before cornering aggressive. I try to do a little side to side slight angles on straights to get the tires warm.

If you have ice or snow on your seat (I leave my bikes uncovered year round) a trick i use is while mounting your bike drag your pantleg across the seat for a quick cleaning and dry seat.

Then go out in 20 degrees. I normally wear my Warm'R gear: pant, sock, half zip shirt, glove liner, balaclava, neck gaiter. I wear regular pant, short sleeve shirt, sometimes an additional thermal layer, all my regular winter gear. The nomex fire hood.

Then 10 degrees...This is when controls freeze up...For your gear you want all the above plus the Warm'R full body thermal outfit over your base Warm'R thermals. You may even get hot wearing this setup...Trust me it works. Hands still might get a chill 30 mins into your ride, but that's a pretty damn good setup.

To address frozen controls you can do a preemptive lever grease, key slot grease, throttle grease, or you CAN dump hot water to thaw out your controls and spray chain lube in all the working parts.

Since we are talking about chain lube, I have tried every brand of chain lube on the market. They all cost the same and none of them work. The ONLY brand I have found that works is Honda Pro Graphite Chain Lube. Highly recommend it.

I take no responsibility for any electrical damage spraying chain lube may cause.

I have had my starter button froze before and I'm not confident enough chain lube is safe to use on that. I probably still will give it a go, but if you called me an idiot you surely aren't the first to do it...

As far as actual riding tips for the cold the only few main points I'd like to make are:

1. If you dont know where the ice is you need to go turtle slow and as upright as possible.

2. If you know you are going to drive over a large sheet of black ice going turtle slow with both feet down sliding is possible but if you lose all momentum you can become stuck with zero traction. Keep in mind that hill also can be icy...i don't recommend riding near/on icy hills.

3. Slush/Hydroplaning is your enemy. You need to hit it at a speed and in a manner that you can predict which way it will push your tire. Riding in tire tracks can be good for semi predictable pathing, but I occasionally find it safer to ride on fresh snow and ice...

4. Other vehicles drive like idiots. This is even more so exaggerated in any bad weather. If you ride in blinding rain make damn sure you don't get rear ended, and be prepared to be stuck in a 65mph zone with idiots traveling 35mph. Be prepared to see some guy in a mustang with racing slicks in the snow drifting from lane.

5. Make sure you have appropriate tires...Road 5 tires from Michelin work great, but can become pact with snow.

6. I can't stress how important experience at different temperatures is.

7. Offroad or any slick surface requires more REAR brake and engine brake for stability purpose whilest sliding. Overusing the front brake is highly dangerous. if you intend to use the front rake on a slick surface be as upright as possible and prepared for it to lock up and slide so you can release the brake. if you lock your front up on a slight angle odds are you are eating pavement.

I hope my guide helps you some. Please try to keep friendly in your discussions. No need for childish name calling...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Also pretty good advice step one select a ddifferent vehicle lol.
 

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Also pretty good advice step one select a ddifferent vehicle lol.
Probably your best advice! The rest was good, too. But I will be honest with you -- I am darned happy to live in a region where I rarely have to think about riding in two-digit temps that don't at least begin with a 3!:grin::wink2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
additionally i didnt think to mention is that it's best to get gas before the chances of your tank freezing. Keep in mind your keyslot for your fuel tank needs attention and if ur tank is froze shut that could present a significant problem.
 

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Yeah that is time for the 4x4 if you have to go out
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
its been a very long time since i been out in snow on a dual sport. Im getting a xr650L soonish. Can't wait to take it out on snow covered roads and see how it compares to my street bikes.
 

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The leather jacket will not survive the rainy days. Nor will leather gloves or leather pants or leather boots. They all need some form of rain cover.
A stretchy neck scarf can be found at the dollar store. Easy to slide a full face helmet over the top. Just start with the scarf up high.

Things change below freezing, but you can still get wet until about 5 degrees below freezing. Depends on what is used on the road. A few degrees colder on a sunny day is better.
The snowmobile shop will have a good selection of clothing. You need to be able to peel off stuff for when you stop for chili at Tims.

My cage has 5 intermittent, and two continuous wiper speeds. Heated seats are nice for the chilly mornings going to work. His and hers heat controls are nice.
Arctic air to the East of the Rockies is on its way. Hope you folks can stay warm.

UK
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've owned my leather jacket for 2 years in the rain riding daily for commute as well as recreational. It's full grain leather and has zero signs of wear. Never took any special precautions for rain/snow treatment and the jacket is cheap. The only arguable steps of care I have taken is that after riding in a full downpour I dry all of my clothing out with a space heater. My father works outdoors with harsh chemicals and he says the leather boots will lose water proofing after a year, but I personally have not had that problem. He coats his boots with vasoline as an extra precaution, but says still only about a year life for the boots.

That Viking Cycle jacket is one of the best purchases I've ever made and I definitely recommend it to any rider.

The glove is not even made of leather. It has a wind/waterproof latex inbetween two fabric materials. The only real downside of this design is that the outside of glove will hold water which will cause heat loss quicker. The gloves last about a year, but for 26$ i mean?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
yesterday my controls were frozen in 15 degree temp. i forgot to thaw/lube my clutch and key ports and just rode with it stiff.

today its -5 and none of my controls were froze. i lubed my clutch and key ports anyways.

im guessing frozen controls are a result of extreme cycle neglect. I would advise to use a cover on ur bike as a step against frozen controls. just be aware of hazards covers present. i am inexperienced with them and can't really comment first hand.
 

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I have owned my oiled cotton Barbour jacket since 1971. It has seen more rain than any leather jacket could dream about.
Why leather is not the answer for cold and rain:
Leather leaks. So does that Viking stuff BTW. Both might survive a short downpour, but will not survive long term steady rain.
Animals stay warm with fir. Out in steady spring rain, your horse and dog will shiver.
Fixing the problem with leather is easy. Admit it leaks, and cover it. Jacket, pants, boots and gloves. they make covers for all.
Usually leather jackets are bought to be snug fitting. There is no room for all the extra layers that cold weather requires.
A good oiled cotton jacket at least one size too big will do the job. Same thing with bib pants. Now you can load up on all the warm inner stuff, and leave the leather jacket on the hanger. That is where mine is until late spring.
The good news for even colder weather, is that it does not rain. This is where a snowmobile suit works well.
There are plenty of textile jackets that will work better than leather.
The amount of time and mink oil, that the horsey folks use on the leather parts, is more work than any bike rider would do.
There are other products as well.

As an aside, I encounter very few folks riding in the rain, and when I do, they are going slow. So I am skeptical about stories describing riding in the rain.
Notice the fast guys can touch the pavement with their knees in the rain. But if the seat is low, you have long legs, and you slide you butt half of the bike, it is no great feet.

Rain covers for your gloves can hinder the feel, but that is much better than cold damp hands.

UK
 

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I have always lived in a four season climate. Unfortunately, it is also known for it's wet weather. I have ridden for over 50 years and have never found a good reason to ride in cold temperatures - below 45 to 50F - nor ride in the rain, unless I happen to get caught. That doesn't mean I never tried riding in cold temps, but the enjoyment for me just wasn't there. I ride for pleasure, not testing my ability to survive extremes of any weather.

I own an excellent 15 year old heavy leather riding jacket that still has it's like new luster and aroma. Good pair of winter gloves, same as the jacket. Boots of course. Not good for much but riding. Riding now is not so much since I've been working on my ride for some time. I only have one and it has way too much money in it, but it's fun.... I'll be up and running sometime this spring.
 

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Why no heated gear on your list?

I rode in cold without heated gear for a couple of seasons but then I decided to try to up my game a bit. The best thing I ever bought were heated gloves, followed by my heated jacket liner. I find that i can ride in very low temps without the heated gear for about an hour with just layers (the freeze-out stuff IS excellent) but after that I've lost enough core temperature that I start to get cold, the first sign is cold feet as the blood flow slows down, followed by shivering which I don't find pleasant at all.

With the heated jacket liner (and heavy touring jacket) and gloves I can ride all day, all night, whatever it takes, I've done this down into the low teens, around 13-14 degrees I think was the coldest, usually the roads are too icy at 4 Am when I ride when it's any colder than that but I'd try it colder if I find the right dry road conditions. My feet never get cold, I never shiver, it's all about keeping the core warm. My jacket liner has an airtight neck and wrist seals with extra heat in the neck, which feels wonderful and keeps my head warm in my helmet.

I don't have heated pants liners yet, freeze-out under jeans works well, I also had good luck with leather chaps the one time I tried them too. I've tried winter windproof pants. they worked but are very meltable and stuck all over my exhaust so I don't wear them often.

In mild weather I use heated grips on the bike, below 35 I use the heated gloves, below 20 I usually have the grips AND the heated gloves on, makes it even better.
 

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I agree, leather is a good material in a lot of ways but it is a poor choice in wet weather, it soaks through after a little while in any sort of serious rain. I have found it's much better to choose a textile that can handle water and wear that on a daily basis for commuting, that way I rarely use my raingear unless the weather is wet enough to drown a duck.

I haven't found a good waterproof glove, a few that claim to be leak eventually. I should look into covers. The heated grips keep them warm even when wet so it's not a big problem, just unpleasant. My boots seem to be waterproof, they don't leak, but my fairings are pretty good so I don't get a lot of water on my feet usually.


I have owned my oiled cotton Barbour jacket since 1971. It has seen more rain than any leather jacket could dream about.
Why leather is not the answer for cold and rain:
Leather leaks. So does that Viking stuff BTW. Both might survive a short downpour, but will not survive long term steady rain.
Animals stay warm with fir. Out in steady spring rain, your horse and dog will shiver.
Fixing the problem with leather is easy. Admit it leaks, and cover it. Jacket, pants, boots and gloves. they make covers for all.
Usually leather jackets are bought to be snug fitting. There is no room for all the extra layers that cold weather requires.
A good oiled cotton jacket at least one size too big will do the job. Same thing with bib pants. Now you can load up on all the warm inner stuff, and leave the leather jacket on the hanger. That is where mine is until late spring.
The good news for even colder weather, is that it does not rain. This is where a snowmobile suit works well.
There are plenty of textile jackets that will work better than leather.
The amount of time and mink oil, that the horsey folks use on the leather parts, is more work than any bike rider would do.
There are other products as well.

As an aside, I encounter very few folks riding in the rain, and when I do, they are going slow. So I am skeptical about stories describing riding in the rain.
Notice the fast guys can touch the pavement with their knees in the rain. But if the seat is low, you have long legs, and you slide you butt half of the bike, it is no great feet.

Rain covers for your gloves can hinder the feel, but that is much better than cold damp hands.

UK
 

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Has anyone ever tried heavier cleaning gloves (think kitchen but in black not pink) or industrial rubber gloves over their reqular gloves in the rain? I have always wondered how they would work.
 

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Has anyone ever tried heavier cleaning gloves (think kitchen but in black not pink) or industrial rubber gloves over their reqular gloves in the rain? I have always wondered how they would work.
I have used the bright orange gloves the fishermen use. Fuzzy inside, non leak outer plastic type cover. They are okay for 40s rain, but not warm enough for 30s rain.
I bought the warmest finger gloves I could find, and use mitten covers. Colder still I use mitten gloves with the covers.
The out door stores that sell bicycle riding gear, have all the covers.

UK
 

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Thanks, I know the gloves you are talking about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The leather jacket I own does not leak water...maybe because it's full grain? idk...I say that it does not leak water even WITHOUT the water proof liner included with the jacket. I've never oiled it or waterproofed it.

The pants i recommended have a waterproof liner. Both materials can be waterproofed additionally, but they are so water resistant I do not bother.

Maybe you guys using oils on your jackets is what made them above average porous?

I mean after a ride my jacket definitely holds a little water and shows signs of not fully waterproof, but this is after riding in a heavy downpour for 30-90 mins. It doesn't soak through. It doesn't damage it.

As for why I didn't include heated gear, if your bike breaks down or you want to hop off your bike and walk away from it for a bit idk if that presents an issue for ALL heated gear, but I know it does for the ones that plug into your bike. Walking around I know you generate body heat and have less wind exposure, but depending on the weather and what you are hopping off to do that may not always be true.

I currently do not own any heated gear mostly out of being stubborn. I am considering buying better winter gloves and/or heated gloves/grips though. i normally wear a different boot when I commute to work. They are very worn "Rhino" boots. Still hold their waterproof quality, but they do seem to continually chill down and struggle to hold heat. I'm thinking about getting some heated socks.

Anybody got any heated gear recommendations? Preferably independent battery. I typically ride to locations I travel very far away from my cycle into wilderness which is still plenty cold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
ps i own a textile jacket and water goes right through it. It had a higher quality waterproof liner it came with and I fully understand why. I love how it looks but I don't recommend anyone buys it. Cheap zippers and many other issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
@mike the glove i mentioned is 100% waterproof. however the thin latex-like liner that is between the two inner/outer fabrics can become damaged if you dont treat your glove with care. I heavily abuse my possessions and they lasted about a year before seams started to break and holes developed in the latex making the glove 100% worthless.
 
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