Best Motorcycle Balaclavas

You wear base layers under your jacket and trousers – why not under your helmet too?

Motorbike rider puts on a balaclava

by Jim Blackstock |

Most riders should by now know the benefits of wearing base layers under their clothing, whatever time of year they are riding.

In winter, they help to keep the body warm while in the summer, they can do the opposite, helping to keep the body cool by wicking moisture away from the skin to be dissipated by the clothing itself.

While this works for the body, there is no reason it won’t work for the head too and that is why a balaclava can be a useful addition for many riders.

A thermal version will help keep the head warm in winter – essential particularly if, like me, you need vents open for airflow to keep you demisted. Similarly, a summer one will help with cooling on warmer rides with the same airflow helping dissipate the moisture and cool your head.

Both can also be particularly beneficial for riders who are going thin on top or who are already bald, as some may not like the feeling of the helmet against their skin or their head gets cold.

Related: Best motorcycle base layers

Another benefit is that if you have problems getting a helmet on over your ears – you wear earrings, for example – then a balaclava can help here by smoothing your head as it enters the helmet.

Of course, one thing that can change a balaclava's effectiveness is the fit; helmets are generally worn tight so that they remain in position on your head at all times.

Wearing another layer between your head and the inside of the helmet may affect the fit and/or the comfort levels, so we would advise trying before you buy if you can.

If you can’t, then either Amazon or Sportsbikeshop should allow you to return the item as long as you haven’t worn it, only tried it on.

So here is a selection of balaclavas to help keep you warm or cool.

The best motorcycle balaclavas

1. PX Balaclava


This balaclava from PX is available as either a full face or an open face (as shown) and comes

PX Balaclava


Windproof and water resistant

Two styles


Cotton content may hold moisture

2. MotoGP Balaclava


A comfortable, thermal balaclava to keep you nice and warm riding in the winter months. This very

MotoGP Balaclava


Great value

Warm in winter

Official MotoGP clothing


One size may not fit all

3. Spada Thermal Balaclava


Another fine example of a comfortable balaclava - tight and thin enough to easily slip a helmet

Spada Thermal Balaclava


Great value

It'll keep you warm


It'll be a tight fit at first

4. Held Dryarn


This short balaclava from German manufacturer Held is made from Dryarn, the same material many

Held Dryarn


Flat-lock seams for comfort

One size fits all

Help keep skin dry


May be tight on larger heads

5. Rukka RWS Hood


A serious piece of kit for serious conditions, like most of Rukkau2019s clothing. The Coolmax hood

Rukka RWS Hood


Combination of materials

Three sizes available

Keep wind and rain out


Could be cumbersome

6. Alpinestars Open Face Balaclava


The Alpinestars Open Face Balaclava is a bit pricier than some of the others on the list but with

Alpinestars Open Face Balaclava


Moisture wicking

Flat-lock seams

Help cut wind


One size may not fit all

7. Rev'it Maximus WSB Balaclava


The most expensive balaclava on the list that boasts a number of benefits lacking in some of

Rev'it Maximus WSB Balaclava


Moisture-wicking properties

Available in two sizes

Mesh panels for breathing and sound


Limited size may affect fit

8. Knox Cold Killer


Forming part of Knoxu2019 winter Cold Killer range, this open-face balaclava with a deep neck

Knox Cold Killer


Keep head warm

Breathable to prevent moisture build-up

Prevent draughts at neck


One size may not fit all


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