It might be freezing here in Japan at the moment but it is summer in other parts of the world where I will soon be heading to and so I find myself examining my hot weather riding gear.
Some of the things I find help me stay cool are as follows:
Good helmet venting. I use a Nolan N43 helmet which has a lot more air venting than most helmets and in summer it makes a huge difference to how I feel since I am not hot and sweaty inside the helmet. When I first got it I used to swap occasionally to my Shark RSR2 helmet and wow the difference on a hot day is quite significant. Helmets that vent really well are going to also be more noisy but if you wear earplugs then it makes no difference. Web bike world have good reviews about helmet venting performance.
Lightweight mesh jacket. I’ve tried a few summer or 4 season jackets and results do vary depending on if you have a naked or full fairing bike. But in general if you are riding summer in your leather or textile jacket then a mesh jacket will make riding so much more comfortable that you will wonder how you did without one. And they are generally very affordable too so even if you only wear it on the very hottest days preferring your regular gear at other times then it won’t break the bank to have one in the cupboard.
Cooling neck scarf. This is something new for me. I used to always wear a summer Buff neck tube as jackets seem to move around exposing the back of my neck to the sun and even with sunblock after a long day I would end up with sunburn. Now I am using a neck tie that you put under the tap and soak, it has material which soaks up a lot of water and as you ride you are treated to evaporative cooling. It works brilliantly and stops your neck getting burnt at same time.
Pants that circulate air. Kevlar lined jeans are very popular these days however some can feel quite hot in summer. I had Draggin jeans but now I use BMW City pants. I have come to quite dislike the elitism associated with the brand but am unable to find an alternative to these excellent pants. Fortunately they have no big label showing. They really are very cool and comfortable to wear yet also contain light weight armour which jeans mostly lack. A key feature is the inner comfort liner which keeps the pant material itself away from the skin and allows air to circulate.
Cool max socks. My full size boots get quite hot in summer. Waterproof ones would be unbearable. I find a pair of shorty boots allows the air up under the pants but perhaps more importantly I find quality (i.e.. genuine) cool max socks help considerably to keep my feet cooler and stop footwear from smelling like a swamp by end of day.
Summer gloves. Once hard to find, the market is full of shorty ventilated gloves now so I cannot imagine anyone with hot hands in summer.
Lastly then is the often forgotten, sunscreen, lip balm and hydrate. You face will still suffer from the sun even with tinted screen and the gap between your summer gloves and mesh jacket is often a source of sunburn. You do not notice how much fluid you lose in summer as the wind will whisk away perspiration as you ride then come mid afternoon if you have not made an effort to rehydrate even if not feeling thirsty then fatigue can arrive unexpectedly which can prove dangerous.