Rider gear...where to start? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
Bike and Rider Gear For discussions on different gear for the ride & rider.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 13 Old 07-22-2009, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 11
Rider gear...where to start?

Lucky for me, Kawasaki didn't make it too hard to choose which bike to get (would you like the red or the green?)

But gear, that's a whole different story. I've just been looking the past few days and I feel overwhelmed with choices? Where to start?

I've got the helmet taken care of. So should the next things be jacket, gloves, and pants? I want the best protection money can buy. What are the pros & cons of leather vs. textile? What should I look for in a jacket? What type of armor or reinforcement inside jackets and pants?

My riding will be mostly for commuting, but I ideally want something warm as I'll like to commute year round as long as there is no snow or ice on the ground.

Should I scour craigslist for some deals on "full sets" (as long as they fit), or should I go to the Kawasaki superstore and spend hours trying everything on?

Lastly, boots. Can I get away with leather work boots for the time being? (I have had these for a few years in brown, they are in good shape and I wore them in my MSR class)

Any other safety items you suggest? What about "hi-vis" apparel? I'm convinced they work b/c I've spotted many bikers right away in my truck mirrors when they are wearing 'hi-vis'. Are there some jackets with the 'hi-vis' fabric on them, or do most people just wear a 'hi-vis' construction vest over their regular jacket. What about reflective tape for the helmet or bike itself.

Sorry for all the questions but I feel like I'm going to end up getting totally fleeced by some salesmen and come out of the store looking like Harry & Lloyd in Dumb & Dumber after they spend thousands of dollars on goofy-ass clothing in Aspen.
Adam_R is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 13 Old 07-22-2009, 01:23 PM
Threadjacker
 
Lockjaw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Benicia, CA
Posts: 6,750
A great question actually. I started out with a full face, textile jacket, some work gloves and basic boots. Then I got a little smarter and started adding things. First, armored gloves. Next, kevlar long johns from dragginjeans. Next, got a decent leather jacket with armor. Then I got armored boots. Finally, good overpants with armor. I wear it all all the time. ATGATT. Sometimes I don't wear the overpants and just wear the kevlar long johns under pants. This is stupid, because I have seen a chunk taken out of a knee pad by a lane marker in a relatively normal crash. But I only do it when around town. Enough rationalizing.

I would say you should get as much gear as you can afford (which should be everything). And as high a quality as you can afford. I would check out newenough.com. I have gotten almost all my gear from them. They are good folks. Good about returns (although they describe everything well and it has always fit). And there is a commentary about each item. Save you some bucks too. If you have tons of money, Aerostich may be more your speed, but I can't even afford a sticker on there.

So, I'm currently rocking:
Joe Rocket Leather Jacket with CE Armor
Armored leather gloves (thick) - Have several pairs
Full face
Armored tourmaster overpants (most of the time), Kevlar undies if not
Tourmaster armored boots

A lot of people wear regular boots. I don't. The reasoning behind this is that I do not want my foot to be crushed. Ever. Seen it. Bad news. I wear my riding boots every time I ride and they are comfortable enough that I wear them all day. They also feel better riding as they are designed for it. I used to wear engineer's boots.

I used to wear a reflective jacket and I definitely think it is a good idea. When I ride my old Honda I wear it. The KLR is covered in enough 3M reflective tape that it can be seen from space. Same with my helmet.




"In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV." R. Pirsig

PPMC #1.
Soon, we ride.

AKA JD Mader or you can call me "Dan" just not early for dinner.

Click my handle for a link to my homepage/blog...which has nothing to do with MCs. Free literature and music! Viva La Revolucion!
-------------------
2008 KLR 650
RIP DM - Soon, we ride.
Lockjaw is offline  
post #3 of 13 Old 07-22-2009, 01:29 PM
Threadjacker
 
Lockjaw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Benicia, CA
Posts: 6,750
Tried to edit. Wanted to add:

Re: Leather vs Textile. Good textile stuff works well. It is pricey. And good MC quality leather is tough to beat against asphalt.

The questions I would ask myself to start narrowing things down:

1) How important is abrasion resistance? (Armor should be a given)
2) How important is rain resistance?
3) How much can you budget for EVERYTHING (Jacket, Pants, Gloves, maybe boots)
4) How important is visibility?
5) How important is style (sounds stupid, but you are more likely to wear gear you don't hate)

Sounds like you're in the same boat I am. I would have a lot different gear if I went offroad a lot. For what I need, what I have is good.

PS - Layering and a good scarf/balaclava will go a long way towards warmth. Most jackets have liners that zip out, too.




"In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV." R. Pirsig

PPMC #1.
Soon, we ride.

AKA JD Mader or you can call me "Dan" just not early for dinner.

Click my handle for a link to my homepage/blog...which has nothing to do with MCs. Free literature and music! Viva La Revolucion!
-------------------
2008 KLR 650
RIP DM - Soon, we ride.

Last edited by Lockjaw; 07-22-2009 at 01:34 PM.
Lockjaw is offline  
 
post #4 of 13 Old 07-22-2009, 02:44 PM
Pretty in Pink, dunno why
 
Tom Schmitz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Redondo Beach
Posts: 7,583
Garage
Adam_R -

Everything Lockjaw said is spot on.

What I'll add is that, back in the day, the choices in riding gear were either denim or leathers.

I was poor, but spent money on good boots (and they were Durangos!) and gloves while I road in Levis.

I think that boots and gloves should be first on the list and then you can add to your wardrobe when you can. Nowadays there are motorcycle specific boots that are designed to protect your shin and anklebones from impact and that have enough structure to ward off fractures. Denim can do a fair job of protecting you in a lay-down, but nothing will protect your hands and feet like good boots and gloves.

I ride in textile, with a winter suit that has waterproof and insulating layers that zip in. I have a summer suit that is mesh (Olympia Recon Transformer) that I really like. Both, of course, are armored.

Tom

Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 07-22-2009 at 05:42 PM.
Tom Schmitz is online now  
post #5 of 13 Old 07-22-2009, 04:55 PM
3rd Gear
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 815
You made the question quite simple.. "Best money can buy". There is only one choice... Aerostitch. They make everything for cool and warm weather and the best quality and service you'll ever find. I heard a guy went down once pretty bad and messed his suit up pretty good and Aerostitch gave him a replacement suit for free. I wouldn't expect any company to do that on a regular basis, but they will go out of their way to repair stuff and keep their customers happy. I've never heard anything bad about them.

http://www.aerostich.com/catalog/US/index.html
TheWanderer is offline  
post #6 of 13 Old 07-22-2009, 05:07 PM
5th Gear
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 4,700
Not much to add, except personal experience over the years.. (riding motorcycle on the road since 1981)(man, I'm old)

I've tried most everthing over the years, and as much as it pains this KLR rider to say this, spend the extra money to get the best stuff you can..

My current riding gear is:
Helmet- HJC AC12
Jacket- Aerostich Darien
Pants- Aerostich Darien
Gloves- Held Steve gloves
Boots- Gaerne Strada

Now the reasons..
I wear HJC helmets because they're well built, cheap, and I dispose of helmets every other year. I buy a helmet a year, trade off between 2 during the season, and throw away the older one after two seasons. This is because the foam degrades and compresses with use, and the foam is what protects you in a fall.. I know others who wear them longer, but my personnal choice is 2 seasons. (I average 15-20K a year)

Jacket and pants, my choice is Aerostich.. They vent well, are good for 10+ years of use, are waterproof, and Aerostich is an American company that builds excellent motorcycle gear. They're not cheap, but I consider them the best stuff out there.

Held Gloves.. Again, not cheap, but built with the best materials, with racing quality leather, and they fit.. Well, like a glove..

The Gaerne Boots are something I picked up years ago.. I keep waiting for them to die, but they just keep lasting and lasting.. I think I've had this pair for almost 10 years. Comfortable, excellent protection, and they fit.. When these finally are worn out, I'll be going to Aerostich Combat Boots for the same reason as above, except that the Combats are actually built in Italy by Sidi..

I guess what I'm pushing is that you get what you pay for.. I've had $150 jackets that fall apart after a season or two.. Doesn't seem cost effective when I can spend $450 for a Darien, or better yet, buy a used one on eBay for $200.. (yes, my current Darien was an eBay purchase. $125 and I'm on my 5th season with it, and my pants were $100 on eBay)

Get the best you can afford.. It might seem like a lot of money up front, but you'll be wearing it for years and years.. My favorite gear is Aerostich, but I've also seen Olympia gear hold up extremely well, also.. If I didn't have the Darien, I would more than likely wear a Olympia AST jacket..

If you're on a budget, check out NewEnough.com and MotorcycleCloseouts.com for very good closeout gear..

Good luck with your purchase, and just remember that you don't want to buy the Batman outfit in this topic.. http://www.klrforum.com/showthread.php?t=6770
Paper is offline  
post #7 of 13 Old 07-22-2009, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 11
Thanks all. As I suspected a lot of different opinions on brands and models of gear, but there seems to be a consensus on what type of gear is most important.

As for the jackets, lets say I want something to ride in the hot weather for the next few months, and then something to ride in the cold weather after that...but only want one jacket? Should I get a heavy warm jacket and suffer through the heat for a few months, or get a lighter mesh jacket layer up under and over it in the winter? I've got plenty of skiing and hunting gear that I think I can get creative with when it gets cold, so I really just want the jacket for the protection.
Adam_R is offline  
post #8 of 13 Old 07-22-2009, 07:17 PM
5th Gear
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 4,700
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam_R View Post
As for the jackets, lets say I want something to ride in the hot weather for the next few months, and then something to ride in the cold weather after that...but only want one jacket? Should I get a heavy warm jacket and suffer through the heat for a few months, or get a lighter mesh jacket layer up under and over it in the winter? I've got plenty of skiing and hunting gear that I think I can get creative with when it gets cold, so I really just want the jacket for the protection.
Here's my recommendation..

Get a jacket (non-mesh) that is waterproof without a liner. By this, I mean a jacket shell that's abrasive resistant and waterproof. If it comes with a liner, great, but don't rely on a liner for waterproofing.. You'll find that with limited storage, you'll want to leave the liner at home and then find you need it when you run into a rain shower.
A $15 fleece jacket is as good as any $80 "motorcycle" liner, and you can get them anywhere.. Most shells have excellent venting and you'll be comfortable in most riding.. The trick of course is to be moving..

And, also grab a mesh jacket for those hot days.. Mesh jackets are CHEAP and it's nice to have one for a super hot day that no rain's expected.. And if it does rain, it's hot out and will actually feel good, anyway..

You'll find yourself wearing the shell and layering it with something for 90% of your riding.. Zip it closed and wear fleece for cooler weather, and when it warms up, unzip the venting and toss the fleece in a tank bag..

The reason I don't like waterproof liners is that you have to wear the liner in rain, no matter what temp you're riding in.. I hate tossing a liner on when it's raining and 85 degrees out.. You'll end up wetter from sweat than you would have been just riding in the rain without a jacket..

In time, and if you're riding in very cool temps, or night riding when it's damp out (not much of an issue in Denver, but) kick around an electric vest.. I often end up riding longer in the day or early in the morning when it's 40 degrees out, and an electric vest makes the difference between comfort and being chilled for half the day.

I also like it when I'm riding to work and it's 10 degrees out.. Like being in a warm shower, but not getting wet.. Ahhhhh...
Paper is offline  
post #9 of 13 Old 07-22-2009, 08:35 PM
3rd Gear
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 815
I'm with Paper... one jacket won't cut it. I originally thought the same way about one master jacket/pants and then work with layers, but it's not feasible unless the temps you ride in don't go to one extreme or the other. I have a winter jacket that is wind and water proof and warm down to the 40's by itself for maybe 3 hours. With the fleece liner that came with it, I can ride to lower 30's for 3 hours or higher temps for more hours. The matching pants have a liner I can't remove so they are always warm. In summer, even the jacket by itself with all vents open is just too hot. I ended up getting a mesh jacket and pants. I can use my liner from the other jacket and the windbreaker from the mesh together for those cold nights after a hot summer day. I really don't find winter riding very fun because of being so covered up that it's hard to even move around so I don't do much of it anymore.
TheWanderer is offline  
post #10 of 13 Old 07-22-2009, 09:06 PM
5th Gear
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 4,700
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWanderer View Post
I really don't find winter riding very fun because of being so covered up that it's hard to even move around so I don't do much of it anymore.
Same here.. Other than early winter rides to work before snow (and salt) hits the roads, the only winter riding I do is on a 600 Polaris snowmobile..
Paper is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
New rider looking for gear Markk9 Bike and Rider Gear 5 12-07-2008 11:22 PM
Bike won't start in gear no matter what I do. Timbo KLR & Other Motorcycle Related Discussion 22 01-02-2008 07:50 AM
How to start bike in gear robsong 1987 to 2007 Wrenching & Mods 2 07-08-2007 09:19 AM
Bike will not start in gear with the clutch in Richard Denham Introductions 2 04-23-2007 08:20 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome