How To Keep Legs Warm On A Motorcycle

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Hey there! Living in a temperate climate zone sure has its perks and challenges, doesn’t it? Just like you, I love to make the most of every season, riding my bike through the crisp autumn air and eagerly jumping back on as soon as spring shows its first signs of warmth.

We’re talking about riding right up until the end of November and revving back into action in March, when temperatures creep back above zero degrees Celsius. It’s all about staying cozy and warm during those chilly early spring rides or when autumn is just letting go.

There are many solutions for keeping your hands toasty. We’ve got some great options like heated grips, handguards to fend off the wind, heated gloves, and even those awesome handlebar gauntlets.

But what about our legs, how do we keep our legs warm and cozy when riding in cold weather?

You know, some bikes are like the knights in shining armor for our legs. They come with built-in wind protection that gracefully diverts the chill away. Take the Moto Guzzi V85TT, for example. Its air-cooled engine, with those cylinders sticking out on the sides, not only breaks the wind but also sends a welcoming wave of heat to your legs on those colder days. Pretty neat, right?

But let’s get real for a moment. Not all of us have that kind of luxury. I, for one, ride Honda bikes (Africa Twin and CB500X), and let me tell you, it’s not exactly a fortress against the cold for my legs. Africa Twin offers more wind protection for the legs compared to CB500X, yet it is far from sport-touring bikes. They start feeling like icicles way too quickly, especially the knees.

Reflecting on my initial year of riding back in 2017, I’ve given a lot of thought to finding effective ways to shield my legs from the cold. If you’re curious about finding ingenious methods to combat the chill, let me share my approach. After all, I can’t allow a bit of cold weather to hinder my riding adventures.

Key Takeaways
The wind is your main enemy

The faster you ride with less wind protection from your bike’s fairings, the colder your legs will get.

Layer up and use rain pants

Improve the insulation around your legs to shield them from the cold wind, allowing the wind to flow more smoothly over your rain pants minimizing heat loss.

Heated gear helps

Heated socks and heated pants is a game changer. Choose the ones that plug into your bike.

Enhance blood flow in your feet.

Do not over-tighten the laces on your shoes. Also, make sure the seat edges do not reduce blood flow into your legs.

Tips on Keeping Your Legs Warm When Riding in Cold Weather

CRF1000 on snow

These are 7 approaches that I have researched and used myself.

#1 Layer up

First off, I always wear my trusty training pants right under my motorcycle jeans. They’re like a secret weapon for that initial layer of warmth. But sometimes, you know, that’s just not enough.

#2 Use Rain Gear

So if the temperature is closer to 0°C or if I plan a longer ride outside the city with faster speeds – I put on my rain gear pants on top. Now, these aren’t just for rainy days. They’re actually fantastic at blocking out the cold air. It’s like they create this invisible shield around my legs. The air just kind of ‘slides’ over them without penetrating, which means it snags less of my body heat.

I know it might sound a bit odd, using rain gear for the cold, but trust me, it’s a game changer. It’s all about staying snug and warm on those rides, right? Let’s keep those adventures rolling, no matter the weather!

#3 Heated Socks

This is a game-changer for me – heated socks have completely transformed my riding experience during early spring. The pair I use is also waterproof, which is a huge plus for me. When you’re zipping through different weathers, you want your toes snug and dry.

Now, let’s dive into the world of heated socks. You’ve got two main players here: battery-powered and those that plug directly into your motorcycle. Personally, I’m all about the ones that plug into the bike. Why? Simplicity. No fiddling with batteries or worrying about them running out, just one less thing to take up my brain RAM so to say. Plus, I only need them turned on while I am riding anyway.

Here’s how I set it up: I run the wire harness under my jeans, with the plug connector nonchalantly peeping out over my belt. Then, there’s the other connector side connected to my bike’s battery and sticking from under the seat. Every time I hop on my bike, it’s just a quick plug-in, and voilà – instant warmth.

I’ll be honest; I usually end up with a bit of a ‘pool disconnect’ when I get off my bike because, oops, I forget they’re plugged in. But hey, that warm and cozy feeling while riding? It’s worth it. Thanks to these heated socks, I can enjoy much longer rides, with fewer coffee breaks.

There are also heated insoles that you put inside your riding boots. These are either electric or chemical, but I just find heated socks more practical. You wear socks anyway – so why not wear heated socks? Heated insoles are one more extra thing to worry about so I just use heated socks.

#4 Heated Motorcycle Pants

I haven’t actually tried heated motorcycle pants myself – I’ve only used heated socks so far. But I can imagine they’d work similarly, probably even better for keeping your knees and calves warm. In my case, heated pants would replace rain pants, as they’re usually waterproof too.

Personally, I’d go for the ones that plug into the bike, so I don’t have to fuss over batteries. The battery-powered ones are great if you need that extra warmth when you’re off the bike, but since I don’t ride in below-zero conditions, I don’t really need the heating once I’m off the bike. I’d probably end up feeling too hot and start sweating!

CRF1000 near frozen lake

#5 Make sure your shoes are not tight

I’ve found that maintaining good blood flow in my legs and feet is key to staying warm, especially when I’m using heated socks. I try to leave laces on my shoes on a looser side so the blood flow in my feet is maxed out. It’s amazing how this warmth doesn’t just stay in my lower body, but actually helps keep my entire body cozy as the warm blood circulates back up.

#6 Take hot drinks with you

I always carry a thermos of hot tea with me on my rides. It’s fascinating how the same spot can look so different in each season. That’s why I love taking breaks in scenic places. There’s a kind of magic in sipping a hot cup of tea in these beautiful spots, especially when it’s cold outside. It’s like my little ritual, a moment of peace amidst the adventure.

And, you know, it’s not just about the experience – that hot tea really helps keep me warm. Trust me – don’t just keep riding if you start to feel cold. By the time you actually feel cold, it’s often too late. Warming up again can take hours, maybe a cozy room or a hot shower. It’s way better to prevent getting cold in the first place. So, make sure to stop and enjoy that hot tea before you even begin to feel the chill. It’s a small thing, but it makes a big difference.

#7 Avoid sweating

It might sound counterintuitive, but sweating makes you colder. When the sweat cools down, it lowers your body temperature, which is not what you want on a chilly ride.

So, I always try to find that sweet spot with my heated socks – warm enough to keep the cold at bay, but not so hot that I start sweating. It’s all about balance.

Dressing in layers and using breathable fabrics helps a lot, too. This way, I stay comfortably warm without the risk of getting a chill from sweat. Remember, staying dry is just as important as staying warm! If you feel that you are starting to sweat – turn off the heating gear right away and stand up for a few minutes to get more airflow that will cool you down.

Bottom Line

CRF1000 snow forest

In conclusion, my experience has taught me that smart layering and the right gear are essential for staying warm and comfortable during colder motorcycle rides. I start with my trusty training pants under my motorcycle jeans, and add rain gear when it’s really chilly. Heated socks, especially those connected to the motorcycle, have been a game-changer for me, keeping my feet warm and dry.

I also make sure not to tie my shoes too tightly to maintain proper blood flow, and I always carry a thermos of hot tea for those scenic breaks. These small details not only provide physical comfort but also enhance the overall joy of the journey.

However, it’s crucial to avoid overheating and sweating, as this can lead to discomfort and coldness. Finding the right balance with heated gear and breathable fabrics is key for me. My goal is to enjoy the ride, regardless of the weather. With these strategies, I’ve extended my riding season and found joy in embracing the beauty of different seasons from the seat of my bike. Ride safe, Cheers!

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