Fun in the sun: Tips for riding your motorbike in hot weather

Riding a motorbike in hot weather
Riding a motorbike in hot weather

Right from when we learn to ride a motorbike, it’s long days of cruising in the sunshine or hot, sticky trackdays or quick blasts to the coast in the hot weather that we imagine and look forward to.

Even for seasoned and experienced bikers, it’s more tempting than ever to get the bike out of the garage and rack-up some miles. when the sun comes out.

Riding in hot weather is great but you and your bike need to be prepared. This is especially important if you haven’t had your pride and joy out for a while.

On track at Donington Park in the sun

Most of the same advice you would take in general also applies when riding in hot weather; stay hydrated, take breaks, cover your skin or apply sun cream to exposed areas.

If you’re likely to be spending long spells away from civilisation, you will need to carry your own water. Being dehydrated will affect your ability to concentrate and that’s not a good thing on a motorbike. In extreme cases, failing to look after yourself could even lead to heatstroke, so be sensible.

Here’s MCN’s hot weather riding checklist to make sure you get the most from the summer.

Top tips for riding in hot weather

Inspect your tyres

Motorcycle tyres go through a lot whatever the weather but when the temperatures soar, your rubber can really suffer. When the tarmac gets hot, so do your tyres, which makes it crucial that your tyres have the correct pressures.

If you don’t have a pressure gauge at home just pop round to your local fuel station and use their compressor.

Also, check for general wear and tear or damage on the tread, especially since the warmer conditions might encourage a more spirited ride.


Check your motorbike’s fluids

Always make sure your fluid levels are correct before setting off. Your bike will have a specific process for checking the oil level so whip out the manual if you don’t already know how.

The brake and clutch fluid levels can usually be checked easily by looking at the indicator lines on the reservoirs. Also check the coolant level in your radiator (if you have one of course).

Your components get a particularly tough time in the heat and you want to make sure they all keep working, especially on a longer ride.

Keep an eye on your bike's coolant

Wear the right bike gear

If you’ve not got any summer gear it’s probably time to invest. Riding in cold weather gear when it’s hot will mean you get very uncomfortable. You’ll be way more uncomfortable if you give in to temptation and ditch the heavy jacket in favour of a T-shirt then chuck it down the road.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but seriously consider getting a set of summer base layers. These wick the moisture away from your skin to provide a clever cooling effect and stop your outer garments from sticking to your skin. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll never look back.

Proper summer kit will keep you cool without compromising on safety; shorter-cuffed summer gloves can still have PU knuckle protection and thick pads on the palm, riding jeans offer a much cooler ride than leathers (although they won’t do the same job of protection).

Superbikes ridden in the sunshine

If it’s extremely hot then mesh jackets might be the best choice or if you’re not willing to compromise on abrasion ratings (or you’re riding on track) consider perforated leathers.

Try to park your bike in the shade

Your bike’s seat, plastics and paint will suffer if you leave it in the sun too long, as will any hoses on display. Unless it’s record-breakingly hot, you’ll be unlikely to do lasting damage but hopping back onto a black seat that’s been soaking up rays for a few hours is fairly unpleasant, too.

Wear sunscreen

At the risk of sounding like your parent/grandparent/godparent, make sure you put some protection on any exposed areas. Backs of necks, wrists if you’re wearing short gloves, and your face are typical hot spots.

A summer ride is a magic thing

Can I wear a tinted sun visor?

While tinted visors appear to have died a death alongside the popularity of sports bikes in recent years, they’re still around and you need to know the law.

You can find out what MCN’s resident lawyer Andrew Campbell advises on our tinted visor article over on the insurance advice section on MCN Compare.

Find out how Neevesy rides to the road conditions in this video