Four tips for choosing Spring-friendly motorcycle gear
Summer is so close we can almost hear the sound of thermal liners everywhere being unzipped from jackets and tossed to one side.
But let’s not be so hasty.
In Britain especially, we have to get through Spring first. And perhaps the only thing more unpredictable than a British Summer is the weird period between March and May where pretty much anything can happen.
Dressing for the ride in months like this can be tricky, so we’re here to guide you through it and help you make the right choices.
STAY SAFE, STAY SEEN
While it stays lighter a little later during Spring, it’s still pretty dark around 6pm and there are drizzly days that are much darker than others, so it’s important to keep yourself visible at all times.
Many riders opt for high-visibility jackets when they’re riding in the dark but you don’t have to adorn yourself in fluo yellow to stay seen.
Reflective striping can be a great alternative. This silver-coloured material reflects from the headlights of cars to help riders stand out on darker days.
Gloves are a great place to find this protective piping, as, unless you ride a bike with huge handguards, your hands are going to be facing head on with the traffic coming towards you. Our Titan 2.0 gloves have reflective paneling across the fingers and the back of the hand, and you can even opt for the black/fluo yellow option if you prefer that look.
TO LAYER, OR NOT TO LAYER?
Be prepared for every eventuality. While Spring can bring delightful warm days, it can just as easily bring April showers, but for three months straight.
A jacket with removable waterproof and thermal liners is a great way to make sure you’re ready for whatever the weather throws at you. They roll up small enough to fit into a rucksack or pannier too, so they’re always there should the weather start to change while you’re out and about.
Our Nomad jacket has the Reissa waterproof layer bonded to the thermal lining, which creates one weatherproof layer that can easily be removed and reattached as needed.
You may also want to consider a jacket such as Gable. In our Gable leather jacket the waterproofing is laminated, meaning the membrane has been directly bonded to the outer shell of the garment to prevent water soaking up into the material. The result? Only a slightly soggy jacket and a completely dry rider. The 125g thermal liner is separate, but can easily be zipped in and out as needed.
If you can’t afford to shell out for a whole new biking wardrobe, our new Platinum Rainwear jacket and trousers are a great alternative. Just pop them on over your existing jacket and trousers and feel the benefit of their laminated waterproofing in a pinch.
8oz vs 12oz
Getting to know waxed cotton can be daunting at first. 8oz? 12oz? Silkwax? Don’t worry – it’s all pleasantly simple.
Let’s start with our traditional wax jacket range (this features Expedition, Yoxall II and Barton II). These have been made from Halley Stevensons 12oz Silkwax cotton, which has been given a coating to act as a protective barrier against wind and water, making it a great construction option for winter jackets. 12oz Silkwax is heavier in weight too, so you’ll feel the benefit more in colder conditions.
Our Tech Wax range is constructed from 8oz Cotec waxed cotton. Cotec is a Merlin-exclusive wax produced in collaboration with Halley Stevensons. As the ounces suggest, Cotec is lighter in weight than the Silkwax, so in more extreme and cold conditions you may find it a little too light – but Tech Wax jackets are perfect for Spring.
CONNECT IT UP
You know that annoying, cold draft you sometimes get on the bottom of your back when your bike jacket slightly rides up while you’re riding? One way to eliminate it completely is by ensuring the jacket you go for has a connecting zip on the back.
These either come as long or short zips, and attach your jacket and trousers together. That way, when you’re riding along (especially if you’re in a tucked in sports position), the jacket won’t ride up and expose your back. Clever, huh?
All Merlin jackets have connecting zips to allow the attachment of Merlin jeans.
If you already own a wax jacket, you’ve probably been putting off rewaxing it all winter. But now’s your chance, and your jacket will most certainly thank you for it.
Treat your wax jacket to a tin of Merlin Wax Dressing. It comes in two sizes – 50ml for touching up small areas of the jacket or 200ml for rewaxing the whole thing – and is really simple to use.
Just warm the wax up to soften it, work it into the garment with a lint-free cloth, blow with a hairdryer and hang to dry in a warm place.
Not only will your jacket look like-new, but its water repellency will have seriously increased, meaning no more soggy jacket!
Suggested products for Spring riding…
The perfect Spring riding jacket, Chigwell Utility is constructed from the lighter and more breathable 8oz Cotec waxed cotton. With a full mesh front, back and sleeves, Chigwell offers bags of cool airflow, but if you find the temperature dropping, you can easily zip in the combined waterproof and thermal lining.
The Titan 2.0 Gloves cover every eventuality, with a Hipora® waterproof membrane and thermal wadding to ensure digits are always toasty and dry. Reflective panelling on the cuff and across the fingers boosts visibility on darker Spring days, and there’s a black/fluo yellow option if you want to further increase visibility.
If you’re not in the business of buying a whole new wardrobe, you can opt for a pair of our Waterproof Over Trousers instead. The waterproofing is directly laminated to the outer shell so the trousers won’t saturate, leaving you and whatever you’re wearing underneath completely dry.
With an 8oz Cotec waxed cotton construction, Nomad offers a lightweight touring option from our Explorer Collection. A zip-out Reissa Active waterproof membrane is attached to a thermal liner for the ultimate weatherproof layer, while ventilation points front and back provide cooler airflow on those rarer warm Spring days.
When paired with the matching over trousers, the Platinum Rainwear Jacket provides the perfect waterproof layer. With its waterproofing bonded directly to the outer layer, you’re guaranteed to stay dry and reflective elements also enhance visibility – perfect for drizzly, dark Spring riding days.
If you already have a waxed cotton jacket, you might want to consider reproofing it ready for Spring. This only needs doing if you notice the water repellency of your jacket is diminishing and it needs restoring. There are two sizes available – 200ml or 50ml – depending on how much of the jacket needs reproofing.
Published on 18 March, 2022 by Emily Macbeth