Motorcycle Gear: A Girl’s Review

One of my lifelong goals is to somehow earn a living by riding my motorcycle. Don’t know if it’s ever going to happen, but perhaps Victory or Harley-Davidson or Yamaha will be so impressed by my mad writing skills and my irrepressible wit that they will decide to sponsor me as a motorcycling journalist.

That’d be awesome.

Along those lines, my motto for this winter: It’s never too cold! Usually I’ll be saying that while I’m shivering but jumping up and down with joy because I just went for a ride. Like right now. I’m power-chugging a pot of steaming hot tea in an attempt to stave off frostbite.

Here’s my cold-weather gear.

Harley-Davidson full face helmet, glossy black with a clear face shield. A must for when the weather is below 40F.

  1. Pros: Can’t feel the frigid wind on my face. Keeps my ears warm. Extra protection for my face.
  2. Cons: Can’t feel the (frigid) wind on my face. Also, with my neckie on it can be hard to turn my head because the chin of the helmet dips so low. Also produces TERRIBLE helmet hair.

No-brand half helmet. I prefer this one whenever possible because I really love the wind, but it can get a little chilly (read: the nerve endings in your face will freeze and die) if it’s not at least 40F. Can you tell 40F is my cutoff point?

  1. Pros: Can feel the wind on my face. Visibility and hearing are improved by not having my ears covered. Also features an excellent sticker from my husband that says “Hell hath no fury like a woman with helmet head.”
  2. Cons: That wind is damn cold. And my ears freeze.

My neckie, knit by my fantastic mother. It’s basically a snug scarf with no trailing ends to get caught by the wind or stuck on anything. (Also: the above photo features relatively tame helmet hair. I just got back from a ride.)

  1. Pros: It’s awesome, very warm, and I can tuck the bottom into the collar of my coat for virtual windproofing. And my mommy made it.
  2. Cons: None.

Harley-Davidson tall length midweight leather jacket. Can I just tell you – this is my Favorite Jacket Ever. I wear it all the time. And it’s not just because I look like a total badass when I wear it, but it has POCKETS. A lady can never have too many pockets, I tell you.

  1. Pros: Looks awesome. Is very comfortable. Long enough for my gorilla-length arms. Bazillion pockets. Also – purple lining. Has spots for removable armor.
  2. Cons: Because it’s a midweight jacket, I have to wear a few layers if I’m going to ride for any decent length of time. After a tank top, a long-sleeved thermal shirt, and a sweatshirt, I start feeling like the little kid in “A Christmas Story,” waddling around and unable to actually lower my arms to my sides.

No-brand black leather chaps. For the record, the phrase assless chaps is completely redundant. And annoying. If they have an ass to them, they’re called “leather pants.”

  1. Pros: Noticeably warm and well-lined. Also, the pockets are really deep, down to the knee. This is great for things that you wouldn’t want falling out of your pockets on the highway.
  2. Cons: Really bulky and very heavy. But if it’s cold enough it’s still worth it to wear them!

Harley-Davidson boots. These are my real riding boots. Nice and toasty, but they are made of really thick leather and after a year and a half the damn things still give me blisters if I walk around in them too much. But for winter riding they are great because I can wear really thick socks under them.

  1. Pros: warm. Excellent grip from the chunky tread on the bottom.
  2. Cons: If I want to be lazy and use the side zips instead of lacing them up every time I put them on, the laces at the top come undone and they get loose. This is immensely irritating. Also, they only keep my legs warm up to the ankle.

Winter riding gauntlets. These babies are great. Sometimes the tips of my fingers still get cold (50+ mile rides or temperatures below 40F), but for the most part they are pretty good. Mostly windproof, nice lining, a wrist-velcro thing and a wrist pull cord to keep the wind from sneaking in from the bottom. The only thing I would like better than these is a pair of battery-powered heated gloves or heated glove liners. I also have a pair of lightweight, unlined leather gloves which I do NOT recommend for winter riding. Your fingers will fall off within five minutes. They are rather nice because I can easily operate the hand controls, but I can only operate the controls for five minutes before my fingers go completely numb and stop working.

And I’m not taking a photo of these, but nylons are the last important element of winter riding gear. Yup, that’s right. Regular ol’ women’s nylons. They are fantastic for riding in the winter, and that’s a trick that has been passed down from my grandpa.

There you have it! As long as you’ve got the right gear, riding a motorcycle in northern Utah is totally possible year-round. So I will carry on riding in chilly weather because if I don’t, I’ll go stir-crazy and become unbearable to live with. And I wouldn’t want to inflict that on my poor beloved. He already has enough to cope with from me.

Love, peace, and motorcycles all winter long,
Sumiko

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1 Comment

  1. Diane Tadehara

     /  December 31, 2011

    Neckies available for other winter riding addicts or other outdoor enthusiasts. xoxo

    Reply

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