Winter riding, serious winter riding, is a bit of an art and a science and it is not cheap if you want to keep warm, especially on long rides. Keep in mind that the only way to get hypothermia faster than riding a motorcycle in the winter is to get rained on while riding a motorcycle in the winter. A lot of winter crashes are attributed directly to riders who develop hypothermia and lose their ability to control the bike.
After years in the North Carolina Mountains in the winter, I learned that the ultimate winter fabric is wool - definitely not cotton. Wool is extremely warm and it will keep you warm even when it is wet. High-tech fabrics synthetic fleeces are good though there is no doubt that they are not as good as wool, not by a long shot.
I wear Duo-Fold(tm) wool long underwear with heavy wool socks for a base layer. I cannot overemphasize how important this layer is.
Over the long underwear pants I wear Gerbing(tm) heated pants liners. Then I wear lined, waterproof, windproof riding pants as the top layer.
Over the long underwear top I usually wear a wool shirt and or a medium weight wool sweater, then I have a Gerbing heated jacket liner. Over that I wear a waterproof, windproof, 3/4 length touring jacket. I wear Gerbing heated gloves too.
My helmet is a full-face model with a visor that will not fog-up with a neck-gatier made from wool or fleece. I wear Leather boots that are well insulated with Gerbing electrically heated foot liners inside them. All of the heated gear is controlled through a Gerbing dual control thermostat.
I ride a 2009 Dyna Super Glide with a full-sized touring windshield and crash-bars covered with vinyl lowers. In the winter you want to block as much wind as possible.
With this gear I have been toasty warm while riding through the mountains when it has been below 16 degrees F. Being warm while riding is very important. If you are riding while feeling cold, that means that you are losing body temperature and heading toward hypothermia. No matter how tough you are, no matter how much you can put up with feeling cold, you will eventually suffer from the effects of the loss of body temperature. This is particularly true on longer rides.
Heated gear lets you ride for extended periods of time while suffering from no loss of body heat. It also lets you wear less heavy clothing, making it easier to ride and control you bike. Windproof and waterproof outer gear permits you to retain the heat that you and your heated gear produces and it keeps you from getting soaked to the skin and headed to almost instant hypothermia if it is cold and it rains.
While the electrically heated gear is great, you need to bring along enough winter clothing to keep you from freezing to death if you get stranded in the middle of nowhere due to a bike that is broken down or due to bad road conditions or whatever.
I always bring along a heavy jacket liner, insulated mitts, and some of those air-activated heat packs, just in case. Bringing along some food - high energy snacks and water - is not a bad idea either.
Winter riding is a lot of fun. I have been out more times than I can count when I didn't see another motorcycle all day. It can be a bit of a challenge. Make sure that your bike is up to the task too. You don't want to ride when it cold if you doubt the ability of your battery to start your bike or if you engine is not starting in very cold conditions. New spark plugs, maybe spare spark plugs, and some winter gas additive are something to consider.
The most important thing about riding in the winter is the condition of the roads that you will be on. If it has been below freezing, even a nice 50 degree day can leave ice on the roads in shadows and sometimes in direct sunlight. On cold dry days all it takes is for some guy to wash the crap off his car for that water to run down his driveway and onto the road where it will freeze.
When riding under these conditions you have to be very aware of the road ahead of you. In most cases when it gets that cold your best option is to leave the Harley in the garage. I often don't take my own advice. In the winter I try to take rides at lower elevations and on roads that are in full sun most of the day. Winding mountain roads are always dangerous under winter conditions.
If you are on roads that have been treated from snow and ice, remember to really wash your bike well when you get it home. I have a shower mixing valve in the garage that lets me wash the Dyna with hot water, which beats the hell out of trying to wash it when it is below freezing with cold water from a hose bib.
Originally Posted by stevensondrive
say 30-40 degrees.....
with the "new" Ultra I am looking forward to riding thru most of the winter. as long as the white stuff subsides.
Here is what I plan to wear from boot up
tall leather work boots
flannel lined jeans
shirt, sweatshirt (or 2), heavy leather jacket
leather gloves, may end up wearing the heavy insulated gloves
and of course the large windshield and lower fairing
the only thing I need to work on is adding some wind cover to neck
what works for you??