What do you wear underneath? - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1
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    Okay, I know it's a very personal question, but what do people wear underneath their textile jackets & trousers?

    Let me explain.

    I am no spring chicken to motorcycling having put the best part of a quarter of a million miles on assorted motorbikes between the late seventies to the late nineties, but the last motorcycle I rode any distance on was in 1997. Back then the best you got was a leather jacket and you wore a woolly jumper underneath. So, here I am, I've bought a new (to me) F800GT, a Gore-Tex Jacket/Trousers set, gloves, boots etc and itching to get back on to two wheels. My question is, what do people wear underneath their layers of Gore-Tex & zip out liners for a day out riding?

    If it helps, I’m also a cyclist. The finest Castelli & Rapha lycra festoon my wardrobe and I’m no shrinking violet when it come to cycling in the depth of a (UK) winter so a waterproof & lined Gore-Tex jacket is going feel like a luxury, but then again, the wind chill is far greater on a motorcycle.

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    So much for your answer, depends on the weather. So it is not an easy answer. I think I've ridden in temps from 16F to 116F for extended periods of time. So obviously, one solution doesn't fit all situations.

    I dress in layers. The other day, I went for an all day ride in temps much like you encounter in the UK. I put on double socks, long johns (32 Degree Heat) and electric heated jacket liner and gloves. The idea was to stay warm and comfortable whether I was stopped, or moving. Electric heated gear helps enormously for that, but you have to plan in case the heated gear fails. Because it has no insulation on its own.

    Summertime, it is the same idea. Layers. Emphasis is also on getting airflow.

    I wear "overpants". They seem to be a dying style, so I hope my Olympia Dakar pants last for years to come. Overpants allow you to wear the clothes you'd wear to work under your riding pants, so you don't have to find a private place to remove them. The Olympia Dakar pants are versatile enough that I can wear them in any situation.

    I encounter situations where in one day's ride, I'll go from sea level to mountain pass temperatures. So you need to plan for what works in all situations and bring that with you.

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    Ooh err Mrs. ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Sisko View Post

    If it helps, I’m also a cyclist. The finest Castelli & Rapha lycra festoon my wardrobe...
    Same principles mate, decent base layer, neck buffs etc... Wiggle / M&S are my friends.

    My current number one suit is a Motorrad StreetGuard which I'm guessing is similar to what you're talking about. (Good price if you buy at right time of year as well.) It's good for year round use in UK and not so bad for summer trips and best of all, being breathable as well as waterproof, no need to carry old fashioned "boil in bag" wet weather over suits when the weather turns Welsh.

    To suppliment the base layer in winter for long rides with brief turnarounds, it's a Merino 2nd layer. While long rides with longer turnarounds, say a couple of hours mid ride watching the rugby, I take something lighter as 2nd layer and a Keiss heated under jacket. (Keeps me comfortable while watching the game as well with out over heating.)







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  8. #4
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    Good answers already. My gear has a different name (I wear Aerostich) but same principle: layers and keep the wind out in winter, let the wind in during the warm summer. My 'Stich has great venting--I close the vents in the winter, open them in the summer--and is basically waterproof if I close it up correctly. My AD1 riding pants are, like Daboo's, really overpants and I wear regular jeans underneath them. For really cold rides I can put on a pair of thin long johns under the jeans. If you can spend some $$$, go for a proper pair of waterproof riding boots (I wear Sidi) and you can probably avoid having to wear extra socks. I hate for my feet and toes to feel all bundled up in several layers--just weird, I know. My personal biggest challenge in the cold is my hands, they seem to get too cold too quickly no matter what I wear. I have never, in 20+ years and 200,000+ miles, found a pair of winter gloves that work on a motorcycle for more than a couple hours, so I have to use electrics. Don't like 'em but they are necessary. Tip: don't waste time and money on battery-operated electric gloves. Work fine on the lawn tractor for an hour or so, but useless at motorcycle speeds and hours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Sisko View Post
    Okay, I know it's a very personal question, but what do people wear underneath their textile jackets & trousers?

    Let me explain.

    I am no spring chicken to motorcycling having put the best part of a quarter of a million miles on assorted motorbikes between the late seventies to the late nineties, but the last motorcycle I rode any distance on was in 1997. Back then the best you got was a leather jacket and you wore a woolly jumper underneath. So, here I am, I've bought a new (to me) F800GT, a Gore-Tex Jacket/Trousers set, gloves, boots etc and itching to get back on to two wheels. My question is, what do people wear underneath their layers of Gore-Tex & zip out liners for a day out riding?

    If it helps, I’m also a cyclist. The finest Castelli & Rapha lycra festoon my wardrobe and I’m no shrinking violet when it come to cycling in the depth of a (UK) winter so a waterproof & lined Gore-Tex jacket is going feel like a luxury, but then again, the wind chill is far greater on a motorcycle.
    Hi, I too am past my sell by date and in the UK. I'm sure you know how to look after yourself in our 'summers', but I feel the cold especially in my hands. So 'Lobster' gloves with electrically heated grips (which I presume you already have) and a pair of silk gloves underneath keep me toasty warm (I'd wear mitts, but they have gone out of fashion! Did you wear them?) I wear thermal socks in my Altberg Boots - the best! I've tried many motorcycle specific 'layers', but most of them demand much contortions when caught short - quite undignified. So I just wear an old pair of moleskin trousers. For my top I wear an Aldi Merino wool long sleeved top, plus a thin 'jerkin' and if cold add a jumper. All fit under my suit - I made sure it was big enough! I've used Sportbikeshop for many of my purchases as I find them very helpful with advice , good prices, and free returns/replacement if the wrong size with a very quick free delivery service. I've just bought a heated Keis powersport Jacket J501 with a free heat controller (essential!) from them and once I've connected the power lead to the battery I'm hoping for a clear, cold day to test it out. If you want I can send you my findings, but don't hold your breath as trying to stop my wife from over exerting herself by anticipating the next admin task and beating her to do it - which means I'm learning to be a housewife, and it is time consuming!

    Oh and if it is over 20 years since you've ridden, can I recommend you see if there is a Bikesafe course that runs near you? And I found IAM's (now IAM Roadsmart) advanced riding course well worth while. Although I used to be an advanced instructor with Star Riders, I learnt a lot and enjoy my riding more. Of course things are topsy turvy at the moment, but one day..... Take care and ENJOY!

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    Summer time; Shirt & shorts. That's plenty warm enough still!
    Spring/Autumn: Jeans, Shirt & Microfleece layer
    Winter: Same as spring/Autumn + base layers. Thick walking socks.

    Being on a GT with the full fairings and screen wind you're nicely protected by most the wind. It's the extremities to worry about - fingers & toes. Good socks & good gloves (i sometimes wear inner silk gloves to help) are good for keeping these warm.

    Layers are good, but you still need to keep your mobility too. Wearing the right layers to keep you warm, or cool is key. It's always best to have a layer too many on you can remove, rather than a layer to little and you feel the chill. Or simply chuck it in the luggage just incase . . .
    BMW F800ST, 2010, Black, Fuzeblock, Sat Nav, BMW Tank Bag, Givi Touring Screen, Spotlights, 50K Miles 

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  14. #7
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    I haven't switched to heated gear yet, so I keep it simple. Warm weather something like a Patagonia silk weight long underwear bottom and long sleeve upper (both black) and Bohn shorts. Cold weather is Smartwool long underwear bottom and long sleeve upper shirt (both black) with Bohn shorts. I tend to use black, because when I get to the campground I can pull off the riding gear and slip on some light cargo pants for setting up the tent without drawing much attention. OR as in a couple cases, while I sit in a laundromat waiting for my gear to dry, folks weren't quite sure if I was walking around in my underwear. When you are soaked to the bone ya do what ya have ta do! I also slipped a $20 bill under the back maintenance door because I had the heat cranked while I was drying out... fun days.

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    I'm with Royce, the Aerostitch stuff is great. Having a bit of acceptance to the miserable in the weather can help too. I've ridden, like Daboo in a wide range of similar temps. Once dressed and off on the ride I simply put up with what is. Turn the electric grips on and off as needed and the jacket too. Currently I'm wearing a Helite airbag jacket. Not quite as roomy as the Aerostich but is safer with the airbag. I tested my Gerbing heated jacket and grips last week on a mountain ride. They still work, yay.
    As for under the over pants, I use nylon convertible pants from REI. If it's really cold I have silk longies from REI. They have silk glove liners that can help too. For shirts i use long sleeve cotton rally shirts I've collected over the years. I used to use turtle neck shirts but they kinda wore out. Unfurling the turtle neck and putting material under the helmet strap made the cold weather less challenging. I've got a neck gaiter I use now for nasty cold. Or I also have a balaclava.

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    RobA is offline F800Riders.org Supporter
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    Hi F800 Friends. Having tried most things, I believe that Merino Wool is your friend. And the purer you can buy it, ie 100 per cent rather than a mix with Lycra, etc, the better. Use it for both t-shirts and Long Johns. Long Johns in winter only. Then a Merino Wool mid layer. If you are in the UK I use EDZ gear, based in the Lake District. You can usually buy different weights, ie 160g, best in summer, and 200g for winter. Keeps you cool and keeps you warm, and has the added benefit of not smelliing if you have to wear it for a number of days. Rob.

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    Another well seasoned cyclist here and I use the same base layers on both types of 'bikes'. Lightweight transfer materials for hot weather and then ramp up thermal and wind stopping properties for cold. I haven't had to use any heated gear aside from gloves yet and have been out in temps right around freezing, but not for more than an hour or two.
    My current go-to brand of cycling clothing is actually made by Gore under the Gore Wear name and it's proven to be some of the best kit I've used yet. If you regularly ride in wet weather on a bicycle, you would be hard pressed to find a better jacket than the ShakeDry they came out with 4 or so years back. I've got two and they are damn comfortable for a fully waterproof solution.

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    A full light weight heated jacket liner under your main jacket makes every day a warm & cozy summer day,,.
    We get some late summer/fall weather where it gets down into the high 30 degrees f at night and this can linger throughout the morning especially at altitude only to hit 80 degrees in the afternoon so you pop the liner into your top box and open your vents,,. I've found it quite comfortable with these wide swings in Temp and recently rode all morning at 35 & 40 degrees,,. It sure beats being stuffed into multiple layers so you can barely move,,!!

  20. #12
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    Hi All, And thanks for all your replies. You've all said pretty much the same thing (electric vest aside), layer up and keep to natural fabrics. I don't have a problem with that and it matches what I do with my cycling kit, it just feels kind of weird going out without a pair of trousers on. That said I wear Lycra for cycling with nothing on undernether so some people might already call me weird (or perverted / have no shame). I've also taken Rev Ken's advise and booked an IAM Advanced Mortorcyclist course.

    Thanks for all your replied and keep safe in these troubled times.

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    I too am an over the hill cyclist, and just addressing the underneath part - if I'm going to be riding for longer than an hour I'll put on my cycling shorts - Castelli, Pearl Izumi, etc. Can't beat the comfort.

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    I’m on my third ‘Stich, Roadcrafters in ‘88 and ‘02, waiting on the correct size Darien jacket... I used their sizing tool, but since I’m 5’10” with small shoulders, rib cage, and waist but big... ahem, sorry, we’re talking about under layers for winter, weren’t we? Bottoms, I wear Irideon stretch fleece equestrian breeches, and one pair of heavy motorcross socks under my Sidi Adventures. Tops, a thin cotton T-shirt under a Hot Chillys hooded zip base layer (with long thumb-hole sleeves) that’s almost like a balaclava under my helmet. . . And over that, my well-patched twenty-year-old Gerbing’s jacket liner. I got an Eclipse electric vest in 1985 and never looked back. . . during the long New Hampshire winters, I would drape it over the car seat and plug it into the cigarette lighter.
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    Why are you asking?
    You already know what to wear.
    I wear layers mostly street clothes under my riding suit and some waterproof insulated boots no front zipper. I'm 74 yoa and a rider since the 60's. It's not rocket science dry and warm, are the clues to a satisfactory ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by patersdj View Post
    Why are you asking?
    Second paragraph of the OP looks to be your answer.

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