Motorcycle Balaclavas: Benefits And Buying Guide

Why wear motorcycle balaclavas? This is a question we normally hear from beginner riders when they see seasoned motorcyclists pass by. With that, what are motorcycle balaclavas anyway?

Balaclavas (or “head socks,” as some people call them,) are fitted headgear that covers the head and lower part of the face. They usually only expose your eyes to provide warmth, comfort, and helmet pad protection. However, aside from motorcycling, you can also use balaclavas for trekking, skiing, snowboarding, go-karting, and more.

This article will list down all the reasons why you should wear a balaclava while motorcycle riding. We’ll add some tips on how to choose one, too, to use on your next ride.

What are Motorcycle Balaclavas?

Balaclavas seem like simple pieces of clothing but they sure have a lot of purposes. From gear protection to weather protection, here are reasons to start adding them to your motorcycle outfit:

Protects from All Weather Conditions

Motorcycle balaclavas help you defy the elements, like the wind, dirt, cold, snow, and even UV rays. Simply wear them under your helmet to protect your head, face, and neck against harsh weather conditions.

Here are some ways balaclavas are the perfect solution for motorcycle riders:

  • They act as a wind blocker to keep the wind off your face and help reduce wind noise.
  • Motorcycle balaclavas protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
  • Keep dust and dirt away to prevent them from entering your nose and mouth.

Look for a well-fitting balaclava—not too tight and not too loose. Something too tight will make you want to remove it immediately and make you uncomfortable throughout the ride. Meanwhile, something too loose won’t provide enough protection and will allow rocks, dust, and other debris to enter your mask.

Motorcycle Balaclavas Regulate Body Temperature

If you’re a runner, you know the importance of matching your base layers to the weather. Hot-weather clothes help wick away moisture from your skin to keep you drier and cooler. On the other hand, cold-weather gear help reflect your body heat to help you stay warmer.

Balaclavas work this way, too. In hot weather conditions, motorcycle balaclavas keep you cooler and wick away sweat and moisture. Conversely, they help you stay warm once the temperature gets low.

Helps Protect Your Helmet Pad

Most helmet pads are washable or replaceable. However, this doesn’t mean you should stop taking care of them. You’ll still want to maintain them to extend your helmet’s life and save money.

Wearing a balaclava under your motorcycle helmet protects it from wear and tear that can cause bacteria to accumulate. Additionally, if you share your bike with other riders, wearing a balaclava can be for hygienic reasons as well.

Just see to it that the balaclava you choose is compatible with your helmet. It must fit you perfectly, too, so you don’t need to readjust it every time you take the helmet off.

Enhances Comfort and Performance

The right motorcycle balaclava helps you ride comfortably in any type of weather. Moreover, you can experience smoother rides since:

  • If you’re bald or going thin on top, balaclavas help so you won’t feel your helmet rub against your skin.
  • Keep your long hair in place. While you can tie your hair back or apply gel, this will only keep your hair in place temporarily. Balaclavas will keep your hair in check at all times.
  • Make your helmet easier to slide on and off.
  • Help you feel much better if you have earrings.

Look for ergonomic designs, breathability, and maneuverability to ensure extra comfort when wearing a balaclava.

Protects Your Helmet Lid

If you’re used to wearing makeup while you ride, balaclavas keep makeup from messing with the inside of your lid. While most modern lids are removable and washable, again, do you really want to stain them?

Chances are you’re using long-wearing makeup whenever you ride. That’s good and all, but once it touches your motorcycle lid, it won’t come off without putting up a fight. What’s worse is if those stains don’t come off at all. So, wearing a balaclava means you don’t have to worry about makeup ruining your favorite lid.

What are the Different Types of Motorcycle Balaclavas?

Solid-Front

Solid-front balaclavas come with a rigid front piece to protect your face. The rigid front piece also prevents the balaclava from suffocating you on the nose and mouth. This makes them perfect if you feel suffocated while wearing traditional all-fabric balaclavas.

Another great thing is that they help prevent fogging issues, which are common among fabric balaclavas. They’re especially perfect for motorcyclists because the rigid front protects the face from the rain, bugs, and road debris.

Convertible Motorcycle Balaclavas

Convertible balaclavas are normally made of fleece and are very popular because of their versatility. You can wear them as a neck warmer, ninja hood, full balaclava, or as a half-mask.

What makes them so great is that they give you the right amount of warmth. You can also adjust them once you get too hot or too cold! However, motorcyclists should be careful with this style since they can be too thick to fit under your helmet.

Neck Warmer Focused

This is the perfect solution if you want the extra warmth but hate having fabric covering your face and neck. This type of balaclava is the perfect balance between a balaclava and a neck warmer. While it doesn’t fall like your standard neck warmer, it also doesn’t have that face confining element of standard balaclavas.

Hoodless

This style of balaclava is becoming more popular because of its ability to stay in place over your face. It’s particularly popular among motorcyclists and snowboarders since you don’t need to remove your helmet just to adjust it.

Hoodless balaclavas will cover your face and ears while leaving the top of your head bare. You may, however, find their thick neoprene and Velcro stiff and uncomfortable.

What to Look For in Motorcycle Balaclavas

Material

Balaclavas can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, wool, nylon, neoprene, and other synthetic blends. Choose the material based on what and where you plan to use your motorcycle balaclava.

For example, nylon is super thin and lightweight so it can perfectly fit under your helmet. Wool, on the other hand, is extremely thick yet incredibly insulating.

Motorcycle Balaclavas Fit

Most balaclavas in the market have a one-size-fits-all design. While this may work for most people, look for a customized fit if you have a small or large head.

It’s best to try it on first before purchase. Wear it for a while to ensure that it’s comfortable enough for extended wear. Meanwhile, if buying online, take some time to read the reviews and look for ones mentioning the fit. Having the right fit is essential in motorcycle balaclavas so you’ll surely find a review if you look hard enough.

Face and Neck Coverage

Whether or not you need full coverage will depend on your planned activity. Remember that all balaclavas provide some neck coverage but others offer more.

Look for something with a neck gaiter if you need more neck coverage. These have more material around the neck to provide better heat retention. You can simply tuck the bottom into your collar to prevent the wind, cold, or snow from coming in.

Eyewear Integration

You can wear some balaclavas on their own while you can wear others with goggles. With the wrong balaclava, breathing alone is enough to fog up your goggles.

Fogging blocks your sight, making it impossible to see what’s in front of you. This is dangerous for motorcycle riders who hit the backroad or skiers heading down a mountain.

Helmet Compatibility

It’s important to find a balaclava that fits under your motorcycle helmet. Therefore, look for one made of thinner materials that will fit like a second skin. Then, wear it under your helmet for 30-45 minutes to see if any hot spots develop.

Design

Most balaclavas in the market are plain black. However, this isn’t your only option. You can choose from many colors and patterns to express your style.

Many motorcycle riders go with black so it looks good with the rest of their gear. But, if money isn’t a problem, choose to be bold and make a statement with every ride. You can try mixing and matching different styles to make your outfit stand out.

Additional Tips When Wearing Motorcycle Balaclavas

  • Choose a balaclava that’s easy to clean. You’ll want to wash yours regularly so it stays clean and sanitary, so a machine-friendly product is your best option.
  • Stitches scratching against your skin can be uncomfortable. So, look for balaclavas with flatlock stitching and ideal seam placement so they won’t irritate your skin.
  • Using the rolling technique makes it easier to put your balaclava on. Simply adjust your hair while rolling it on to avoid unnecessary pulling.

Conclusion

Why wear motorcycle balaclavas? Well, perhaps the most obvious is for weather protection. They can also be made from different materials, from cotton to wool, so consider your activities first before buying.

Happy shopping and be safe on the road!

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