Date reviewed: November 2021 | Tested by: John Milbank | RRP: £14.99 each | www.sportsbikeshop.co.uk
Keeping warm on a motorcycle is as much about comfort as it is safety – according to a study on the National Library of Medicine, even moderate cold exposure of 5°C can impair performance of a complex cognitive task. Hypothermia might sound like something you’ll only suffer in the artic, but the NHS describes it as a ‘dangerous drop in body temperature below 35°C’, when the norm is 37°C.
For most motorcyclists, the important thing is simply remaining comfortable to ensure you enjoy your ride, but it is important to keep warm, and layering up is the best way – beyond heated kit – to do that. I’ve been using the DXR Warmcores on some long, cold rides on the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT…
Available in men’s and women’s sizes (the women’s come only in – predictably – pink), they each have two size options – S/M or L/XL (8/10 or 12/14 for ladies).
I’m 5’10” and about 13 stone, so a bit chubbier than I should be but fairly average; the L/XL fits me well, the elasticated material hugging my body comfortably without feeling too tight. The arms and legs are a little long on me, but given that these are designed to fit a range of figures, and I don’t find them uncomfortably rucking up at all, that’s forgivable.
I haven’t been able to use these in warm weather yet, but they are sold as winter wear. Still, when putting them on they feel surprisingly cool, which had me a little concerned at first.
My first ride was an easy 13°C, where I just wore a tee-shirt over the top, then an unlined leather jacket and Rukka armour. Unsurprisingly, I felt comfortable for the whole ride.
A two and a half hour morning ride that started at 2°C and ended at 5°C, with these base layers, a tee-shirt and a Rukka Kingsley jacket and trousers with down lining saw me not reaching for the heated jacket I’d carried in the top-box, just in case. This was almost all motorway, so I was fairly still throughout, but I was only just starting to feel a slight chill creeping in by the end of it.
Time will tell, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that these work fairly well in warmer weather too – popping these under your leathers, textiles or whatever else you wear will be better than a cotton tee-shirt that holds onto the sweat.
The top has a fine zip with a cover at the neck for the toggle when it’s pulled up that stops it feeling cold against your throat – once fastened you’re not aware of any extra bulk.
While those arms and legs are a little long on me, I couldn’t feel anything while wearing these all day. The only time you become aware of them is when you need a wee, but the front pulls down fine, even in a service station while you’re also clutching your lid, gloves and phone. Painting pictures with words.
What really impressed me was how comfortable I felt for pretty much all of a cold 2.5 hour ride, then in an office for a meeting all day, and finally the 3 hour ride home (rush hour traffic).
I only have a 40X microscope, so can’t see the hollow fibres that DXR says are used in the construction, but these pics do show the amount of space that can trap air. The shot on the right is with the material stretched.
Made of 65% nylon, 27% polyester and 8% Spandex, the DXR Warmcores are designed to be machine washed at 30°C and shouldn’t be tumbled, ironed, dry-cleaned or bleached. I of course read the instructions after I’d chucked them in with my day-to-day jeans and tee-shirts at 40°C, and tumbled them (at low heat) with no problems, but you do that at your own risk.
You don’t have to buy motorcycle kit to layer up, so you can afford to shop around…
These are just three of many alternatives – you can find all the base layers we’ve reviewed here and be sure to regularly check for the discounts available through BikeSocial membership.
Layering up is vital to keeping warm, and while there are plenty of options out there, the DXR Warmcore base-layers are very keenly priced and work well. They’ve washed fine, but I will of course report back if anything changes.
I’ve felt comfortable in some long, cold rides, and then all day at my destination, so while I usually just throw on a cheap top from Mountain Warehouse, these DXRs are great value and feel good.
There are more exotic materials available, and some will no doubt feel more snug from the off, or even be thicker, with their own wind-proofing, but given the price these DXRs are a good option for commuters and many other winter riders.