Australia gets extreme heat. If it’s too hot to wear riding gear, it’s too hot to ride. If you can’t avoid riding on a hot day in the heat, wear gear made for riding in the heat. Summer season gear is breathable and can manage airflow in warm weather, while still protecting against impact injuries and abrasion.
Gear fights dehydration
Ironically, riding without a jacket, pants, gloves and boots increases the risks of dehydration. Dehydration can lead to loss of concentration, muscle cramps and will affect decision making. In hot weather, wind around the bike will quickly evaporate sweat from exposed skin. By breaking the wind, summer gear protects against too much moisture loss and helps the body manage its temperature.
Vents and airflow
Vents and mesh panels allow some air to enter and cool the skin. Hot air can also escape. It’s critical that vents and mesh panels are not positioned where the body needs impact protection such as the spine, elbows, shoulders, hips or knees. Safe locations for airflow vents and mesh are under the arms and the back of calf muscles.
Vented gloves and helmets
Wearing vented gloves is a popular way of managing sweaty hands in hot weather. The airflow will evaporate some sweat. There is a wide choice of motorbike gloves that wick away moisture while still providing impact protection. The airflow from vented helmets makes a huge difference. Earplugs help manage the extra noise when the vents are open.
Light coloured gear reflects heat that radiates from the sun and the road, whereas dark jackets and pants absorb this heat. Armoured pants for summer riding are available in textile styles in light colours including greys rather than black. These pants offer impact and abrasion protection, as well as allowing more airflow than denim jeans.
Searching for hot weather gear
Try googling “hot weather motorcycle riding gear”, “motorbike riding in the heat”, “motorbike protective gear in summer” and “motorbike jackets with removable liners” to find YouTube clips and reviews from other riders. Terms such as “two season”, “premium mesh” and “air jackets” also describe ranges of ventilated and breathable gear for summer.
Tips and tricks
Neck cooling scarves are a cheap way of reducing the heat around the head and they can help make the whole body feel cooler. Cooling vests can be useful as long as they don’t affect the position of body armour. Online reviews from riders share the pros and cons of different accessories worn under protective gear.
Ride planning and staying hydrated
On a scorching day, plan your ride to avoid being stuck in traffic, where possible. There’s little airflow over the body when you’re at a standstill and you’ll sweat more. Diuretics such as softdrinks, tea, coffee and alcohol also contribute to dehydration so try to avoid these the night before a long ride. When riding, stop more often to replace lost fluids.
In hot weather, it can be tempting to ride without full gear, even though you know you’re risking your skin. Protective gear for summer uses airflow vents and breathable materials to manage body heat. Here are some suggestions if you’re adding new summer jackets, pants and gloves to your kit.
01 Ditch the black
If keeping cool and protected is your goal, the best choices are CE approved jackets and pants in lighter colours to reflect the heat. Keep the body armour.
02 Vented summer gloves
If you’re tempted to ride without gloves, try the latest motorcycle gloves made to handle hot weather and extra sweating.
03 Airflow in helmets
Race riders use vented helmets for the airflow to the head. Full face helmets with vents for plenty of airflow is the optimal solution.
04 Jackets and pants
High quality textiles come in light colours with removable liners that allow airflow through vents and mesh panels without compromising on impact and abrasion protection.
05 Scooters and street bikes
Scooter and street bike riders both need protective gear around town every day, including scorching days, to guard against injuries from hitting the road.
06 Off-road riding
Cover up to reduce the risk of dehydration by wearing well vented gear and stop often to drink water. Ride with more water on you than normal.