The winter season often poses numerous challenges for those looking to ride their motorcycle. Keeping yourself warm and comfortable is one of the main obstacles you will have to overcome. The knee is one of the most sensitive parts that can get cold and start hurting if you do not keep warm.
So, how do you keep your knees warm on a motorcycle? The best way to keep your knees warm on a motorcycle is wearing a knee warmer under your riding pants, or use knee heating pads that come with batteries if the temperature is too cold. Knee protection pads or thermal clothes can also be placed underneath the riding pants.
My love for riding motivated me to go on rides during the winter even when conditions were not the most favorable. Despite wearing thermal protection against the cold, I soon felt my knees getting cold. It eventually led to some pain, which caused a lot of discomfort over the long ride.
On discussing this with a few other motorcycle enthusiasts, I realized that this pain was caused because of the knee getting cold. The reduced blood flow and stress due to pedal application made this a noticeable issue for me.
In this article, I have explained a few steps you can take if you want to keep your knees warm during cold riding conditions. I have also recommended a few products that offer a comfortable experience and good value for money.
Read on as I discuss riding in the winter and its associated risks. I have also given a few tips from personal experience that will help you stay safe. I hope that this article helps you keep your knees warm and comfortable, ensuring you enjoy your motorcycle ride while staying safe.
Use Knee Warmers
Knee warmers are a simple way to trap the heat emitted by the skin, allowing the knee joint to be warmer for longer periods of time. They are made of materials like cotton and cashmere, which are blended with elastic fibers to improve flexibility and range of movement.
One such knee warmer that worked well for me was the Senior ICare Knee Warmers. This product, which is made in Japan, offers great heat insulation to the rider while ensuring you remain comfortable while riding.
It is made of high-quality cotton that is mixed with acrylic to allow flexibility while moving the knee. Binchotan charcoal, used in a number of medical products in Japan, is interwoven within the fiber.
It emits infrared rays that enhance blood circulation and keep your knee warm. The charcoal can also absorb bacteria, acting as a deodorizer and preventing sweat accumulation.
This product comes in a single size that fits all. Riders need not be worried about wearing pants and riding gear on top as the material is not too thick. Since it is best suited for stable position usages such as sleeping and sitting, it works well for riders looking to go on long winter rides.
Use Knee Heating Pads
Knee heating pads differ from normal warmers by having an active source of heat that keeps the knee warm. The heating element is powered by a compact rechargeable battery which allows you to use it for extended periods of time.
Knee heating pads are a great option for those looking to have control over the temperature settings of their knee warmers. However, they are bulky and on the heavier side because of the battery pack.
As a result, you will feel its presence which can create some riding issues, especially if you are looking to corner at high speeds. But it can help you in keeping your knees warm and cozy while riding on straight roads.
I am using this Aroma Season Knee Heating Pad, this is a great product to consider if you are looking for active ways to keep your knee warm. It is made of polyester fabric which holds the heating element and 3000 mAh rechargeable battery. It is then fastened to the knees with velcro straps.
This heating pad has three temperature settings to choose from, ranging between 104°F and 140°F. This allows you to keep your knees warm even if temperatures go below freezing.
The heating element automatically shuts down after an hour to prevent overheating and protecting the skin from burns. The breathable polyester fabric prevents sweat accumulation and ensures rider comfort for longer periods.
Wear Knee Pads under Riding Pants
Knee pads are commonly used by riders as part of their safety gear. They protect the rider’s knee from impacts and abrasions in case of an accident or while cornering at high speeds.
However, with advances in modern technology, a number of brands have been able to offer thermal insulation to improve the rider’s comfort. Usage of materials like EVA foam and multi-gel layers help trap heat and keep the knee warm as a result.
Knee pads increase the number of options a rider can have to keep their warm. They can use knee socks or warmers under the pad, which will be more secure in such situations. The adjustable straps also ensure you have complete control over how tight you want the pad to be to your knee. This ensures the rider is comfortable without having to sacrifice safety.
— Also read: How to keep your Face Warm on a Motorcycle?
If you don’t have a knee pad then you can try this, it is a budget-friendly option it offers good heat insulation are the NoCry Professional Knee Pads. It is made of durable EVA foam and a gel cushion core that ensures an ergonomic fit around the knee.
The neoprene straps with velcro ensure a secure fit while allowing you to accommodate thermal materials easily. It also holds the pads firmly to the knee, improving riding stability and cornering ability. It also has a 600D polyester mesh that allows the knees to breathe, preventing the accumulation of sweat that might result in odor and discomfort.
Wear Thermal Pants
Wearing thermal pants is the most common solution that riders use while riding during the winter. It helps keep the lower part of the body warm, including the knees. They are not too thick and do not restrict the blood flow as they are made of elastic materials.
However, thermal pants are not the most breathable material, which may lead to sweat accumulation at times. Another option is to wear riding pants made of thicker materials, which offer improved heat insulation but reduced rider comfort. This can have an adverse impact, especially on longer rides.
If you are leaning towards the idea of riding with thermal pants, you can consider Thermajohn Men’s Ultra Soft Thermal Underwear. I have been using it for a very long time and I am very happy about it.
— Also read: How to Keep your Feet Warm on a Motorcycle? (6 Tips)
It is made of poly-spandex material that is elastic in nature, it offers good heat insulation and moisture absorption. This will keep you warm and dry, reducing body odor and increasing your comfort during long rides.
This thermal innerwear has a fly/pee hole allowing you to answer nature’s call without having to remove it completely. The thin material also allows you to wear riding pants and other gear without feeling too much discomfort in the process.
Does Cold Weather Affect Joints?
Cold weather can result in pain and sensitivity at the joints. This is because of the fall in temperature as well as barometric pressure. This results in a drop in body temperature. To counteract this effect, the body redirects blood flow towards internal organs that produce heat like the heart, lungs, and organs in the abdominal region.
As a result, the joints like the knees and elbows tend to receive less blood than usual. This leads to sensitive nerve endings and constricted blood vessels, which can cause pain as a result.
Riders can feel this pain, especially in their knees because it is a weight-carrying joint. The knee also experiences constant pressure applied by the rider either while applying the pedals or resting their foot against the footpegs.
If you are looking to avoid the pain caused in your joints due to the weather, here are a few tips that you can keep in mind.
- Properly warm-up before your ride to enhance blood flow
- Wear thermal wear designed to keep joints warm
- After completing a ride, do some stretches to ensure the muscles are not tightened
Is it Safe to Ride a Motorcycle in Cold Weather?
Riding a motorcycle in winter is safe in certain conditions. The temperatures must not go below freezing (0℃ or 32℉). The water on the road tends to freeze up in such conditions. As a result, it can lead to slippery roads and lower traction while riding. Riders may also encounter fog in the early part of the day, which could lead to reduced visibility.
You may encounter issues like cold starts and wind chills which can cause some inconvenience to the rider but do not have an adverse impact on their safety. You may also have to wear thermal wear and additional layers of clothing to keep you warm, which can be uncomfortable over long road trips.
Important Things to Take Care while Riding in Winter
There are a few things that one must definitely keep in mind while riding a motorcycle in the winter season. It is essential that you take these steps to ensure that you are safe and the motorcycle is ready to tackle the less than favorable weather conditions.
- Prepare the motorcycle for the cold
Motorcycles like to be operated in warm conditions, as most systems operate favorably in such situations. In the winter, the performance is less than optimum. As a result, riders must service their motorcycle and complete a few important procedures to make it ready for winter riding conditions.
The most common procedure is changing the tires on your ride to improve the traction when riding on slippery roads. Adding antifreeze to the coolant and changing engine oil improves the efficiency of the engine and allows the bike to start smoothly even in the cold.
It is important to check the health of the battery and ensure the liquid within has not frozen due to the weather.
- Train yourself to ride on wet and cold roads
Practice cornering and maintaining your balance on wet and cold roads. If you are new to riding or have recently purchased a new motorcycle, do not ride too fast as your inexperience can lead to an accident. Features like traction control and anti-lock braking system (ABS) help improve rider safety in such conditions.
- Wear appropriate riding gear
Ensure that you are wearing all the required riding gear while riding in winter. Helmets must be installed with anti-fog visors to ensure you have a clear sight of the road at all points of time during the ride.
Wear riding gloves and jackets to keep your body and hands warm, while protecting them from impacts and accidents.
- Keep a track of the weather
Plan your trip before you undertake it. Before you set out for the day, get the local weather update to help you take the most favorable route. Be alert for road closures due to freezing and avoid snowstorms and other adverse weather conditions.
Doing so will allow you to stay safe and enjoy your ride. If you are looking for more tips and information regarding riding in the winter, do read this detailed article we have made about is it safe to ride a motorcycle in winter?