Cold weather riding hints? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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Cold weather riding hints?

Just wondering if anyone has hints or advice for cold weather. What works for you?

I do lots of cold weather riding living where I do so am always looking for good advice. From a personal perspective, here's what I have found that works so far......


- a heated jacket liner and gloves is the cat's ass in cold weather but a bit pricy and only useful below 50F/10C - but you can ride down to 0C/32F and be all day comfortable. You need two temp controllers for a jacket liner and gloves or a single dual channel temp controller. The temp controller needs to be accessible when you are riding. The lifetime warranty is important on heated gear, at least is has been on my Gerbings stuff, as it has been back for repair under warranty. I've found the connectors/plugs are the most common point of failure. Gerbings warranty coverage has been excellent.
- Wind chill over time is what really cools me down. I find blocking the wind is probably the most important consideration in staying warm.
- if my torso stays warm, I stay warm. When I start to get cold my body restricts blood flow to my extremities, probably to keep the important organs warm, and I end up with cold hands and feet.
- I would be lost without textile motorcycle pants that block the wind and provide abrasion protection. I usually wear fleece underwear under these. Jeans really suck in the cold as they don't block the wind.
- a motorcycle balaclava (<$9 at most motorcycle gear places) keeps your neck, head and lower face warm under a FF helmet. A heated jacket liner, with heated collar makes this unnecessary
- water proof motorcycle boots much warmer in cold weather as they don't leak air. Thick socks is all I need to keep my feet warm.
- I need either insulated gloves, heated grips or heated gloves in cold weather to keep my hands warm. Active heat is better than just passive insulation. Both, together are ideal.
- An optional breath guard I bought for my helmet keeps my moist breath away from the shield and keeps the shield from constantly fogging

Last edited by twowheels; 09-21-2013 at 07:01 PM.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 06:44 PM
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Bigger windshield. Hand guards. Textile gear with closable vents. Heated jacket liner. I have grip heaters and heated gloves. Grip heaters are for cool kinda cold riding. Heated glovers are for cold riding. Pin Lock anti fog for your helmet face shield. My legs do fine with fleece pant liners. For my feet, I place chemical foot warmers by my ankles where the blood flows to my feet.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 06:45 PM
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plan ahead

I remember one year, I drove a couple hundred miles on my bike to help a friend move and low and behold the weather turned cold on my trip home wearing mild weather apparrel, ie snow flurries...lol. I stopped at a gas station and slid newspapers up the legs of my pants, in the front of my jacket across the chest and down the sleeves of my coat, worked to a point, and eventually I bungie corded sheets of cardboard to the front of each leg for wind protection. It was quite the fashion statement and got a lot of funny looks but when you get really chilled, you'll do anything to conserve heat to get home!!!
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 06:48 PM
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If you don't have them already, hand guards block a lot of wind. I have the Barkbuster Storms. They're pretty big and do a decent job. I use a winter grade riding gloves too. I'm usually good down to +/-40 degrees. I don't ride when it gets much colder than that. I don't like black ice..
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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I currently have my Barkbuster Storm hand guards removed as I bent the backbone an a minor low side. They work great as damage protection but I am unconvinced they have much effect on warmth. At least I have not noticed any. If warmth is a consideration I would be more inclined to recommend either heated grips or insulated gloves or heated gloves (if you have a heated jacket liner to plug them into) which have a similar price tag.

Last edited by twowheels; 09-21-2013 at 07:08 PM.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 07:19 PM
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Columbia brand Omni shield long underwear, best long-johns I've ever had, do a great job under the riding pants with no sweating issues.

My latest HJC helmet has a pin lock shield for anti fog and it works great in the cold.

Always trust your cape.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
The lifetime warranty is important on heated gear, at least is has been on my Gerbings stuff, as it has been back for repair under warranty.
+1

My Gerbings jacket liner is less than 2 years old, and it's been sent back for repair twice. Once their stuff was US made, then manufacturing moved to China, and now it's back in the US. Mine is Chinese made, and from what I read on the forums, the current US-made gear is higher quality.

Both times it was sent for repair, turnaround was really quick. Still I don't like being without it when it's cold, and it when it fails on a ride, you might get cold. If it happens again I may buy a heated vest to cover me during the repair.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 08:03 AM
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I have both a Givi screen and a no name tall screen (both came with V, used). The tall screen blocks wind from helmet down but surprisingly channels cold air to my belly region. I no longer use it , just the Givi which I keep in the lowest position. In the highest position the Givi too leaks cold air in the same region.

Gerbings jacket liner and gloves are my go-to for cold rides.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 10:05 AM
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I ride year-round down to 15 F and what you've already listed is spot on. Wind blocking is the key, liners in your riding pants and jacket make all the difference. I have a heated jacket liner and heated gloves (on a dual heat controller) but I've never had the need for heated anything else. Long underwear and good socks cover the rest. Windshield, I use a Givi that is at the lowest position for summer and highest position in the winter. And for the V, I have the Thermo-Bob.

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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Rocketeer View Post
Bigger windshield. Hand guards. Textile gear with closeable vents. Heated jacket liner....
Me too. I have the Tourmaster Synergy heated jacket liner, and pants liner. (I've ONLY used the pants liner ONCE - I got too warm, and don't miss it at all!)

NOW for my bad news: I have had several Synergy controllers INCLUDING the latest 'dual controller' fail, BUT I must say that Tourmaster has replaced them AT NO COST TO ME, including supplying TWO of the 'dual controller' ones (I haven't seen them YET, but they should be at my AZ home when I get there next month) for the one that failed on my Alaska D2D adventure this year!
- -

WITH the jacket liner working I'll happily ride at temps BELOW freezing.

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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 01:00 PM
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Check the weather before heading out would be the first thing to do. Biggest issue even before staying warm would be road conditions. Here in CO is common to have a differential of 35 to 40 f differential between daytime high and overnight low. Count on frozen roads in the mornings and ice everywhere that's in the shade. Heated gear will not cover that.

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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 04:04 PM
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Hard to add much to the first post; I use most of those techniques too. I do find my one piece suit significantly warmer than my two piece gear. Sheepskin on the seat is very comfortable too.
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-23-2013, 06:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Rocketeer View Post
Bigger windshield. Hand guards. Textile gear with closable vents. Heated jacket liner. I have grip heaters and heated gloves. Grip heaters are for cool kinda cold riding. Heated glovers are for cold riding. Pin Lock anti fog for your helmet face shield. My legs do fine with fleece pant liners. For my feet, I place chemical foot warmers by my ankles where the blood flows to my feet.
Nailed it.

The OP mentioned needing two controllers (one for jacket liner, one for gloves) but with the Versys I get by with one. When it's cool enough for jacket liner but not at full power, the heated grips are sufficient. When it's cold enough that I want to wear heated gloves, then it's also cold enough for the jacket liner on full power, so I plug the jacket directly into the (fused) power port and use the controller for the gloves.


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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-23-2013, 08:43 AM
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+1 on heated gear. I have a cycle gear brand jacket liner (it was on sale and came with a free controller) and Gerbings gloves. They're compatible. I plug the gloves into the liner and the liner into the controller. I use only one temp controller and find it works just fine. I actually find I use my heated gear below 60F, on a low setting in the upper 50's, and warmer as the temp drops. I've gotten very spoiled and love that I can take the chill out of the air!

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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-08-2013, 06:13 AM
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Heated gear

Woke up today with frost on the roads. Hand guards and heated grips are nice but ...... I have found a full set of first gear heated jacket liner, gloves and pants for $300, on local classifieds. Sounds like a reasonable price to me. My concern is whether my 07 V's electrical can handle all that? Jacket says it is 90 watts, I have no idea how many watts the gloves and pants are. The set comes with dual controls. Is $300 reasonable? Can my V handle that much electrical?

I figured it out!! A good day is when you can't see through your visor or windshield b/c of the bug splatter!!!!
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post #16 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-08-2013, 08:32 AM
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Sounds like an OK price to me. What do they go for new?

My guess, and it's just a guess, is that the bike should be able to handle it, but you should find out for sure. My bike handles a GPS, heated jacket, and heated gloves just fine.

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post #17 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-08-2013, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stud Muffin View Post
If you don't have them already, hand guards block a lot of wind....I use a winter grade riding gloves too....
I agree - my Zeta plastic guards get removed once it's warmer, and re-installed later when it starts being cold. I notice a BIG difference....

Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
...If warmth is a consideration I would be more inclined to recommend either heated grips or insulated gloves....
I wear heavy duty winter gloves, w/ silk liners, and they are very effective!

Also, further to my comments on using Tourmaster Synergy pant liners - went for a LONG ride the other day, temps near freezing - being able to select level 1 for the pants, level 2 for the jacket - - . I was very comfortable and toasty, HOWEVER I did notice something I DON'T like: the chaps-style pants-liners have a 4 to 5" band between the legs that crosses over the crotch area around belt level. When riding w/ just jeans under my riding pants, I don't notice the cold on my lower extremities, but somehow when I have the liners on HEAT, I DO. My crotch was quite cool, probably noticing the difference between the warm and cool areas. Also, for the male members here - VERY difficult accessing my fly, etc for taking a leak, as that band covers EXACTLY where you NEED to be....

Ed
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post #18 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-08-2013, 02:06 PM
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I've had my '08 V since new, and occasionally use my heated gear. The V supplies all the power just fine. I have run all this at once, for hours on end with no charging or electrical problems: heated jacket liner, pants liner, socks, gloves, heated grips, and Zumo 550 GPS. But no extra lighting. The clothing is on a dual heat-troller, and the grips are on a heat-troller. It's kinda nice how the bike puts out more juice at highway speeds (due to higher RPMs), which is when the "wind chill" is the strongest (lots of heat loss at high speeds). And then when you slow down to ride through a small town, at 25 mph, there's less juice and less heat generated, but you don't need as much heat at that point. The heat-troller is still very useful, though, as outside temps change quite a bit over a days riding.
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post #19 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-08-2013, 02:48 PM
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I'm on the bike all year sometimes in minus 10c weather and have only "needed" a fleece jacket under my riding jacket and a fog city visor insert. Heated grips are nice but with hand guards and good gloves they aren't needs. Winter lined riding pant and a good rain pant are a plus if your legs get cold.

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Last edited by cuff; 10-08-2013 at 03:29 PM.
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post #20 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-08-2013, 02:53 PM
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I second what Boricua says. Any additional tips on cold weather rider other than warm gear?
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