Motorcycle clothing and summer don’t go hand in hand easily. The protective features of motorcycle gear, like its tough abrasion-resistant materials, typically come with a certain level of insulation that make rides in the heat uncomfortable. Many riders forgo the appropriate protection to stay cool.
However, there are specialized pieces of motorcycle clothing for the summer that are a much safer choice. What should we look out for in protective motorcycle gear in the summer?
Light Motorcycle Clothing & Heavy Protection
The concepts of ‘light motorcycle clothing’ and ‘heavy protection’ seem to be antitheses. However, thanks to modern developments in the textile industry, there are more and more synthetic fabrics that are tough, while still allowing the body to breathe and cool off.
Among today’s motorcycle clothing, we do not have to suffer beneath black leather jackets with thick padding and drown in our own sweat. Instead, the mixture of breathable fabrics and helpful placement of vents can help us stay cold yet protected, even during the summer.
Why to Choose Summer Gear Instead of Less Gear
It is no news, that motorcycle gear isn’t a matter of fashion. The protective equipment is meant to reduce the higher risk motorcycle riders face on the streets.
Many statistics have proven that motorcycle riders are more likely to:
- crash (caused by themselves or others),
- receive injuries,
- spend longer times in recovery, and
- more often end up in fatal accidents
than other traffic participants.
When we are sitting on a bike, we do not have the same comfort and level of protection than a car’s driver. There are no seatbelts, no airbags, no protective carriage… Additionally, controlling a bike is much harder, thanks to its two wheels instead of four, and their smaller frame and agile nature often lead to car drivers not noticing a motorcyclist when changing lanes or rounding corners before it is too late.
Similarly, studies have proven that riders who wear protective gear including:
- motorcycle jackets,
- motorcycle pants,
- motorcycle gloves,
- motorcycle boots, and
- motorcycle helmets
receive less severe injuries and spend less time in the hospital than those riders who chose not to wear a helmet, for example. These statistics do not even include the many riders that die in motorcycle crashed each year.
Comfort vs. Protection
These risks are why it is essential never to put your comfort first, when it comes to picking the right motorcycle gear to wear. Your protection should always be at first front.
However, it is not unimportant to consider the importance of comfort as well. A rider that is uncomfortable is more likely to end up in a crash, after all. Outside influences, like the sunshine, wind, air, rain, snow, cold, and much more can be distractions and hindrances in controlling a bike safely and efficiently.
When we are decked out in protective motorcycle clothing, but it leads to a heat stroke when we are riding our bike in the summer, the efficiency of the protective gear becomes meaningless.
Features of Motorcycle Gear for the Summer
This complex interplay makes it necessary to find the right balance between comfort and protection. Looking for motorcycle clothing that is advertised as summer gear is an important step.
In the summer, it becomes less critical to protect the rider from the cold airflow than it is in the winter. That’s why summer gear adds ‘blow-through’ textiles that help you cool down without compromising the safety of the rider.
This effect can be reached by using penetrable fabrics or synthetic textiles with special characteristics, or by adding actual perforations and vents.
The most commonly used breathable textile for the base layer of summer motorcycle clothing is Gore-Tex. The synthetic fiber is air- and water-resistant, but still allows warm air and fluids like sweat to travel to the outside layer.
- Think of it as thermal underwear, but instead of keeping you warm in the winter, it allows you to stay cool in the summer.
A fabric like Gore-Tex already provides you with a better ventilation than other choices. However, to effectively let hot air escape the inside of the clothing, actual vents should be installed in the clothing as well.
- This can be achieved by adding a perforated textile in less vulnerable spots on your body, like the inside of your upper arm.
- Similarly, plastic or metal vents are placed in these spots to allow air to pass through the clothing.
This type of gear often allows you to close vents or includes a separable waterproof layer that can be removed or added when the weather calls for it.
- The same applies to motorcycle helmets as well.
The safest helmet in summer remains the full-face helmet. However, summer variants include better ventilation systems that can typically be adjusted to the riding conditions.
There are special gadgets you can choose to use in the summer. Two examples are:
- Cooling Vest – A cooling vest can cool your body by 5 to 15 degrees relative to the ambient temperature. The vest is filled with water and can be refilled when needed. The ambient temperature and body heat cause the water to vaporize. This change from fluid to vapor creates a cooling effect.
- Helmet Air-Conditioning – There are gadgets that can be used as a type of air conditioning system for your motorcycle helmet. The little system is placed on the chin guard of a full-face helmet and increases the airflow and exchange between the inside and outside.
Summer motorcycle gear does not forgo protective measures, like armor plating and abrasion-resistant materials. However, it makes sure to use modern textiles that combine high levels of protection while still allowing your body to breathe more easily.
By using breathable fabrics, perforated textiles, and vents, this gear allows your body to breathe and cool down in the airflow. Additionally, cooling vests or air-conditioners for your helmet can help you cool down significantly on especially hot days.