Saturday, July 23, 2011

Safety Gear

I've decided that at least for now, if I'm going out of town on my motorcycle, I'm wearing long pants, jacket and gloves.  (In addition to helmet, of course)

I started with a cheap legal minimum 3/4 helmet that Walmart had.  I replaced it fairly quickly with a Snell-approved mid grade HJC that the local Honda dealer was selling--on a bike like mine without a windshield it is much more pleasant.  Not only does the full face do a better job of keeping the wind out of my eyes, the helmet is more comfortable and has better internal ventilation as well--with chin and head vents open while riding you can feel slight air currents, and there is no significant heat build up despite the black color.  (Would have preferred silver or grey, but the in stock choices were black or graffiti)   

I bought an inexpensive Fieldsheer armored textile jacket that was on clearance at Motorcycle Superstore--a bit boy-racer for my taste, but I'm not particularly fashion-conscious.   Abrasion-resistant mesh, and armor over elbows and shoulders that meets some European specification that I've never heard of.  Fits OK, the zipper likes to get stuck where there is a front seam about 3/4 up, but generally comfortable.

What really surprises me is that wearing all this gear isn't hot while riding, up to at least 100 degrees-in fact, even at around town speeds, riding with long pants, jacket, helmet and gloves is less warm than being outside in shorts, short sleeves and flip-flops.   Stopping for lights can be a bit warm, and I've got in the habit of pre-staging the bike--push it out of the garage and load the saddlebags before I go in and gear up in the AC--that way I can just hop on and go.

I had someone argue that leather bike gear was better--that may be true, but I'll wear the textile jacket even in this weather.  Everyone has their own level of acceptable risk--I don't feel the need for leathers, but I'm more than happy with the gear I've got.


  1. A light, comfortable, and *quiet* helmet is an absolute joy - the lightness reduces wind buffeting and neck effort, the comfort and quietude is relaxing and aids/allows superior concentration.
    Bare skin (like wearing shorts/t-shirt) on a hot day can be especially (but sometimes un-noticably) uncomfortable. When one is continuously exposed to wind and heat when riding it extracts it's toll, reduces comfort, increases dehydration, and further takes away from concentration. On hot days even street-riding I wear a Camelbak and enjoy a sip of cool water. Leathers matter more when sliding down the road, so try not to do that! :-)

  2. I found textile gear (with added armour) to be much more comfortable, and I had no problems with it when I encountered a patch of diesel and came off at around 35mph.

  3. This helmet is a big improvement, but could be a lot quieter--I will likely look for something nicer next summer. The camelback is a good idea. I'm mentally a lot more comfortable wearing a decent bike jacket, the only reason I wouldn't prefer it is being lazy for a short and slow trip.