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  #1  
Old 10 Jan 2006
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Safety Gear Advice Wanted

I'm looking into purchasing safety gear for a trans Africa trip. I'd like some of your opinions about adequate safety gear. I prefer the layering principle over "all in one" type clothing. Further, I also prefer that my clothes have versatility, being able to use them both for riding and for other purposes. As a consequence I would rather bring light weight and versatile Draggin Jeans kevlar protected clothing with separate armour over traditional MC clothing of leather or GoreTex (see: http://www.dragginjeans.com.au/ ). Further, I would rather have a light weight versatile kevlar shell jacket, a separate rain gear and a fleece jacket than having heavy duty water proof clothing with detachable liners, etc. Following the same stream of thought, I would rather use tall hiking boots rather than motorcycle boots and bring some rain socks as these shoes are more versatile.

In an attempt to find the optimal compromise between comfort, versatility and safety, what type of armour, and how much armour, would you bring.

Strap on knee armour vs those that attach with velcro inside your pants? Long vs short? Elbow? Kidney Belt? Hip? Sholder? Neck? Back? Chest? Shoulders? Shins? Hands? Ankles? Etc...

What would you bring and why... what would you not bring and why? Links and/or pictures would be helpful.

Here is an example of kevlar protected zip-off cargo pants. Immagine being able to just zip off your legs during your lunch break in the scorching heat!





Would you use something like this or would you use separate parts?

Velcro fastned on the inside of the pants vs strap on on the outside? Which is more comfortable?


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  #2  
Old 10 Jan 2006
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The draggin jeans stuff is fine stuff. But they are jeans on teh outside - read tough to wash and take a longggggggg time to dry. They also don't pack small. I'd not take them on a RTW trip.

For pants - go with motorcycle pants - with built in armor. And seperate travelling pants with zip off legs. That way WHEN the bike pants get dirty - you can wash them and have the travel pants to ware. Nylon/kelar bike pants will dry quicker that the daggin jeans/kevlar combo. Travelling pants are a lot lighter than jeans - wash well, dry quiclker and ware longer. They cost more but they pay you back on the road.

Think again mate. Jeans are not something you'd want to ware in a warm climate like Africa.
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  #3  
Old 10 Jan 2006
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I'm going with Draggin Cargos on the bike and travel troos off. The Draggins are cotton so I'm hoping they'll be relatively comfy even in hot stuff, and not look too weird when I get off to wander around for a bit. I also have a bit of an aversion to motocross/buck rogers wear. The other bike stuff I looked at looked way too leather and hot for most places I'm going.
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  #4  
Old 10 Jan 2006
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It's a choice between comfort and bleeding. MC racers don't wear draggin jeans they wear leather because they like their skin soft and supple. Bottom line is that non race-leather type gear is better than street clothes but no doubt race leather and race armor are tops for protection. I have about every type jacket and pants that are made and I wear race type leather when ever I can stand it. I go down to mesh at about 95-degrees in the south-west desert where I live. That's--it's no debate.

Bill
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  #5  
Old 10 Jan 2006
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I am with Frank on this one. I used both dragin jeans and cargoes. The jeans got way to hot and tight and were awful when wet. The cargoes were better as they were looser and had leg pockets. But I would rather have worn a tame coloured cordura enduro pant over lighter trousers, better water protection and easy to clean and dry.

Denim catches all the dust and sweat as well, in the tropics you'll get fungus on your crotch in no time...(jock itch is like tinea/athletes foot near your privates)

They are good around town though for peace of mind.

I had a Hein Gerrick Tuareg enduro jacket on my trip which was good in hot weather (lots of vents) crap in the cold. I am now using a Darien jacket ($$ouch) and so far so good. Its no worse than the enduro in the heat but leagues better in the cold. In aust Tiger Angel also make a gortex cordura jacket but (to be said sheepishly) i didnt like the cut or colours.

I know of people using the dainese safety jacket with a long sleeve T-Shirt over the top. But this is only if its dry. You could wear a good Cordura/Gortex number over the top for bad/cold weather rides.

I have a BMW twin and wore hiking boots with soccer shin gaurds..this was to stop me skinning them against the cylinders but still able to walk. MX boots awful to walk in but safer to ride in.

I also wore a back protector, otherwise whatever padding came with the jackets.

The big question is will you wear it, or just get the shits with it and ride in Tshirt, shorts and NZ safety shoes.

alec

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Old 10 Jan 2006
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So what are the best clothes for heat? As for water/rain, I would rather just carry extra rain gear and have a lighter more breathable riding gear.

I've never had anything like the daiese safety jacket before, only a backplate and whichever padding were sewn into the pants and jacket. The dainese obviously offer better protection and can be worn under numerous different types of clothes. Draggin Jeans also offer a kevlar sweater which I would figure be nice in the scorching heat which could be worn over a safetyjacket instead of wearing a heavy duty motorcycle jacket It is made from 100% kevlar and is fully breathable and washable. Anyone have any experience with this fabric? Does it breathe, wash and dry well?

Anybody know how comfortable a safetyjacket like the one in the picture in the first post is? How does it perform in terms of comfort, sweat, fungus, heat, etc? Does the fact that the pads are worn closer to the skin pose any issues?

As for jeans vs heavy duty riding pants made for rain or shine, my experience is that the synthetic pants function as a greenhouse and trap moisture inside (even though they are supposedly breathable). Cotton on the other hand, eventhough hot, does offer ventilation while riding. But fungus in my crotch... ouch. Any comments???
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  #7  
Old 10 Jan 2006
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Its more itch than ouch Wheelie, keep your undies away from your socks!

as for the safety gear

I had a freind fall on a trail ride last year ..twice...the first time at around 60kph, he slid to a stop in the gravel, helmet and face sheild scratched, dragin jeans worked just fine.

He then fell off going down a very steep hill at maybe 10kph and fell forward into the handlebars as the bike crashed into a dirt embankment. He wasnt wearing a trail riders chest plate or back protector, he managed a broken wrist, 5 broken ribs, punctured lung and ruptured spleen.

Now I know why trail riders wear them....

I think if you are travelling on a loaded bike you will be slower than you normally ride. The consequences of crashing alone are to great.

If I was being good I would wear a safety vest under a gortex/cordura bike jacket with lots of zipper vents. If its very hot wear a wet T-shirt under your jacket.

Riding in hot sun all day without some insulation from it can be pretty bad. In Alice Springs a zillion years ago i saw a rider who rode all day shirtless because of the heat, he had to go into hospital with serious sunburn..like third degree stuff.

I also have a one piece rain suit that I use to put over the enduro jacket if it starts to rain. Everytime I would put it on the rain stopped and vice versa.

Take some talcum powder

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  #8  
Old 10 Jan 2006
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I recently bought the Hein Gericke Tourag suite. The suite is fully armoured, although I have replaced all with HG's Hiprotec armour. The trousers (£68) legs can unzip at the knee so convient for stop-overs as shorts/baggies.

The jacket (£90) is awash with zips and flaps to open vents. With all the vents open it's the same as suing the Dianese armor vest. With the vents closed that can double as large pockets.

The suite does not have a gortex or thermal lay so I will be compensating with my trustee overalls I use when caught in th rain with my leathers. If it gets cold then back to the basics I have now learnt over 5 years in the UK...LAYERS.

I will be testing the suite in Spain in April so will let you know how it performs
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  #9  
Old 10 Jan 2006
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I wear three-layered Force gear (pants are two-layered) with elbow, knee and back protection. They are still comfortable after hours of riding. They can be sweaty in the heat, though this can be reduced with decent polyprop undergear. The jacket has zippered air vents and each layer zips out when it's too warm. Above about 28 degree C I prefer the Draggins - they can be hot and sweaty too but not as bad as the plastics. The heat for me is really only a problem with the pants, The Force jacket gets worn everywhere (and ends up with about 2kg of luggage in the pockets).

The added benefit of Draggin jeans is also that you can wear them around town or out for the night and still feel protected - especially when riding long distances or in some of the crazier cities. As for waiting for them to dry - when travelling, I wash jeans about as often as I eat dirt.

cheers
Brett
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  #10  
Old 10 Jan 2006
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On my last Africa trip I used MSR ISDE Gore-Tex jacket and pants, a set of Axo knee pads, and a Dainese safety jacket similar to the one above. For footwear I wore Viberg dual sport boots (http://www.workboot.com/dualsportbb.htm) which were good for riding and walking around (although I found them a little bulky).

Whilst I found the above setup worked quite well, I've now switched to an Aerostich Darien light jacket and pants (with removable protective pads) and won't be using the safety jacket for travel again - whilst protective it was another thing to carry.

The Darien light jacket also has a zip-in fleece that can be handy on chilly evenings.

I'll stick with the Viberg boots for now but may try some Altberg boots in future (http://www.altberg.co.uk).

Remember that if you're heading south through Europe to Africa, it may be cold and wet until you hit North Africa and even then you may still experience rain and cold temperatures at altitude (e.g. in the Atlas mountains).
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Old 11 Jan 2006
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Personally, i like the BMW gear. I´m currently using the Ralley11 pants and Savanna11 jacket, both in silver/grey. While moving, the vents are adequate on the pants and excellent on the jacket, with open sleaves, chest and back vents. I also use synthetic shirt and socks. When you stop and sweat for a bit, this acts as air conditioning when you start moving again. Stay away from cotton, you´ll regret it in the end! The safety factor of the BMW gear is only inferior to leather, and it fits well. Goretex liners are the best for waterproof travell. Try to stay away from dark colours, and remember, you get what you pay for! I buy all me gear used on E-Bay, never regretted it.
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Old 17 Jan 2006
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I live in northern england and believe in layers use natural fibres base layer silk or silk wool mix, next layer wool tshirt next a wool jumper all very warm, then use in (cold weather a mountain equipment down jacket) outer layers are gericke tuareg jacket (loads of zips vents etc) nylon top jacket keep water out. this combination covers every climate from cold to hot and provides light comfortable combinations of gear off the bike most of which pack down small ps natural fibres do not allow bacteria to form in the same way a synthetic so you will notice they do not become smelly if aired off each night save on the washing drying routine while on the road. they are also much warmer than most synthetics bad side is if the wool jumper/ down jacket get wet they are more difficult to dry oh bye the way the draggin jeans are terrible in hot weather you really sweat badly they are heavy and no use for walking in dont touch them for southern europe /africa absolute nightmare in that heat use BMW air pants or similar.Altberg boots UK offer hiking/biking boot all in one not as heavy as motocross boots but also less protection maybe.

[This message has been edited by adventure950 (edited 16 January 2006).]

[This message has been edited by adventure950 (edited 16 January 2006).]
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  #13  
Old 17 Jan 2006
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I'm sad to hear about the draggin jeans, they seemed like such a great idea.
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  #14  
Old 8 Mar 2006
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Room for thought on safety:

A friend of mine had a low speed spill on murram (lovely red stuff, amazingly slippery when wet). Result was a small tear in the jeans and half a pound of road embedded in the knee. Due to the brilliant healthcare available (best in the district!) a small amount of road remained in the knee and caused a long term inflammation. Finally had to be sorted out by the nice docs in SA.

Moral of the story? IMHO: Avoid skin to road contact at all cost!
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  #15  
Old 7 Jun 2007
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i've got a set of the dainese body armour in the photo. bought for desert racing but i've worn it for touring in aussie summer too, works really well with a singlet under it and mx jersey and camelbak over the top. but you have to be sure it's going to be hot where you're travelling, as hard nipples under the armour can be distracting...
i wore it across the plenty highway and more in 40 C and it worked a treat, just wet the whole lot at every opportunity for the best evaporative cooling you can get.
wore it out dancing on new years too, minus undershirt and overshirt. fishnet and armour never go out of style!
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