Best Base Layers: Stay Warm on Your Motorcycle

Stay warm on your motorcycle with a pair of base layer pants

TheDrive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.

Don’t let the dropping temperatures prevent you from enjoying your motorcycle. All you need is the right base layer to keep you warm. We don’t recommend wearing just any type of long underwear, however. Base layers specifically meant for motorcycling will keep you warm and dry on long chilly rides. Read on to learn more about the three best base layers on the market.

  • Best Overall
    Alpinestars ZX EVO Pants
    Summary
    Summary
    These base layer pants come in black or white and two sizes, x-small/small and medium/large. The lightweight material is breathable, flame-resistant, and protects from heat transfer.
    Pros
    Pros
    These pants are incredibly safe and certified to FIA 8856-2000 and SFI 3.3 level 5 homologation standards. They are also super soft and won’t chafe with long-term wear.
    Cons
    Cons
    Alpinestars products are known for running small, and these pants are no different. They fit slim through the thighs, and the legs are quite long for the average person. Also, some consumers have had issues with the seams bursting.
  • Best Value
    Dainese D-Mantle Base Layer Undergarment
    Summary
    Summary
    These D-Core Thermo base layer pants come in both men’s and women’s sizes. The women’s pants have pink trim, and the men’s pants are black with white trim.
    Pros
    Pros
    These are more than just a base layer; they have a compression structure to optimize muscle performance and reduce fatigue. They’re anti-pilling, tear-resistant, and abrasion-resistant.
    Cons
    Cons
    The material is not as effective at blocking wind chill as other brands of base layers. Some people might find the compression quality too constricting.
  • Honorable Mention
    Cortech Journey Coolmax Pant Base Layer
    Summary
    Summary
    These lightweight pants have a slim cut design to fit comfortably. The fabric is Cortech’s Coolmax mesh. They come in a range of sizes from x-small through 2x-large.
    Pros
    Pros
    These pants have small touches that keep them comfortable. The elastic waistband ensures a secure fit. All of the seams are stitched with a flat-lock stitch to prevent chafing.
    Cons
    Cons
    These pants do not have compression qualities in the material. This can cause them to slip and move while you’re wearing them. They also lack some of the more advanced features that other base layers feature.

Tips

  • Look for pants that have soft and breathable fabrics, flat-lock stitching, and a comfort waistband. You want to put on your base layer and forget about it. 
  • Compression materials can help keep your base layer pants in place while also preventing muscle fatigue. But for some riders, it’s too restricting. Think about this when buying your base layer. 
  • Base layer pants that have a matching shirt can provide the greatest protection. Look for a set that can work together under your gear for greater warmth and protection. 

FAQs

Q: Do I need a base layer when riding a motorcycle?

A: While you technically don’t need to wear a base layer, it can make riding in colder temperatures a lot more enjoyable. A base layer is an extra layer of material between you and the elements. 

Q: Is moisture-wicking important?

A: It’s critical that your base layer has moisture-wicking qualities. This thermal layer is designed to keep heat in. The problem is that you’ll eventually get too warm. If you start to sweat, you need the base layer to pull this moisture away from your skin. This will keep you comfortable and reduce your risk of catching a chill from wearing damp clothing. 

Q: Is wind resistance important in a base layer? 

A: Regular base layers typically don’t have wind-blocking abilities. This is a problem when you’re on a bike where all you feel is the wind. An outside temperature of 50 degrees will feel much colder at 45-55 miles per hour. Look for base layers that can block wind because the greater the wind, the lower the temperature will feel. 

Final Thoughts

The Alpinestars ZX EVO Pants provide the greatest level of warmth and protection under your riding gear. If this race quality gear is too expensive, the Dainese D-Mantle Base Layer Undergarment is a high-quality yet more affordable option.