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Advice request: Biker's equipment from head to toe for a (old) principiante in H'town Texas (Yee Haa?)


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I am becoming a rider again, after so many years of being inactive...

I need to equip myself properly, and I am only familiar with a lot of oldies brands, the ones that everyone can name from memory. However, this is 2020, and there maybe other brands that are just as good.

First of all, where do you shop for rider's gear? is Cycle Gear a good start?

Do any of you ride with an "air bag" jacket? as in Dainese Smart Jacket?

Is "BILT" a good brand? never heard about it before.

I do not compromise with safety. I always ride with all the necessary PPE, and with risk, my motto is ALARP/A (As low as reasonably possible/achievable). That being said, Texas is hot and humid most of the year. I would be great to get advice and recommendation for those of you who don't ride in shorts, T shirts and flip flops...

Thanks for chiming in...

 

 

 

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Have AeroStich. Will Travel.  

Z Custom Leathers made me an amazing racing jacket and pants for me almost twenty years ago to custom match my Sport.  For a while there, they had seemed to have shrunk .  Still, I only use them for "

Hmmmmm . Let's go over this "clearly " mentioned STUFF . You think your wife doesn't know you purchased a bike !  Every night you go to sleep , she gives you the Vulcan mind probe and finds out every

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"BILT" is the Cycle Gear brand. Their upper end brand is "Sedici". Which is fun to say and maybe a bit "sportier." I know an experienced rider who has relied on their gear for many years, so yes: a good place to start. Especially if a store is accessible for you to lay hands on directly and verify fit.

Summers in the southern US see me using my armored, one-piece ventilated Olympia riding suit. Olympia has an affordable range of gear worth looking at, IMO.  I tried to get away from AeroStich, but the utility and ruggedness brings me back. In spite of the cost, weight, and some design flaws, the ugly grey one-piece Roadcrafter is a trusted piece of kit for me. 

I have had good success shopping online with RevZilla for various gear across the brands. They usually have a video review of each product to help with selection.

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I have a Cycle Gear store not too far from where I live.

When it comes to helmets, I need to try them on; I wear glasses.

I will check all the gear you suggested, although at this point in time, I am not too worried about hot weather.

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It’s best to try stuff on in person, but this is difficult in many locals, and very hard right now with Covid. I think Revzilla and Cycle Gear may be the same company. Revzilla is user friendly with returns which is often necessary to get the right fit. Alpinestars and Dainese make good stuff, but the fit is Euro slim. A good sizing chart will get you close with jackets and pants, but helmets and boots are more particular for matching helmet shells and shoe lasts to your head and feet. I have Daytona boots which are great but it took two times with Helimot to get the fit right. My Shoei helmet I was able to buy at a local store, and I’m glad that I did as all of the helmets I tried fit differently from each other. I have a great vintage Cal Leather horse hide jacket I got cheap on the fedora lounge forum. It predates the use of armor in jackets, but it’s like a suit of armor and is in great shape (I have an extra one if anyone is interested). I have newer Vanson leather pants which are what I like to ride in; they’re a little pricey but very nice. I also have a new Vanson jackets but the fit is not great and I need to send it back. These things are expensive and it takes a while to have them made, but the idea is that you’ll end up with a perfect fit. I dunno. In spite of having the custom Vanson and vintage Cal Leather jackets, the jacket that I use the most is an inexensive Cortech jacket I bought on sale from Revzilla. It fits and works great and has full CE armor. It a combo mesh/leather jacket and is great in hot weather, and with a windproof base layer it works in the cold. For gloves I use the Lee Parks DeerSports, and after a year’s use they’re holding up ok. I think if I was riding a lot in wet weather I’d be looking at an Aerostich suit. I don’t know if they’re open now as Covid has disrupted a lot of operations.

Good luck!

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In a word, Roadcrafter! I have crash experience and it saved me from serious road rash and maybe worse. I believe they have the best armor, TF something..it's soft until impact then indestructible.

but yeah, an airbag vest would be even better.

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11 hours ago, p6x said:

I am becoming a rider again, after so many years of being inactive...

I need to equip myself properly, and I am only familiar with a lot of oldies brands, the ones that everyone can name from memory. However, this is 2020, and there maybe other brands that are just as good.

First of all, where do you shop for rider's gear? is Cycle Gear a good start?

Do any of you ride with an "air bag" jacket? as in Dainese Smart Jacket?

Is "BILT" a good brand? never heard about it before.

I do not compromise with safety. I always ride with all the necessary PPE, and with risk, my motto is ALARP/A (As low as reasonably possible/achievable). That being said, Texas is hot and humid most of the year. I would be great to get advice and recommendation for those of you who don't ride in shorts, T shirts and flip flops...

Thanks for chiming in...

 

 

 

To be fair, it's only hot and humid here in Houston during the summer months, which is why you'll likely need to have gear for summer (lighter weight or mesh) vs. gear that works the rest of the year or can be used with layers.  Anywhere else in Texas will be hot, but much less humidity once you get away from the coast a bit.

If you're looking for good brands to try, you can find lots of good gear on Ebay also, whether that's Fieldsheer, Kathmandu style jackets, Aerostitch, Joe Rocket, Alpinestar or Klim gear.  Best way would be to figure out if you're sticking to a budget.  Depending on what size gear you wear or helmet, I have some very lightly used extra boots (I think size 10.5, will check) and practically brand new helmet (Nolan in XL) that a friend of mine no longer uses and they are too big for my use.  If those are in your sizes, happy to have you take a look.  Occasionally also on Wildguzzi a fellow by the name of Bikelee has very good deals pop up on high quality gear, I've bought a few of his items...impeccable, very lightly used high quality Aerostitch items.  You can also look online for gear thru many online motorcycle vendors...tons of gear available at reasonable prices.

Depending on where you are in Houston, let me know and can arrange to show you the gear.  Once you get your bike in your hands and are comfortable riding again, there are several of us Guzzisti who go out regularly for weekend rides/coffee/lunch.  

Hopefully in 2021, the rallies will resume as well, there's the GRIT rally (you can also sign up on Facebook for the GRIT - Guzzi Riders in Texas) site, where we post up if we're doing a lunch somewhere around the state.  October is when the Texas GRIT rally occurs, also the Oklahoma rally (Talihina state park) and then there's Cedar Vale Kansas in May, Louisiana rally, New Mexico rally etc...)  So if you can get your V11 and self into a comfortable touring condition, those are fun events to meet other Guzzisti.

Cheers,

Paul

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Don't see Rukka mentioned, quality from Finland. My biggest $$$ ever when it comes to riding gear, Rukka Amaros. Another IPA, yes, enjoy life guys.
Cheer tom.RUKKA.jpg

Sent fra min SM-A505FN via Tapatalk

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The Rukka stuff looks really nice. Their prices seem in line with higher end gear. You should have gear that doesn’t get in the way and that you trust and like to ride in for the years to come.

If you’re keen on going the bespoke route, in addition to Vanson Leather in MA, there is Langlitz Leathers in OR, and Bates Leathers in CA. 

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22 minutes ago, Kane said:

The Rukka stuff looks really nice. Their prices seem in line with higher end gear. You should have gear that doesn’t get in the way and that you trust and like to ride in for the years to come.

If you’re keen on going the bespoke route, in addition to Vanson Leather in MA, there is Langlitz Leathers in OR, and Bates Leathers in CA. 

Z Custom Leathers made me an amazing racing jacket and pants for me almost twenty years ago to custom match my Sport.  For a while there, they had seemed to have shrunk :rolleyes:.  Still, I only use them for "ceremonial" rides, and not usually the racing pants as they are not made to carry much (nothing) in the pockets. And my pocketses serve more like a day-pack . . .

http://www.zcustom.com/

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On 12/26/2020 at 7:13 PM, Kane said:

It’s best to try stuff on in person, but this is difficult in many locals, and very hard right now with Covid. I think Revzilla and Cycle Gear may be the same company. Revzilla is user friendly with returns which is often necessary to get the right fit. Alpinestars and Dainese make good stuff, but the fit is Euro slim. A good sizing chart will get you close with jackets and pants, but helmets and boots are more particular for matching helmet shells and shoe lasts to your head and feet. I have Daytona boots which are great but it took two times with Helimot to get the fit right. My Shoei helmet I was able to buy at a local store, and I’m glad that I did as all of the helmets I tried fit differently from each other. I have a great vintage Cal Leather horse hide jacket I got cheap on the fedora lounge forum. It predates the use of armor in jackets, but it’s like a suit of armor and is in great shape (I have an extra one if anyone is interested). I have newer Vanson leather pants which are what I like to ride in; they’re a little pricey but very nice. I also have a new Vanson jackets but the fit is not great and I need to send it back. These things are expensive and it takes a while to have them made, but the idea is that you’ll end up with a perfect fit. I dunno. In spite of having the custom Vanson and vintage Cal Leather jackets, the jacket that I use the most is an inexensive Cortech jacket I bought on sale from Revzilla. It fits and works great and has full CE armor. It a combo mesh/leather jacket and is great in hot weather, and with a windproof base layer it works in the cold. For gloves I use the Lee Parks DeerSports, and after a year’s use they’re holding up ok. I think if I was riding a lot in wet weather I’d be looking at an Aerostich suit. I don’t know if they’re open now as Covid has disrupted a lot of operations.

Good luck!

Thanks for taking the time to contribute.

I am planing a trip to Cycle Gear in the very near future. There is no way I am going to purchase safety gear without trying them on. Even a jacket. I am well versed into the subtleties of sizing EURO versus US. Cycle Gear advertises a (up to) 60% discount January close out sale.

I am possibly going to purchase a jacket with an airbag system, which is going to restrict me on choice. I think Dainese "D-Air" is among the most advanced for motorcyclists.

For pants, leathers would probably be very difficult to wear in Texas' summer weather.

Is your helmet an integral?

 

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Some Bilt items are better than Sedici.  Even better than Alpinestars.   But as a rule it's the lower end and cheaper stuff.

Most important, get something comfortable and functional.  If the cheaper gear works, that's good enough.  If not, pay enough to get what you need.  The next factor is how long it will last; you can check for quality when you purchase it but ultimately don't know until you own it.

I don't have an inflatable vest.  I think they make a lot of sense.  

For heat, like in Okla & TX, I have mesh gear.  It works well.  Mesh jacket and mesh over pants.

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On 12/26/2020 at 9:57 PM, fotoguzzi said:

In a word, Roadcrafter! I have crash experience and it saved me from serious road rash and maybe worse. I believe they have the best armor, TF something..it's soft until impact then indestructible.

but yeah, an airbag vest would be even better.

I will check AeroStich too. It seems that Cycle Gear does not carry the brand though.

I was tempted by Dainese's Carve Master, but it comes with a lot of constraints. Of course, it can save your life so it is a good trade off. My biggest gripe is that you need to recharge the lithium battery every 8 hours. Charging batteries is becoming a full time job nowadays. However 8 hours is not enough in terms of autonomy. I want to be able to ride my Le Mans all the way from Houston to Big Bend national park with spare autonomy.

But maybe a non jacket integrated air bag is a better choice; while probably not as efficient as a jacket, it gives you more flexibility to have multiple jackets.

 

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3 hours ago, p6x said:

Is your helmet an integral?

No, it’s a Shoei RF-1200. A basic full face sport helmet. The RF-1200 replaced the RF-1100 and is now being replaced with the  RF-1400, so it’s been around for a while with a series of design refinements. I can use my Ray-Ban Wayfarers with it, so I don’t think you’ll necessarily need a modular helmet to wear glasses. I bought it from my local Cycle Gear store, and they had a good selection of helmets. When I was looking at helmets I liked the idea of a helmet that was “hand made” (for the most part) in Japan, rather than cranked-out of a factory in China (Even Bell is no longer made here in the States), so I was intertesed in Shoei or Arai. I also wanted a helmet with a second safety certification to the DOT, i.e., the Snell or ECE certifications. Those “requirements”  eliminated a lot of helmets like Bell, AGV. However, to be fair, I believe you can get a $150 HJC polycarbonate helmet with the DOT and Snell certifications. After trying the Shoeis and Arais, the Shoei fit my head the best, and I was able to get very good all-around-my-head snug fit with the RF-1200. It’s a basic no frills helmet that was just shy of $500 for a solid color, which suits me. Graphics add a lot to the cost. Anyway, I’m pretty happy with the RF-1200. It’s comfortable, snug, the vents do what they need to do, the Pin-Lock visor works great.

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