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It is the time of year in which a lot of people are discussing how to stay cool on their motorcycle. I have to chime in about what works for me for long-distance riding. Many of you may have seen my friend Bubba1 discuss this subject in years past.

I used to wear mesh jackets or no jackets with t-shirts, and tried gimmicks such as ice-pack vests trying to stay comfortable. I tried to get more cooling air flow. Nothing worked well, and I figured that was just part of the motorcycle experience.

Staying cool for short rides was easy even in 100º F. weather. I could wear a phase-change vest under my jacket and stay reasonably comfortable for about an hour. I would then have to re-freeze the cooling packs in order to ride for another hour. I wanted some way to stay comfortable on long-distance rides.

I saw many posts by a forum member Bubba1 from Arizona who espoused a different tactic for long-distance hot weather comfort. Bubba1 wanted me to throw away my mesh gear, my cotton t-shirts, my blue jeans and tighty-whity underwear. He told me what the serious long-distance Iron Butt riders wear. These guys compete in an 11-day rally in July all over the entire United States, riding over 11,000 miles in all kinds of weather so they must know something. I decided to at least listen. Now, that’s the background for the following post.

There is a system for staying comfortable, and it all works together.

Start with a base layer of wicking underwear. Avoid cotton tighty-whities and t-shirts. The wicking underwear will also have the advantage of not feeling clammy when it gets wet in a rain. It’ll help keep you cool, but dry. I use Underarmor underwear and LD Comfort long-sleeve t-shirts when it gets hot here in Southeast Texas. There are lots of good choices as long as the drawers are seamless and don’t absorb moisture.

Wear good textile riding gear over the base layer. You want gear that will let you control the air flow.

When trying to stay cool in hot weather you DO NOT want to wear high-flow open mesh clothes that pass a lot of air through. You should be trying to protect your body from the hot air for the same reasons that firemen wear heavy protective gear. A high-flow mesh jacket on a 95º F. day will cook you like a convection oven. My present gear is MotoPort stretch Kevlar, but I don’t think the brand name is important for this purpose. My heavy First Gear Kilimanjaro jacket was a great year-round jacket too.

Your body has its’ own natural cooling system, that of perspiration, or sweat. Too much air flow will just blow the sweat away without allowing it to evaporate and cool your body. You want to allow a little air flow to come in through the sleeves and exit through the vents in the back. You’ll eventually find the right combination of sleeve opening and vent opening to make it work. I don’t worry about air flow through the pants as long as I can keep my head and my core cool.

As for keeping the head cool, wear a full-face helmet or a modular helmet with the shield down to keep the wind off your face and head. I have a bad habit of riding with my modular helmet open, but when it gets hot the face shield goes down. It really helps. I’ve also used and highly recommend a wicking helmet liner such as those by LD Comfort or Heat Out, etc.

Finally, if it is still too hot just add water. If possible soak the entire LD Comfort shirt and helmet liner, then cover up with the heavy textile gear. Allow just enough air flow to slowly evaporate the water, and you’ll stay cool for an hour or so. At least pour a little water down the sleeves so that the air coming in through the sleeves will be cooled and circulate around your core on the way out the back vents.

This method works FOR ME in both hot humid Southeast Texas and in hot and dry desert conditions. It is not as comfortable as riding in an air-conditioned car, but I still can ride my motorcycle fairly comfortably on long-distance rides in July and August.

Here is a link to the definitive document on staying cool in hot weather. This is from the IBA website, and explains the science behind why one should cover up in hot weather.

www.ironbutt.com/ibmagazine/ironbutt_1002_62-66_hot.pdf
 

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My thoughts exactly. It seems backwards to cover up with full textile gear over 93 degrees but the science behind it is solid and so is my experience. The under mirror wings on my GW funnel air right up the sleeves of my 1 pc Aerostich and out the center back vent. The rub is that if I’m bumbling along and in stop and go conditions there is not enough cooling air so sometimes I still pick out and wear a mesh 2 pc outfit for riding that day. On my fully faired bikes there isn't much air flow and almost no direct air flow to continously support the hyper dehydrating evaporative cooling of direct air flow across bare skin.The mesh material provides a shade of sorts and keeps direct sun and wind off. I still wear long sleeve wicking shirt and pants and underwear. It works for me.
 

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@Glockjock I have read that article several years back, and applied it to my rides here in Florida when it necessitates. When it really get Hot I will add my Veskimo vest and I'm a happy camper. Great info you shared!
 

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I lived in the Central Valley of CA, Fresno for over 50 yrs where summer temps would be over 100+* for 20-25 days in a row and you would see all the farm workers out in the fields all day long picking crops or tree fruit or grapes, etc and they were always covered from head to toe. I definitely learned something from them on how to dress in the summer heat.
 

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Yeppers 👍

Grampwinger (RIP) shared info on LDComfort with me a long time ago, and so did bubba1. I get some strange looks riding around dressed up with a long sleeve shirt on, but it makes a difference regarding comfort levels.
 

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Preach, Reverend Glen. Well said. Spread the good word. It is super important.

I'm constantly amazed at how many people are out there inflicting excess heat loads on themselves. The conventional wisdom of un-dressing for the heat is all wrong.

Cover up, hydrate, and evaporate.

Full coverage rules. However, I draw the line at wearing a Lawrence of Arabia man dress.
 

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ATGATT I wish I did this but I don't. Longer all day rides I wear a jacket. But shorter rides

I don't I have found out that loose lighter LONG SLEEVED t shirts keep the sun off your arms and help to cool you down
 
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Ok most of you guys know i do wear shorts in the summer for my long hauls, in fact i am leaving in the morning at 0500 hours to McAllen Tx to attend the funeral of the 2 officers that were murdered last week. I know your suppose to have gear on all the time but i just can't do it. I do wear wear Jock Glocks under wear LOL. I have cold wraps around my neck and keep my beer cold on the back seat. Im off on a 5 hour ride down to the valley. Flame suit on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok most of you guys know i do wear shorts in the summer for my long hauls, in fact i am leaving in the morning at 0500 hours to McAllen Tx to attend the funeral of the 2 officers that were murdered last week. I know your suppose to have gear on all the time but i just can't do it. I do wear wear Jock Glocks under wear LOL. I have cold wraps around my neck and keep my beer cold on the back seat. Im off on a 5 hour ride down to the valley. Flame suit on.
No flame suits Marvin. My intent was to give information to those who are actually looking for ways to keep cooler. You know what works for you already, and besides I know how hard-headed you are! :D :ROFLMAO: Thanks for going to McAllen to honor the two Officers. (I had to erase the sentence I wrote next because just in time I remembered that I would have had to send myself a nasty-gram as a Moderator). Anyway, good on you and all our Boys in Blue!

(BTW, now I know what happened to my other pair of LD Comfort underwear)

Glen
 

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Turns out thermal longjohns are very similar ie synthetic wicking material (for any skiers).

A few years back I rented a Harley Ultraglide in AustinTX and made it almost to Ozonal on a low volume highway (US 190) before dash lights started flashing. I pulled over and stupidly shutoff the engine to see what was wrong only to find the bike would not start. Somehow, got a cell signal and called the rental office who sent out a mechanic who told me about 5 hours for him to come. About 96 degrees and not a shade tree in sight. My thermal longjohns pack small and I heard Big Bend park can be cold at night so had them. Vultures started circling. Side of the road stripped off my riding clothes and put on the thermals and sat 5 hours: Helmet on, gloves on thermals on and thats it. Fortunately the thermals are dark grey. Mechanic has to split the casings to replace stator so another few hours.

Moral of the story: My thermals wick away the sweat so good for skiing but also keep you somewhat cool. I was perfectly OK except the one portion not protected was my chin (I had a SPF60 sunblock that I applied every hour but ....). Went to the hospital in Fort Stockton and they covered my chin. The rest of the trip was better except the gear shift fell off in the Alamo parking lot. Austin Harley refunded half my rental.
 

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I'll bet you don't leave home since then without those thermal longjohns or some type of chin protection.
I got stuck in Fort Stockton once in a rain, thunder, lighting storm like I had never seen in my lifetime.
 

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All great advice. I rode 200,000 miles or more around the country in hot weather in a T-shirt and thought you can't get any better than that, but felt rather "weathered" after a long hot day. 2008 or so I read about John Ryan ride from Deadhorse AK to Key West FL. I believe about 5600 miles in 3 1/2 days. John wore Aerostich Roadcrafter suit. I did likewise and find hot weather no longer a problem. Never was really, but I don't feel "weathered" after a long ride anymore. Last thing you want in hot weather is 110 degree air "cooling" you in a mesh whatever, T-shirt or the like.
 

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No flame suits Marvin. My intent was to give information to those who are actually looking for ways to keep cooler. You know what works for you already, and besides I know how hard-headed you are! :D :ROFLMAO: Thanks for going to McAllen to honor the two Officers. (I had to erase the sentence I wrote next because just in time I remembered that I would have had to send myself a nasty-gram as a Moderator). Anyway, good on you and all our Boys in Blue!

(BTW, now I know what happened to my other pair of LD Comfort underwear)

Glen
ANYONE KNOW WHY LD JUST MAKES THERE CLOTHES IN BLACK ? WHITE SUPPOSED TO BE COOLER .
 

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Email Mario and ask him.
 

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ANYONE KNOW WHY LD JUST MAKES THERE CLOTHES IN BLACK ? WHITE SUPPOSED TO BE COOLER .
Perhaps because nobody wants to look at white underwear after someone has ridden a long distance in them...?
 

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Turns out thermal longjohns are very similar ie synthetic wicking material (for any skiers).

A few years back I rented a Harley Ultraglide in AustinTX and made it almost to Ozonal on a low volume highway (US 190) before dash lights started flashing. I pulled over and stupidly shutoff the engine to see what was wrong only to find the bike would not start. Somehow, got a cell signal and called the rental office who sent out a mechanic who told me about 5 hours for him to come. About 96 degrees and not a shade tree in sight. My thermal longjohns pack small and I heard Big Bend park can be cold at night so had them. Vulturesw started circling. Side of the road stripped off my riding clothes and put on the thermals and sat 5 hours: Helmet on, gloves on thermals on and thats it. Fortunately the thermals are dark grey. Mechanic has to split the casings to replace stator so another few hours.

Moral of the story: My thermals wick away the sweat so good for skiing but also keep you somewhat cool. I was perfectly OK except the one portion not protected was my chin (I had a SPF60 sunblock that I applied every hour but ....). Went to the hospital in Fort Stockton and they covered my chin. The rest of the trip was better except the gear shift fell off.
I thought the moral of the story was Don't trust Harley's

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

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ANYONE KNOW WHY LD JUST MAKES THERE CLOTHES IN BLACK ? WHITE SUPPOSED TO BE COOLER .
John, Check the GHUnders line of clothing...right now, they're not doing much due to the pandemic, but similar wicking cloth in other styles and colors.
 
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