It goes without saying that the most important type of bike gear is quality outerwear, both for protection and warmth, whether that be all-season textiles, summer leather jackets or lightweight adventure wear, depending on the type of bike and riding you do.
After that, it’s also important to invest in purpose-designed ‘base layers’ – or underwear. These can be thermal tops and leggings to maximise warmth without bulk in winter or lightweight, ‘wicking’ undergarments to ensure race leathers and the like are comfortable and effective.
But a third, ‘mid-layer’ should also be taken seriously and can significantly affect your comfort and temperature management.
Proper thermal mid-layer biking tops, neck warmers and more ensure your other wear fits comfortably, keeps the bulk to a minimum and can maximise your gear’s thermal efficiency.
But what’s currently available? How much do they cost? And what do you get for your money? Here’s our current pick of some of the best...
Alpinestars Menu2019s Purpose Jacket
This menu2019s mid-layer jacket from respected motorcycle clothing manufacturer Alpinestars comes with a u2018hyper stretch tech fitu2019 to ensure the perfect fit and minimum bulk under your outerwear and has a soft microfleece lining for maximum warmth and comfort.
It has two front pockets and a single zipper fastening for ease of use, is in 100% polyester and is machine washable, too. It comes in plain black, army green or a natty blue camo design.
Not the cheapest
SpeedMaxx Quilted Winter Jacket
This quilted, thermal mid-layer jacket is designed for winter use but can also be worn every day on its own. Thereu2019s a matt finish taffeta fabric outer and a soft taffeta lining with Thermolite fabric insulation.
There’s also a soft, ribbed waistband, a soft, ribbed collar, durable YKK zipper fastening, two outer zipped waist pockets and two inner pockets for your mobile and wallet.
Not the most stylish
Dainese Menu2019s Afteride Jacket
Another quality mid-layer jacket from a respected Italian brand u2013 this time from Dainese. The Afteride jacket manages to be both practical and stylish off-bike by providing a snug fit in 100% polyester but also has three useful outer pockets.
There are two pockets on the waist and a useful, vertical wallet pocket plus a waist adjuster, high neck for added warmth. The jacket also features subtle, stylish Dainese logos.
Good mid-range price
Not as warm as pure winter jackets
Oxford CA105 Neck Tube
Neck u2018tubesu2019 are an often-overlooked but vital part of your biking wardrobe and can be brilliant at keeping your neck warm and stopping the wind from getting down the neck of your jacket or up into your helmet.
This bargain-price tube is typical and is from respected British motorcycle accessory brand Oxford Products. It’s in lightweight, stretch Lycra with comfortable ‘flat-lock’ seams, is subtly stylish, great at protecting your neck and lower face from wind, weather and bugs and cheap, too!
May require larger, thicker versions in winter
Alpinestars u2018Techu2019 Neck Warmer
More sophisticated than a simple, Lycra neck tube, neck warmers have a more tailored fit and extra features for improved comfort, warmth and protection. This one, from leading Italian brand Alpinestars, has an elasticated insert to help keep it in position and a double-layered, fleece-lined main construction.
The Tech Neck Warmer also incorporates stretch and moisture-wicking material for excellent comfort and freedom of movement.
Fleece-lined for warmth
Pricier than a basic ‘tube’
Gerbing Heated Vest
This water-resistant, mid-layer vest comes with heating pads on the chest, back and collar for maximum thermal control. Itu2019s constructed in a soft nylon shell, which makes this a lightweight, highly compressible item, perfect for packing into your luggage when going on trips with unpredictable weather conditions.
Light and compressible
Great for taking on touring trips
Pricier than some
Held Ladies' Clip-In Windblocker Top
This softshell mid-layer top uses German brand Heldu2019s u2018Clip-inu2019 technology for attachment to its compatible jackets, meaning youu2019re simply adding warmth and windcheating ability to your existing jacket.
It’s elasticated with a breathable mesh lining, a soft collar for maximum comfort, plus two external and two internal pockets. It’s also available in men’s and women’s sizes and designs.
Neat addition to existing jackets
Quality and effective
Restricted to some jackets
Held Clip-In Thermo Pants
Like Heldu2019s clip-in mid-layer jackets, these padded, mid-layer pants use the German firmu2019s u2018Clip-inu2019 technology for attachment to compatible jeans. Theyu2019re in an elasticated, softshell fabric construction, have a 3M Thinsulate thermal lining, are water and wind-repellent and have stretch panels at the crotch, calves and knees for maximum comfort.
Thermal boost for existing trousers
Great fit and comfort
Not transferable to other brands