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

PX Balaclava

PX Balaclava
Amazon

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This balaclava from PX is available as either a full face or an open face (as shown) and comes with a deep collar that extends down into the jacket to prevent draughts and chills from entering. The front and back are formed in a windproof membrane to keep you warm while the main section is in cotton and polar fleece for comfort and cosiness.

Pros:

Windproof and water resistant

Two styles

Cons:

Cotton content may hold moisture

MotoGP Balaclava

MotoGP Balaclava

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A comfortable, thermal balaclava to keep you nice and warm riding in the winter months. This very affordable 100% cotton balaclava offers additional protection from the elements and assists with helmet fitting; keeping everything nice and tight so you can easily slip your helmet over the top. Whilst the balaclava may seem a bit tight at first - it does stretch to fit and is well worth shelling out the cash if youu2019re on a budget.

Pros:

Great value

Warm in winter

Official MotoGP clothing

Cons:

One size may not fit all

Spada Thermal Balaclava

Spada Thermal Balaclava

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Another fine example of a comfortable balaclava - tight and thin enough to easily slip a helmet over and insulated enough to keep your head and neck warm on a cold winter's ride. Like the MotoGP Balaclava, the Spada Thermal requires a bit of getting used to - yes it is tight to get on at first but it will stretch to fit and offers the necessary protection from the elements.

Pros:

Great value

It'll keep you warm

Cons:

It'll be a tight fit at first

Held Dryarn

Held Dryarn

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This short balaclava from German manufacturer Held is made from Dryarn, the same material many manufacturers employ in their summer base layers. A man-made material and comprising polypropylene, polyamide and Spandex, one size fits all and it is designed to sit snug against the head and wick moisture away from the scalp. There is open mesh at the ears for hearing and the mouth for dissipating breath and the detailing reminds us of a certain web-slinging herou2026

Pros:

Flat-lock seams for comfort

One size fits all

Help keep skin dry

Cons:

May be tight on larger heads

Rukka RWS Hood

Rukka RWS Hood

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A serious piece of kit for serious conditions, like most of Rukkau2019s clothing. The Coolmax hood section that covers the head helps insulate it and dissipate moisture in all weathers while the Gore-Tex throat, neck and chest cover prevents wind from cooling the neck and also stops water from getting in, which can ruin a ride very quickly.

Pros:

Combination of materials

Three sizes available

Keep wind and rain out

Cons:

Could be cumbersome

Alpinestars Open Face Balaclava

Alpinestars Open Face Balaclava

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The Alpinestars Open Face Balaclava is a bit pricier than some of the others on the list but with good reason. Not only does it keep your head and neck warm during a winter motorcycle ride but itu2019s moisture wicking technology also means that it will wick away sweat and moisture; keeping you dry and comfortable during the warmer months. In addition the balaclava has a dual-seam construction at the top of the head - ensuring a better fit as well as an extended neck coverage, making it easy to wear under your jacket collar.

Pros:

Moisture wicking

Flat-lock seams

Help cut wind

Cons:

One size may not fit all

Rev'it Maximus WSB Balaclava

Rev'it Maximus WSB Balaclava

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The most expensive balaclava on the list that boasts a number of benefits lacking in some of itu2019s cheaper competitors. The Revu2019It Maximum WSB Balaclava is windproof, water resistant and includes a windproof chest panel. It also has a number of features to keep you dry and comfortable whilst riding, including a moisture managing upper face-mask, open-knit panels for ears and mouth - for breathability and hearing respectively. The balaclava comes in a variety of sizes - to fit several head sizes and thanks to itu2019s technology will keep you warm on cold days and cool and dry in warm weather. An all-round great balaclava.

Pros:

Moisture-wicking properties

Available in two sizes

Mesh panels for breathing and sound

Cons:

Limited size may affect fit

Knox Cold Killer

Knox Cold Killer

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Forming part of Knoxu2019 winter Cold Killer range, this open-face balaclava with a deep neck features a mesh panel on top of the head to allow airflow for moisture dissipation and a windproof neck u2013 front and back u2013 to prevent chills and draughts. Flat seams are used for comfort and the neck is lined with velboa fleece for a smooth feel.

Pros:

Keep head warm

Breathable to prevent moisture build-up

Prevent draughts at neck

Cons:

One size may not fit all

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