If you had to rank what gives you pleasure in life, you’d probably put spending time with family and friends right at the top.
A close second would probably be riding a bike on a nice summer day, with empty roads and no traffic lights in sight. With summer approaching fast, you’re probably itching to take the bike out for that all-important first ride.
If you’re anything like most of us, you’ve probably started prepping your bike for summer or maybe even taken it out for a few naughty rides, despite the less-than-ideal weather.
Whatever the case, with summer just around the corner, your riding gear is just as important as your bike. What you decide to wear in summer ultimately dictates how cool you are, and I don’t mean that in the sense of looking flashy, but literally.
Staying cool is a challenge most of us face when riding in summer, so here are a couple of riding gear ideas that should help you out. We feel they’re essential, and although you can do without some of them, it’s nice to have them once those temperatures start peeking.
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The best summer motorcycle riding gear for 2020
As we all know, helmets are mandatory when riding motorcycles, but that doesn’t mean you should be uncomfortable. Getting a vented helmet is an easy way to keep your head cool and avoid turning your brains into mush.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of trying out a vented helmet, you’ll know that they make a world of difference in terms of how cool they’re able to keep you.
There are a ton of vented helmets currently on the market, starting from a few hundred bucks and going all the way into the thousands of dollars.
You can find cheap helmets online as well, as in less than $100, but some of them do pose safety concerns if you ask us. It’s always better to buy from a reputable manufacturer and vendor because you never want to skimp out when it comes to safety.
Vented helmets usually have lots of vents (holes) to help air pass through the helmet and cool you off. The rear has a venting exhaust where the hot air can escape from. Hearing additional wind noise when wearing a vented helmet is completely normal, especially at higher highway speeds.
Some of the high-end vented helmets have vents you can completely shut off, in case you want to use the helmet in colder climates or are overwhelmed by the amount of airflow on offer.
When it comes to gloves, the possibilities and choices are virtually endless. For summer riding, the best option is a mesh pair which is both lightweight and breathable. Because the fine mesh lets sweat evaporate and cool outside air cool your hands off, you won’t have to deal with sweaty palms any longer.
If you’re after something more stylish and a little bit different, you can always go for a fingerless design. Since they’re the hand equivalent of an open-face helmet, cooling is not an issue, and the fact that you can use your fingers to get a better feel for the bike is definitely a positive.
Since fingerless gloves have less material, find a pair that has good protection rating and decent flexibility.
A cooling vest does exactly what it says on the box. There are multiple types of cooling vests, but the most common ones use either cooling energy packs (which are activated in a freezer) or some sort of a water flow system that can pump water, to transfer heat from your body to the outside environment.
A lot of these cooling vets use a portable battery pack to power the pump and help liquid circulate through the hoses. Ice chilled cooling vests use a passive system, i.e. they don’t have any pump or battery. Because of how cold the cooling energy packs are, these vents are worn on the outside.
The most affordable and popular option is evaporative cooling vests. After submerging them in water for 3-5 minutes and lightly wringing them out, you can wear them on the outside of your clothing and they’ll keep you cool for hours.
If you don’t already have one of these T-shirts, you should go get one… like right now. They’re seriously amazing, but they’re not just useful in the summer.
Because they absorb body sweat, you can wear them all year long. Just make sure the gear you choose to wear on top of it is vented so the t-shirt can get some airflow and do its job effectively.
Avoid leather jackets
Summer is not the time to strap on a leather jacket and go for a ride. Yes, they look cool, but they’re practically a portable sauna in the summer. Mesh and vented jackets are much better at dissipating heat and sweat, and a lot of high-quality jackets are still considered protective gear.
If you want or have to wear boots, choose a vented pair so your feet are nice and dry at all times.
There’s nothing worse than going for a long ride and feeling your feet soaking wet after the first couple of minutes.
Staying cool is important but nothing trumps safety, remember that. If you’re going to purchase any of the clothing mentioned in this list, make sure they’re appropriate for riding a motorcycle and have all the required safety ratings. And, as always, have fun riding!