What to wear to stay cool and safe when riding a motorcycle in the summer

Blog post posted on 06/07/23 |

By Tony Walters, Content Writer at RideTo - The UK’s #1 Motorcycle Training Platform.

One of life's greatest pleasures as a motorcyclist is to ride through beautiful scenery on a warm sunny day astride your favourite bike. Staying cool is essential for both enjoyment and safety, and you should never use hot weather as an excuse to scrimp on protection.

Even as a new rider, the instructor during your CBT or DAS training would have drummed the importance of the correct protective clothing into you, and thankfully there are some fantastic pieces of kit available designed specifically for warm weather riding.

A helmet is, of course, a legal requirement in the UK, but they do vary in the amount of ventilation offered to the rider. An open face helmet gives the ultimate wind in the hair’ experience, but not everyone is comfortable wearing one. A modular or flip front helmet is a good alternative. Offering full facial coverage when riding, the helmet can easily be lifted when in stationary traffic, or filling with fuel etc and it offers a great way to cool down. Some are dual homologated, meaning they are CE compliant in both the closed and open positions when riding.

A mesh jacket allows for plenty of airflow, whilst still offering both abrasion and impact protection. Often these garments have a slightly lower CE rating, usually Single A, but there are alternatives that offer AA or even AAA protection. Keeping cool is an important factor for concentration, getting over heated is a quick way for your observations and general riding to deteriorate. Getting a good amount of airflow is key for comfortable journeys on two wheels..

Riding jeans have come on leaps and bounds in the last few years and offer the practicality and comfort of regular denim, but with much much higher protection. There are single layer jeans which offer as much protection as textile motorcycle trousers and in some cases even leather. Keep an eye out for the CE ratings, and remember the more A’s the better.

The only other items to consider are gloves and boots. We think that boots that cover the ankle are always an essential piece of equipment, but lighter weight motorcycle boots will make a big difference to long rides in hot temperatures. Likewise gloves, leather offers excellent abrasion protection and comfort, and an unlined or perforated pair will help keep the discomfort of sweaty hands away for longer. It's an important contact point with the motorcycle, so the more comfortable the gloves are the better.

Modern riding gear is so good now, that there is no excuse not to wear it regardless of how hot it gets. There's an old saying ‘dress for the slide, not the ride’ and on the hottest of days you will get warm in even the best summer riding gear. However a little bit of sweating is much preferable to the results of not wearing protective gear if the worst happens.

Lastly, don’t forget to hydrate. Riding for long periods in warm weather puts the body under stress, so even if you have a fantastic summer riding wardrobe, make sure to stop and take on liquid during the journey, and an ice cream at your destination is always a good idea!