Mesh Motorcycle Jackets: Staying Cool While Riding on a Hot Day

You know what they say, if you can’t take the heat then stay out of the kitchen. But who wants to leave the bike the garage after waiting all winter to ride! There is plenty of motorcycle gear for summer that can keep you riding in just about any condition.

A breathable jacket is lighter than leather and has some advantages that leather doesn’t have.

The mesh motorcycle jacket is ventilated, often utilizing thicker, more open weave fibers on the fabric’s exterior. This helps direct air flow on to the rider, keeping the body cool and comfortable even while riding on a hot day.

T-Shirts and Tank Tops?

A thin t-shirt or tank top is tempting on a triple-digit afternoon, but in reality can set you up for harsh sunburn and leave you vulnerable to serious injury. Not to mention, when you’re cruising at 75mph. your body doesn’t have a chance to use your sweat to keep you cool!

When you wear a mesh jacket, the fabric reflects sunlight, allowing you to feel the sweat cooling your skin as it begins to evaporate, and protects your skin from the sun.

More Benefits of Mesh Motorcycle Jackets

Many of the breathable jacket designs that are on the market today use flow-through fabrics to encourage airflow, CE certified armor in the shoulder and elbows to increase protection, and waterproof liners to keep the rider dry during the pop-up rain shower.

Most importantly, the mesh motorcycle jacket makes riding on a hot summer day enjoyable again. What upgrades do you need to make to your summer riding gear?

 

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month: The Road is Ours to Share

Motorcycle RiderJust in time for spring riding season, Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month kicks off in May. As a national initiative encouraging drivers and riders to “share the road” with each other, it not only calls for operators of passenger vehicles to watch out for motorcyclists but also reminds bikers of their responsibility while cruising down America’s roadways.

Driver Safety Tips

As part of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, drivers of cars, trucks and buses are reminded of the following:

  • Remember that motorcyclists have all the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle driver on the roadway.
  • Avoid sharing the lane, and allow bikers a full lane width. The motorcycle needs room to maneuver safely.
  • Always use a signal before changing lanes or merging with traffic, so that bikers can maintain safe distance and lane position.
  • Likewise, keep in mind that not all motorcycle signals are self-canceling. Wait to ensure the rider is going to turn before you make your move.
  • Allow for extra room between you and the biker; they can stop more quickly than cars in dry conditions. A good rule of thumb is 3-4 seconds.
  • Stay alert and minimize distractions such as texting and talking on the phone.

Motorcyclist Safety Tips

Riders are reminded to obey traffic laws and observe safety guidelines not only during Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month but also throughout the year:

  • Always wear DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets while riding, whether you are the operator or a passenger. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,617 motorcyclists in 2011. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, an additional 703 lives could have been saved.
  • Wear protective gear, such as motorcycle boots, motorcycle gloves, and apparel that is designed for your riding conditions.
  • Use reflective tape and wear bright colors to stay visible to other motorists.
  • Remember never to share the lane with another vehicle; they may not see you when speeding up, slowing down or changing lanes.

Whether you will be out on the open road this spring or you find yourself cruising through the city streets, keep in mind that Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is for the protection of everyone. Share the road!

Spring Checklist: Or What Price Neglect?

Foolishness and neglect are the best of bedfellows and their moto spawn is all to often a concussion, at the least, and/or an addled and expensive hospital stay at next to worst.

Yesterday I went for what was for me an extended bike ride. On the return loop shifting gears got a bit wonky.  I dropped the chain into the gutter between the big chain ring and its  neighbor. I did it again…. and again. I left it in a medium low gear and made it home none the worse for wear. I laid the bike up and the following day, today, I sprayed up the works with chain lube prior to another ride assuming that the chain was just sticking. Chain lube is not holy water. Two blocks down the road at a light I stood on the topmost pedal and put my weight down on it to get me going. The chain jumped again – same spot and I went sideways over the bars and onto my back as the chain slipped and the pedal went sharply groundward. While I lay there part way into the intersection I was mostly surprised. All too often in an accident everything seems to slow down a bit. Not this one: push on the pedal, crunching noise , on yr. ass. Voila.

When I got the bike to the side of the road I looked it over closely. 4 of 5 bolts that hold the big chain ring on had worked themselves sloppy loose. They must have been a bit loose for a while and yesterday’s extended ride just worked on them and that is why the chain kept popping off. This is a foolish thing to have missed and a simple thing to rectify. I was already working up this post about checking your ride after the winter layup and this little safety vignette delivered itself to me in an awkward aerial ballet along with a bit of a stiff back.

There are some very good places to go on the intertoobz to get a spring checklist of things to attend to before you pull hibernating machine from its cave. I will list a couple at the bottom of this post and I welcome you to add yours. Read through them and then take the time to go through your bike. Cleaning it is often a very good way to start. Look it over.

Bring out the wrenches – tighten up bolts all around. Do you have leaks? Attend to it.  Fuel leaks, dripping oil – attend to it. Now is the best time. When the riding season comes in full bloom to your part of the world you won’t want to devote saddle time to nit-nit repairs. Do it now.

Tires: are they cracked? How much tread depth do you have? Are your wheels balanced and properly aligned in the frame. It doesn’t take much to check that out. Spoked rims? Are all of your spokes tight? Allow rims: any cracks?

Clutch and brake fluids topped off? Is this the year to flush the systems, bleed them and install new fluid? Are your electrics in order? All the lights and switches work? No frayed wires in the harness? Pull off the tank – take a look around.

In an upcoming post I am going to have a go at what tools and sundries are best to carry under the seat in the limited room available there. If you have tips and ideas for that post let me know. A CO2 cartridge tire filler device is already on my list.

Ok, try these links for spring cleaning and checkup ideas:

http://www.allaboutbikes.com/feature-articles/motorcycle-maintenance/6771-get-your-motorcycle-ready-for-spring

http://www.insurancehotline.com/spring-motorcycle-preparation-checklist/

 

Gerde Applethwaite

You Look Hot! Ready for some ventilation?

Soon you will be feeling the warmth of the sun beating on your back as you’re waiting for the light to change. But that doesn’t mean that a few weeks from now you have to sit at the same light in a pool of your own sweat. Not cool.

Fortunately, our friends at Scorpion have added to your options. This stuff takes motorcycle gear to new fashion heights. The new Savannah 2 line is not just gorgeous;  it has CE approved armor and is vented and lightweight.


And for the guys, Scorpion’s poly mesh Ventech 2. Looks great in hi viz neon.

Scorpion Ventech II Jacket – Neon

Icon has been busy too. They got some great choices that will let you idle with pleasure. The Hooligan Street Jersey is made with a Fighter Mesh Chassis for maximum venting.

Icon Hooligan Street Jersey – Red

So stop worrying about looking cool and be cool. Upgrade your riding gear collection to include some of this mesh apparel today!

 

 

 

 

New for Spring 2013 Part 1 – The Arai Defiant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With so many exciting motorcycle helmets hitting the market, and so much new gear, we weren’t’ sure where to start! So we will fill you in one post at a time to bring you up to speed on all the amazing new stuff from Arai helmets, Scorpion, Icon, HJC and more!

First things first. Arai helmets released a new model: The Arai Defiant. This is big news!
Designed for urban riders who want a more aggressive style, the Arai Defiant has been called the “ultimate street helmet” by Arai. It has an Intermediate Oval shell shape and traditional Arai quality. However, the Defiant also has a unique feature – a front air dam to minimize buffeting and wind noise.

Another great feature is the hydrophobic neck roll and cheek pad bottoms. They will not absorb water, even in a full on down pour. The Dry-Max material will stay just that- dry to the max! It will not soak up water and add weight to the helmet. Very cool.

 

 

With 5 solid colors and 6 graphics to choose from, you can see that style was considered in the creation of the helmet.But it wasn’t the priority. The Arai Defiant is an Arai through and through. And with a price point close to the Signet-Q, you can believe it!

 

The Defiant will range from $619.95-$759-95. Get ready for high functioning coolness!

 

Alpinestars Rain Gear Makes a Splash

It’s the perfect time to try out some new Motorcycle Rain Gear! It’s the time of year when the weather is slowly warming up but the rain has us dreaming of better days. We have a great new addition to our rain gear line up that might help!

Alpinestars rain gear gives you some new options to get out in the elements. The new Alpinestars Mud Jacket is an interesting addition. WIth clear, see through material. It is a great cover up for your regular riding gear.

The Quick Seal Out Rainsuit from Alpinestars is another option for dry riding! With elasticized cuffs and reflective details. It has all the features of great rain protection!

Don’t let winter’s last wet onslaught keep you off your bike! Stay dry when you try Alpinestars new rain gear!

 

 

 

 

 

The all New Shoei GT-Air and J-Cruise Helmets!


 Shoei has once again “wowed” us with their new Shoei GT-Air helmet.  The Shoei GT-Air helmet includes several features that enable riders to adapt to ever-changing conditions.

A built in sun shield is distortion-free and blocks 99% of UV rays.  The Shoei GT-Air’s pinlock system offers the most effective anti-fog protection.  Additionally, the CNS-1 shield has a wind and waterproof seal.

The Shoei GT-Air helmet improves cool-air intake and eliminates hot-air with its ventilation system.  Three upper vents improve air intake while exhaust outlet vents reduce pressure suction.

 Shoei will also be releasing another impressive model in their 2013 helmet line-up, the Shoei J-Cruise.  Many have mentioned this is not your average open face motorcycle helmet and we agree! Shoei packed the J-Cruise helmet with several innovative features that keep riders safe and increase overall rider comfort.  The Shoei J-Cruise helmet reduces road noise and wind turbulence with an advanced shell, shield aerodynamics, as well as liner components.

The J-Cruise helmet includes an internal sun shield for instant relief from bright sunlight.  Like the internal sun shield, the CJ-2 shield protects against 99% of UV rays.  A distortion-free CJ-2 shield provides a wider and taller field of vision.

Solve your sweaty hair problem with the Shoei J-Cruise motorcycle helmet.  The J-Cruise’s EPS liner allows cool air to flow through tunnels created in the material for increased ventilation performance.  Shoei’s exclusive Max-Dry liner material prevents heat buildup around the head by absorbing sweat and dissipating moisture quickly.

Shoei strikes the balance between airflow and silence with their new GT-Air and J-Cruise Helmets.

Firstgear Navigator Gloves

HC BLOG First Gear Navigator Gloves

There is a scene in Steve Martin’s L.A.Story wherein his character, Harris K. Telemacher, a weather guy at an L.A. TV station, talks about last night’s temperature drop. He says in part “… and when the weather dropped down to 58 degrees last night how did you cope?…”  I live in California and the vast bulk of my riding these days is in-state. Which is to say that I haven’t had a chance to test my new gloves in any sort of rigorously cold weather so I have never been inordinately cold with my First Gear Navigator gloves.

I don’t have too many sets of riding gloves: well, in fact I have two pair. I have a pair of older black leather gloves that come right to the end of my wrist and I have another pair which are gauntlet style gloves that go up and around the jacket  cuff – the First Gear Navigator gloves.

There are myriad choices when it comes to riding gloves. The prices run wildly from a bit under fifty dollars to somewhere in the near four hundred dollar zone.  I opted this season for a pair in the just under one hundred dollar range  with the First Gear Navigator’s.  I do not regularly need a cold weather glove. For the cold weather First Gear makes a couple of nice gloves in their TPG range  called, not coincidentally, the “TPG Cold Weather” glove and also their aptly named “Tundra.” Then there is the toasty category of heated gloves which I have yet to experience but about which many on the interwebz have sung their praises. ‘Mmmm, heated gloves’ (insert your best Homer Simpson donut voice here.) My old wrist high gloves were just not cutting it anymore. They let rain and wind in under the cuff of the jacket and in a get-off they have the potential to leave a part of your forearm exposed to the menace of road pizza upon the eventual and dreaded landing.

The First Gear Navigator gloves, the gauntlet style gloves, are goat skin for the most part and they are soft and pliable. The fit seems to run just a bit small but after you break them in, wrapped around your hand grips for a few hundred miles, they fit like they were made for you.

As mentioned in a previous post I like the quality of construction of the First Gear equipment. These gloves are well stitched and have some nifty features bolted up to them. There is a small strip of rubber sewn in on one glove that acts as a sort of windshield wiper. The times when I have found that little device most useful were on those rainy days on the freeway. I am reticent to wipe the rain off of my helmet because it just smears everything and makes the vision a bit worse but with the little windshield wiper doodad on the First Gear Navigator gloves I can, especially when the freeway throws up oil and crud into the mix, wipe a clean spot onto the face shield and keep riding.

These gloves do not have the big carbon or plastic knuckle protectors and that makes them easy to store into the backside kangaroo pocket in my jacket – no more lost gloves. They Have a siliconized grip pad in the palm that makes holding onto to the hand grips that much easier. The First Gear Navigators are also flexible enough to allow me to readily work the vent latches on my helmet as well.

All in all I am content with the First Gear Navigator gloves but if I did much riding in really cold weather I would look into either their Cold Weather glove or the Tundra. I am quite comfortable in my  Cali. quasi-Mediterranean climate and I suspect I won’t be glove shopping again for a while but then again…heated gloves, mmmmmm.

*****

Gerde Applethwaite

Helmet City Rider’s Report: Sidi On Road Gore-Tex Boots

Sidi On Road Gore-Tex Boots

I was on a day ride in the Netherlands some years back: It was one of those things that winds up  in a bar/cafe in the late afternoon. There were 25 or so bikes in the parking lot when I arrived and the place was getting a little crowded. One of the first things I noticed when I walked in the door was a a guy in full leathers wearing a really sad bedraggled pair of what were were once pink bunny slippers. Genius!

 

It took me about two seconds to figure out that this was an actual solution to a motorcycling foot wear conundrum.  If you wear a pair of boots that are strong enough and stiff enough to give you any sort of real protection when you decide to separate yourself from your ride at speed then you will honestly not be able to walk around comfortably after you get where you are going. The dutch guy took off his decently made, stiff boots when he got to the cafe and pulled the bunny slippers out from under the seat. That’s the honest tradeoff – either you buy boots that you can use for your post-ride perambulations or you buy a pair of boots that will give you maximum protection for those potential get-off mal-events.

 

Every moto boot maker will talk about how comfortable their high protection boots are for walking around but, truth be told, they ain’t. Again, you either get the protection or you get the  boots you can wander around the village in. I opted for the Sidi On-Road Goretex this season when it was time to shop for a new pair of ankle, toe, and shin protectors. I like them. They are still stiff but they have loosened up a bunch and I can make it to the store and back without the classic Frankenstein monster gait. These boots, these Sidi On-Road Goretex boots, are sort of the standard by which other touring and sport touring boots are judged. BTW, another good boot in this category is the Sidi Way Mega Rain Boot.  The Sidi On-Road Goretex boots are stiff enough to provide good shin protection (ever been whacked a good wallop in the shins by your pegs?) They even have a nifty lateral malleolus protector disc at the ankle bone protrusion (google “peroneal tendon subluxation“ if you have some spare time.) The Sidi On-Road Goretex have good lugged soles and also a breathable Goretex liner to wick out moisture buildup. These boots are relatively easy to get in and out of because they have a velcro lined flap that you can peel open to widen the boot. If you look at the front of the Sidi on-Road boots they sort of look like utilitarian welder style work boots: they are not like the off-road style boots that are a cross between plastic ski boots and something that Lucas would put on his Imperial Storm Troopers.

 

I decided to take a page from the guy in that cafe in a small town below Eindhoven and I found a pair of sneaks to put under my seat. For comfort and basic black style I really like the Simpson Crew Shoes – we have them. They are soft and they scrunch down a bit under the seat. When you put The Simpson Crew Shoes on after a ride they feel like slippers. What they lack in rolling bunny eyes they more than amply make up for in comfort. The soles are thick, but not too thick, cushiony but not bulky.  So, I have it knocked now: Sidi On-Road Goretex as my regular ride boot and Simpson Crew Shoes for apres-ride lounging or strolling.

*****

 

Gerde Applethwaite