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Questions New Motorcycle Riders Ask in Winter

If you’re new to riding and the season just changed, there’s a very good chance you’re asking questions that never occurred to you before. Cold, messy and unpredictable weather adds a whole new layer to riding. We scoured forums and groups to compile a list of the most common questions and the best answers to get you up to speed in no time. We’ll also weigh in on the gear and upgrades available to make it all easier.

What’s the Minimum Temperature You Should Go on a Ride In?

That depends on your comfort threshold, the cold weather gear you already have and your riding abilities. Some people seem like they were born for cold weather environments and don’t seem to have a minimum while others feel extreme discomfort riding in the low 50s. When the question was asked in a new motorcycle riders group, here are some of the responses:

“Coldest I've done is around 30° F. I didn't have a car at the time, so it was my only way of transport. I commuted over an hour each way to work each way. Just layer up, Crack your visor and you'll be good” – J. Bush

“I'm pretty new. If it's dry, I'll go out in anything above freezing, but I don't want to risk ice patches. We get black ice up here, and it's treacherous as hell even on four wheels.” L. Dee

“Any temperature as long as there isn't ice. The other day on my way home from work I was passed by several emergency vehicles who blocked off the road ahead of me. When I got to that place it looked like there was water on the road but it was a sheet of ice. I had to do a 3 point turn on it to turn around. My feet were slipping and my rear wheel slipped when I let in the clutch. It was not fun. I won't use that road when the temperatures are around freezing anymore. If I had been there first I could have wrecked before someone else did. A water pipe had probably frozen and broke and flooded the road that night.” R. Prestwich

“No minimum temp but I do consider other things like ice. Heated gear makes all the difference and I often ride well below freezing in the cold months.” -A. Ward Sr.

The consensus seems to be:

  1. Gear makes all the difference 
  2. For many, it’s more about road conditions than temperature. If roads are wet or icy, that’s more of a deterrent than where the mercury is on the thermometer.


What Gear Do You Wear to Stay Warm?

Here at Dallas Harley-Davidson®  in Garland TX we have a huge range of heated pants, heated gloves, heated jackets and everything else you need to stay warm while riding. We can also hook you up with heated seats and heated grips, so your bike keeps you warm even when the ever fickle Texas weather changes on a whim and you forget to pack your heated gear. 

 When new riders asked social media groups what gear they recommended to stay warm, here were some of the most noteworthy replies:

“Heated gear is your friend, also works well when it is a cold rain.” -K. Coston

“Full leathers, thermals, thick socks (2 pairs if necessary) and insulated gloves.” – A. Goddard

“The first thing I would recommend is outfitting your bike if you are going to ride in weather that cold. A tall wide windshield, lower fairings, crash guard covers, and anything else you can get to block the wind. From there it's just a matter of layering your clothing like you would for riding snowmobiles. Personally, I just wait till the temps get above 50°.” – W. Larry

“Heated vest, armored pants over darn tough knee-high socks, boxers, textile 3/4 jacket with liner, gauntlet gloves. Turn on the heated grips, seat. Open the foot warmers and enjoy!” – G. McKibbon

Do Leather Chaps Over Jeans Actually Work?

 Motorcycle riders have been wearing chaps since…well…ever since there were motorcycles to ride. Before that you saw them on cowboys and gauchos. But if you recently started riding in the cold you might be wondering if the legware is so popular because it protects from abrasions, because it looks cool or if it actually would make a difference when it comes to keeping your legs warm. Here’s what riders say:

 “Yes leather chaps do really help. I have a nice pair of HD leather chaps with reflective slashes across the leg.” – K. Wilson

 “Leather blocks the wind, the wind is what makes you cold. I wear leather pants, toasty warm. I ride well below freezing.” – R. Lofton

 “Yes chaps work! I ride to work at 0500 in 40 degrees weather. My legs stay warm. It’s my hands that get cold!” – L. Etheridge

 “Love my chaps! My arse gets a little chilly, but hey... I have plenty of insulation there!  But, the chaps do help keep me warmer, and add the extra layer of protection in the event I have an accident. I live in an area where wet roads are a very common occurrence, and lots of wildlife crossings as well - so, always geared up for the rides on the country roads and highways!” – D. Nickelson

 At Dallas Harley-Davidson®, we have chaps in all sizes and varieties, stop by and grab a pair before your next cold-weather ride. We're also ready to help with the motorcycle customizations that enhance comfort when you click here to book a service.