Motorcycling - Gear/Equipment

Gear Basics - Must have summer riding gear

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Every summer, when temperatures are soaring, most people give in to extreme heat, prefer switching on their air-conditioners, and stay indoors. But all bike lovers and riders hate the part of ‘staying indoors’, riders prefer to go on a ride whenever they have time at hand be it sun, rain, or snow. They want to hit the road whenever they can and ATGATT is their fashion. However, the scorching heat of summers gets the best of all. Now, being indifferent to wearing cooling clothes, or not using correct summer riding gear is not wise, as that just spoils the ride experience or increases the risks. Therefore, wearing correct gear for the right weather especially the correct summer riding gear becomes important for safety and comfort reasons.

So, the next time you are out on a ride, ensure you have put on summer riding gear that offers adequate comfort. Read on to know why, how, and what to choose among the different types of summer riding gear, which ensure a cool ride!

8 Must Have Summer Riding Gear Items

1. Helmets

While you can’t do without a helmet, no matter how hot the weather may be, you can look for the ones that will help you stay cool. At the same time, let safety remain your first priority. So when you are about to choose a three-quarter-styled helmet or an open helmet, remember they may look chic, but wearing them will make you more injury-prone. Therefore, go for a well-vented full-face helmet that will ease air circulation, making it more breathable for you. A helmet with chin-bar openings and openings on the sides, which can be opened and closed as per your convenience, is a recommended choice. Don’t go for the cheap uncertified helmets just because of hot weather, as-is they are not guaranteed to give protection. There are plenty of helmets available in the market that are certified and offer features that provide good air circulation.

Moreover, the extra padding inside the helmet helps absorb sweat, keeping your forehead moist-free and dry. Remember that the full-faced, vented helmet relieves your eyes from the tormenting hot wind. Opting for a light-weight, right-fit helmet, especially during summers, is highly advisable.

Livingit Tip: Put on a helmet liner before wearing your helmet to prevent your helmet from being damaged by sweat. Get a pair of earplugs to protect your ears as helmets with vents attract a lot of wind noise.

Helment - Must Have Summer Riding Gear
Helmet with air vents

2. Boots

When your feet are happy, rest assured you will have a joyous bike ride. Though boots provide an excellent support for your feet and ankles, especially while riding heavy bikes, they do get sweaty and uncomfortable in summer. To avoid this, you can opt for riding boots that have vents. While sophisticated features such as durable toe-sliders, quality ankle protectors, and toe shift pads are must-haves for a good pair of boots, perforated leather with vents provides better air circulation and keeps your feet sweat-free.

The extra padding in the interiors of the boots soaks in the sweat. Some boots, customized for riding aficionados, extending above the ankle till the shin, have a breathable upper portion as well to offer optimum comfort. A cheap and funky pair of cowboy boots may make you feel like a crackerjack biker, but this will be at the cost of compromising on safety! So keeping summer in mind, whether you pick a pair of short boots, touring boots, or cruiser boots, apart from their sturdiness, check for proper ventilation. If you like to wear laced boots while riding, you can re-do the lace with gaps in-between so air can pass through.

Livingit Tip: Do not forget to accessorize your boots with a comfortable pair of socks, made of moisture-wicking material.

Shoes - Must Have Summer Riding Gear
Shoes with air-vents

3. Pants

Pants made of part mesh and part durable textile are ideal summer riding gear, particularly those that have an extra layer of padding beneath for protection during summer. Mesh is a thinner material in comparison to other textile materials. It provides higher breathability and better ventilation. Mesh also cuts off external heat and works as a sweat absorber. So, no matter how hot it is outside, your mesh pants will help you stay cool and dry, even in the case of long rides. Armor is added for the knees to increase levels of comfort and protection for the rider.

If it’s not peak summer yet, you can go for over pant as well, which is worn on top of regular trousers. These are ideal from a ventilation point of view, apart from being a very good safety gear for the rider. Overpants often come with hip-to-toe zippers, so you can put them on and take them off in a jiffy. Another option that is preferred by many is vented leather pants. The perforated areas near the thighs, stretchable textile panels, and cargo pockets make these products a favorite amongst bikers.

Riding Pants - Must Have Summer Riding Gear
Mesh + Textile Riding Pants – Perfect combination of Safety and Comfort

4. Cooling Vests

A cooling vest, as the name suggests, is literally your “cool” friend and a must have summer riding gear. If you are planning for a ride in a mid-summer afternoon, when the heat is almost unbearable, then it is better to take a cooling vest along. A cooling vest is like an air-conditioner in the form of an attire. Soak it in water for some time and wear it under your riding jacket after wringing out the dripping water. The vest draws heat, causing the water to evaporate while your body remains cool. The synthetic-based fabric padding in the interiors of the vest wicks the moisture away, thereby giving you a dry sensation. And the best part is that the vest is usually so thin that wearing multiple layers of clothing won’t make you look extra bulky.

Livingit Tip: Do not wear a cooling vest if you are driving to work on a hot day, as the slightly wet vest tends to leave your apparels damp.

Cooling Vest - Must have Summer Riding Gear
Summer Cooling Vest

5. Jackets

One of the first things a bike lover must invest in is a good quality jacket. While you buy one, do not be under the misconception that one single jacket will suffice for all weather conditions. To fight the mounting temperatures in summer, it is essential that you look for a mesh jacket or a textile jacket or a jacket made of some quick-dry material to keep you free from sweat. A textile jacket is light and has a good ventilation system, making it suitable for summer. A short mesh jacket usually comes in a combination of mesh and textile, which allows some much-needed ventilation during summers. Jackets with armor on your back and shoulders provide protection against any sort of injuries that may be caused by accidents. In terms of safety, this is the basic principle for selecting jackets:

(Safest) Leather Jacket >> Textile Jacket >> Mesh Jacket (Least Safe)

So, a leather jacket, which is usually perceived as a winter wear, may prove to be your comrade, provided you select a perforated leather jacket with abundant vents for sufficient air flow. This is a must have in the list of summer riding gear. It might cost you more than your mesh and textile counterparts, but it definitely gifts you durability and enhances your biker look while providing maximum safety.

Livingit Tip : From a summer point of view, mesh jackets followed by textile and finally leather should be your preference, but from a safety point of view, it is exactly the opposite.

Mesh Textile Jacket - Must Have Summer Riding Gear
Textile + Mesh jackets are best for summer wear

6. Hydration Backpack

Keeping oneself well-hydrated during summers is very important unless you want to fall prey to dehydration problems. This becomes even more critical if you are planning to take a long bike ride. Carrying enough water and drinking almost a liter of it every hour, especially under extreme temperatures, is the solution. But neither can you carry too many bottles while riding, nor is getting off your bike, taking out your big bottle, and having a sip at regular intervals is not a very convenient option. This is when you need a hydration bag, a vital summer motorcycle gear, which will keep you cool and hydrated.

It is a light backpack-shaped hydration reservoir of water, which comes with a capped mouth to provide protection from dust and a hose to help you drink hands-free. The pack is often insulated, which prevents water from getting affected by the external heat, thereby letting it maintain its original temperature. Some of the hydration packs come with side pockets where you can keep some snacks, your sunglasses, cell phones, and any other small accessories. A few backpacks have padded straps and back panel to increase the comfort factor for you. Hydration bag is one of the essential items that every rider must carry for their long rides .

Livingit Tip : Remember to check for removable and adjustable waist belts before you buy a hydration pack; these come in very handy on the road.

Hydration Bag
Stay hydrated while on long rides

7. Motorcycle Goggles

Irrespective of the place or the time of the year you choose to take up your “mission biking”, a pair of goggles or sunglasses is a must to keep your eyes protected. Come summer, and the need for the right glasses quadruples if you’re wearing a half-face or open face helmets. Fighting dust, grime, the wind, along with the sun’s UV and HEV rays, while you yearn to relish a remarkable journey on your two-wheeler, is a near-impossible task when you feel the wind on the face. Even if you are wearing a full-face helmet, do not be indifferent to goggles because the moment you pull up the helmet visor for some fresh air, you will risk unwanted dirt and debris coming directly to your eyes.

Before you zero down on a pair of goggles, ensure it is light (you can opt for a nylon frame) and has toughened polycarbonate lenses, which offer 100% UV protection. If you have prescription glasses, you can go for interchangeable lenses, which means you can alternate between your regular glasses and your sunglasses. Opting for anti-fogging products is also a good idea, especially if you plan to wear a full-face helmet. This will prevent accumulation of extra humidity inside the helmet. Amongst several varieties, selecting a pair of goggles that come with a retaining strap at the back is also recommended as it safeguards the eyes from any flying objects.

Eye Wear - Must Have Summer Riding Gear
Eye protection for riders

8. Gloves

The gloves undoubtedly provide protection and safety but thinking of putting on a pair during peak summers might be dreadful for most bikers. But logically speaking, during summer, heat causes you to perspire more and you tend to lose your grip on the bike handles. This is where a pair of fingerless gloves will help you maintain your grip on the handles, without making you sweat much and is a must summer riding gear. Preferably go for fingerless gloves, they will allow the air to circulate and wick away the moisture from your hands, hence keeping them cool and dry.

In addition, be it weather-resistant gloves or gloves with knuckle protectors, leather is always the preferred choice amongst most bikers as they score high on the safety aspect and are durable. Therefore, other than the fingerless varieties, you can also look for perforated leather gloves for the perfect summer riding gear. They consist of sufficient armor in the high-impact areas and tiny holes all over for good ventilation. Gel-padded leather gloves are also very rider-friendly, which help reduce friction and provide protection from injuries. Of late, hybrid gloves, made of a combination of leather and mesh, are in high demand as they take care of safety and comfort at the same time. Some of those come with vents as well that help ventilate air inside gloves to keep hands cool.

Gloves - Must Have Summer Riding Gear
Gloves with air vents

As long as you belong to the bike riders’ tribe, irrespective of whether you are an amateur biker or have been in love with your bike for years together, one common factor is the need for the right summer riding gear and lightweight clothing at any point in time. So, neither compromise nor be frugal when it comes to buying quality gear for your bike. This summer, let the celestial fireball in the sky shine bright, while you shield yourself with your summer motorcycle riding gear. Step out, face the heat head on, and zoom past all adversities to have a memorable ride. Nonetheless, if you are new on the road, do not hesitate to take a step back, learn the tips to ride like a pro , and then start your two-wheeled journey.

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