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I know there are quite a few threads on winter gear ....like this one:
http://www.vn750.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12860&highlight=Winter+gear


Do to the drop in temps I though it might be a good idea to give a few suggestions on what to look for when shopping for colder weather gear. Temps here in STL have been hitting the upper 30's in the morning and getting to the mid to upper 60's durring the day. Perfect riding weather.

I know many say that summer is the time for bikes, but really, many times it is just too damn hot , which makes wearing any protective gear a comprimise between sweating and possible bleeding.

But when the temps hit the mid 50s to 60's...one can wear their heavier gear and not feel like their boots are filling with sweat.

I know alot of riders won't ride in the cold only because the one time they tried it....they just had the wrong clothing on. That down parka you got may work well for standing in line in the cold, but is really useless on a bike. It flaps in the wind, just like those pants you got, and when on the bike, this flapping around causes the jacket and pants to act like a set of bellows...effectively pumping in cold air.

Bike jackets should be fairly stiff...that is the 2nd reason why leather has been the go to material...heavy leather does not "flap" so easy...unless it is too big for you to start with. Textile jackets should have cinches on the arms to take up any slack in the sleeves so they won't flap in the wind. Cold weather gear should feel stiff and heavy. Cuffs should have velcro to tighten them up, and the neck holes should be tight but not choking.

Alot of jackets come with a liner...but avoid the ones that are just thin vests. A good liner should have sleeves, and be fairly warm just by itself. (Wear one around the store and see if you start to get hot)
Most jackets now have some kind of water proof layer...Gore-Tex is the big buck one, but many simular materials do the same thing for less money. Be sure to find out if the garment is "waterproof" and not "water resistant".

Also make sure the waterproofing is in the jacket and not the removable liner, as you might find yourself leaving the liner out on warmer days. Zippers should have velcro flaps. ...not just "waterproof zippers".

You do not need to have a "waterproof" jacket to be warm on a cold but dry day....but I have found that jackets that are also waterproof , tend to be warmer to start with....they just must put more effort into making them air tight...as air leaks can can still pump out warm air and pull in cold air.

Guantlet type gloves help seal out wind from sleeves, and those with a cinch cord to tighten them to your jacket are what to look for.

Pants should folllow the same guidelines as jackets, they should not flap in the wind much....heavy cordura with adjustable cuffs are what you want. Right now I am wearing some tourmaster pants with the liner pulled out...and use them as overpants ....as my work pants are thin. Look for pants that zip to the jacket in the back. ( And yeah, you can't zip them together after you put them on...I provided my wife some entertainment attemping this.....lol...you have to zip them together first then put the pants on...then the jacket)

One issue with those with foreward pegs or controlls ...you don't want air running up your pant leg. Some pants will fit pretty tight around your boots...but still ride up on you. Cruiser bikes tend to have your feet out in front of you anyway...so find a combination of pant/boot that avoids letting air up your leg or makes the pants ride up.

I really can't stop saying how nice the Pinlock visor is. Even in close to freezing weather, my faceshield refuses to fog up. The only bad thing is they are only available for certain helmets....Arai ,Simpson ,Nolan, "big name brands" it seems...... but worth the expense do get one that works.
As being able to avoid letting in cold air to stop fogging does keep your face and head warmer.

If you are to try on any jacket, make sure to wear the layers you plan on wearing. Same with pants, try them on with the liner and your long-johns and street pants. I have a real nice leather jacket that I got at a closeout for a ridiculous price...only problem is, it is real tight with a heavy sweater, so can't wear it in the cold..

Anyway, welcome any reviews of gear or comments on what works for you.


KM
 

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Hi Knifemaker:

I ride in the 30's every day now in the morning. I have a long sleeve T shirt, an oxford shirt, and either my Scropion textile jacket and liner, or may leather jacket, gloves, jeans, and modular helmet on. A scarf is a bonus item, as the only cold spot for me is the neck above the collar and below the helmet.
I love the clear crisp morning ride. I leave home about 05:30 and the ride is about 24 min. I do get some visor fogging at stop signs, but no big deal. Gauntlet gloves are a major plus for cold weather.
It sounds like you have a good choice of equipment for the weather. Others will appreciate your input. A cold miserable ride can really turn one off on the prospects of cool season riding, but it is possible to be quite comfortable in the cold.
Bronson
 

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I`ve no experience with it, but I`ve heard of a neck gaiter made of something called "turtle fur" that is suposed to be very good.
 

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Good info, KM. You have to try out different things and see what works. One thing may be good for a 10 or 20 mile trip, but let's say you're driving from the U.P. four hours in the 28 - 30 degree weather. After awhile the cold penetrates just about everything. I wear long johns, my regular street clothes, insulated ski bibs, insulated chaps, a lined windbreaker (with thick stand-up collar), my heavy leather lined motorcycle jacket, and the cold still penetrates all of it to where I'm not really freezing, but not real comfortable, either. I went to a snowboard cuffed mitten that draws tight over my cuff, but they're still not warm enough for my fingers. On my last ride down (Monday) I had to stop and buy some hand warmers to put in there as well. Kept the fingers from freezing. I wear heavy leather shoes or boots with zip-on rubbers to keep my feet warm (and dry if I hit rain). On warmer days I wear a 1/2 helmet, but in the cold it's a full-face for warmth.

Cold or warm, I love riding. When my iPod is working the long weekly commute goes by a lot better.
 

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Every year in winter, a LOT of bikes show up in the local ads (and not so local ones). I wanted to have my bike fixed and sold before this, but looks like it'll have to take another year lol. You can get some awesome deals in winter! Which means a lot of people have no idea what they should wear to ride in winter.

I don't have winter gear myself, but then again, I need to finish fixing up the bike first. It's definitely nice to read such suggestions for when I do buy the gear. Thanks!
 

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KM's original post link contains my original recommendation, but I'll give it again; grip heaters with a heat-troller. I use them year round here in Portland, OR, even in the summer. I don't even own a pair of winter gloves, but ride year round (use my spring/fall gloves in the winter). The only problem with this setup is when stopping for an extended period (i.e., lunch). The grips take a few minutes to warm up, so my hands might be a bit cold for those first few miles after starting the bike. I will also add that a heat-troller is a must with heated grips, worth every penny.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
KM's original post link contains my original recommendation, but I'll give it again; grip heaters with a heat-troller. .

I'll go you one better....heated gloves. You can move them from bike to bike easier, they also keep the back of your hands warm, and ...you can take a hand off the bars on a long trip and your hand doesn't start to get cold. So I would reccomend heated gloves over heated grips.

Another suggestion is to install handguards. I use a set made for the V-strom...have seen some marketed for dirt bikes that would work to. The idea is to get the oncoming air off your hands. Even the PF3 with it's "wings" is not close enough to block the air off the grips.

Wearing winter gloves and using the guards I have no issues till around the mid 30's, and that is only on a long ride.

Be carefull stacking up heated gear. The Vulcan only has about 70watts of usable power, so heated gloves alone should not be a problem...but using them with a heated jacket might.

KM
 

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I`ve no experience with it, but I`ve heard of a neck gaiter made of something called "turtle fur" that is suposed to be very good.
Got mine (think it was called a fleece neck warmer) from WalMart last fall for $3. Last one in stock and it absolutely keeps the air out. Think someone here recommended it.
 

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I`ve no experience with it, but I`ve heard of a neck gaiter made of something called "turtle fur" that is suposed to be very good.
If I ever had to use a helmet here I just use my Baklava otherwise known as head condom. lol It has a fleece section that covers from the nose and goes down into the jacket. I might add that when it gets to the point of needing a helmet it is time to put the bike up and get the snowmobiles ready. I'm a risk taker but after the first snow and all the road salt and sand on the roads isn't good for 2 wheels. Well unless your on a dirt bike. haha
 

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I go as late into the season as possible. If there's no snow yet, Then I'm takin' the bike.
Today it got down to a cool 38, I was wearing: Leather jacket, Leather pants, Gauntlet gloves, Leather Neck warmer (****ie), Full face helmet W/Breather box And I had my Hot Grips going. When colder temps are expected, I'll just add some layers. Long johns, fleece liners, leather bandanna and so on. Last year on some very cold mornings; I would watch the vapor from my breath turn into ice crystals on my visor. A couple of times my whole visor would slowly crystallize except for two little spots. The two little spots were defrosted by the heat escaping from my eyeballs!:wow:
 

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I go as late into the season as possible. If there's no snow yet, Then I'm takin' the bike.
Today it got down to a cool 38, I was wearing: Leather jacket, Leather pants, Gauntlet gloves, Leather Neck warmer (****ie), Full face helmet W/Breather box And I had my Hot Grips going. When colder temps are expected, I'll just add some layers. Long johns, fleece liners, leather bandanna and so on. Last year on some very cold mornings; I would watch the vapor from my breath turn into ice crystals on my visor. A couple of times my whole visor would slowly crystallize except for two little spots. The two little spots were defrosted by the heat escaping from my eyeballs!:wow:
Sounds like you need a heated visor like I have on my snowmobile/bike helmets. lol Do you leave your visor open just a crack? That helped with mine until I got the heated visors. Course you will have to figure out a place to hook up the electrical connection on the bike. Maybe the auxiliary connectors.
 

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I use the neck thing that stops wind from entering...its like a neck backlava but waterproof and windproof. Works great to maintain neck temp.
 

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Snowmobiling is similar to biking so all my cold winter gear was purchased at Big 5 sporting goods. Snow bibs keep me comfy down to 28 degrees and only cost $29 on sale. Paying for bibs at a bike shop with a biker label is way out of my price range. Heck, my mild weather bibs are Carhartt double panel - outstanding...

DT
 

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If I ever had to use a helmet here I just use my Baklava otherwise known as head condom. lol It has a fleece section that covers from the nose and goes down into the jacket. I might add that when it gets to the point of needing a helmet it is time to put the bike up and get the snowmobiles ready. I'm a risk taker but after the first snow and all the road salt and sand on the roads isn't good for 2 wheels. Well unless your on a dirt bike. haha
:D
That's gotta be a funny sight... baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey.

A balaclava is a form of headgear that covers the whole head, exposing only the face or upper part of it. These work really well under a helmet... baklava, not so much. :D
 

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:D
That's gotta be a funny sight... baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey.

A balaclava is a form of headgear that covers the whole head, exposing only the face or upper part of it. These work really well under a helmet... baklava, not so much. :D
Good one, Peter.

KM, I looked at some heated gloves at one sporting goods store - $149. I about fell over. I don't know how much more cold weather riding I'll be doing this year. Snow will start flying soon, and I can't trust that, even if I take the bike home on Friday, there won't be white stuff on the roads when I need to go back on Monday.
 

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:D
That's gotta be a funny sight... baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey.

A balaclava is a form of headgear that covers the whole head, exposing only the face or upper part of it. These work really well under a helmet... baklava, not so much. :D
I got a chuckle out of this too,but with my lack of spelling prowess ,thought I should keep quiet.The living in glass houses thing again.
 

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KM, I looked at some heated gloves at one sporting goods store - $149. I about fell over. .
Well, that ain't that bad of a price really. I know a set of Firstgear Carbon heated gloves go for around $160, then figure in a heat troller for about 60 bucks , you are looking at $220.... just to ensure your hands NEVER get cold while on your bike no matter what the temp is. If that is your only issue with riding in the cold, it might be worth the investment.
BUT..

You can buy grip heater kits for less than 30 bucks....(without using a heat troller) ... these are basicly heating pads that you put on the bars and put your grips over them ...

Hot Grips I think go for around 80 bucks...again you can spend a bit more for a better controll.

In retro-spect, my Tourmaster Polar Tex gloves coast me about 50 bucks:
http://www.tourmaster.com/xcart/catalog/Polar-Tex-Gloves-p-108_9.html

And the handguards were like 60 something....so might have been just as well off to buy a set of Hot Grips.

(And BTW...Heated grips are now STANDARD equipment on the FJR1300 as of this model year. , Before they were an option..a 400 dollar dealer install one... or only available as standared eq on the AE electronic clutch model. The FJR grips not only have a heat-troller type controll, but automaticly turn the juice down on the grips if the batteries output becomes insufficant....which would be a great feature for the Vulcan with its electrical setup.)

Also of course keep in mind that having a large windscreen like the PF3 or the hard to find now Touring Fairing...with lowers... would make your ride in cold temps alot more tollerable. Anything you can do to cut the blast of cold air hitting your body is going to help keep you warmer. I have seen folks wrap leather around crashbars to block the wind to their feet or legs.
So a little good old american ingenuity can help here.

KM


KM
 

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Well, that ain't that bad of a price really. I know a set of Firstgear Carbon heated gloves go for around $160, then figure in a heat troller for about 60 bucks , you are looking at $220.... just to ensure your hands NEVER get cold while on your bike no matter what the temp is. If that is your only issue with riding in the cold, it might be worth the investment.
That's my major issue.
BUT..

You can buy grip heater kits for less than 30 bucks....(without using a heat troller) ... these are basicly heating pads that you put on the bars and put your grips over them ...

Hot Grips I think go for around 80 bucks...again you can spend a bit more for a better controll.

In retro-spect, my Tourmaster Polar Tex gloves coast me about 50 bucks:
http://www.tourmaster.com/xcart/catalog/Polar-Tex-Gloves-p-108_9.html
I spent $40 for some fancy snowboarding mitts. They're supposed to be windproof, and waterproof. I haven't tried them in the rain yet, but I did have to spend $5.99 to get some of those handwarmers to put in them.

And the handguards were like 60 something....so might have been just as well off to buy a set of Hot Grips.

(And BTW...Heated grips are now STANDARD equipment on the FJR1300 as of this model year. , Before they were an option..a 400 dollar dealer install one... or only available as standared eq on the AE electronic clutch model. The FJR grips not only have a heat-troller type controll, but automaticly turn the juice down on the grips if the batteries output becomes insufficant....which would be a great feature for the Vulcan with its electrical setup.)
Also of course keep in mind that having a large windscreen like the PF3 or the hard to find now Touring Fairing...with lowers... would make your ride in cold temps alot more tollerable. Anything you can do to cut the blast of cold air hitting your body is going to help keep you warmer.
You're right. It's the cold air hitting you that makes it the worst. I had a PFIII on my VN750, but have the Fire & Steel windshield with lowers on my VN1600. No hand protection at all, and the lowers don't do a lot. I can get some hand deflectors from National Cycle for something like $89, but that's just the trouble, every little thing costs a lot. I'd like to look around and find a Vetter Liberator fairing that was used for one year on Harley's. You can find them once in awhile.

I have seen folks wrap leather around crashbars to block the wind to their feet or legs.
Yep, Leader Motorcycle makes chaps specific for the crash bars. I don't think they'd be too hard to make if I had a heavy-duty sewing machine.
 

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:D
That's gotta be a funny sight... baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey.

A balaclava is a form of headgear that covers the whole head, exposing only the face or upper part of it. These work really well under a helmet... baklava, not so much. :D
Well at least I have a snack while riding. lol I thought I had misspelled it. lol
 
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