Questions for cold weather riding

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Uncle Pollo, Nov 22, 2006.

  1. Uncle Pollo

    Uncle Pollo Bad Hombre

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    It is improbable that I will ever see the temperatures in which you guys are riding, yet I have a curiosity about the layering-gear that you wear.

    For example:

    Base layer

    Electrics

    Insulation

    Shell - water/wind

    That I think I have right, not very complicated.

    But what kind you guys are using with 10 degrees F?!?!?
    #1
  2. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    I've ridden in 10 deg F weather. Its not common in VA but usually have a few single didget days a year. I commute year round so my "base layer" is usually just street clothes, then I toss on a heated vest, then a sweat shirt, then my gear. Gear consists of a waterproof/armored jacket, pants, boots and gloves.

    Right now those are specifically a Joe Rocket comet jacket, olympia ranger II pants, alpinestars GPS III Plus boots, alpinestars jet road gloves and an old BMW heated vest. My commute is 100 miles round trip and I stay fairly comfortable with that setup:)
    #2
  3. ZZR_Ron

    ZZR_Ron Looking up

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    Long Underwear.

    Then the electrics, and my Joe Rocket Jeans.

    North49 Arctic Suit over that.

    Weather Spirits snowmobile boots. Warm, but you can still shift with them.



    Cold? What cold?
    #3
  4. vegasphotog

    vegasphotog Las Vegas Cheechako

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    Exactly Ron.....at minus 10ºf you start to feel it....I only have electric grips and get by....best component for me is the hippo hands...
    #4
  5. ZZR_Ron

    ZZR_Ron Looking up

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    I hadn't tried hippo hands until yesterday, when my friend Steve rode up. They seem to work great.

    Another thing: He dropped the bike a couple of times, and the plastic
    handguards were warm enough (inside the Hippo Hands), that they
    didn't shatter.

    The last time I dropped mine in that weather, the handguards
    shattered like glass.

    I was just using those little single use heat pads, you rip them open, and they get warm. Have to hook up the grip warmers soon!
    #5
  6. vegasphotog

    vegasphotog Las Vegas Cheechako

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    The problem for me with JUST grip warmers is that the outside of my hands, which bear the brunt of the cold do not get warm. And, at -10ºf the grip warmers do not seem to really do much, but with the hippo's it all works nicely...actually, I think the hippos by themselves do far more that heated grips by themselves. IMO only though.
    #6
  7. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    With the combination of Hot Grips and Widder electric gloves I'm able to keep my digits toasty down to -10F with the Heat-Troller turned on about 25%. 50% is as high as I've ever had to turn them (both come off the same controller) down to -20F. For -30 I'm guessing they'll get close to 100%.
    By layering with the right combination of clothing there's been no need for the electrics so far down to -20. But that's just been in an hour or so of riding. With extended time/distance that could change. And past experience has shown that on an all night ride my metabolism drops off in the wee hours so the need for supplemental heat rises.
    At present my feet are the least comfortable at below zero temps, but that's probably because I'm wearing the same boots I wear all summer - just adding warmer wool socks. More research and testing to be done in that area.
    #7
  8. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    Needs to be one of the fabrics that wicks moisture away from the skin. Should fit pretty snugly. When you towel yourself dry, it's the contact with the skin that lets the towel absorb moisture. Same with your undergarments - you want them to be in contact with your skin.

    Here's where personal choice comes in. If you'll be riding in mild temperatures, say 10F and above, a heated jacket should be enough. But when it starts to get COLD! you'll want a lot more insulation outside of your heat-producing garments. Therefore a heated liner of some sort is what I've found to work best, with the insulation layered over that.

    The Polartech fleece that I was trying out just didn't cut it. Had better results with a Cabela's quilted Thinsulate jacket that has pretty good loft. Newly acquired - and as yet untested - is a "-60" jacket from Northern Outfitters. This is sized so as to hold the Widder vest snug against my torso for maximum heat transfer.

    Windproof is critical. Most insulation layers are not windproof, they depend on their ability to breath for much of their insulative value. Any air movement through that insulation will probably result in cooling.

    When it's that warm out, the usual - long-sleeved tee shirt, insulated sandals, mesh gloves. :rofl
    #8
  9. Wheeldog

    Wheeldog Long timer

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    I wear polar weight "skinz" long johns with quilted long johns over them. Then polar flece shirt pants. I was weaing Carhartts arctic lined coveralls, but just got a Trans Alaska suit to replace them http://tinyurl.com/yj7hkg I haven't tried out the trans Alaska suit.......but people who have used one say they are MUCH warmer than Carhartts and it is windproof.:clap

    I wear wool sox in Bunny Boots, leg and neck gators to keep the wind out. My grips are heated with Hippo Hands......I am still working on gloves that work well.

    Over the top of that I have a First Gear Kilimanjaro Jacket and HT over pants.......I want to have armor.......3XL fits well over my gear. I got the First Gear stuff used on the forums to save some bucks.:deal

    When buying cold weather gear, stay away from down and cotton. Be sure all your gear breathes. My Joe Rocket Balistic jacket/pants are worthless in the cold. They don't breathe and moisture builds up. After a couple hours the liner gets damp and you freeze.:vardy

    I get my cold weather gear at Cabelas, for the simple fact they have good stuff and sponsor Iditarod. You can get good stuff at places like LL Bean and REI too.
    #9
  10. ZZR_Ron

    ZZR_Ron Looking up

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    I'd like to try the heated gloves, as well.

    Those little rip 'em open and use 'em hand warmers work ok, but you have
    no control over the heat..then your hands sweat, and you get that wonderful clammy feeling. yuk!
    #10
  11. Vagabond

    Vagabond Mr. Sparkle

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    :razor :vardy I laugh at the cold! :razor :vardy
    #11
  12. dfc

    dfc nonattractive

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    Most of you guys are tougher than me. I am a bit of a freezy guy, been ridin now in the 20-30 range here in MN. 40 mile round commute. On colder days I use the Combat touring boots,Carhart flannel line jeans.Firstgear over pants(air type with rain pants inside), t shirt with gerbing liner and gloves. Old Hein Gericke scout jacket I've had forever and a neck gator.I'm gonna be looking at a Belstaff Discovery this winter.

    I'll ride til the snow and Ice get here.
    #12
  13. Vagabond

    Vagabond Mr. Sparkle

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    That doesn't even stop some of the guys up here!:eek1
    I've kissed the tarmac one time too many in the winter. Now, when it gets icy (cold = no problem), the two-wheeler gets parked because I don't bounce like I used to:kurt

    But when I do ride in the cold, this is what I wear.
    1. Base layer

    2. Thermal layer (includes heated vest)

    3. Outer layer Riding jacket/suit

    4. Balaclava, windblocker for helmet. Good wool socks with wicking base layer on my feet + riding boots. Rain covers also block a lot of the cold air from your feet.

    MAKE SURE THAT THERE IS NO EXPOSED SKIN!

    Make sure that your gloves aren't too tight. Too many layers on you hands can lead to arm-pump at the least, and at the worst, with reduced circulation, frostbite. That's why heated grips are worth their weight-in-gold when it's cold. Hand/brush guards help greatly too.

    That's my $.02
    #13
  14. friar mike

    friar mike IronButtGruver

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    so do I parked in my recliner in front of my woodstove.:norton :1drink
    #14
  15. steve gs

    steve gs Been here awhile Supporter

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    Another type of clothing you might want to consider is that for cool weather/winter cyclists.:eek1 :eek1 :eek1

    I made the switch several years ago and though expensive the bulk is reduced and I am warmer. Try www.worldcycling.com for an offering of top line gear and do a search on the net for the best prices. I'm sure there are many road and mtn cyclists here that can attest to the superior clothing now available and how it can be a benefit to us too. :ricky
    #15
  16. beamertwin

    beamertwin Paul

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    My layers when it gets 'cold' but not down to what the 'studs' are riding in:
    polar tech lj's top and bottom that wick moisture off the skin
    fleece pants/elec. wind-proof fleece jacket liner
    carhart pants/second layer of fleece top
    Roadcrafter two peice riding suit
    If its real cold-rain gear over all that
    wicking socks and wool socks under Joe Rocket boots
    Double 'winter' Harley brand gloves
    Hand warmers on bike
    And the most inportant...a decent windscreen to keep the wind off you in the first place. The faster you travel with poor wind protection the coolder the wind chill.
    These layers have seen me very comfortable (turning the liner off or down) to 20 degrees at 75 mph.

    Studs up guys!
    Paul
    #16
  17. ZZR_Ron

    ZZR_Ron Looking up

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    Vagabond, I have to agree. I don't bounce well anymore , either.

    Luckily, we get a lot of sun in the winter, so most of the time the road
    salt and sun have dried off the pavement, even if it's pretty cold out.
    #17
  18. Uncle Pollo

    Uncle Pollo Bad Hombre

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    Keep them coming!

    Today it was 25 f and i wore

    ski socks on medium duty touring boots - cold feet but not painful

    insulated thin underwear, thick fleece pants, joe rocket alter ego pants

    tshirt, heated vest and arm chaps, lightweight down jacket (someone adviced against it here?) medium duty leather jacket.

    Light duty balaclava - I had an extra heavy one as a spare

    Widder Electric gloves

    comfort level on feet - not so good

    comfort level on hands - good enough ... handgrips set on low

    comfort level on noggin' - toasty

    comfort level on torso and arms - toasty

    I need to buy the electric chaps, reduce layering on legs back to wicking long underwear.

    I have handguards and heated grips.

    Regarding the bunny boots.

    They are not very motorcycle specific i reckon ... I have the columbia insulated ones that i should try today and see how they feel, but i am concerned about the protectiviness.
    #18
  19. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    Sounds a little like what I was wearing on one cold ride (Reader's Digest version here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=65728&page=3) when I was wearing a pair of thin wool, calf-length cross-country skiing socks, but had added a pair of sheepskin liners that Barb (www.alaskaleather.com) recommended. If Barb tells ya it's good, you can take it to the bank. If you don't have one already, you might consider ordering one of her sheepskin buttpads. Your body can lose a lot of heat through the contact between your butt and the seat.

    You mention "insulated thin underwear". Is that just on your legs? If so, you might consider replacing the t-shirt with a long-sleeved, wicking undershirt.

    Something you have to be cognizant of - if you lose heat from your arms, for instance, it will cause you to have cold feet as well as cold hands. The comfort of the extremities is sacrificed in order to maintain the proper temperature in your core. That's why one of the first things newcomers to cold weather are taught is "If your feet are cold, make sure you're wearing a warm hat". Adding heated leg chaps will help keep your feet warm to some extent.
    My own feelings on down are that under motorcycling gear it gets compressed too much to be fully effective. So I'm a fan of Thinsulate or some other synthetic insulation. However, a friend in Anchorage who has also ridden in some chilly weather claims that a down vest over his electric vest does an excellent job of holding the vest close to his body for good heat transfer. Find out what works best for you.

    Those help, but my own experience with them has been less than ideal as they contribute to faceshield fogging/icing. Most of the time - down to around -20F or so - I just ride with my collar zipped up tight to my neck and put up with a little cold air around the bottom of my helmet.

    The only way to go as far as I'm concerned. That may change when Warm 'n Safe comes out with their own design.

    Standard advice is to be dressed warm enough that you can continue riding (even if you have to stop occasionally to get off and walk around for warmth) if your electrics fail. So it's not good to have marginal insulation anywhere.

    One of the things I've found necessary is the ability to loosen my clothing quickly for ventilation. It's one thing to be riding, with wind sucking heat through all the insulation on your body. But once you get off the bike and walk around, your body starts generating heat at a much higher rate, and the loss of heat goes down by several orders of magnitude. Warm is good; perspiration is BAD, so it's necessary to avoid overheating.
    #19
  20. ZZR_Ron

    ZZR_Ron Looking up

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    AlcanRider: I was yappin' to Leon on the phone last night , he said Hi.

    He's got the diesel Harley fired up, and getting it finished for his next Iron Butt ride!
    #20