The cheapest, easiest way to keep your hands warm in winter is by using a set of motorcycle muffs, aka motorcycle mitts.
I distinctly remember this lesson from 20+ years ago when during my first winter riding, no amount of thermal liners or windproof gloves could keep my hands from turning into stiff, frozen crab’s claws by the end of the commute.
Then my dad came home with a set of muffs and I never thought about it again.
They work by air-gap insulation, stopping the wind chill from transferring through the material of your gloves to your skin, giving your hands a chance to retain some body heat.
Point is – they’re cheap and they work
Best Motorcycle Handlebar Muffs Reviews
Let’s look at our top picks.
Oxford Super Muffs
Oxford’s Super Muffs are a premium offering in what’s mostly a simple product category.
They use Oxford’s proprietary Rainseal technology to keep out wind and rain, are built from durable 1500D polyester, and are insulated for the coldest UK weather.
The pre-formed openings help everything hold shape and sit correctly in place once installed, and the 3D design around the switches and levers prevents any snagging or catching.
As far as universal fit goes, this is pretty close.
The hole for the mirrors must be cross-cut using a craft knife by the consumer, who then screws a washer down on top of the cut as they install the mirror.
Some people mightn’t like the idea of having to cut into a brand new product they’ve just bought, but Oxford has thought this out carefully and once installed, everything looks neat and tidy.
This system also guarantees a near-perfect first on just about any design of scooter or motorcycle.
- Warm and windproof
- Near-universal fit
- Typical Oxford quality
- Might be more than a budget-conscious rider wants to spend
Tucano Urbano Hand Grip Covers
These windproof, waterproof polyamide covers use a flexible section with an elasticated cuff to fit a variety of mirror configurations and a transparent area over the switches so you can see what you’re doing.
Honestly, we can’t see the transparent window’s point unless we’re riding an unfamiliar bike and need to check where something is. Most people operate their lights, indicators, and other switches by feel, meaning they won’t need this feature.
The solution to fitting a variety of different mirrors works pretty well, though this cover is only suitable for handlebar-type mirrors.
A thinner (but still waterproof) section of polyamide extends up from the body of the muff, using enough material to cover even the longest of mirror arms, and an elasticated cuff allows you to stretch it over the mirror and still form a decent seal.
We can see some water getting in here in a downpour if the arm of your wing mirror is slim or doesn’t have a plastic gator.
- Quality construction
- Keep you warm and dry
- Universal fit (for handlebar-mounted mirrors)
- Oxford’s similarly-priced solution might be better
Black Digit Bar Muffs
These are a budget solution but well-made and practical at the price.
The little brother of the Black Meta muffs (reviewed below), the Black Digit are a compact design – easy to fit under your seat or in a pocket. A hook and loop system secures the mitts to your bars and, thankfully, they’re quick and easy to take on and off.
These are not as warm, windproof, or waterproof as some of the other options on our list, but their low-cost, small form-factor, and quick release system might suit various riders (delivery drivers who don’t want their expensive muffs nicked, for example).
Way better than nothing and the price of a few pints!
- Low cost
- Small form-factor
- Better options available (at a higher cost)
Givi Universal Bar Muffs
Two types of these well-designed, high-quality muffs are available for both bikes with handguards (motocross, adventure etc.) and regular handguard-free motorbikes.
Like the Oxford Bar End Muffs, these fit around the mirror and don’t feature any holes (possible weak points in the design of waterproof, windproof equipment).
Made with stiff, water-resistant polyester with a thermal lining, these will keep you warm in the harshest of UK conditions.
These muffs hold their shape, making them easy to fit gloved hands into and the indicator/light switches easily accessible.
Givi makes quality gear, and this no exception. A good choice for anyone with large hands and/or bulky gloves.
- Universal fit
- Hold their shape well
- Not as waterproof as some of the competition
Black Meta Motorcycle Bar Muffs
This a larger, more feature complete version of the Black Digit muffs also featured on our list.
Besides being bigger, these muffs also feature a plastic rib to hold their shape to make using them a little easier.
A velcro strap around the wrist helps eliminate wind chill, and the quick-release buckles make installation and adjustment simple.
The material is windproof, but the faux-fur lining of the Black Digit muffs is not present – it shouldn’t be a problem if your glove insulation is good and you just need to cut out the windchill.
Reflective strips on the front are places to catch the light of oncoming traffic and increase safety.
Overall, these muffs offer a pretty good solution at a really low price. A good starting point if you’re not sure about using this kind of cold weather solution.
- Quick release
- Reflective strips
- Hold their shape well
- Won’t last as long as more expensive options
Considerations, care and cost
There’s no cheaper way to insulate your hands in cold weather. With a pair of half-decent winter gloves and muffs over the top, you should be OK in even the coldest weather.
There isn’t a great deal to a pair of motorcycle mitts, but there are a couple of things to look out for.
A common complaint about muffs is that they don’t hold their shape, becoming saggy, pressing onto your switches, and generally getting in the way. Oxford’s neoprene offerings are unlikely to suffer from this problem due to their lightweight and clever mounting system.
Using a plastic rib like the Black Metas also works to do the same, as does using ultra-stiff, high-denier polyester like the Oxford Super Muffs.
If your bike has handguards, make sure you check the description of the mitts you buy. On our list, only the Givi Universal Muffs are available for bikes featuring handguards.
Waterproofing is not as important as you might think. Your gloves are (probably) already waterproof, and it’s the insulation and reduction of windchill that help keep you warm in muffs. That said, if money is not an issue, buying a waterproof option will keep you warmer in the very worst of conditions.
How To Fit Bar Muffs
This depends on the set you buy, but most share similar principles. Mirrors are a common way to hold the muffs in place, either by securing a strap around them or removing the mirrors and poking the mirror through a hole in the muff.
Only the Oxford Bar End muffs differ in their installation, attaching to the universal bar end plug. We like this solution for its simplicity and low visual impact.
There you have it – the cheapest way to keep your hands warm in the coldest months of winter. They can be a real game-changer and won’t break the bank. Worth a look.