Extreme Cold Weather Riding
I'm not talking 55°f Los Angeles extreme. More like anything under 10°f - single digits...
I regularly commute in 20's with no issues at all, but rode for 1 hour in 6°f (-14c, sounds more extreme) this morning with the following gear:
Ride - 2012 BMW r1200gsa
Torso - thermal, thermal wind block jacket, First Gear heated jacket, Klim Badlands jacket
Legs - thermals, thick thermals, First Gear heated pants, Klim Badlands pants
Feet - Thermal socks, heated socks, Alpinestars Scout boots
Hands- Heated glove liners, insulated gortex ski gloves. Heated grips
Head - Balaclava, full face helmet with pinlock and breath guard.
I cant imagine what the wind chill factor was at 85mph.
I felt completely stuffed into this gear and had limited flexibility but it was ok and relatively comfortable.
Torso stayed very warm, arms felt colder than rest of torso. I can feel the heat on my back pretty damn good, maybe too much. Thermostat was set on full. It's the combination of all layers that keep the cold out and keep the heat in. Remove one of the layers and you're screwed.
Legs were connected to jacket and thermostat was on full, but legs were getting cold quickly and my feet froze. Not sure if something got disconnected during 1 hour ride. I felt like the cold was coming right through to legs. I need a wind block of some sort.
Had to keep shield cracked because of the extreme condensation build up but it wasn't bad at all. It does get wet in helmet though.
Hand were warm. Grips were on full and thermostat on gloves was maybe half. Any higher and I would feel hotspots.
Overall it was fine. Not sure I'd feel comfortable traveling distance without working out the flaws and having backup. I felt that I was pushing the gear to its limit and there wasn't much room for temp drop. I was overall relatively comfortable with the exception of my feet freezing.
Badlands has absolutely no thermal protection but I wear for crash and weather protection. I think I may be better off with a carhartt arctic insulated coverall.
I just was curious what you guys do in extreme cold riding. And please don't tell me what you wear in 30° weather because that's just balmy compared to single digits.
No I won't stop riding so don't even suggest it.
Also, bike was plugged into battery tender but took a bit to turn over. I had to keep coming out and cranking then charging then cranking. I think the oil was cold and thick. Thinner oil??
You cannot go wrong by visiting Paul 'The Iceman' Mondor Web site: http://www.paulmondor.com/
Try slowing down just a bit, helps a lot.
I have done about 600 km so far in 2013 in freezing temps ranging from -3 to -10 C. My 690 is fitted with studded tires from Mitas. I wear
- 1 layer of Merino wool
- Warm & Safe gen 4 heated jacket
- Leatt Body Protector Adventure
- Dainese jacket
- BMW gloves on heated grips
- 2 layers Merino wool
- Halvarsson Mercury trousers
- Merino socks
- Sidi Crossfire boots
The only place I get really cold are my toes. If I use my Daytona boots it is better but I prefer the Sidi's for gravel/snow. I have a Warm & Safe trouser on order as I am going for an event called Norwegian Mountain Adventure in February :D
Life is too short not to ride in the winter!
maximize heated gear....
Rode in the teens with no problem with heated gear with less than what you are wearing, and I'm a thin blooded Southern Californian. Make sure that you only have one layer between your skin and the heated garment. Everything else goes on top. Make sure the heated gear fits well, a tailor can usually fit things better than most things come from the factory, just tell him to avoid cutting the wires. If the garment can't be tailored, consider a compression layer on top of the heated garment.
Heated gloves work better than heated grips, and you may want to look into a handlebar muff, as they work really well. But they aren't for everybody. Importantly, don't turn the heat up such that you sweat. Once you do that, your in for a miserable hot/cold cycle for the rest of the ride, even with the heat at full blast. Lastly, my winter boots are a full size larger than my summer ones to accommodate extra socks.
I hate the cold enough to live in a desert, I feel ya bro!
I commuted the last 2 winters, regularly into the low double digits and high single digits.
Teiz Lombard V3 with liner
Schampa full length neck gator
Gerbings T-5 heated gloves
Setup Adventure boots
Normal work clothes (slacks, button down, sweater)
First understand that I am NOT cold tolerant.And I ride year round roads permitting. Northern NM so the roads permit most of the time.
Coldest this winter has been single digits F. The secret if there is one, is wind control. I wear W&S jacket liner and gloves with dual controller. As said the heat needs to be next to your skin (one shirt away) then some insulation then wind block. I need handlebar muffs, just heated gloves and grips don't cut it. I use First Gear HT pants with thermals. I also use a large gator to keep the wind from blowing up my pant legs (wind control). High tech. socks. I ride a R1150R and don't know if the cylinders block any wind but I don't have a lot of problem with my feet. The gators may help. Air is the best insulator (as long as its not moving) so leave some room. The outer layer must be wind proof. I also use a neck gator. My biggest problem is the face shield fogging at night. Solar heating is a great thing, as in there is a heck of a lot of difference between 20 F in the sun and 20 F at night. If I don't sit just right the outside of my thighs get cold and I expect this is because air is getting in from somewhere.(under 20F) I am about to try a snowmobile helmet with heated visor. If anyone has experience with this I would like to know what you have found.
Also my arms get colder that my torso (figure that) so I would like to see jackets with more insulation in the arms.
extreme cold weather riding
I ride all Winter long at 7,000 feet and above in the mountains, provided the road is clear and dry and only in the daytime. Can't see "black ice" at night. Earlier this month the ambient temp in the morning was -5 F. Got on the bike wearing good base layer top and pants, Then insulated riding pants, textile or leather. Have Gerbings full sleeve heated jacket, then a 3/4 leather or textile coat with a full sleeve insulated liner. Balaclava or neck gaiter, fulll face helmet, Winter insulated gloves with Goretex and thinsulate. Alpinestar touring boots that are insulated and have Goretex. 25 mile one way commute into town, parts at 55mph, then some miles on the Interstate at 80mph (with a wind chill factor dropping the temps to -20F or more). :eek1 The only thing that gets plugged in is the heated Gerbings jacket.
Everything stays toasty except the very tips of my fingers which get a little cold. Bike does also have heated grips and windshield on a Suzuki DL1000. After that, any early mornings when it is 20-30F feel positively balmy. :lol3
The First gear heated pants may not put out a enough heat and there may be better options but I would not have two layers between your skin and heated gear. It is best to have one thin wicking layer with the heated gear next. It is possible the two layers of thermals is not allowing the heat to work its way in. If you need more I would look for something over the heated gear but that does seem like overkill if the heated gear is working properly.
Also, make sure the bottom of your pants are sealed tightly around your boots and no air is getting in anywhere.
Try doing this on a Ninja 250 or some other small bike that's "electrically challenged". It gets a little cold sometimes around here in se Missouri but not as cold as the guys up north of course. I think the coldest I've rode in was 12*F, as long as the roads are clear I'm usually riding on them during my 45-60 minute commute to work. I can run either my heated grips or my heated widder vest but not both unfortunately. As others have said, blocking the wind is a major part of the deal and then having the electrics one layer away from your skin.
Also I wear a backpack and I think the extra material the backpack provides and the waist cinch helps a lot. A jacket with a belt or a belt over your existing jacket might help.
2eddies knows about the cooler elements of NM.!!
Rinding in the teens
Heated gloves/grips is all for my 30 minute commute in the teens several times this week. I just saw the backpack comment and I started wearing one this summer and I have thought it is keeping me warmer as well. Maybe I'm not losing heat through my back - maybe I should close that back vent!
Also surprisingly (switched from a 650 Burgman to a 1200gs this summer) my legs and feet are not getting as cold as I thought they would from losing the full fairing. Same outerwear as last winter.
Sounds like your layers are insulating you from the heated gear.
In -20: long underwear, then heated gear, then insulated suit over that, done.
Foggy respro in the helmet with a pinlock, fleece tube (Buff) under helmet, over collar. Hippo hands, warm boots.
The coldest I've ridden was 25 miles at 18 below 0 fahrenheit. Back then, it was lots of layers with leather over them to block the wind. Now, if I'm going to be riding at low temps, I wear a shorty wetsuit with a t-shirt under it to absorb the sweat. I've got Tourmaster gear with insulated liners and just regular riding boots. I wear tourmaster elite gloves which are very nice. The key is keep your core protected from the wind and trap the heat within. It would have to get pretty darn cold for me to turn down a riding opportunity!
It was 21F yesterday morning. I have a 27 mile commute to get to the office.
Balclava, Neotech with pinlock.
T-shirt with button-up shirt over it, then motoport thermal liner, wind liner, mesh kevlar jacket.
Boxers, jeans, wind liner, mesh kevlar pants.
Socks, Alpine Stars touring boots.
Motoport kevlar racing gloves (non-insulated), heated grips, Hippo Hands.
Bike is a 2011 GS Adventure.
I am comfortable during my commute. The Hippo Hands are the best farkle ever - being able to wear regular summer gloves rocks. My outer garments (motoport mesh kevlar) provide no protection from the cold weather, but the wind liners and the jacket thermal liner are superb.
With temps in the high 20s / low 30s, I have had no issues with the pinlock. Yesterday, 21F, sitting at a red light for just under two minutes, top left corner started to get a little foggy. Once I started moving, took a long time to clear up.
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