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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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All the good stuff has been said, and I’d only add a couple nuance items:

As noted, Bilt and Sedici are house brands at cycle gear, and vary a lot in quality, with one model/item being great and the next model being pretty junky, so you just need to evaluate each item on its own.
That said, their warranty is arguably the best, at least in a practical sense. Since it’s house brand stuff, they have long warranties and pretty much just let u swap it for a new one if you have an issue. I only used the warranty once on a Bilt ADV suit I bought for my son, but it was totally painless and devoid of any need to ship anything.... just walked into a local store and they gave me a new one, and there are hundreds (?) of their stores around.

And I’m another big fan of the roadcrafter. I don’t live in hot climate, but plenty of friends who use the Roadcrafter suit and just vary what they wear underneath based on season/weather.... fleece or just boxers and a T, and they have seemed happy for a very long time that way. On big euro trips they really shine, where rides may take us into the alps or down in a hot Italian city, so just bundle up or unzip and it’s pretty easy. It was my go-to outfit for about 20yrs, though recently I’ve changed it up mostly just for the hell-of-it.

Dainese, always a great choice. That’s what I’ve been eye balling again. Bad idea for me since I’m mostly too skinny even for dainese, and it’s expensive, but such nice gear.

And if u have a cool/cold season when u ride, do NOT forget heated riding shirts! Maybe it’s age, or getting soft, but I love it. On a long distance ride where you’ll have cold weather at some point, having that relatively little heated shirt in your kit rather than a big bulky 4-season jacket is a no-brainer. Last fall I rode a couple thousand miles through weather with ice in the morning at the hotel, and then later at 100+ deg in Death Valley, and the heated jacket allowed me to focus on the hot weather gear and just have the heated shirt in the bag for the cold stretches. Way less bulk, and it’s warmer than any jacket ever made. Just make sure it fits snug.
I’ve got a couple brands, but warm-and-safe I think is the brand of my heated sweater. Only complaint is that the sweater is hard to take off, if u get the good snug fit. I’d recommend a full zip front instead (my old jacket is that way, but it’s loose, so not as warm.... u want that heat close to your body).

Helmet- as noted, get what fits. And some disagree with me on this, but I’m a huge fan of the modular helmets. I have a Nolan 104. Riding the road, face shield down. At a stop light, or around town on a hot Texas day at slow speeds I have my helmet flipped up so I can breath. Except for track days, I’m never going back.

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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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+1 on the modular helmet with glasses (and also being able to expose our face for a conversation, whether it is to accept a compliment on our V11 or explain where your vehicle documents and permits are. :huh:

I haven't settled on the perfect modular as my Shoei NeoTech II is so horribly noisy, I rebuilt some of it myself. Shoei only said, "Sorry you don't like your helmet."  $700US worth of sucky.  I am hoping the AGV Sport modular fits me for helmet-next.

One feature that really surprised me (as I considered it a gimmick) is the flip down "fighter pilot" sun visor. As it turns out, I no longer switch between clear and sun glasses. This is an awesome improvement as it precludes me fumbling with two pair of (prescription) glasses to change out and stow. There was that time that I got the changeover all down except zipping the stow pocket. $800 worth of litter on the roadside out there, somewhere. :blink:

Also, the advantage of instant change riding in and out of sun/shade. B):nerd:

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Great point on the sun shade.  Used to dislike them, on the older style Nolan helmets, but love the newer ones  now that are better integrated.... use it all the time.

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I'm good with my Neotec 2, got it for under $500 from Champion Helmets in Europe.  Has ECE emblem on it.  It's a little tight in the temple over a few hours' ride, hopeful it will break in.  Compared to the original Neo, this needs to slam shut which is a difficult when you're riding with it open and attempt to close it.  It might drag more air when it's open too.

So far as quiet, I wear earplugs.  I recommend earplugs along with  other gear.   I've heard Arai is the loudest helmet and Shoei are actually quieter.  But modular helmet is going to be louder.  The Arai's are featherlight and the best quality for little I've ridden them. 

The only gear I don't wear regularly are riding pants, for local travel I wear jeans (and I have regretted doing that on fall off).

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On 12/27/2020 at 12:45 AM, PJPR01 said:

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

Hi Paul,

Thanks for contributing!

I have seen that a lot of equipment is being sold on eBay. But I think I will go brick and mortar just because I need to try on everything and will probably test multiple solutions.

I am usually around 13+ for shoe size, depending on the brand. Medium/large for helmet; but again, some helmets are uncomfortable when wearing prescription glasses.

I live at the limits of Spring Valley.

For the time being, I am planning to drive the bike from Florida. I may rent the gear for that single trip, or purchase my own. I will test drive once I am there, and if I don't feel comfortable, I will get it shipped. I have driven rentals with long interruptions in between, never really felt uneasy before, but I am not going to take any chance.

I never imagined there was so many Guzzisti enthusiasts in Texas. I have been a couple of times to the Lonestar Rally in Galveston, and mainly saw HD's and Japanese bikes.

Again, thanks for the information.

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On 12/27/2020 at 2:03 PM, Tomchri said:

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

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Had many colleagues from Norway along the line... very familiar with Helly Hansen's.... (worked in the North Sea back in the 80's)

Thanks for your suggestion.

After all these years, I had never heard about that brand...

I looked at the 4Air Jacket, seems to be an option...

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On 12/27/2020 at 4:55 PM, 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. 

I am familiar with Bates Leather. I remembered when reading the name in your post. When I was going to the races in the 70's, I saw some pilots wearing bates. I can't remember who though...

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On 12/27/2020 at 5:23 PM, docc said:

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/

I looked up Moto Guzzi riding gear, but I will leave that out for the time being.

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7 hours ago, LowRyter said:

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.

I don't necessarily tag "expensive" with "better" stuff. I like Dainese, because they supply a lot of the racers, enabling them to make the best equipment, especially safety. Obviously, they charge more because you need to pay for the brand name.

As far as lasting, there are many parameters to take into consideration. One of them being life expectancy, such as helmets that should be replaced every 5 years. A good jacket, pants, suit can last a lifetime, providing you don't fall, and don't change corpulence; the recent tech stuff, such as air bags, is what probably requires more maintenance and attention. And there is innovation too. I still have my old gear, albeit not within easy reach, but totally outdated.

Tech textile is probably better than leather in hot weather.

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25 minutes ago, p6x said:

Tech textile is probably better than leather in hot weather.

Agreed. But leathers are so sexxxxeeeeee!

progirl_b.jpg

I look for opportunities to wear mine, but they are not very utilitarian.  In my AeroStich Roadcrafter I look like a tarped-down flatbed load on an overweight longhaul rig . . .

Screen%20Shot%202019-09-12%20at%208.33.4

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5 hours ago, Kane said:

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.

When it comes to helmets, one should never compromise. I keep in mind what happened to Michael Schumacher.

The best helmets available on the market are those which are FIM Certified. Getting the FIM certification should be an objective for every helmet manufacturer.

Here's the list of all those that have been certified.

Here' are the technical requirements for submission to their program.

As you can see, only integral types are eligible.

Now comes the issue that in the USA, your helmet needs to be DOT certified, even if the requirements are less stringent than the FIM ones. I need to check if you can purchase an FIM helmet that is also DOT compliant.

As far as graphics are concerned, I was involved with a not so well known Helmet manufacturer that allows you to design your own graphics and have them printed on your helmet. Either vector based or pictures. I was looking at representing the brand here in the USA, but his prime interest is with electrical scooters helmets.

My helmet will be integral.

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4 hours ago, gstallons said:

I had a salesman knock me out of purchasing an Arai helmet some time ago . He said "you buy the helmet that fits you" . I ended up with a Shoei . 

Arai is a good brand; but so is Shoei.

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3 hours ago, Gmc28 said:

All the good stuff has been said, and I’d only add a couple nuance items:

As noted, Bilt and Sedici are house brands at cycle gear, and vary a lot in quality, with one model/item being great and the next model being pretty junky, so you just need to evaluate each item on its own.
That said, their warranty is arguably the best, at least in a practical sense. Since it’s house brand stuff, they have long warranties and pretty much just let u swap it for a new one if you have an issue. I only used the warranty once on a Bilt ADV suit I bought for my son, but it was totally painless and devoid of any need to ship anything.... just walked into a local store and they gave me a new one, and there are hundreds (?) of their stores around.

And I’m another big fan of the roadcrafter. I don’t live in hot climate, but plenty of friends who use the Roadcrafter suit and just vary what they wear underneath based on season/weather.... fleece or just boxers and a T, and they have seemed happy for a very long time that way. On big euro trips they really shine, where rides may take us into the alps or down in a hot Italian city, so just bundle up or unzip and it’s pretty easy. It was my go-to outfit for about 20yrs, though recently I’ve changed it up mostly just for the hell-of-it.

Dainese, always a great choice. That’s what I’ve been eye balling again. Bad idea for me since I’m mostly too skinny even for dainese, and it’s expensive, but such nice gear.

And if u have a cool/cold season when u ride, do NOT forget heated riding shirts! Maybe it’s age, or getting soft, but I love it. On a long distance ride where you’ll have cold weather at some point, having that relatively little heated shirt in your kit rather than a big bulky 4-season jacket is a no-brainer. Last fall I rode a couple thousand miles through weather with ice in the morning at the hotel, and then later at 100+ deg in Death Valley, and the heated jacket allowed me to focus on the hot weather gear and just have the heated shirt in the bag for the cold stretches. Way less bulk, and it’s warmer than any jacket ever made. Just make sure it fits snug.
I’ve got a couple brands, but warm-and-safe I think is the brand of my heated sweater. Only complaint is that the sweater is hard to take off, if u get the good snug fit. I’d recommend a full zip front instead (my old jacket is that way, but it’s loose, so not as warm.... u want that heat close to your body).

Helmet- as noted, get what fits. And some disagree with me on this, but I’m a huge fan of the modular helmets. I have a Nolan 104. Riding the road, face shield down. At a stop light, or around town on a hot Texas day at slow speeds I have my helmet flipped up so I can breath. Except for track days, I’m never going back.

Something that is really incredible in the USA, is the ability to replace and/or exchange at no cost to the customer. For people in Europe, it is unheard of.

The Bilt and Sedici brands seem to be worth the try. I like the flexibility to change stuff if it turns out to be uncomfortable. We all know it is almost impossible to judge a garment to be used on a motorcycle when trying it at the shop. After several runs in various environments, only then you begin to understand.

I have written down AeroStitch. I am planning on trying all the suggestions.

I am a sucker for Dainese, because they really make great stuff, and they innovate all the time. Their D-Air system is really state of the art, but most likely thought for the European market.

I have lived in a lot of different parts of the world, so I am not stranger to extreme heat and/or cold. But on a motorcycle, the feeling is completely different. I will have to acclimate myself again. If I drive from Florida next month, it will be a good test.

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2 hours ago, docc said:

+1 on the modular helmet with glasses (and also being able to expose our face for a conversation, whether it is to accept a compliment on our V11 or explain where your vehicle documents and permits are. :huh:

I haven't settled on the perfect modular as my Shoei NeoTech II is so horribly noisy, I rebuilt some of it myself. Shoei only said, "Sorry you don't like your helmet."  $700US worth of sucky.  I am hoping the AGV Sport modular fits me for helmet-next.

One feature that really surprised me (as I considered it a gimmick) is the flip down "fighter pilot" sun visor. As it turns out, I no longer switch between clear and sun glasses. This is an awesome improvement as it precludes me fumbling with two pair of (prescription) glasses to change out and stow. There was that time that I got the changeover all down except zipping the stow pocket. $800 worth of litter on the roadside out there, somewhere. :blink:

Also, the advantage of instant change riding in and out of sun/shade. B):nerd:

Nobody has mentioned weight as a factor yet. It always one an important one for me. Noise too. Although there are ways to attenuate the background noise, I usually never impair my ability to listen to what is around me. Thus, no riding with ear plugs or in ears pods to listen to music.

I also have two pairs of prescription glasses, sun and not.

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