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


ARAI RX-Q in Hi-Viz

Arai RX-Q Helmet - Hi-Viz Fluorescent YellowArai RX-Q Helmet – Hi-Viz Fluorescent Yellow

I have been riding around with my new Arai RX-Q helmet all season and I am now well prepared to give a rider report.. The Arai RX-Q is a replacement for my five year old Arai Corsair RX-7. I replace my helmets every five years because the oils in your scalp over time weaken the foam core inside the helmet. Most manufacturers recommend that you replace your helmet no later than every five years.

As I mentioned in an earlier post I jumped on the Arai RX-Q after I found out that this new helmet release was being made in Hi-Viz. The Hi-Viz really works and I recommend it to everyone. Sure, I know helmet choice is often about looks and style and Hi-Viz may not be the look that everyone is going for. I get that. But I get the feeling that the world is slowly ratcheting its way in the direction of safety and visibility. I recently read that French motorcyclists are going to be required to wear H-Viz Jackets within the next couple of years. I need to find out more about that.

My new Arai RX-Q is a bit on the pricey side but I can only echo Arai’s older ad campaign and say “what’s your brain worth.” The quality of the Arai RX-Q is evident throughout and I have only one complaint about the helmet – more about that later. I think the thing that I like the most is that it is by far the quietest helmet I have ever ridden with. Wind noise is substantially diminished in the ARAI RX-Q although I still wear my ear plugs. The cheek pads (although a bit rougher in feel than my old Arai Corsair RX-7) are designed in such a way that they really wrap around your face. The feel is snug without being constricting. The cheek pads are, of course, removable and washable and it is possible to pull them out and remove some adjustment bits of foam to make the fit right for you: you can also just replace them with varying size fitments to get it just right for your skull bone.

The Face shield on the Arai RX-Q is of the standard Arai SAI variety that you find across the line. It is a thick and very clear shield and there is nothing flimsy about it – after all its Arai here. The peripheral vision is wider with these SAI setups too. If I have one complaint about this helmet it is in the way that the face shield comes off and on. Mind you though this is a complaint I have about every face shield I have encountered so it is not necessarily Arai specific. There is a YouTube video of a guy popping an Arai SAI face shield off and on like it was nothing. I don’t know how he does it. For me the process is awkward and cumbersome and I am thankful that I don’t do it very often. I ride with polarized sunglasses so my need to swap out face shields is minimal: I just pull them to clean them.

The rest of the helmet build on the Arai RX-Q is a blessing indeed. The vents pop open and shut with a gloved hand with ease and I really like way that they have positioned them. My old Arai Corsair RX-7 had a vent in the forward, top, middle of the helmet (up front between the left and right roof vents.) That vent is gone in the Arai RX-Q and with it is gone some of the whistling that I had when I tilted my head back a bit. Voila, gone. Instead the new Arai RX-Q has these nifty vents incorporated into the top of the face shield and they extend into the helmet – again, easily flickable with a gloved hand.

I haven’t had the opportunity to do much rainy weather testing on the new helmet yet but that will be coming up in no time at all: where did the summer go?

All in all I have to say that this Arai RX-Q is the best helmet I have ever owned (no, really!) and I expect it to last me for another five years. As far as visibility goes, well I had some friends who saw me five blocks back ahead at night in busy downtown traffic and they picked me right out. That’s exactly what I am looking for in visibility. – To see and be seen.

Gerde Applethwaite

Conspicuity: The Value of Hi Viz

Arai RX-Q Helmet – Hi-Viz

When I geared up for this season the biggest item I bought was a new helmet.  I have been riding with either Shoei or Arai helmets now for more years than I care to count. It is no surprise then that this year when I needed a new helmet to replace my 5 year old Arai Corsair I popped for the Arai RX-Q Hi-Viz.  When I found out that Arai had a HI-Viz helmet that fit my head I didn’t hesitate. I have been slowly heading toward Hi-Viz for a while. When you watch the Olympics the shoes that leap off of your hi-def screen are those yellow green Hi-Viz track shoes. I recently bought a set of work gloves at the big box hardware emporium and among them was a pair of bright yellow gloves. Up until now I had never seen bright yellow work gloves. Hi-viz is slowly (too slowly, I think) starting to infiltrate our visual awareness.

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and I ride a bicycle as well as a motorcycle. Over the last few years I have been slowly adding reflective stickers to my bike helmets and I am now  riding with a worker type lime green safety vest. All of the gear I buy now will likely be Hi-Viz.

There are just too many idiots on cell phones now and too many distracted drivers for me to not to take the whole conspicuity thing seriously. I am not preaching to the unconverted. If you think that lime yellow/green gear just isn’t for you then there are lots of safe(r) options out there for you in terms of new gear. I just want to be seen as far away and by as many drivers as possible . Its that simple.

I’m not the only one thinking this way. My copy of David Hough’s 2nd edition “Mastering the Ride” arrived not too long ago. It was on reserve for a couple of months awaiting the July release date.  Its great. I recommend it because it really starts a decent discussion about how to save your own life when you are riding.  If you live in the Bay Area you have the advantage of access to both Friction Zone magazine and Citybike. Both of these are motorcycle rider publications and both of them just had articles relating to David Hough and to riding safety. Its on the minds of a lot of folks these days and there is no better ambassador than Hough.  This book is the followup to his excellent “Proficient Motorcycling” and they are both great.

On page 91 of ‘Mastering the Ride’ (available at:  he talks about the importance of being seen when you ride and the importance of conspicuity gear. Here is a part of what he has to say:
” One of the conclusions if the Olson Report was that wearing a brightly colored (they call it “fluorescent”) jacket was very effective, especially a jacket in the bright-green spectrum.  For whatever reasons, having a brightly colored fairing was not as effective as wearing a brightly colored “upper-torso garment.” For riding at night, the report showed considerable benefit in having reflective panels in the riding jacket.”

“… Hi-viz Lime Yellow “jumps out” on a primal level because it is not naturally occurring, and because the human eye is most sensitive to light in this part of the spectrum. (The eye is least receptive to red and black.) The brightest color possible under visible light, Hi-Viz Lime Yellow is more effective than fluorescent colors which, because of their chemical makeup are dependent on the UV radiation in sunlight to “glow,” making them less effective at night and in vehicle headlights.  The piercing Hi-Viz lime Yellow carries plenty of visual “punch” even under incandescent and low-light conditions.”

I cannot recommend the Hough books more highly. I am fond of my Arai RX-Q Hi-Viz helmet and will write up some of my thoughts about it in another blog post. Get out there – and be seen.

Gerde Applethwaite

New Arai CT-Z Open Face Helmet!

The brand newArai CT-Z helmet will be replacing the revolutionary XC-RAM adding to its long list of exceptional features.  Expected to be released this fall, the CT-Z open face helmet is Snell rated with a simple organic shell shape.

Arai CT-Z Helmet - Black Frost
Featuring the latest Facial Contour System, the CT-Z improves overall comfort with minimal pressure on the head.  The cheek pad design gives riders secure support and reduces sound with noise absorbing foam.  Removable and replaceable liner helps achieve the best possible fit.

Superb ventilation extracts heat build up from inside the helmet.  The Arai CT-Z features a fixed air-wing that reduces lift at high speeds.  A vented neck roll takes airflow from around the neck to increase ventilation even more.

Arai CT-Z Helmet - Black Frost

The Arai CT-Z helmet is perfect for those morning commuters.   For those long rides heading into the sun, an adjustable peak offers protection from the bright sun.  The new CT-Z will enhance your overall riding experience, so make sure to check it out! Available in four colors: Black Frost, Diamond Black, Diamond White and Aluminum Silver.