How To Become An All-Weather Motorcyclist

How To -

By

All Weather Motorcyclist

I don’t own a car anymore. A few years ago, I made the decision to become a year-round, all-weather motorcyclist. Mentioning this inevitably surprises most people and instigates a few questions on how I go grocery shopping. My transition to this lifestyle came about mostly by trial and error. Whether it was for commuting, errand running, or weekend rides, there was a lot to adjust to, but I eventually found my way. These tips will help you make that transition to a car-less lifestyle too.

Prepare Your Body
This is a factor most do not consider. Wear earplugs every day. Riding weekdays and weekends (especially with a highway commute) can exacerbate hearing loss, which is both cumulative and nonreversible. Take a few extra seconds to sunscreen or protect exposed skin on your wrists and your neck. Wearing short gloves and a low collar jacket in southern Florida left me with never-ending, mild sunburn until I wised up to SPF35. Also, if you’re a sport bike rider, work on having adequate core strength to maintain good riding posture for your daily ride.

Prepare Your Mind
One of the quickest lessons to internalize is a willingness to accept some discomfort as part of the process. Every ride will no longer be on a lovely summer day with perfect temperatures and ideal road conditions. Some days will end up being downright miserable. When the ride turns less than brilliant, change your attitude and defy the weather. Sing as loudly as possible inside your helmet. Curse the rain gods. Change the route to your work/school/house if only to find new roads and keep from becoming complacent while riding. This has the added bonus of giving your brain something fresh so your attention stays sharp.

Prepare Your Bike
Heated Coax/SAE connections are cheap and easy to install for when they’re needed down the road. A powered USB line has multiple uses all in its own right; it can provide charging for phones, cameras, battery packs, and more. Luggage will help you out immensely in your day in, day out riding. Start tailoring a real tool kit to your bike’s needs. If you want to really go crazy on bike preparedness, you could even spring for an automatic tire pressure monitoring system, revise the ergonomics with a better seat/rearsets/handlebars, or in some cases buy a larger gas tank. There are so many modifications that are useful for year round riding it would take up several articles just to cover the basics.

Prepare Your Gear
Properly designed motorcycle winter gear makes all the difference in the world when the temperatures drop. Summer gear with liners and some thermal underwear still lets cold air in and robs you of warmth. Rain riding can end up being an absolute blast even with inexpensive Frogg Toggs. Most winter gear that you can purchase does double duty keeping you warm and dry. When you’re on extended trips in the cold, nothing works quite as well as heated liners. For any season of riding, consider wearing ATGATT. It may end up requiring extra time, money, and inconvenience, but it’s worth the alternative.

Read More, Page Two >>

  • Dan Long

    Rain is one thing but what are your recommendations for dealing with 6 inches of fresh snow and ice when it drops to 12 degrees in the north country?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Move south?

      • Brian

        sure, if your work or family or other life logistics aren’t hampering you from doing so. not all of us can afford to make or live that decision or live in a locale where it is reasonable to ride all year round on 2 wheels. though, that being said, if I could afford it, I’d love to have a Ural Gear-Up with the big fairing package for the snow and ice.

        • Dan Long

          I don’t think Wes was implying that as a “real” piece of advice. Nor was my question truly sincere. Ural would rock though.

          • Travis Zilch

            Local brewery employee here in Indy riding to work on Ural during a blizzard last year. I’ve see this guy delivering kegs on this bike around town as well. http://youtu.be/tDkLmU0U6D8

            • ms

              So awesome.. I just bought a 2WD Dnepr for nasty days, hope it doesn’t snow before I get it and get it running :) Haven’t been able to force myself to buy a car despite having moved away from CA.

            • JC Maldonado

              Fucking legend

            • lalalla

              he has a sidecar though

        • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

          Mmm.. Urals.

          • gregory

            Urals: the beards of the motorcycle world.

            • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

              I dont think that means what you think it means.

              • gregory

                You know… plaid, lumber jacks and tuques. That’s the Ural. It’s for the practical/ engineer guy.

    • Steven Mansour

      It’s actually illegal here in Québec to ride any vehicle on public roads if it isn’t equipped with snow tires bearing the snowflake mountain pictogram between December and March 15th. That makes it illegal to ride motorcycles during that time, even if the weather is beautiful – there are no motorcycle tires that meet those standards. Couple of years ago, on a beautiful, sunny day sometime in early March, everyone in my neighborhood took their rides out for the season… and promptly all got ticketed.

      • grindz145

        I’m pretty sure knobbies and aerostich studs qualify as snow tires. This guy does it: http://paulmondor.com/

      • VagrantCoyote

        I had to chuckle, as a fellow Canadian, when I read “all-weather”. So quaint. Luckily in the wild west (Alberta), there are no restrictions like those in Quebec, so on the few nice winter days you can ride and risk crashing on corners with all the damn gravel on the roads.

        • Jacob D

          Neither are there rules like that out east. I’m from Nova Scotia and had my bike out two or three times every month through last winter. Oh that salt though…

      • 200 Fathoms

        Crazy!

      • Mark D

        That’s just for citizens of Quebec, right? I’m driving up to Quebec City from Boston this winter, and I’m damn sure the BMW doesn’t have snow tires…

      • Piglet2010

        These tires come in sizes that fit most maxi-scooters, and would also fit on a pre-gen Ninjette. Not sure if they have a winter tire rating, or just M+S, however.

        http://www.conti-online.com/www/motorcycle_de_en/themes/scootertires/allseason_en/contimove365_en.html

      • http://www.motard.ca/ Guillaume Béliveau

        Everything is illegal in Quebec dude… Hahahah

        • Steven Mansour

          Yes, especially if you ride a motorcycle. No HOV lane use, no lane-splitting, no easy parking in Montreal, distracted drivers, noise tickets, crazy licensing costs, crazy registration costs for sports bikes.

    • Braden

      I would say the risks of attempting to ride year round in that climate aren’t worth it. I live in SC where we’re lucky if we get one day of snow. Ice might be a problem for 4-5 days out of the year. I wrote it for the motorcyclist who could ride year round with the exception of those who have to deal with ice/snow on any sort of regular basis.

      • Dan Long

        Yeah, mine is already away for the season. Only a jest of a comment really. I do wish I could pull it off year round.

      • Piglet2010

        We have had a couple of days this fall already with light snow over frozen rain – even my 4WD truck on decent winter use tires struggles to accelerate across an uphill intersection. No way one is riding on two wheels without tires studs (or frequent crashes). And I am not sure even studs would help that much during a blizzard.

    • RationalThought90036

      Aside from using studded tires or adding chains, I’m not sure what can be done about riding in snow. Snow – and ice – are the only conditions that keep me from riding. That’s one of the many reasons I’m glad I live in a place with a temperate climate and the ability to ride a motorcycle 365 days a year.

      I have a friend who recently acquired a Ural Patrol, and he’s looking forward to testing it out in the snow. For me, when there is snow on the ground, I’m in my 4×4 truck.

    • eddi

      Sometimes Mother Nature just says, “Stay home today.” Urals are hard to stop but for the rest of us that still, small voice sometimes whispers “DON’T DO IT YOU IDIOT!!!”

    • DrRideOrDie
  • HoldenL

    When commuting, it helps to post a checklist so you pack everything you need. Badge to get in the building? Check. Lunch? Check. Clear shield? Check. Reusable shopping bag to buy groceries after work? Check. Etc. etc.

    • Piglet2010

      If you have a Bell lid, you can fit either a double-layer or heated snowmobile visor for winter riding.

  • Dane[ger]

    When you ride in the rain (haven’t done it yet, from SoCal) how does that affect a visor on a full face helmet. Do you ride with visor up? Or are helmets designed to wick away the water droplets?

    • John P. Muller

      I’ve found that moving at 30mph or up is enough for the drops to just blow off the visor. I also have a pair of Icon gloves that have a built in squeegee on the left index finger that works surprisingly well when you’re stuck in traffic and can’t split lanes.

    • metric_G

      Visor down (visor up won’t work even at moderate speeds), when going over 40ish just turn your head slightly the wind will clear your visor fast. I also use water resistant riding gloves that actually have a small viper installed on the finger so you can do a quick swipe to clear your visor (be careful dirt on the viper can scratch your visor).
      Water isn’t the big issue, but fog, learn how your helmet reacts to various weather changes and act accordingly, my Scorpion helmet has an awesome anti-fog visor from the factory. You can always research and find the beast way to keep the visor fogged in (either factory ready anti-fog visors, or aftermarket solutions, and other DIY stuff). Worst case scenario crack the visor open for a bit to clear up.

      • Piglet2010

        “I also use water resistant riding gloves that actually have a small
        viper installed on the finger so you can do a quick swipe to clear your
        visor (be careful dirt on the viper can scratch your visor).”

        I would rather use a wiper* to clear my visor – handling poisonous snakes while riding is not my thing. ;-)

        *Thumb mounted works best, e.g. Aerostich Elkskin Gauntlets.

        • metric_G

          Hey, we ride motorcycles, we like danger after all.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Depends on the type of rain. In a very light mist or fog, droplets do tend to accumulate on the visora and you have to wipe them off with you finger.

      In a heavier rain or at high speeds, the droplets just run off your visor. Turning your head from side to side will help clear the water.

      Your biggest problem will be fogging. Get a Pinlock visor insert if your helmet accepts them. Those work 100% effectively.

      You can apply Rain-X or similar to your visor too. Obviously only on the outside. Every helmet manufacturer will tell you not to, but I’ve never had an issue.

    • Lee Scuppers

      Keep the visor down. Rain-X is good. Rain tends to mostly blow off even without it, at higher speeds. At lower speeds, safety permitting, if you turn your head to the side, that’ll blow off the drops on that side.

      If your rain pants don’t reach your boots, your boots will fill with water. Learned that the hard way. I bring gaiters now.

      Watch the rear brake.

    • Jake Isbill

      Don’t forget to put Duct Tape over the vents on top of your helmet. Unless you like drips.

      • eddi

        I had a problem with a Bell Vortex. Rain got in behind the visor. I’m sure a little tape would stop it but I need to open the visor to get my glasses off. The helmet has been relegated to fair weather back up. My HJC IS-MAX seals just fine, vents and all.

        • Piglet2010

          My Bell Vortex is fine in the rain, but my leopard ears do get a bit soggy.

          • eddi

            :-) I thought it might be just my visor since I’ve never heard of the problem before.

    • Beale

      In regard to your ability to see, fogging is definitely the biggest problem in the rain. It gets even worse if you have a tight fitting chin curtain or a neck wrap that blocks any air from below the leading edge of the helmet. Pinlocks help, for sure but that’s another layer to look through. I find that I have to adjust what gear I have on and what vents are open quite often to match the conditions as they change.

      Simple rubber/plastic rain over pants and jackets on top of your normal gear can be surprisingly effective. I use the store brand set from Cycle Gear. They pack down smaller than an insulated rain suit.

      Another thing: heated gear is really a safety item when you consider being wrapped up like the michelin man hinders your movement on the bike for simple things like head checks. This is especially true with winter gloves. You loose so much feel with the big insulated mitten-like rain gloves that it can seriously effect your reaction times to the levers. Better to spend the money you’d spend on cold weather gloves on heated grips and retain your regular gloves and their better feel.

    • gregory

      You crack the windshield open. This lets in air so neither the visor nor your glasses fog up from your breath.

      As for the rain _outside_ the visor, use your gloves to wipe it off periodically.

      Sometimes, in _really_ heavy snowfall you have to open the visor the whole way. The snow or hail hurts your face at speed, but it’s the only way to see. (Wear contacts. Glasses would get covered, too.)

  • Dima Zeoli

    What about decent pants for cold weather? I would like something that provides weather protection, I can throw over my work pants, and has knee and hip armor. Oh, and I don’t want to pay a fortune – $400 is WAY out of budget. Anything worthwhile in the $100 range? I don’t need rain protection as I prefer to not ride in the rain. I am not comfortable commuting in the rain – I know I’ll stay upright, it’s the cagers with foggy windshields that scare the crap out of me.

    • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

      A bunch of years ago, I bought some Firstgear touring armored overpants that had a removable thermal liner for about $150 on a closeout. Something like these: http://www.motorcyclegear.com/street/closeouts/textile_jackets_and_pants/first_gear/2011_ht_textile_motorcycle_overpants.html

    • Mark D

      I’ve been using Rev’It Axis pants. Kind of a weird design, but the knee armor is great and adjustable, and they come in short/regular/long sizes for about $150. Takes about 5 seconds to get on and off. Water-resistent (totally find for drizzle at commuting speeds), but no thermal liner. If its super cold, wear long underwear under your pants!

      http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/revit-axis-pants

    • Piglet2010

      A Roadcrafter will cost you between $60 and $75 per year – some 20-year old ones are still being worn daily.

      If you want to go cheap and warm, get some MX armor and wear it under insulated coveralls from your local farm supply store.

    • gregory

      Think: ski gear. Sure, it doesn’t have armour, but a good pair of snowpants can go over your slacks and they’re easy to take on and off.

      And wear a bright green/ yellow reflective vest.

    • Dima Zeoli

      Thanks for the replies guys. I’m going to dig around for snow pants, and add some pants to the Christmas list this year.

  • MrDefo

    I’d like to know some tips for grocery shopping on a bike. I have a car too, but that’s pretty much what I use it for and would rather just use the bike.

    • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

      When I’m doing it, it’s all about smaller trips. But that allows for checking out more produce and fresher stuff from the butcher. A topcase makes it much easier. This is the cheapest one GIVI makes, and it holds about 45 liters.

      • motoguru.

        Obey Food Giant.

        • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

          You have to understand; this was an aesthetic improvement.

          • motoguru.

            And I’m totally ok with it.

      • Piglet2010

        Hey, I walk around a grocery store with my lid in a cart, while wearing a hi-viz Roadcrafter.

        • HoldenL

          Ha ha! I do, too (well, it’s a gray Roadcrafter). And the weird thing is: few stares. Instead, the cashiers are solicitious: “Let me double-bag this six-pack for you.”

        • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

          I bet the distracted folk don’t push their carts into you as often.

          • Piglet2010

            Ha! I had about 3 people bump into me one time – was about to get sarcastic and ask them if I should wear something more visible.

    • Mykola

      I’ve been doing Costco exclusively on a bike for a few years now. Soft saddlebags and a regular backpack were how I started, and more-or-less worked. I upgraded to a bigger MOLLE-style backpack but putting up the cash for a two-helmet Givi topcase was a breakthrough, and made life easier for commuting, errands, day-tripping, etc.
      My opinion is order an SW-Motech luggage rack for your bike from twistedthrottle.com, source a large Givi topcase from Ebay or wherever, and call it a day.

    • E Brown

      For quick runs, I’ve got a Cycleguys Fastpack, one of those tailbags that doubles as your rear seat when closed (great for trips to get take-out). For weekly shopping, I’ve got a rucksack-style backpack (meaning it’s one big 30L compartment) that will haul about a week’s groceries for one person if you’re not buying 2-liter sodas, cases of beer or gallons of milk.
      And yeah, you DO get looks shopping with a helmet.

    • Khali

      A bungee net, and one of those foldable bag/backpacks. You can do MAGIC with those 2.

      Having a top case or panniers/saddlebags also helps.

      And I learnt that my top case fits more or less the same volume as one of this:

      • Evan Zalesak

        This. Your average grocery hand-carry basket, full up, will fill a 47 liter topbox. After a couple grocery runs, you’ll get your payload limits figured out. Or, to make it an exact science, you can unclip the topbox, put it in a grocery cart and wheel that around, putting your stuff in that till it’s full and then checkout.

        You can indeed haul an absolutely unbelievable amount of crap with the right assortment of bungies. And if you find you accidentally bought JUST more stuff than your available bungies can handle, a few plastic shopping bags ripped and twisted into makeshift ties will get the job done.

        Now keeping it all dry…not so easy.

    • Piglet2010

      Get a scooter with a large amount of under-seat storage and a top box. On my Elite 110, I also have a couple of heavy-duty bags I can hang off the side using the under-seat helmet hooks, and/or the bag hook by the glove box.

    • runnermatt

      Scooter or Honda NC700X might fit the bill. You could sell the car and use the money from the sale to buy the bike. Maybe work out with a dealer so the have what you want on hand when you sell the car.

    • gregory

      Kawasaki’s KLR soft top box is great and can carry two large grocery bags or a flat of beer. It can be buckled on and off: very convenient. Sure, some thief could go to the effort of unclasping the filthy straps, but I doubt it. No one steals KLRs.

      For other models, get a click-on, click-off rear top box. I thik Givi makes a few.

      Or just put the grocery bag, tied closed, between your legs, on top of the gas tank. Your knees will keep it in place.

      Finally, as said… you can carry _anything_ with a bungee net. I’ve carried microwave ovens before.

  • maxkohl

    I got an Aerostich Suit but I can’t find a good way to secure it to the bike when I get somewhere. Any ideas?

    • Michael Rudler

      I use a cable lock through one sleeve and then through the steering head of my bike. That way it is secure and can lay on my tank/seat area.

      • maxkohl

        Nobody ever messed with yours? I have an irrational fear that someone might find it funny to toss it around or steal one of the armor pads.

        • Michael Rudler

          No problems so far, but I do admit to the same fears. It’s this method, or get a top case big enough to fit it in if you can’t take your gear with you when you stop.

        • Blu E Milew

          I do the same thing, loop a cable lock through the armpit vent and through the tail rack. I let the pant legs hang off the non-exhaust side of the bike.

        • Piglet2010

          Same reason I never use a helmet lock beyond popping into a C-store or rest-stop bathroom for a couple of minutes.

  • grindz145

    Earplugs is a must for any weather conditions. I learned this the hard way with a frusterating year of maddening tinnitus. Years of allweather riding later, the ringing is gone, and the riding is good.

    Also for winter riding, if your super hardcore, consider a heated face-shield made for snowmobiles. Visibility becomes more of a concern than road traction in upstate new york winters in my experience.

    • gregory

      Someone said here: earplugs are sunglasses for your ears. It just makes the ride so much more enjoyable.

  • Ryan Chambers

    #10 caught me right in the feels. So true.

  • Adan Ova

    If it’s a night out with drinks, better leave the motorcycle at home. I’m just sayin’, you may crash or something. (kinda obvious but necessary).

  • Adan Ova

    I would like to read something about a way to carry all the stuff a biker needs on the tiny space a motorbike offers. Any good suggestions?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Kriega.

    • Piglet2010

      Panniers and top box.

      • Adan Ova

        Aren’t panniers a bit insecure (like people can sneak into your stuff)?
        I was actually thinking of getting side cases (more secure), but I am afraid of widening too much the bike. It can be a good option for travelling, but not for commuting =/

        • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

          I dont have lane splitting in MA, so when I had two e45s on my sportbike, it just got a booty and didn’t really interfere with my commuting abilities.

          • Adan Ova

            They look cool. I’d never seen side cases on a sportbike before. Unfortunately, I actually do a lot of lane splitting. It’s the only way to get to work on time. Anyway, thanks for the suggestion. I will give it some thought.

            • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

              If I lived someplace that as pro-lane splitting, I’d probably do a different route. Truthfully, I rode around like that for about a month after I got both cases, just to see if it felt any different. I mostly just run the one on top unless I’m planning on carrying a lot of stuff, like a moto-camping trip.

        • Afonso Mata

          I’d say panniers are not the best thing for commuting, mostly when it come to lane splitting. Yeah Piglet2010, the ones on your Deauville aren’t that wide (cops here in Portugal have a lot of those, exactly because of that), but most bikes with panniers are. It’s just agonizing to split lanes behind guys on K1600s or 1200GSs.
          Top boxes, on the other hand, aren’t usually wider than your handlebars.

    • gregory

      Get a 40 litre top box. They are _extremely_ practical and double as a backrest for the girlfriend.

      • Adan Ova

        A 40 litre box would be too big for my bike. Are there weight concerns for driving (eg. steering and such)?

        • gregory

          Nah, it’s fine. You never carry anything super heavy up top in the back anyway. The heaviest thing ever is a flat of beer, and that’s only for a little while. Put light things in the rear top box. Heavy things, like tools, should be kept low and forward. Normally, that means a tank bag, though Aerostich makes some tank panniers (knee bags).

          No weight concerns. Steering stays the same.

        • Afonso Mata

          All the top boxes I’ve seen aren’t wider than the average men’s shoulders.
          Check the pic on Shad’s website for their 42 litre box. I think that’s a Z800 and it doenst look wider than the handlebars. http://www.shadonline.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=D0B4200
          If you want a more premium brand can even get a 46 litre box from Givi http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/givi-v46-monokey-topcase

          • Adan Ova

            My motorbike is not that big. I’ve got a 38 lt and it looks heavy enough. It’s also constantly filled with stuff and I am not able to carry a first aid kit, let alone a secondary helmet and/or protections for a passenger (which I find necessary from time to time)). Sigh. I will have to buy a bigger bike =P

        • Piglet2010

          Coolest thing I saw was a Harley-Davidson Tour Pak (what normal people call a top box) on a Honda Big Ruckus – both in matching orange.

    • eviladrian

      Get one with a low-mounted motor, integrated transmission/belt drive and small-diameter wheels, and there’s plenty of room under the seat ;-)

      • Adan Ova

        Yuk.

  • Jacob D

    This past summer my Dad and I made me going away for a week into a mini bike trip. I was away from home for a week and when the day came to come home my five hour highway ride was going to be accented by some torrential downpour. Things I needed to carry included my laptop. I broke out the garbage bags and rain covers. The rain was so intense for the first hour and a halfI could only drive around 70km/h (45mph) without feeling too unsafe. I remember the water poling in the crotch of my rain pants and dripping on my nose from the top of my (admittedly cheap) helmet (don’t worry, new one on its way for christmas). I made it home safe and sound, the only casualty was a few soaked t-shirts and socks as a result of a rain cover ripping on my soft saddle bags (Cortech 2.0 bags). However the Cortech 2.0 tank bag and included rain cover are phenomenal!

  • Khali

    “Sing as loudly as possible inside your helmet.”

    This is exactly what I do every morning. And shouting funny things to car drivers.

  • LS650

    I keep my bike on the road year-round, but I commute in my cage when it’s raining heavily or when the temperature dips below freezing. I like riding, but not when I’m cold and wet.

  • DrRideOrDie

    I’ve been an all weather rider for a year now in AZ. Got my motorcycle endorsement and bike this time last year. I sold my car after only putting 300 miles (150 in a day when I got a nail in my rear tire and had to go pick up a new one so I could ride the next day) on it in 7 months. The tips you have are good. Although I would offer a couple different perspectives. Mental Preparation: Any day on two wheels is better than in a cage running with the rest of the rats in the race #lifeon2wheels. Even when throwing on extra gear I always remind myself of this and the smile comes on my face so that I then enjoy my ride. Prepare your body: remember to maintain hydration and food intake. I was on a group ride at The Snake, we were headed to lunch and one guy as we were leaving said, I hope I make it to lunch I haven’t had anything to eat since breakfast and it’s hot out. He crashed on the way to lunch. I always make sure I keep my water intake up and I keep a snack on the bike or plan meals appropriately.

    • LS650

      Yeah, but you’re in Arizona. C’mon. Unless you’re going through a high mountain pass, what you call winter weather most of us would call a nice spring morning!

      • DrRideOrDie

        True, I used to live in upstate NY and know what real weather is like. However, in AZ it gets to the low-mid 40s with highs of 60s during the middle of winter and if you head up north which I used to go up there for work it will even snow. I rode through a little snow flurry last winter, and I also rode through basically freezing rain. Also the fun twisty roads are mostly up north which is pretty cold during the winter. The main difference is that we don’t have much precipitation making the roads easier to ride on for sure.

        • Piglet2010

          Here we have snow that melts during the day, and re-freezes at night into very smooth ice. Considering that the drive wheels on a car will break loose going over these patches at a steady 30 mph, I really do not want to hit one on a moto.

  • Scott Otte

    Great article, as a daily commuter I found nothing that I could add, and some wisdom I could use.

  • Kyle Toy

    “We are daily ambassadors for our collective passion.” That is very well said.

  • Andrew

    I think I recognize that building and street. Is that photo taken in Seattle? It looks like 1st Ave from Marion as if you were sitting in the Starbucks.

    • gregory

      Yeah, I thought it was the Seattle hills, too.

      • Le Chifforobe

        Hey, I recognized 1st and Marion right away too. The traffic in the foreground is coming up from the ferry dock.
        I usually spend the winter riding season in Starbucks myself.

  • Afonso Mata

    As a daily commuter and all-weather motorcyclist, I’d like to share just a tip: Get a Top Case (or panniers).
    If you don’t own a car, I’d say it is item #1.
    Yeah, I know it looks stupid on sportbikes, but on almost everything else is not that bad. And it improves the practicality of your bike by a gazzillion percent.

    -You can take extra clothing if your work or social events demand so.
    -When you arrive somewhere you’ll have a place to store your helmet and other gear. (My 42liter Shad topcase can store my helmet, my jacket and my gloves easily. http://www.shadonline.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=D0B4200 )
    -You can take a whole lotta groceries in there.
    -Nomatter how good/expensive your rain-gear is, if the gods of rain want to, there will be a day you’re going to get wet inside. I permanently keep a pair of clean socks and underwear for such occasions inside my top case.
    -If that cute girl is doubtful about going for a ride with you, she’ll love the idea of something to rest her back and (kind of) prevent her from falling.

    I could go on and on praising the upsides of having a top case mounted on your bike.
    And I can only come up with two down sides: it ruins your aerodynamics and it looks ugly.

    I’d say it’s a pretty good trade off.
    Plus when you go joyriding you can always leave it at home.

    • Piglet2010

      A quick detach on the top box is nice on overnight trips – off the bike there is less to tempt thieves casing the parking lot.

  • SneakyJimmy

    I commute everyday of the year (yes it’s California) rain or shine. I ride a Vespa 250 and have found it to be perfect for commuting in all weather. The storage is enough to handle rain gear and layers that i may have to take off or put on. Aerostich Darien lt. works great. Seems to be completely waterproof. I wear Tourmaster overpants when its really cold (25 is the coldest I’ve driven in) or rainy. Frog Togs works great for a light rain. It’s great to know you don’t NEED a car.

  • Piglet2010

    Being an idiot is fun.

    • William Connor

      That kid still wants to be the guy on the bike. I save more money than I spend commuting on my bike. In the course of the last two months I spent $320 more in gas because I had to take my truck than if I would have had my bike.

  • mustangGT90210

    I’m pretty all weather. I don’t aim to ride in the rain but I do end up doing it rather frequently. Still hate it! When it rains in Florida, it pours. Puddles all over the road, everyone loses their mind, and in the course of 30 seconds you’re soaked to the bone through your pants. Id rather ride in 40 degrees and dry than 90 and raining