Tag Archives: Riding Gear

TCX X-Desert Gore-Tex Boots

Over the past couple of years, most of my riding has been done while wearing my TCX X-Move WP Boots. These have been great boots for day-to-day use. During riding season, I wear them all day every day. They’ve held up to the wear and tear of daily use surprisingly well and have remained waterproof for all this time. The only real downside of the X-Move boots is that they do compromise a bit of protection in exchange for comfort.

I’ve also changed the type of riding I’m doing when riding the Kawasaki Versys. I’m beginning to explore some roads that are a bit off the beaten path. I’ve been on some dirt roads and some easy trails a few times and a better, more protective boot seemed like a good idea. This led me to look at some of the many varieties of adventure riding boots that are available.

TCX X-Desert Gore-Tex BootsThe primary features I was looking for included a waterproof liner, good shin protection, good foot and heel protection, and good support and protection for light dirt road riding while at the same time, remaining comfortable enough to wear all day when touring. All of the major gear vendors offer boots that fit this criteria so I relied on various reviews and my past experience with TCX boots. After much consideration, I settled on the TCX X-Desert Gore-Tex boots.

I went ahead and ordered the boots from Revzilla and had them ship them directly to my daughter’s house in California so that they would be waiting for me when I got there in early February.

I generally wear a 9.5 or 10 in US sizes so I ordered a size 44 and the fit was spot on. They did feel kind of stiff at first but they softened up quickly enough. The right boot dug into my ankle a little bit in the beginning but once the boot broke in, this went away and they’re now quite comfortable to wear while riding.

The buckles are easy to adjust which is a good thing because I have had to re-adjust them a few times.   The adjustment sometimes changes when I take them off so I sometimes need to re-adjust them. Not a big deal, it’s just that it would be nice if the adjusters stayed where I left them.

As far as protection is concerned, these boots appear to be well made and seem to have just about everything a good sport touring/adventure boot should have. The toe and heel areas are well protected, there are hard parts around the ankle, and there are nice sized shin protectors too. These are not stiff like motocross boots so there’s a good amount of flex around the ankle.

The liners inside the boots are very comfortable and the velcro around the top is comfortable around my calf. I don’t really know how they’re going to perform in blistering hot weather, freezing cold weather, or torrential downpours quite yet because I’ve only spent about a week wearing them. I can state that for 60-85 degree weather, they’re great.

It took some time to get used to the different feel on the shifter and brake because these boots are thicker and stiffer than what I’m used to riding with. A quick adjustment of the shift lever allowed me to get my toe under the lever more comfortably. These boots feel nice and solid when standing on the foot pegs and don’t slide around at all.

I was a bit concerned that these were going to be difficult and uncomfortable to walk around in when wandering around off the bike. While I wouldn’t want to wear these all day at work, they’re actually better than I was anticipating for short walks. Considering that these are full height riding boots, I’m pleasantly surprised at how good they feel when just walking around. I think they’re continue to get better as they continue to break in.

The TCX X-Desert boots are nice comfortable boots that offer a good level of protection for the type of riding I do. I’m sure that they’ll get even better as I get more miles on them.

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Coolest Building in the World?

When I was in California a few weeks ago, I decided I needed a new pair of sunglasses since it was so bright and sunny outside.    I’ve always just stopped a the local gas station or convenience store and bout cheap sunglasses but I decided that this time, I’d go ahead and buy a nice pair of Oakley glasses.

A quick search on the internet for local retailers revealed that I was only a few minutes from the Oakley World Headquarters.  So, I hopped on the bike, punched the address into the GPS, and headed to Foothill Ranch CA to try on some new sunglasses.

20150205_143311The building was a bit difficult to find as it sits atop a hill and the GPS didn’t exactly bring me right to the front door.  Once I found it, I was surprised to see one of the coolest buildings I’ve ever seen as I rode into the parking lot.  The building has a futuristic military look to it that seems to be something from a sci-fi movie set.

I went ahead and parked the bike and went inside.   The military theme continues as  you walk through a pair of heavy steel doors and into the lobby.  Click Here to see some other photos from inside the building.

I spend about 20 minutes trying on a whole bunch of different styles of glasses and settled on a pair of Crankshaft sunglasses with polarized lenses.  They are by far the most expensive shades I’ve ever bought but they do fit nice and the optics are great too.  Now I just have to make sure that I don’t scratch them or loose them.

New Jacket

Fall is a great time to pick up some nice riding gear at a discount as companies clear out inventory to get ready for new arrivals.  This year, I picked up a Dainese Racing C2 perforated leather jacket that was on sale at Revzilla.

This is the first leather jacket that I’ve purchased since I started gearing up after buying the BMW in August of 2012. Until now, I’ve been buying textile gear as I find it to be comfortable, versatile, and it provides reasonably good protection. I consider this my core riding gear that takes me from early spring to late fall.

Now that I have all of the gear I need for daily riding, I decided its time to focus on some gear that I can use if I ever get around to attending a track day in the future.  I like the idea of having a leather jacket that I can wear without having to wear leather pants so a one-piece suit was out of the running.

When I saw that the Dainese Racing C2 was on sale, I did some research and decided that it would be a great addition to my ever-growing collection of jackets. It has plenty of protection, will zip into the Dainese pants that I already have and it looks good too.

The jacket appears to be very well made. The leather is heavy yet also fairly soft and supple.  The material used for the stretch panels, zippers and seams all seem to be high quality.  I opted for the perforated version so that wearing it in the summertime would be tolerable.Dainese-Racing-C2

The shoulder, elbow, and arms all contain CE rated armor. It does not come with a back protector so I put a back protector from one of my other jackets into the pocket in the back for the time being.

Putting the jacket on for the first time felt a little odd and a bit tight in the shoulders and arms as I was standing up. However, once i hopped onto the Triumph everything fell into place and it fit perfectly. On the bike, I don’t even feel the armor and the whole jacket fits snug without being tight and forms perfectly to my body. It feels like a custom fit jacket made just for me.

My first ride with the new jacket was in nice humid 85 degree weather. I was hot when sitting still but once moving, i could definitely feel the air coming through the perforations. It doesn’t flow as much air as my mesh jacket but it does provide enough airflow to make it bearable.  Once the temperature drops below 70, you can really feel the cool air coming through.

Overall, it seems to be a very nice jacket that will work well in warm weather.  Now I just need to find some good leather pants and I’ll be ready for the track.

RevIt! Everest GTX Jacket

Now that the weather is getting cooler here in Upstate NY, I started looking for a new winter riding jacket.  I’ve been using a  Tour Master Transitions 2 jacket that I bought last fall.  Unfortunately,  the main zipper broke making it useless for riding.  I considered having the zipper replaced but I’ve come to appreciate high quality riding gear and instead, decided to upgrade to a better quality jacket.

On of the things I was looking for was a jacket that was waterproof on the outside rather than relying on a waterproof liner.  I would rather not have to stop and put on rain gear every time it looks like its going to rain.  Traditional rain gear seems to work well but all too often, I either put rain gear on and never actually run into rain or I wait a little too long and end up stopping while it’s raining to put rain gear on.

Earlier this year, while wearing my Dainese Spedio D-Dry igh-tech jacket and Dainese D-Dry pants, I rode through some heavy rain.   What I found was that while the waterproof liner does indeed keep you dry, once the outer shell gets wet, it can get cold.  The cold, wet jacket against the waterproof liner can be miserable to ride in even when it’s relatively warm outside.    Another downside of waterproof liners is that you need to have them in the jacket/pants when it starts raining.  If the liner has been removed for warm weather riding, it’s quite inconvenient to put a liner in on the side of the road.  This is especially true for the pants.

So, after this experience I went back to wearing a rain suit over my jacket.  The inside liners are fine for keeping wind out and providing some thermal protection, but are far from perfect for real life foul-weather riding.

Safety features are also high on my list of priorities.  Good abrasion resistance, high quality protective armor, and reflective areas are all important items that I looked for.  Thankfully, good safety features seem to be fairly standard for riding gear these days and there are plenty of choices.

REVIT-Everest-GTX-JacketAfter spending hours comparing features, I decided on the Rev’It Everest GTX jacket.    I’m about 5’10” tall and 175 lbs and the Large fits me perfectly.

The Pro Shell 3 material bonds the GORE-TEX waterproof membrane with Cordura and Armacor fabrics to provide a shell that is both strong and waterproof without the need for a separate waterproof liner.

Rev’It! uses there own high-tech armor called SAS-TEC to provide CE rated protection in the shoulders and elbows.  This armor is soft and pliable yet becomes rigid when struck.  The back protector included with the jacket is a basic foam pad that didn’t really seem to be all that protective so I removed it and replaced it with a Forcefield back protector out of one of my other jackets.  I may end up buying the proper SAS-TEC back protector in the future.

There’s not a lot of airflow through this jacket even with the front vents opened up so I feel that this is going to be more of 3 season jacket that will be used in the spring, fall, and winter.  I’m hoping that it will be good up to 80-85 degrees bu I’ll have to wait until next summer to find out.

The removable thermal liner and removable thermal collar do a good job of keeping me warm even without my heated gear.  With my heated liner this jacket is very warm.  I’m confident that it will be very comfortable when the temperature drops down into the 20’s or 30’s in the next few weeks.

As far as being waterproof, I haven’t spent hours in the rain yet but did get caught in a heavy downpour one morning on the way to work.  It was only about 10 minutes in heavy rain but I can say that the jacket kept me warm and dry.

As a top of the line jacket, the Everest GTX jacket is quite expensive.  However, I was lucky to get it for 40% off list price during a Revzilla closeout sale.  Unfortunately, I could not get a pair of the Everest GTX pants because they were not available in my size so I’ll have to keep looking for a good pair of waterproof riding pants.   I’ really quite pleased with this jacket.  There’s no doubt that this is a high quality garment.  All the seams are well finished, the armor fits nicely, and it’s quite comfortable to wear.

 

 

New Riding Gear

As I prepare for this year’s NY to CA trip, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the riding gear I’ll be using.  In the past, I pretty much just packed whatever gear I had and headed out on the road. This year, safety and comfort are the primary considerations and have led to a whole new outlook on riding gear.

This change really began late last summer soon after bringing the K1600GTL home.  It didn’t take long for me to come to the realization that the performance of the BMW was going to change how I ride.  Safety was going to become much more of a priority so I started with an HTC modular helmet and a Tour Master textile jacket with some basic body armor.

After riding for almost 7 years riding with a cheap half helmet, it took some time to get used to the full face helmet but after a couple of weeks, I had embraced it and became very comfortable wearing it.

The Tour Master jacket was easy to get used to.  In fact, it was warmer than my leather jacket in the cool weather and opening the vents allows your to control how much cool air flows through as it gets warmer.

Unfortunately, I find that the HJC helmet is quite noisy and has a somewhat cheap feel to it.  Not surprising really, it was only about $175 making it one of the lower priced modular helmets available.

With my vacation quickly approaching, I decided it was time to invest in some nice gear for this year’s cross-country trip.  I needed to address a couple of key areas – summertime comfort and better protection.

The first purchase was a flat black Schuberth C3 Pro helmet.  My research  indicated that this was one of the quietest modular helmets available.  The C3 Pro is an expensive helmet made with top notch materials and a nice feel of quality to it.  So far, I’m quite pleased with this helmet.  It’s quiet, comfortable, reasonably lightweight, and fits me quite well.

Next up was clothing.  I’m satisfied with the Tour Master jacket but it’s really intended for cooler weather riding.  Once the temperature gets up to around 80, there’s not enough airflow to remain comfortable.  I also have a Tour Master heated jacket liner and Tour Master rain suit.  I’m happy with these items and will continue using them.

First on the list of gear was a lighter and more summer oriented jacket.  I spent many hours looking at jackets online and settled on a Dainese Spedio D-Dry jacket.  This jacket is a combination textile jacket with mesh panels for airflow and a removable waterproof liner.  It comes with shoulder, elbow, and arm protectors and I added a Forcefield back protector to round out the armor.  It’s a good looking jacket that I hope will provide comfort and a reasonable amount of protection during the summer months.

Next on the list of protective gear was a set of riding pants.  I’ve never worn anything other than jeans while riding so riding pants are new to me.  I really didn’t want bulky pants so Dainese was once again the brand I ended up looking at and chose the D-System D-Dry pants.  These pants have a flap that opens near the knee to allow air to flow through them as well as a removable waterproof liner.  They also have good knee/shin armor and some thin hip padding.   I’m hoping that they flow enough air to keep me cool during the hot summertime weather.

The final bit of new riding gear was a pair of TCX X-Move waterproof boots and Joe Rocket gloves.  The boots are mid-cut boots with good ankle support and protection .  They look good and can be worn without looking like you are wearing motorcycle boots.

While style isn’t at the top of my list of priorities, it certainly was one of the criteria used when choosing all of this new gear.  I didn’t want gear that is bulky, baggy, or contains any high-visibility materials and clearly my choices of gear reflect this.  I know that I may be compromising some protection but I’m just simply not ready to go that far with gear right now.  Up until now, my summer riding gear has been jeans, t-shirt, a half-helmet, and occasionally some fingerless gloves so this is a major move in the right direction.  I really hope that all this new gear proves to be comfortable this summer.