How Warm Should It Be to Ride a Motorcycle?
With the approach of the motorcycle season, many riders will start wondering when it is the best time to take their motorcycles out for a ride.
Seasoned riders will usually have a good idea when the temperatures are just right.
However, beginners may not be too sure and will possibly not want to risk taking their motorcycle out of storage just to realize it is not warm enough.
How warm should it be to ride a motorcycle? Most motorcycle riders find that it should be at least 25°F in order to ride their motorcycle comfortably, granted the roads are dry; otherwise, it should be at least 35°F. Warm weather between 60°F and 80°F is usually the best for riding a motorcycle, and temperatures above 110°F are usually too warm.
Since motorcycle riders are constantly exposed to the outside environment, the ambient temperature outside and the weather conditions are a lot more important to them compared to car drivers.
With that being said, you will find information about what temperature ranges most motorcycle riders find enjoyable as well as some other interesting information. So let’s take a look.
What is the ideal motorcycle riding temperature?
The ideal motorcycle riding temperature according to most motorcyclists is between 60°F and 80°F. Riding a motorcycle at temperatures between 60°F and 80°F is usually more enjoyable, comfortable and allows for the best experience, while wearing appropriate motorcycle gear.
The temperature ranges people will find most comfortable will vary. Some may enjoy riding at temperatures as low as 40°F, while others will find even 50°F to be too cold.
On the other hand, some riders will not mind riding in temperatures as high as 100°F, while to some, even 90°F will be too warm.
So generally speaking, temperatures between 40°F and 80°F are considered good temperatures for motorcycling, with 70°F arguably being the best temperature where most motorcyclists will feel most comfortable.
The temperature outside will have a say on what gear riders wear. Below 50°F, some riders will simply feel the need to wear their winter gear, which most find not as comfortable and enjoyable as their summer gear. And the quality of the gear will also affect how bearable the different temperatures will be.
Humidity also has a big say in when it will feel warm enough to ride a motorcycle or, alternatively, too warm.
Usually, most people will find humidity levels of 55 or less comfortable. At humidity levels of around 75, riding a motorcycle can start becoming a very unpleasant experience. Even brief stops at red lights, for example, can get very uncomfortable. While riding, depending on the ambient temperature outside, riders can feel a little more comfortable, but sweating can still be a problem.
As the humidity reaches 100, the air’s moisture can become a little too oppressive for most people—especially when combined with extremely warm weather.
How cold is too cold to ride a motorcycle?
Now let’s take a look at the other end of the spectrum, namely, how cold is too cold to ride a motorcycle.
Especially when there are many year-round riders that do not worry too much about the actual temperatures. Of course, that is highly dependent on the actual weather and climate conditions where they live.
Most motorcyclists find temperatures between 39°F to 25°F to be too cold for riding a motorcycle. Some motorcyclists have ridden in temperatures as low as 10°F, however, at temperatures so cold, it is necessary to wear proper winter gear.
That being said, some people will stop riding at temperatures below 35°F if the roads are not dry and there is a risk of rain, snow, or ice.
Cold temperatures are not only uncomfortable for riding a motorcycle but also dangerous. As the temperatures get low, motorcycle tires will harden, making them less sticky, and they can easily lose traction with the road.
How warm is too warm to ride a motorcycle?
The next question many of you may have is when most people would consider the weather to be too warm for riding.
Most motorcyclists find temperatures between 90°F to 110°F to be uncomfortably warm while riding a motorcycle. Temperatures of upwards of 110°F are usually considered too warm to ride a motorcycle even if the rider is wearing appropriate gear.
Of course, what temperature will be too warm for each rider is highly individual and can vary a little from person to person.
That being said, wearing gear designed for riding in hot weather can help riders feel more comfortable even during the summer when temperatures can get really high. Wearing summer gear while riding at temperatures between 80°F and 120°F can be made reasonably comfortable for the rider.
If the temperatures are very high, even riding at faster speeds will not help cool you off; on the contrary, it will actually end up making you hotter.
Is riding a motorcycle in warm weather bad?
Riding a motorcycle in warm weather is not necessarily bad when the appropriate safety measures have been taken.
Riding at temperatures over 95°F will result in the wind actually warming you up instead of cooling you down. At these temperatures, riders need to wear appropriate summer gear that will protect them from the extreme heat.
Wearing an evaporative cooling vest, evaporative cooling neck wrap, mesh gear, or base layer that is capable of wicking moisture and sweat is something you may need to consider before getting on your motorcycle.
Read next: Do motorcycle cooling vests work?
If you live in an area where there is both high temperatures and high humidity, staying cool can be nearly impossible.
In these cases, it may be recommended to simply postpone riding your motorcycle in order to avoid the hottest part of the day.
In any case, making sure you stay hydrated is a priority number one as dehydration can happen quickly. Dehydration is extremely dangerous. It is not just a health hazard, but it can also affect your reaction time and decision-making, among other things. Heatstrokes are also a possibility and should not be underestimated.
It is recommended to also take more frequent breaks than you normally would, even if you do not feel tired.
Extreme heat is also bad for the motorcycle. Although it is normal for the motorcycle engine to get hot, it can easily overheat if the motorcycle is used in the summer, in direct sunlight.
Motorcycle riding temperature chart
When it comes to considering how warm it should be for you to start riding your motorcycle, often people will talk about the windchill factor. Or how warm/cold it will feel riding your motorcycle at different speeds at different temperatures.
Take a look at this motorcycle riding temperature chart.
Windchill is normally calculated for outside temperatures of up to 50°F, and the wind chill factor is always a lower number. You can see that if the outside temperature is 50°F and you are riding at 50 mph, the temperature to you will feel more like 40°F.
That being said, windchill is not a good measurement to use as there are a lot of different factors that will determine how you will feel while riding your motorcycle.
On top of that, it was developed as a way of assessing the risk of frostbite and not necessarily how cold or warm you will feel.
For example, if the temperature is 45°F and the windchill is 32°F (when riding at 55 mph), this means that you have the same risk of frostbite as you would have at 32°F at idle or 0 mph.
Overall this is a somewhat flawed metric that does not necessarily correspond to reality. Things can get even trickier when it comes to warmer weather because once the temperatures get around 100°F, the wind actually is so hot that it ends up warming up your body.