Winter gear: Kit yourself up for under £500

Everyday clothes to full winter gear for under £500

As I do most of my riding in the hotter and drier months of the year, my money tends to be spent on leathers and fancy summer gear.

As such I don't own any winter gear, but both needed and wanted something for the colder and wetter months.

I had returned home sodden and cold one too many times. No longer did I appreciate the smug person in the warmth of their car, looking at me in my drenched clothes, and presuming that I must have been in the middle of my getaway from the local lunatic asylum. 

The goal here was to spend under £500  - not including a helmet - on gear that would handle whatever the UK weather could throw at me.

Here's the usual setup; jeans, boots, a helmet and some sort of jacket. I do have leather gloves but if it's raining outside I tend not to wear them. Don't ask me why, but preserving my gloves seems to be more important than preserving my hands.

Total cost here of my street clothes and some minor protection comes to £455, and just how much protection does that get you? Not much. 

And how much warmth does it offer? Almost none.

After searching around for some decent but affordable gear, here's what I ended up with...

The old adage 'buy cheap, buy twice' ran through my mind as I thought about what gear was suitable. It was important that our £500 budget went towards affordable but high quality winter gear. 

So here's what we chose:

  • RST Raptor 2 jacket and trouser set: Waterproof and has CE approved armour in the shoulders, knees and elbows. The jacket comes with a back protector, high-vis reflective panels and a removable quilted lining, it also zips together. It's often cheaper to buy a matching set of jacket and trousers and the Raptor 2's represent good value for the quality they offer. I have an RST jacket from four years ago that I travelled 15,000 miles around Europe with and it almost looks new, they may not be the flashiest but RST make nice products and don't price them through the roof.
  • Richa Summit gloves: Warm and cheap from a respected brand and has a suede visor wipe on the finger. Ebay specials may be half the price but they won't be as well made and the £15 extra gets you a branded product.
  • Spada Seeker boots: 100% waterproof leather touring boot with an anti-slip and moulded sole, double layered gear shift panel and elasticated panelling for comfort. You can search through pages of boots ranging from pennies to hundreds of pounds, at £70 though the Seeker's are a good choice with quality thick leather and nice styling. Paying more for a leather winter boot will get you little more than a better brand name.

I chose Knox's Fastback Gilet as a standalone back protector due to its high level 2 safety rating. It provides an extra layer of warmth under the jacket and is really easy to both put on and fasten. It zips up like a coat and tightens around the waist using a thick velcro strap. The mesh material is lightweight and has vents for better breathability.

A separate review of each product is to come shortly but total cost came to £440 (excluding the Shark helmet).

The helmet wasn't included in the final cost as I only wanted to add or replace items that would be fully waterproof. To us, unless we've missed out on a new umbrella helmet, then a lid is a lid is a lid.

I set out to get fully geared up in winter riding kit for under £500 and managed, with £60 to spare too. A complete jacket and trouser set, waterproof boots, winter gloves and a level 2 back protector, all of which will keep you warm, safe and dry in the winter months is well-worth the money and means you can enjoy riding all year round.

Sure, you could definitely get onto Ebay and find cheaper gear, but it was important that it remained high quality and something that you could find in your local shop. We looked at a number of products available and the ones chosen tick all those boxes.

Full reviews to follow!