When it gets really hot, riding becomes harder, no? Since we test motorcycles round the year in all manner of conditions, we've found ways to beat the heat. The fact that we primarily test around Bangkok, which adds intense humidity to the heat just makes us better at it. Here's how to stay cool in five easy steps – some of the steps are free!
If you're riding around in waterproof gear, it can get very bad. The actual solution is to have two sets of gear. You can get away with two jackets and one pant. A mesh or heavily vented jacket can make all the difference. Mesh works well enough in crashes – we speak from personal experience – and it is literally as cool as wearing a T-shirt. But if mesh scares you, get a heavily vented jacket instead. Vented pants help but the legs don't notice ambient heat quite as much.
Eliminate cotton. While cotton is great for our weather, it's not good on the motorcycle when worn under gear. Once sweat soaks it, cotton becomes heavy, sticky and it doesn't dry fast. You'll feel itchy and nasty. The solution is a synthetic base layer or two. Once I switched, I find it very hard to wear anything else. A good base layer sticks to your skin and any sweat is immediately pulled off the skin and rapidly spread over a large area of the base layer. This promotes evaporation and cooling. You end up not feeling itchy even hours later and the light, skin-tight fit actually feels great in the heat. Base layers are, however, expensive. Look for cheaper T-shirts from sport brands that promise wicking properties to get similar results. The base layer works for the legs too. If you're going to be on the motorcycle the whole time, you might want to wear the base layers only under the gear nothing else is needed.