Tips for Staying Cool While Riding this Summer

While some of us revel at the thought of ripping up a country road with the sun beating down on our backs, some of us cringe at the thought of warmer weather. We want you to enjoy your motorcycle season for as long as possible. If you cut it short by avoiding the hot days (or months in our case), you will be missing out on some serious road time.

Some of you may be thinking to yourselves that you know how to keep cool while riding—shorts, a t-shirt, and sandals. Sure that sounds refreshing now, but think about how terrible you’ll feel if you get in an accident and don’t have your protective gear on to save your skin!

Thankfully we’ve come up with some tips and tricks to help keep you cool all summer long, not to mention the innovative motorcycle riding gear Harley-Davidson® has created this year to help summer riders withstand the heat.

Wear a Base Layer

You would think that wearing less clothing would mean you would feel less hot; just throw your riding jacket on with no shirt underneath and you’re good to go.

In fact, the exact opposite is the truth.

Wearing a lightweight cotton shirt underneath your riding jacket will act as a water-wicking barrier between your sweaty skin and your leather jacket. If you are looking for an excuse to buy more Harley-Davidson® clothes, our Black Label line has a huge selection of cotton shirts and tanks that will fit comfortably under all riding jackets.

Harley-Davidson Summer Black Label Clothing

Put Your Base Layer in the Freezer

About 3 hours before you are planning on going for your ride, try putting the clothing you are planning on wearing under your riding gear in the freezer. This will cool down your clothes to keep you feeling fresh while you ride. It will also cool down the inside of your riding jacket, which will delay the inevitable heat that will slowly make it’s way in over time.

Do some at-home experiments and test how different lengths of time in the freezer affect your clothes. Maybe thinner shirts only need a quick, half-hour blast. Maybe thicker shirts need to be left in overnight to fully cool.

Another helpful tip for this trick is to put your clothes in a freezer bag first. I’m not saying your freezer is filled with meat and other perishables that should have been thrown out years ago, but unless you want your clothes to take on a freezer-food smell, it’s recommended that you put everything in a freezer bag.

Keep Your Hands Covered

Harley-Davidson Fingerless Gloves

If you have chrome handlebars on your motorcycle, they will heat up fast when they are exposed to direct sunlight. Trying to get a good grip on your handlebars while simultaneously burning your hands is a recipe for disaster. Wear gloves!

Whether they are full leather, mesh, or finger-less gloves, your hands will thank you for keeping them covered. Not only will you be avoiding the chrome-on-skin contact that could be uncomfortable while riding, but you will also be preventing your hands from being sunburned.

Cover as Much Skin as Possible

Think about it for a second. The more of your skin that is exposed to the sun, the greater risk you have of being sunburned, and therefore, feeling hotter. The more of your skin that is covered and protected from the sun, the less direct sun you will feel on your skin, which will result in feeling cooler.

Harley-Davidson Triple Vent Jackets

We aren’t suggesting that you waltz out into 35° C weather wearing a parka, two pairs of pants, and wool socks. Wear a loose shirt under a Harley-Davidson® Mesh Jacket and reinforced riding jeans. Slip into a Harley-Davidson® Triple-Vent Riding Jacket and pair it with a Harley-Davidson® Vented Polo for maximum air-flow.

Harley-Davidson® thought ahead for us and designed a variety of practical riding gear options for the hot summer days ahead. If you visit any of our Barnes HD store locations, one of our Motorclothes Associates will be happy to help find you a new motorcycle riding outfit to help keep you cool this summer.

Combine a Damp Shirt with a Triple Vent Jacket

Layering a Harley-Davidson® Triple Vent Jacket with a slightly dampened shirt will help to create an evaporative-cooling affect. This means that as the air passes through the vents in the jacket and over your damp shirt, it will turn the hot surrounding air into cool, moist air.

Harley-Davidson Riding Gear

It doesn’t get more refreshing than this! To stay extra cool, soak your shirt in cold water rather than lukewarm water before letting it dry slightly. A damp shirt is better than a soaking wet shirt (most of the time).

Dress in Layers

If you are going on a day-trip, or even a weekend-trip, out on your bike, it’s important to not focus solely on the highest temperature that will occur that day. Temperatures fluctuate. What you wear during the middle of the afternoon might not be enough to keep you warm if you’re riding at night or early the next morning.

It’s important to think ahead. Dress in layers or even pack an extra sweater with you in case of cooler temperatures. You might feel silly grabbing a Harley-Davidson® hoodie when it’s almost 40° C outside, but you’ll be thankful when you are riding through a windy canyon after the sun has set.

Harley-Davidson Vented Jackets

Stay Hydrated!

While this tip doesn’t have anything to do with what you can wear or bring with you on a ride, it certainly is one of the most important tips we can think of to help keep you cool this summer. Dehydration and heat stroke are no laughing matter. Staying hydrated throughout your ride will help you in the long-run. Drinking cool water will help to keep your internal body temperature low, offsetting the risk of developing heat stroke from the summer sun.


Riding your Harley-Davidson® in the summer doesn’t have to be bittersweet. With the huge selection of Mesh Clothing and Triple Vent riding gear, it’s easy to stay cool while riding this summer! If you have any questions about any of our summer riding gear, give your nearest Barnes HD store location a call and someone will be happy to help you.

What are your favourite tips and tricks to keep cool while riding your motorcycle during the summer? Let us know in the comments below!

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