Motorcycling vet and Watford store manager Keith Roissetter offers his tips and advice on layering, waterproofing and keeping warm this winter...
"Winter is fast approaching, bringing with it chilly winds, numb fingers and single figure temperatures. All in all, winter riding can be dangerous for your body if you don’t play it smart, especially your body temperature. Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do to help you make it through the worst of winter."
One popular item that can not only be a balaclava but can be converted into a neck warmer, a hat and many other things, is the Buff neck tube, which comes in two varieties. The polar buff is ideal for the winter months, while the merino version is great for the rest of the year. If you want more information on the two Buff neck tubes, you can always ask our Infinity staff, in-store and online, to give you the differences between the two.
"The better the layers, the less you have to wear"
Next up (or down) is something to keep your torso warm and protected, and nothing keeps the cold out better than layering. The better the layers, the less you have to wear, and let’s face it - no-one wants to bulk up unnecessarily and then ride a bike!
The Rukka Outlast range, for example, is equipped with the latest heating technologies to regulate body temperature in colder conditions. Another innovative option is Keis Heated Clothing, which has dual-powered heating built into the fabric of its bodywarmers, trousers and even inner soles. Keis apparel has low current draw and slim designs, which makes them perfect for riding.
For the lower half of your body, we stock a wide range of long johns, designed to retain heat and is close fitting to allow you to wear your regular riding trousers over the top without needing to diet! We recommend the Dainese D-Core and Proskins All-Seasons which have active moisture wicking and breathable capabilities on top of retaining body warmth. Incidentally, the winter cold reveals the secondary purpose of knee armour; it helps keep the chills off of your knee joints as they catch the breeze."
"For your feet, we recommend a good pair of waterproofs boots as your first line of defence. We have a huge range available in models offered by RST, Oxford and Spada, great mid-range items from Alpinestars, Dainese and Falco, right up to the super protective and fully rebuildable Daytona boots.
Men’s motorcycle boots come in all sorts of shapes and sizes in order to accommodate the wide range of applications that they need to cater for. Your needs are very different depending on the type of motorcycle or scooter, and even the type of road you plan on tackling.
"The more you spend on motorcycle boots, the more you get"
For most of us, a simple waterproof motorcycle boot is an ideal all-rounder and these start at around £50 for an affordable and serviceable off the shelf item. At this end of the market, you will be getting little more than a lightly armoured wellington but you don’t have to spend a fortune to get something a lot better from a name brand. Budget around £80 and you can wear something from a respected company such as the Spada Hurricane 2 boots or Oxford Tracker boots.
Goretex can be found in a lot of high-end men’s motorcycle boots and offers a degree of breathability and comfort once thought impossible in footwear. Manufacturers such as Daytona and Sidi work closely with W.L. Gore to ensure the best possible product for the end user.
The more you spend on motorcycle boots the more you get but look for at least basic ankle protection discs and some form of reinforced shin protection. On higher end models you’ll find replaceable toe sliders, replaceable shin and ankle protectors, steel shank anti-crush soles and full ventilation systems, all designed to keep you as safe and comfortable on and off the bike as possible.
"We also keep in stock a variety of inner gloves from manufacturers such as EDZ, Racer and Oxford. Layers are the secret to warmth in the winter and if a thin inner glove fits nicely under your regular gloves then it’s another layer in the battle against the cold.
"Whoever said ‘Fits like a glove,’ has obviously never tried buying a pair"
Obviously, the hands are the most vulnerable and the first part of you to feel the cold which is why we stock dozens of different models of glove to suit pretty much every taste and budget. Basic gloves such as the Oxford Montreal’s or Ottawa’s will keep you warm and dry while deluxe Goretex models from the likes of Held, Racer and Rukka will do an even better job. Of course, there are plenty of options in-between from most of the quality manufacturers such as Dainese, Alpinestars and Bering.
There are twin pocket models from these manufacturer’s which are great for those days when the ride home in the evening is not as cold as the early one in to work. These also work really well with heated grips
Whoever said ‘Fits like a glove,’ has obviously never tried buying a pair and gloves are probably the hardest thing to get just right. At all of our branches we carry a full size and colour selection in both men’s and women’s gloves. These really are a try before you buy item.
Heated gloves: brilliantly effective, safe and easy to use!
Naturally, we have several models of heated glove. These are brilliantly effective, safe and easy to use and because they use the latest in heating technology, very reliable. Keis make a very effective heated inner glove which can use an autonomous battery as well as a waterproof heated model that’s designed to hook up to your bike electrics.
If you’re after something to get you to and from the office or the station with cosy digits then have a look at the heated gloves from RST Paragon Heated Gloves or the Keis G501 Armoured Gloves which have rechargeable batteries built in to their cuffs which can offer warmth, waterproofing and safety. The batteries last up to four hours on a single charge and have proved to be one of our biggest sellers in the winter months. There are ladies’ models available too.
"If you feel the heated gloves are a step too far then we also keep in stock a wide range of heated grips for both scooters and bigger bikes and as a first basic defence against the cold we stock several different types of handlebar muffs from Oxford and Tucano, including a heated option.
Leg aprons have been popular on scooters for many years and we sell the full Tucano range which also has some big bike options in the catalogue. We also have a popular generic budget option from Oxford products as well.
There’s no reason why a bit of a chill in the air should deprive you of your riding needs, and at Infinity, we have lots of ways to keep you out there. Most of the Infinity staff ride to work in the winter, so feel free to ask their advice as they’re happy to share their personal experiences with the world!"
This article was written by Keith Roissetter, Infinity Watford Store Manager, and edited by Jonah Son, Website & Content Executive at Infinity Motorcycles.