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  #1  
Old 20 Aug 2005
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Location: Changchun, Jilin, PR China
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Essential features of rideing suits

I have followed the threads about which riding jacket/pants/boots are the best. Why one manufacturer's product is better than another but I have never seen a topic on which three or four features are the best or most important (vents, armor, goretex, etc.). It often looks like all riding gear is the same when you read one product review or another or one manufacturers' web sites.

Here is my problem. My wife and I (age 63) are leaving next summer on a 12-18 month tour from NE China to Baja, Mexico and we will be riding in climates ranging from reasonable cold (Moscow & Helsinki in the fall) to pretty warm (parts of the mid east in the spring/early summer). I know there is no one suit equiped to do this but what do you feel are the 3 or 4 most important features of a riding suit that we should consider? Maybe knowing these things will help us to make a more intelligent choice.

We really appreciate your help.

Jack
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  #2  
Old 20 Aug 2005
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Jack, good question! First of all, forget about what manufacturers say on their websites, yes they all have the "perfect" combo! And the reviewers, well are they reviewing the gear for a weekend/day ride or a truly extended trip through many different climate zones?

Based on my experience, I have even found that the vast majority of motorcycle clothing stores back in the USA have no idea what is required for a global ride. Fortunately, many folks here on the HUBB do!

I have yet to find one riding suit which does everything, but some come pretty close, like the Rally and Savanna suits from BMW and the Rukka Air Power suits.

But I think the best approach is to use the concept of layering. A summer "mesh" or very well ventilated riding suit, with Goretex shells (motorcycle-specific) for the rain and cold will work very well. Add a heated vest and/or fleece and thermals underneath and you have a combo that will be good for many different climates.

Good protection is a also must, so don't skimp on quality. There are some really flimsy "summer" riding suits on the market that I really wouldn't trust in countries that have limited or non-existent emergency medical care. But BMW and Rukka make excellent adventure touring suits and are always a safe bet.

Best of luck on your trip!

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  #3  
Old 21 Aug 2005
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I second what Dave says, layering is the only option for all climats you will be exposed to. For instance, my last Vancouver to Mexico, i experienced -5c to 42c climate, extreme rain and harsh wind. Soon after i purchased a heated vest from Gerbings with full sleaves and a collar. Worth every penny. I use a BMW Kalahari jacket with a gore-tex liner. Excellent in the rain and hot weather but much too drafty in the cold. I'll soon be up-grading to a Savanna or RallyII. The heated jacket looses too much heat with only the slightest draft, so your outer shell should be wind-proof with lots of vents. I recently purchased the RallyII pants with goretex liner. I ride an airhead so my legs never get too cold anyways
So there you have it: a wind-proof armoured shell with excellent venting capabilities. A water-proof removeable goretex liner and full sleave heated jacket, IMHO, is the best gear for your travels.
Don't forget your boots and gloves! I have yet to find the perfect solution for these items. I wear BMW gore-tex enduro's. Excellent comefort and dryness in the harshest rain, but HOT in the dessert! I pack two pairs of gloves, but have yet to find a true waterproof glove! Hand-guards and heated grips really help here.
Finally, don't chimp-out on the change! Spend the money on good gear! Major bling provides major satisfaction!
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  #4  
Old 21 Aug 2005
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Location: Changchun, Jilin, PR China
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Thanx guys, that is exactly the kind of information I'm looking for. We have a problem with using heated vests in that we will be riding a Chinese built Chang Jiang 750 cc/32 hp, (a copy of a 1938 BMW R 71) and I just don't think the electrical system has sufficient output to power the vest(s).

One advantage that the Chang has is an incredibly strong sidecar so we will be able to pack extra clothes, that is if my wife ever stops thinking of "just one more" gotta have item.

Jack
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  #5  
Old 23 Aug 2005
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Jack, one more important comment about jackets and gloves.

I have the BMW Savanna II jacket with the inner gore-tex liner. One big problem with the waterproof liner being on the INSIDE is that rain can get underneath the outer layer and run down into your gloves (which will be lapped over the outer layer) getting them wet.

The concept of the fragile gore-tex liner being inside is a good one, as it is protected by the rugged outer layer, but wet gloves are tough to prevent with this design. You may have a similar problem with an inner waterproof layer in the pants and water running into your boots, unless you can somehow lap the inner gore-tex layer OVER your boots.

I also have the BMW Airflow pants with an external BMW gore-tex shell that I can take on and off on the side of the road in the rain or cold. The water problem is not a issue with this setup and this has worked very well for me in all conditions.

And on the subject of boots, I have had great luck so far with the Gore-tex Frey-Daytona Road Star boots. Totally waterproof and comfortable enough to wear, walk, and explore in all day. A bit warm in hot weather, but bearable.

Good luck.

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[This message has been edited by davidmc (edited 23 August 2005).]
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  #6  
Old 4 Oct 2005
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here is my $1200 worth..
i have ridden with alot of differant clothing. i have never been dissappointed with bmw clothing. just the opposite. fantastic crash features. comfort. etc. i especially recommend rally 1 or 2. you can sometimes pick up rally 1 really cheap because it is leftover. savannah is fantastic also. i use the gore tex liners and gerbing heated pants and coat and gloves.
wyomex
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  #7  
Old 8 Oct 2005
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I have the Rukka Air Power III and it has been pretty good for most of the places I've been.
It breathes well, has Gore Tex liners and has the best armor in the business AFAIK.
It is so comfortable I usually just wear it so I don't have to pack much in the way of other clothing.
Add some long underwear of your choice and you should be fine in just about all conditions except the very hot and humid places in which case nothing is good.
Get 2 pairs of gloves, one pair for normal use and another for wet, cold.
Find a good pair of Gore Tex boots like Frey Daytona or Oxtar.

Enjoy your trip, sounds like a good time is ahead.
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  #8  
Old 8 Oct 2005
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Where can I take a look at the airpower III?

Thanks, Bill
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  #9  
Old 8 Oct 2005
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I got mine from here:
http://www.adventuremotogear.com/
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  #10  
Old 9 Oct 2005
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I took a look at it. $1000.00 is outrageous. You BMW guys have more money than....well I do.

I use the layered idea. I wear a Bohn armour jacket, the best protection I've seen, and when needed a gortex rain coat over it.
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  #11  
Old 9 Oct 2005
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It depends. Both my wife and I had the Savanna I suits for 5 years and we ride all year, hot or cold. I know some people who get cheap gear and replace it every couple of years or get one set for summer another for winter.
But then I have had the same bike for 13 years.
Last month we did buy news suits.
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  #12  
Old 9 Oct 2005
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RE gloves - Rukka makes two style of waterproof gloves - one long gauntlet to go over the jacket, one short gauntlet to go INside the sleeve.

The short gauntlet is a great idea - it would go inside a lot easier than the long. I have the long gauntlet, but in nasty weather force it inside the jacket sleeve - Susan has to help me! We rode all day in a major downpour and neither of us got a drop inside, hands stayed dry all day.



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  #13  
Old 16 Oct 2005
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Location: Changchun, Jilin, PR China
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Excellent information and I can't thank all of you enough. However, I do have one small problem and that is living in China! While I think I can get gear appropriately sized without trying it on beforehand, I do face substantial shipping costs and fairly stiff duties on imported clothing.

As part of my searching I came across the Fieldsheer name and looked at their website. Yes, I know that I can't believe anything re. a mfgr's claims but they do seem to have good stuff at a more reasonable price. Does anyone have any experience with their gear?

Thanx,

Jack
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  #14  
Old 16 Oct 2005
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Where I work we sell Fieldsheer, not too many world travelers here but the gear works quite well for the price. To bad you can't buy in China as a lot of gear is made there and exported.
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  #15  
Old 1 Nov 2005
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This is what I will use when my time comes:

http://www.dragginjeans.com.au/produ...ts/zipOffs.htm

Dragginjeans make casual clothing strengthened with kevlar to prevent road rash. In addition they supply body armor that you can stick into your clothes (sholder pads, elbow pads, hip pads, and back protector).

One thing I always hated about motorcycles was getting in and out of my suit every time I made a destination. With this, all I have to do on a hot day is to zip off the pant legs, pull out the armor, and enjoy the sun.

In addistion to Draggin Jeans protective clothes I would layer up on cold and rainy days, using clothing which would double as regular clothes. (Rain gear, wind breaker, long jogns or running pants, jacket. For boots I would use some tall gore tex hiking boots and risk having my feet crushed in a severe crash (I just hate those motorcycle boots, and tall hiking boots offer fair protection.).

I believe this would not only allow me to travel lighter, but would in adition also let me bring a larger and more versatile wardrobe, in addition to offer more comfort while riding. Not too hot on hot days, and not too cold on cold days, allways just perfect

Draggin Jeans offer pants, sweat shirts, jackets, gloves, t-shirts, and more, all with a casual look and protective kevlar.











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