Fall riding can bring any number of meteorological anomalies. You may start off in cool, foggy weather in the morning only to ride into a muggy afternoon, ending the day with a pop-up shower & a chilly ride home at night. Preparation begins at home. Let’s take a look at a few options to get you started.
A full-face helmet can keep you safe, warm and dry. It can also help with the autumn sunshine coming through the thinning trees, if you have a tinted face shield. However, you may want to swap that out for a clear shield when dusk approaches. Or you can get something like the LaZer Lumino Transitions Face Shield for about $100.
Another helmet option is a half-helmet or open-faced helmet. This will open you up to the elements more, but it also gives you a feeling of freedom while on the open road. It also opens you up to the cold as the season marches on. Having a full-faced helmet as a backup – maybe bungeed to your sissy bar – might be a real life saver if the temperature plummets during a long color ride.
Some of these helmets do you with a face shield as well. If not, you’ll want to explore glasses and/or goggles for riding.
Sunglasses when it’s sunny, clear glasses for the clouds. It seems that would be the end of the discussion when it comes to motorcycle eyewear. However, consider clear, polarized glasses – like Smith Elite or Oakley – for when it’s not bright enough for sunglasses. This may help you and your passenger see the fall colors much better.
Another option some bikers go for is wearing goggles. Riding goggles, as opposed to just glasses, can keep your eyes from drying out. They can also protect your eyes from rogue bugs or debris that could get under your glasses.
Good eyewear can also keep your peepers safe during a fall weather-shift, when the rain comes and you need to keep riding to get to your final destination. Oakley, Spy, Bobster, River Road and Global Vision are all trusted brands by many bikers. Find your style and budget – just remember that you only have one pair of eyeballs. Take good care of them & wear some kind of eyewear.
Mesh jackets with Kevlar and protective inserts can help balance comfort and safety during the ups and downs of the autumn season. Brands like Joe Rocket, Olympia, Rukka and Alpinestars all have mesh jackets for around $200 for when the weather is warm. Many of these jackets can fit under warmer coats. You can even fit them in a backpack, saddle bag or a bungee net.
When you’re looking for a warmer coat for your late fall riding, Roland Sands, Joe Rocket, Volcom, Harley-Davidson, Icon and Scorpion all make cold-weather coats for riding. Consider a jacket that’s dual purpose, with a liner you can take out when the day warms up.
Fall riding means more than keeping your upper body warm and dry. Riding pants or chaps will prove to be worthwhile when you’re logging miles on a color tour and the sun dips below the horizon, bringing rapidly-falling temps.
Many of the same manufacturers of jackets will offer pants, as well as other brands. Tour Master, Joe Rocket, Dainese, Fly Racing, Harley-Davidson, AlpineStars and Coldwave all offer great products to keep your legs safe and warm.
Protecting your hands in the fall can be tricky; you may want to find the right cold-weather motorcycle gloves to start. Of course, this depends on where you are geographically and how cold it is for you as the fall wears on – or even as the day rolls on. Do you go with fingerless gloves or Kevlar-filled safety gloves? Riding can be a challenge in blistering heat, under the hot, melting sun after a cool start to your fall day. Wearing gloves during warm-weather riding is important for hand protection, and to keep cool and comfortable, choose the right gloves for the season. Here are a few ideas to get your hands ready for fall riding.
Whether it’s cold weather, wet or sunny the right gloves to get you through the fall will help keep you riding late into the season.