Thursday, 17 January 2013

Armoured Gear

It's been a little while...been busy shoveling snow after another storm. It warmed up to 2 degrees Celsius the other day and our roof was actually melting for a few hours. Today it is back down to -18 C and will have to warm the car a bit before leaving - will be ice to scrape off the car windows too. All that shoveling and scraping keeps those Suzuki muscles in condition...

So anyway, back to buying armoured gear...

After I put down the money on my bike, I proceeded to the gear department. I needed a jacket, helmet, gloves and boots...all I had left from my previous riding days was the bright yellow fisherman's rain gear that was standard covering for any adventure back in the day because it was usually always raining there on the North Island. 

When I had ridden many years ago, all we had that was specifically for the motorcycle was the helmet, everything else was borrowed from other activities. I seem to remember a bright orange open face helmet.
I always wore a clear visor with that which helped to keep the rain off the face...

Okay, so now that you have that image in your head, add that to my mint (yes, mint) green Suzuki that I used to ride off-road...what a style Diva I was then! On the upside though, we were way ahead of our time with the hi-viz gear!

We would wear that gear over top of a parka, jeans and throw on some hiking boots. I do not believe there was motorcycle gear for kids then, but we didn't care, we were warm and fairly dry except for the trickle down the neck and up the sleeves. The day Dad bought us gauntlet gloves was a happy day!

So, back to 2011...the range of possible jackets and helmets was daunting to say the least. First the jacket - the choice went from an all black, short, body hugging style to accentuate your feminine shape, to a jacket with many pockets that would zipper onto pants if you wanted. Then throw in the leather versus textile variable. What to choose? 

I read that leather was the best protection but hot and more expensive. Textile has come a long way in protection, not so hot and sometimes not as expensive. I tried on a few brands of the available styles in the store and decided to order a Joe Rocket Ballistic 11.00 Ladies textile jacket. The choice was with panels in black and Pink, Grey, or hi-viz. I chose the grey one as it almost looked white in the picture and thought it would match the bike more. When the jacket arrived a week and a half later, it turned out to be more silver - the sales guy saw the look on my face, knew I was a bit disappointed and said "Well, you don't want to look like a Power Ranger". We had a laugh at that and he was right, what really mattered was that it fit me well enough that I could move freely and safely.

It came with a quilted vest and wind/rain layer that proved to be too warm for regular summer wear for me. I just ride with all the layers out and the vents open. The only time I rode with all the layers in was on the three days of the motorcycle safety course, and I was still cold. (April 30 to May 2) Just too early to be outside...I'm going to be looking for a mesh jacket this spring, something much cooler for our hot summers. It's either freeze or fry here on the prairies!

Next the helmet: I was on the fence about an open faced, or a full face or a modular. I especially felt that a full face would be too limiting for my field of vision and also claustrophobic. Another woman rider told me that long ago, an older male had told her to always wear a full face because in case of an accident, guys could grow a beard to cover the scars, but women cannot do that...that was all I needed to hear.

After talking with the salespeople, they offered me a Zox modular helmet to try on. It had a fairly wide eye port (still felt claustrophobic though), and it was a little difficult to lift up the moveable jaw part. I am glad it was difficult because after seeing pictures of full face helmets that had been involved in accidents, it was always the front part where your chin lives which always (ALWAYS) takes the brunt of a crash. If the helmet was too easy to open, it would be useless to save your chin and head in a crash. What was easy though was to put my glasses on with the lower part up, and that was the one. (Google Photo)
Of course I had to order this as well, they just had black in stock...I wanted something that might catch a cager's eyes to give me a little more edge to stay safe, so white was the one.

Now lastly, gloves...I tried on some light leather ones which fit comfortably and bought those. Not until I was actually out riding did I know I had made a wrong choice as they tended to bunch up under my palm whenever I wanted to use either the throttle or clutch lever. But the next year, I was talking with another woman rider and she recommended I try these. They are a pair of BMW AirFlow2 gloves - wow, great fit and much cooler hands - as much as any glove can do when it is 30 C out.

So, I had that part sorted. I bought armoured pants later that summer when I finally found a pair that fit. Another Joe Rocket offering, men's Alter-Ego that had zip-off panels when the temperature rose. Also came with a wind/rain inner layer too. Not bad, but I never wear the inner layer either. A bit warm on a really hot day even with the panels zipped out, but the armour saved my leg from a scraping one day when I dropped the bike. I was left with a very pretty bruise but I was good to go because of the armour. The bike was left with a slightly bent shifter but me sticking my leg out protected the tank and side panel. Quick thinking saved my bike from more damage.

Boots! Can't forget those...didn't like anything I saw, the heels seemed too high for proper riding or not enough grip when you needed it, so out came the hiking boots again. Although a newer pair, I'd been using them all winter to walk my dog (and still do).

They keep me upright on many icy walks with my rescued Sheltie and my feet are never too hot or cold in them. So, that's what I've been wearing when I swing a leg over my Suzuki. The year round boot... 

Well, that's long enough for today...check out the snowblower which is closest to the outside door...guess which machine is being used more right now?? 

Stay warm and take care!



  1. Brrr, you have had some old temps. No snow here but freezing fog. Just don't feel like riding when it is at freezing temps.

    Funny how we ladies have to buy men's pants. SpartanBabe and I both have men's Rev'it pants as they were the only ones that were long enough.

    When you are looking for mesh, try a Scorpion Nip Tuck mesh jacket. I have had one since they first came out and really Iike it. It has a full liner for starting off on cooler mornings when you know it is going to warm up.

  2. Yes, the temperatures are a bit colder this winter than we've had for the last two with tons of snow - getting my money's worth out of my winter tires.

    Freezing fog...that's not good to ride in either...time to get caught up with your other favourite hobbies!

    When I tried on the men's pants, I actually found another brand new Gladius (white/black combo) to sit on to see how they would work with the knee bend. It's like when you buy or hear of someone buying a new car, then you seem to see them everywhere...

    Thank you very much for the recommendation for the Scorpion Nip Tuck, I'll see if I can find one on our Spring holiday. I love my Joe Rocket on cooler days, but for about 6 weeks it is just too hot and my riding time is shortened because I can't focus when I get overheated.

    Hoping for that fog to burn off for you so you can put some miles on Max...take care.