Fall weather always proves interesting for most areas of the country because you have cool mornings that requires some extra clothing but then warm afternoons that might call for shorts - a much easier planning task when preparing for a casual day but not so much when riding motorcycles.
Sixty degrees and riding feels pretty frigid but wearing the same line of riding gear when the mercury pushes past 80 doesn't work so great on a motorcycle. More extreme cases can start you out in the 50s and send you home in the high 90s. So, you have to prepare and layer appropriately so you can stay warm on your ride in the morning and enjoy the afternoon sun later.
You have two options, well actually three, when dressing in the appropriate motorcycle gear for fall weather. You can do nothing and just wear your normal gear and either handle the cold or deal with the warm. We can attest that gets old after a while and you can probably expect to eventually take us up on the other two suggestions.
Fall Motorcycle Riding Gear
Manufacturers don't exactly make motorcycle riding gear specifically to address fall weather however, a number of companies have functional riding gear that keeps you warm in colder weather but also breathes once the sun comes out to prevent overheating. The focus on adaptable riding gear rests mostly on your upper body which gets the brunt of the air but wearing the right a pair of riding pants also helps avoid an unnecessary wardrobe change.
Use a motorcycle jacket that has an internal, removable waterproof liner that adds extra insulation for brisk mornings and removes easily for the warmer afternoons. The jacket still has venting and breathes preventing an uncomfortable ride home.
Motorcycle jacket with waterproof liner
In areas that rain a lot, try a jacket with an insulated removable liner and a laminate waterproof shell or made using Gore-Tex. So why not just wear a jacket with the waterproof liner? Jackets with a waterproof liner tend to soak up all the water and can add as much as 20 pounds to your riding weight so you need the waterproof shell.
Check out all jackets with a removable thermal liner.
Vests offer a great compromise to keep you warm in the morning and cool in the afternoon. Riding vests compliment your regular riding jacket by adding extra insulation for cold mornings and depending on the afternoon temperature you can stick with just the vest or jacket. Leave your fresh new hoody or casual jacket at home and grab gear made for the road. Vests don't work so well if it rains so keep that in mind when planning.
Check out all riding vests.
Leather pants on cold mornings sure sounds good but not so much when it gets hot. Stick with textile or mesh pants that fit over your casual wear and offer an extra layer for the cold but ventilation for the ride home. You can also go the removable waterproof inner liner route for extra insulation on cold mornings. Vented riding jeans also work quite well to address the various changes in temperature.
Vented Motorcycle Jeans
Like with the jackets, if you ride in rainy areas you want some type of laminate or Gore-Tex pants that repel water and keep you dry. This type of material, however, does not breathe as well as other material so check weather patterns before heading out. You might find it just as easy to add a packable rain suit as an emergency and stick with the textile or mesh pants.
Check out all motorcycle riding pants.
If the forecast calls for rain waterproof gloves become your best friend. Some even come with a "wiper blade" to sweep away water off your helmet shield. Waterproof gloves come in different types so you can get the encompassing gauntlet gloves for colder days or the minimalist short gloves that keep you dry without the extra layer.
Check out all waterproof riding gloves.
After months of riding in the warm summer sun you will notice something annoying crop up inside your helmet when temperatures begin to fall. Fog. You can't ride with a fogged up helmet, or at least you shouldn't and a Pinlock visor prevents this from happening. Sprays usually work and opening your visor for some air can help too but riders who install a Pinlock visor wonder why they didn't do it sooner.
Check out Pinlock shields and inserts.
Layering Your Motorcycle Gear
The other option rests with layering your gear much like you do normal clothing. You start heavy to handle the cold and then shed some gear as the temperature rises without losing valuable protection. Obviously the one drawback to layering comes with the need to store the extra gear, a pretty easy fix with a backpack or luggage compartment, but this way you get a complete closet of gear to address year-round weather.
Balaclava or Neck Warmer
A balaclava covers your head and neck from biting cold wind and takes little room in your bag later when you no longer need it. When the cold sticks around for the long haul pull this out of your gear closet for all-day riding.
Some riders prefer a neck gaiter or warmer instead of the balaclava because it doesn't fit over the head and bunch up in the helmet. The helmet already helps with insulation so a neck gaiter keeps your neck warm and easily transports in a backpack when no longer needed.
Check out balaclavas and neck warmers.
Motorcycle Base Layers and Liners
We carry a wide a selection of bottoms and tops that serve as insulation underneath your regular protective gear. Adding a base layer of pants and/or shirt keeps you warm but with breathability to prevent you from overheating. Fold them up and pop them in your backpack for the ride home.
Check out all base layers and liners for riding.
Motorcycle Rain Suit
Motorcycle Waterproof Suit
You could say a waterproof suit works as the standard in layering. A suit covers you from neck to boots which you can easily slip into when needed. Despite their range, these waterproof suits roll up quite small and fit in your backpack or side luggage with no problem.
Check out motorcycle waterproof suits.
Fall usually brings a wide change in temperature and weather. Some days feels like winter has already arrived others hang on to summer. Rain might happen, might not - don't even bother with today's forecasters. So just as in the technical aspects of riding, always go prepared.