Just like staying warm and dry in winter, keeping cool on your bike during the summer months is crucial for an enjoyable and safe ride.
Overheating on a bike is not only uncomfortable, it can knock your concentration levels and leaves you at risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion and in extreme cases heat stroke; none of which are a recipe for an enjoyable ride.
Thankfully, summer riding kit has come a very long way in recent years, and there's plenty of choice to suit most tastes and budgets. Get your summer riding clothing sorted and follow a few basic rules and you can ride comfortably and safely right through the warmer months. Here's how:
Work with your body
The key to keeping cool on a bike is working with your body's own, built-in cooling mechanism: sweating.
As sweat is released from your pores onto the surface of your skin it vaporizes, pulling energy/heat from the body and cooling you down. Add a flow of cooler air into the mix and this process becomes incredibly effective at moderating your temperature.
Putting an obstacle in the way of this process – like a layer of thick leather or textile – and it will slow it down or even stop it altogether, leaving you at risk of overheating. Your summer riding kit needs to be able to work with your body to help this process happen, or at the very least, not get in its way...
Hot weather base layers
A build-up of moisture next to your body will stop your natural cooling mechanism from working – the sweat won't be able to vaporise – so the layer you wear next to your skin is the most important.
Cotton can absorb up to ten times its own weight in water/perspiration and takes forever to dry, so avoid it. However, it isn’t a good idea to go without a layer under your kit, and here's why: although it might seem counter-intuitive to add a layer of clothing when it's hot, modern moisture-wicking materials not only help draw sweat away from the body much more effectively than fabrics like cotton, they can also help slow the process down. That’s because leaving your skin completely uncovered can make the sweat evaporate quicker, meaning you’ll dehydrate faster. Technical base layers act like climate control for the skin.
For all base layer options, click here.
Summer Motorcycle Suits
The outer motorcycle layer is just as important, as it not only needs to work with your body and base layer to help keep you cool, it also needs to offer protection in case of a fall – a tricky balancing act.
A fully armoured leather jacket and trousers will of course offer high abrasion and impact-resistance but they're also thick and heavy and will hold in the heat.
Saying that most good quality suits have fabric sections away from the key impact areas – such as under the arms and at the back of the legs – to help with cooling; and some come with zipped or Velcro vents and perforated sections, all which can help with airflow. Good examples are the Alpinestars GP Plus R V2 Leather Jacket and the Segura Retro Leather Jacket.
For all leather jackets, click here.
Textile suits have a clear advantage over leather in terms of lightness and airflow, and often feature breathable/moisture-wicking layers and fabrics in their construction, as well as venting throughout. Some even have removable sections with mesh underneath. The beauty of textile suits is that they are often able to deal with a drop in temperature and even rain showers, with things like removable quilted layers, waterproof liners etc. - as well as hot weather too.
For all textile jackets, click here.
When the temperature really rises, full mesh suits are well worth considering. Custom-designed for the job of riding in summer temperatures, they're often much lighter than a multi-season textile suit and will normally feature large sections of open mesh for maximum airflow, yet still have impact-protecting armour and abrasion-resistant fabric at key areas. We'd recommend the Dainese Air Frame D1 Jacket or the Held Jakk Jacket.
For all mesh jackets, click here.
Denim Riding Jeans
Riding jeans have also come a long way in recent years, and are a great option when the weather gets warmer.
Gone are the itchy, thick protective liners of old, they're now either much thinner and cooler or have been removed altogether with the high-strength abrasion-resistant threads woven into the denim itself.
Most now feature either built-in CE-approved protectors or the facility to fit them. And some are even waterproof, should you get caught in a summer shower! We'd recommend Bull-It Jeans Fury 17 Jeggings for ladies or the Bull-It Heitage 17 Jeans for men.
For all denim jeans, click here.
Summer Motorcycle Gloves
On a hot day, it can be very tempting to go without gloves. Don’t even think about it! Did you ever fall over as a kid while running in the school playground? Do you remember how much it hurt your hands? Now imaging that at 30, 50 or 70 mph. Need we say more? There are so many options for hot weather riding gloves, it's easy to strike the right balance between comfort and protection.
Like with the summer riding suits, summer gloves come in a huge range, from traditional unlined leather and perforated gloves like Dainese Mig C2 Gloves and fully vented textile gloves like the Held Sambia Gloves.
There's no hard and fast rule here, go with whatever suits the conditions and gives you maximum feel, control and protection as well as keeping your mitts cool. Can't decide? There's no harm in taking a spare pair, or two, with you to cover all bases.
For all summer gloves, click here.
Summer Motorcycle Boots
It can be equally tempting to just chuck on a pair of trainers instead of proper riding boots, when the weather gets warmer, but again there's so much more choice out there, there's no need to put your feet at risk.
Popping down to the shops? Most manufacturers offer short boots like the Falco Dany 2 Ladies boots that have most of the protection and support features of a full boot, but are a little cooler than their longer counterparts.
For all casual and urban shoes, click here.
If you're going touring this summer, the Daytona Journey Gore-Tex Boots have breathable layers and venting to help keep you cool on the open road, or if you're really concerned about safety, go for the Sidi Adventure 2 Gore-Tex boots. For all touring boots, click here.
Hot Weather Motorcycle Helmets
Often overlooked, a lightweight, well-ventilated helmet can make a huge difference in the warmer weather.
An obvious choice would be an open face lid like the Shoei J-O Motorcycle Helmet or HJC FG-70s, but if you're looking for a more protective option, the retro full-face AGV X3000 or AGV Sports Modular can offer the best of both worlds.
To view all helmets, click here.
Other Summer Riding Essentials
Dehydration is always a risk when riding in the summer, and if left unchecked can cause dizziness or lightheadedness, tiredness and even muscle cramps – all of which could be lethal whilst riding. So it's crucial to stay well hydrated on your summer rides.
Hydration packs like the Kriega Hydro 3 Hydration Rucksack are a great way of making sure you have water on tap.
If you're after a more technological option for keeping comfortable during those summer rides, the Alpinestars Cooling Vest features an innovative cooling system that evenly releases moisture during rides, limiting heat exhaustion.
So there you have it; our guide to staying cool this summer using a few key items of motorcycle clothing and accessories.
To find your perfect summer motorcycle gear, shop online or pop into any of our 16 Infinity Motorcycles stores and have a chat with one of our team.