Just like any outdoor activity, successful winter riding is all about layering up. Separate layers will help to trap insulating air between them to keep you warm, while choosing the right material and products will help to wick moisture away from your skin so that if you sweat, you don’t start to feel cold.
A basic system of winter clothing would involve a set of base layers, potentially a mid-layer depending on how cold the conditions are and an outer jacket, involving a thermal liner to further maintain heat. This would help prevent your body losing its own heat but if conditions are particularly cold, then you may want to consider investing in heated clothing.
This might seem extreme but it can have huge benefits, especially if, like me, you suffer from cold fingers or toes. It means you can maintain warmth without the bulking that comes with layering up to maintain the same temperature internally.
Of course, it goes without saying that any winter clothing needs to not only keep you warm but also dry, as wet weather goes hand in hand with the cold. There are various ways to do this, ranging from drop liners that are separate waterproof and windproof layers that zip into a jacket to laminated treatments, such as Gore-Tex or Gore-Tex Pro that stop the water entering the moment it hits the jacket.
Budget also plays a large part in what style, effectiveness and comfort you can expect but there’s no reason that you can expect to stay warm and dry for almost every budget.
Best winter base layers
1. Alpinestars Winter Casual
Best base layer top
2. Motorcycle Alpinestars Ride Tech Winter Bottom
Best base layer bottom
Nigh-on £130 for a pair of pyjamas may seem excessive but I can personally vouch for this winter base-layer set from Alpinestars. I have used this long-sleeved-top-and-leggings combo for the last two winters and have found that it’s all I need under a decent jacket down to around freezing. They are comfortable, warm, wick sweat away from the body extremely well and the compression fit helps to keep muscles supported and prevent fatigue. It’s a significant investment but one that will pay off if you’re going to ride year round.
Best winter mid-layer
3. Helly Hansen Men's Daybreaker 1/2 Zip Fleece
When the temperature starts to really dip, then a mid-layer, between the base layer and the
Best winter jackets
4. Rukka Kallavesi Gore-Tex Textile Jacket
The name Rukka is synonymous with high-performance year-round clothing and the Kallavesi has been
Best winter boots
5. Alpinestars Web Boots GTX
These unassuming boots from Alpinestars belie their performance. In testing, they have proved to
Best winter gloves
6. Furygan Heat Blizzard Heated Gloves
£250 might seem like a lot of money for a pair of gloves but these are all the glove you'll need
7. Keis V106 Comfort Heated Vest
If you don't fancy the idea of a thick mid-layer to increase your temperature when it starts to