“There's no such thing as bad weatheronly unsuitable clothing”  - Alfred Wainwright


Blazewear heated motorbike linings

If I could ride most days of the year I would, however winter riding is not for the faint hearted. The cold weather bears numerous issues: if you are cold your reaction time will slow down; cold roads mean cold tyres and less grip on offer; the low sun can be blinding especially with a fogged-up visor. So, use anti fog spray, remember to signal earlier, increase your braking distance and ride smoothly. The main thing is to be aware of these issues and to ride accordingly and make yourself as comfortable and warm as you can. 

Considering your clothing is a must, as wind chill is a huge factor. If you are travelling at 20 mph at 0ºC then the wind chill will reduce this to -6ºC. At 45mph the 0ºC will drop to -9ºC, so having a good base layer is essential. In late 2019 I reviewed the Blazewear heated motorbike base layers and was keen on them. At the time it wasn’t cold enough to have them on full power so I wanted to revisit these on a winter ride.

You can find the reviews here: Blazewear heated motorbike linings

I planned a 350-mile day trip in mid-January when the weather was cold and wet. Part coastal road and faster main roads, not ideal for a fun ride but great to review clothing and base layers.

This is how I dressed for the trip:

I wore the heated Blazewear socks, under trousers, under jacket and under gloves that all linked together and plugged into the electrical system of the bike. There are two buttons, one which controls the temperature of the trousers and socks and the other the jacket and gloves. Surprisingly the Blazewear undergarmets take the same time to put on as normal base layers.

Over the base layers my go-to choice is Gore-Tex, the thing about Gore-Tex is you know it works. It is never the cheapest option, but there's a huge difference in hoping you're going to stay dry and knowing you will.  If you look after it well it will last for years so buy the best you can and then you only have buy once. As Gore-Tex tends to be the flagship of a manufacturer they seem to put extra effort onto their design and feel. The jacket I chose to review was the Richa Cyclone Gore-Tex Textile Jacket. It has the waterproof and breathable 3L Gore-Tex lining, a detachable thermal quilted liner, D3O CE certified shoulder and elbow protection and D3O CE level 1 back armour.

The first thing you notice is the quality of both the look and the feel of the material. The fit is excellent, I wear an XL shirt and the XL jacket is spot on. There are additional Velcro adjusters at the waist and arms to take up any slack. The D30 armour in the shoulders, elbows and back is comfortable, soft and unobtrusive, and stays in place nicely when walking about.

My only criticism would be the collar feels very low compared to my other jackets. But I overcame this easily buy buying a waterproof buff!  In fact, the low collar does make moving your head around very easy and in the summer will be cooling so it may be that this criticism will become a positive as I get used to the jacket.

Oh yes, I must mention that it seems to attract pet fur!!

Gore-Tex again for the gloves, so I went with the Richa Ghent GTX gloves. As I was also testing the Blazewear undergarments I had to change my usual XL gloves to an XXXL to get the base gloves underneath. They are soft and pliable with no uncomfortable seams. I liked the knuckle protectors and the visor wiper incorporated into the finger. The design is stylish with simple Velcro fastenings.

Boots too need a Gore-Tex lining to ensure that they are waterproof. I wanted to test a longer boot that could still offer comfort and walkability. My years of riding moto-x drove me towards a buckle-type adventure boot, the TCX Baja GTX in black. TCX know how to make a good product, they come nicely packaged and as I was unpacking the box, I was full of anticipation. They look good and the fit is very comfortable. TCX use quality materials from the leather to the buckles which close with a reassuring click. These are quality boots. Although they look great all I really want is protection and with extensive cover of the foot, ankle and most of the lower leg, they certainly tick that box.

As I set off, I didn’t feel overly bulky. The ride was cold and wet but as I was dry and warm it was very nice. Usually the cold creeps in and slowly but steadily your whole body cools down and you become uncomfortable but trek on and this is a major problem for it ramps up the danger as your reactions slow down. Not so in this kit. 

A lot of the ride I didn’t have the electric heat on as the base layers and Richa Jacket were warm even at a temperature of 0ºC. I would expect the two layers within the jacket are adequate most of the time. This is a jacket for all seasons as it has a detachable thermal liner and vents in the arms, chest and back will work well on warmer days.  On the test I was riding in consistent drizzle and I stayed perfectly dry, I am yet to test the jacket in a torrential downpour however I am sure it will stand up well.

I thoroughly enjoyed the winter road test; the traffic was light, and the time flew by as I knocked off the 350 miles. Winter riding can be as enjoyable as in warmer conditions if you are alert and keep dry and warm.

“There's no such thing as bad weatheronly unsuitable clothing”  - Alfred Wainwright