This is a motorcycle road trip gear review, in installments, from my 23 days living on the road and off of my motorcycle. I keep a personal “motorcycle diaries”, cataloging “lessons learned” and “bring next time”. These are some of my notes. More gear review categories can be found here.
Riding Gear Review
- Rain features
- Base layers
- Multifunctional gear
The gear I have is Rev’it, which was recommended to me because it fits petite figures. I made a few modifications to it, such as replaced some of the armor with D3O, sewed in a removable chest protector for when I do more off-road, and nervous for the contents in my pockets because none of the pockets on the jacket are zipped and are instead just velcroed, I sewed ribbons into the pockets with small locking S-biners to which I attach my keys and a couple of other small items, much like hiking daypacks have for keys.
For the function of the gear itself, the Rev’it gear have protected me great for minor spills and tip-overs: tip-overs on asphalt as I was just learning to ride, going down on a patch of ice and sliding (hip protectors proved themselves), and dozens of slow speed landings in the dirt when off-road riding. My body stayed protected, the gear showed no wear. Thankfully all those testings of the gear happened prior to my extended motorcycle road trip.
One thing I had been go back and forth on is whether it is preferable to have the waterproofing as a layer you have to pull over to the side of the road for and zip into your gear (nice in that removing it lets more airflow in the heat), or waterproofing embedded in the jacket itself. In the end I would prefer the latter, because it means one does not have to stop and layer up when rain is imminent. It also means that precious space in your panniers are not being taken up by the waterproof layer, or that you need to keep extra space available to stuff that waterproof layer away.
I am also finding that having the waterproof layer taking space inside the primary jacket means I have much less options for layering to keep myself warm. For example, despite my being super skinny, with the waterproof layer in the Rev’it jacket, on my arms I can only manage to wear an ultrathin base layer and a technical thin cardigan type pull-over; any combination that is slightly thicker starts making my elbows feel tight and choked. I tried on a heated jacket over an ultrathin base layer, and put my Rev’it jacket on with its waterproof layer zipped in – my elbows were starting to feel thick and tight with just those thin, basic layers.
On the bottoms end of things, a problem I did have with Rev’it was the pant legs are too short when I sit on my motorcycle and it is raining. I do not have super high boots but they are decently high (8 inches). Yet the top of my boot was exposed by the gap the pant made as I rode, and the wet came in, thoroughly soaking my waterproof boot because the rain came in through the top of my boot as the Rev’it pant leg was not long enough. I am eyeing Klim’s pants, which have a zip along the circumference of each leg, so that the length can be extended another few inches when sitting down on the motorcycle.
If one is riding in mostly warmer, typically dryer situations, Rev’it is great and attractively designed. If rain and cold weather are often the forecast – in such conditions I personally will be considering other gear options in the future at this point.
On the glove end of things, I found having two pairs of gloves helpful, one waterproof and the other for warmer conditions. Having a finger squeegee on the waterproof glove is a must for me from now on! I have heard that there are squeegee rings of sorts you can wear on the outside of a glove finger as well.
Base layers, particularly merino wool, were great. Light enough to wear the long sleeve even in warmth, wool is breathable and odor resistant. It also kept my riding gear smelling decent. Another baselayer that I will not ride without is a helicopter skullcap. It keeps the helmet liner cleaner, is easily washable, and as a result kept my facial skin fresher. Unlike regular skullcaps, it is cut around the eyes such that it follows the helmet padding and I do not have to worry about it slipping and covering my eyes while I ride (slippage being something I did experience once when trying to ride with a normal skullcap).
Multifunctional gear is also something to consider. If one is not doing hardcore off-roading, and would like to go hiking but not have the dilemma of how to secure the riding boots while away from your motorcycle exploring – tactical boots may be the way to go. My 5.11 Tactical Boots are waterproof, have a higher shaft, and work well for hiking.
See the rest of the Motorcycle Diaries