If you’re anything like us, you hate putting your motorcycles away for winter, knowing that, at least in the snowbelt states, half a year may pass by before you get to ride again. But that doesn’t need to be the case; with proper preparation and choosing the right days, you can ride deeper into fall and in earlier into spring and maybe on some crisp, dry winter days as well. Half of the challenge, predictably, is just figuring out how to stay warm. Riding suits, plus heated grips, seat, and vests are well known. But donning a thin, breathable balaclava under your helmet works miracles too. Here’s a trio of solutions for keeping the old bean warm, even in winter’s icy grip.
Not just for skiing or snowboarding, the KingBike Balaclava is also said to be good for motorcycling, running, biking, trekking, mountain climbing, and other outdoor activities. Made of micro-polar fleece and neoprene, the full-face cover is said to be both wind-resistant and waterproof. Its key attributes are breathability, soft fleece-lined comfort, and of course essential thermal protection. This unisex balaclava is available in two sizes—snug and loose fit.
Although the Tough Headwear helmet liner is suitable for use as a beanie, its true purpose is exactly as its name implies: under-the-helmet thermal protection for riding in cold climates. The stretchy, one-size-fits-all liner is made of an 89-percent-polyester, 11-percent-spandex blend to provide a good balance of thermal retention, moisture-wicking capability, and comfort.
If you’re not ready to go “full-balaclava” for your cold-weather rides, this half face mask from Rock Bros offers an appealing alternative. Using a soft microfiber, the mask extends up to nose level and then, interestingly, adds chest coverage. This is a beautiful thing once you zip up your riding jacket, throttle up, and then discover the miraculous lack of cold air assaulting your neck, mouth, chin, and ears. The maker claims good elasticity, which explains the mask’s universal product sizing.