We all know that it’s a good idea to protect our bodies with extra layers when we ride a bike, but the degree to which we do this and how it can affect other areas of performance is all about personal choice and compromise.
For both Rob and I in Argentina our main concerns were about the level of physical exertion we would have to endure day after day in temperatures as high as +40 degrees and as alow as -5 (and at altitude). Both of us have desk jobs and are not used to extreme temperatures so although we try to keep ourselves riding fit ultimately we need all the help we can get to stay protected, and comfortable if we are spending up to 14 hours a day off road on a bike in such extreme environments.
Modern motorcycle clothing is impressive stuff and since the early days when Adventure Spec was called upon to provide significant input into early prototype (and production versions) of some iconic adventure clothing brands like Klim we have been fortunate to see some great clothing pieces (you’ll see us wearing some of them in this series).
Most modern adventure motorcycle clothing pieces include armour in an external waterproof shell, which is a great solution for more moderate temperature ranges (-5 to +30), but for true flexibility and protection in extreme environments both Rob and I chose a different ADV Layering system for this trip.
We started with a cooling armoured Base Layer:
This provided close body impact protection in a super flexible soft shell meaning that if necessary we could ride just a single layer of wicking clothing with close impact protection (the best possible option in extreme heat). A great solution, superb for dissipating the heat of a hard working body in high temps, washable daily (whilst riding to aid cooling if you can find water), and super fast drying to aid comfort. These base layers also keep the armour close to your body and relatively tightly fitted meaning that in the event of an accident you are less likely to find your back protector twisted around and wedged up your left nostril!
Then we added Mid Layers:
These are fully independent layers just used to keep us warm when it’s cold. Because they are not part of any other layer (i.e.. They are not armoured or abrasion resistant) they are super soft and can be used both on the bike as a mid layer and off the bike at night during really cold camps or inside your sleeping bag to occasionally boost it’s performance should that be needed (for instance...in a forced 4500m bivvy).
Finally, We add a Shell:
Our lightweight shells will look after water and wind protection and also add a good level of abrasion resistance. We can use it without any mid layer if we want up to impressively high temperatures (30 degrees +) if we vent them and ultimately have the option to remove them altogether without losing our impact resistance if we need to.
This ADV Layering option is (in our opinion born from years of expedition riding) the most versatile and safe system available to make sure we stay safe in the widest range of riding temperatures, conditions and terrains.