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The Open Road => Beginner's Garage => Topic started by: MichiganMan on April 02, 2015, 06:44:27 pm



Title: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: MichiganMan on April 02, 2015, 06:44:27 pm
OK, this spring I am taking the MSF course and fully intend to buy my first street bike at 47 years old :)  We seem to have TON of threads on bikes, but little on beginner gear.  Specifically, I'm planning to get a jacket, full face helmet, gloves, and boots, at minimum, but there are 459,092 different brands out there.  Any advice for the guy that doesn't want to spend a metric ton of money but still wants basic good gear for riding?  Leather or textile?  Hard armor or soft?  Pants required?  

In other words, if you were starting riding today, what would you buy and why?

Many thanks!!


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: kyzrex on April 02, 2015, 07:11:02 pm
Buy the best gear YOU can afford.  Good quality Textile is fine for street riding.  Make sure the padding is top quality.  Look for gear that is waterproof, but still has good ventilation.  Aerostitch gear the the top of the line in my opinion, but you certainly pay for it.  I have mostly Olympia gear and have been very very pleased with it.  I do not like ICON, Joe Rocket, Street and Steel, and some of those other major discount brands as much, but if that's all you can afford, by all means go for it.  Some of the Bilt gear from Cycle Gear is Ok, but some of it is junk, so beware what get from them.  I recommend spending time on motorcycle gear retailers sites reading the customer reviews.  I like gauntlet style gloves for the most part, but do have some shorter ones I wear in temps over 90 degrees sometimes.  Helmets?  Arai, Shoei, and Scorpion, AGV, HJC....I've owned and used them all.  My favorites are the Shoei and AGV helmets I have.  Something fairly new in helmets is a flip down visor.  My AGV has it and I don't think I'd ever buy another helmet without one.  Pretty much eliminates the need to wear sunglasses.  Boots?  Get one that are at least calf tall and waterproof.  Pants?.....yes by all means.  Get ones that zip to your jacket.  There are a lot of times in the summer where I will be wearing riding shorts under my riding pants and not worrying about wearing jeans/pants.  But I can always add the heavier layers for cooler temp riding.

Understand that for many of us, buying gear that we really don't need is all part of the deal and something we can't seem to stop doing.  I've got way to many jackets that I don't need and have bought helmets just because they such a great deal I didn't want to miss out on it.  

My name is Patrick, and I'm a gear addict.  :facepalm:

I'm trying to quit, but those pesky gear retailers keep sending me catalogs and email alerts......must resist!    :D


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: Skee on April 02, 2015, 08:04:09 pm
I'd probably head for Cycle Gear and buy basic essentials, pants, jacket, boots gloves and helmet.   Middle of the line textiles.  CE protection, soft type.  Water repellant liners or shell.  2 Pairs of gloves, one water repellant and lined, one for dry average temperature days.   Regular touring boots with decent protection, maybe or maybe not waterproof, at this point protection is more important.  Put a coat of Camp Dry or other waterproofing on them.   Reason is as a beginning rider, I don't suspect you'll be riding in all day rain.   You need to be able to survive a hard thunderstorm, or afternoon shower.  Don't go cheap, but be economical.  The BLT gear isn't high quality durable stuff, but it's good for starters.

Then go ride. Develop you're style.  Once you start riding, you'll find out whether you prefer sport riding, LD touring, ADV or dual sport, or the crazy mix that goes on here.  You might be surprised what you learn.

Six to 12 months from now you'll know a whole lot more about what kind of gear you need, if it takes that long.   Then go out and buy some good stuff.  Tour Master, Courtech,  Olympia , Alpenstar etc offer good value for the money.  Almost can't go wrong with one of those brands.   And you'll still have a usable back up set.  

That's what I would do anyway.  


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: Slartibartfast on April 02, 2015, 08:51:49 pm
Check the classifieds section of this forum. There almost always seems to be decent gear for sale and, for the most part, it's reasonably priced. I picked up a 2-piece leather suit in great condition for a song (thanks RGBeard!)
I prefer leather over textiles. It is hotter in summer but, to me, the extra protection is worth a bit of sweat.
Good quality gloves (preferably waterproof) with scaphoid protection are a purchase you won't ever regret.
Riding pants are also a must, IMHO - jeans ablate to nothing in the first five feet of a slide down the asphalt and skin wears away very quickly after that.
Boots with good ankle protection are also desirable, waterproof is a real bonus when you get caught in the rain.
You don't need to buy Alpinstar or Dainese, there's lots of other decent stuff available for reasonable prices.
As mentioned above, buy the best gear you can afford, but try to make sure you're fully covered. Asphalt surfing sucks when you're wearing gear, it sucks a lot more without gear.


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: Delegate1k on April 02, 2015, 08:55:16 pm

I'd probably head for Cycle Gear and buy basic essentials, pants, jacket, boots gloves and helmet.   Middle of the line textiles.  CE protection, soft type.  Water repellant liners or shell.  2 Pairs of gloves, one water repellant and lined, one for dry average temperature days.   Regular touring boots with decent protection, maybe or maybe not waterproof, at this point protection is more important.  Put a coat of Camp Dry or other waterproofing on them.   Reason is as a beginning rider, I don't suspect you'll be riding in all day rain.   You need to be able to survive a hard thunderstorm, or afternoon shower.  Don't go cheap, but be economical.  The BLT gear isn't high quality durable stuff, but it's good for starters.

Then go ride. Develop you're style.  Once you start riding, you'll find out whether you prefer sport riding, LD touring, ADV or dual sport, or the crazy mix that goes on here.  You might be surprised what you learn.

Six to 12 months from now you'll know a whole lot more about what kind of gear you need, if it takes that long.   Then go out and buy some good stuff.  Tour Master, Courtech,  Olympia , Alpenstar etc offer good value for the money.  Almost can't go wrong with one of those brands.   And you'll still have a usable back up set.  

That's what I would do anyway.  


^^^^^^^^^ What he said ^^^^^^^^^

Also find some of the "discount sites" out there, after the initial purchases take the time to find the stuff you like on sale or closeout.

http://www.motorcyclegear.com/ (http://www.motorcyclegear.com/)

http://www.motorcyclecloseouts.com/insanity (http://www.motorcyclecloseouts.com/insanity/)


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: Sport on April 03, 2015, 02:58:05 am

OK, this spring I am taking the MSF course and fully intend to buy my first street bike at 47 years old :)  We seem to have TON of threads on bikes, but little on beginner gear.  Specifically, I'm planning to get a jacket, full face helmet, gloves, and boots, at minimum, but there are 459,092 different brands out there.  Any advice for the guy that doesn't want to spend a metric ton of money but still wants basic good gear for riding?  Leather or textile?  Hard armor or soft?  Pants required?  

In other words, if you were starting riding today, what would you buy and why?

Many thanks!!


Yes pants are required!  Just think of tripping and falling down as a kid.  What hits?  Your palms, knees, elbows, shoulders, hips and chin.  Maybe more.  Tourmaster has a good line of gear from boots on up.  Motorcyclegear.com has great deals and even greater customer service.  Full sleeve zip out jacket liner is a must.  No vest liners.  Zip out liner in the pants is also good.  Padded shoulders, elbows and spine.  Padded knees and hips.  Over the ankle boots with extra ankle coverage and inside zipper/Velcro closures.    Gauntlet style armored gloves so they go over the jacket sleeve.  Pick a helmet that fits!  Walk around for a half hour in the store wearing a few.  You'll be wearing it for hours on the road, against the wind, so make sure its tight enough w/o being too tight.  Some of us have round vs oval heads and some helmets fit accordingly.  You dont want any forehead pressure.  Find your 'fit.'  Happy riding!


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: kyzrex on April 03, 2015, 07:03:31 am
Cycle Gear runs a deal pretty often on complete kits.  Right now it's on their Explorer gear, which I've heard good things about from some users....

Buy the Jacket for 399.99 and you get the matching pants, gloves, and a helmet at no additional charge.


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: Blue is Best on April 03, 2015, 10:55:41 am
Good advice here. I can't add more except two things not commented on.

1. Go to Walgreens and get a container of twelve hearing protection thingies. About four bucks. They are slightly sticky and very maleable for a perfect fit. Other than the custom made ear monitors that you don't need now, they are the best I've found. The ride is so much better without the wind blast and noise. You do not want tinnitus(ringing in ears) later.

2. Spend ten or so bucks on a balaclava(sp?). Get a thin one and keep with you. Pull over head and slip into/under jacket top. Put on your helmet and now the wind is blocked. How many times have some of us geared up and been nice and warm but the 55 or 60 degree weather at 70mph isn't so nice as it goes down our back or chest?


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: Slartibartfast on April 03, 2015, 12:04:09 pm
The ride is so much better without the wind blast and noise. You do not want tinnitus(ringing in ears) later.

A fact that I can attest to firsthand. Tinnitus sucks big time. Once the damage is done there is no cure short of killing the auditory nerve, and it gets progressively worse no matter how careful you are after it starts. Close the barn door before the livestock leaves.


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: cruisin on April 03, 2015, 01:04:05 pm
Other than a good helmet & gloves, I never wore a lot of "gear" until a very close friend of mine slid down at 70mph.  His lack of injuries made me a firm believer in all the gear all the time.  His full face helmet looked like someone had taken a grinder to the shield and chin bar, yet he had no facial lacerations.  His jacket and hip portions of his textile gear was pretty much the same; severely scuffed and again he had no cuts.  Same results for his hands and feet protected by leather gloves and boots.  All that said to say kudos to you on starting out right with complete and good gear.

I have had very good luck buying used gear both here and on IBMWR.org from guys claiming it was only worn once or twice and did not fit the way they wanted.  I have yet to be disappointed or burned on either site.  That includes everything from heated gloves to helmets. So far most of my purchases of used gear have been Joe Rocket jackets and pants that I am very pleased with.  Nearly all of it I have acquired at half price or less for nearly new items.

Things to remember when buying used gear; don't be afraid to ask the seller what his/her physical dimensions are.  That is the best way to ensure getting the size you need regardless of the sizing charts, etc. from manufacturers. Also don't be bashful about asking for discounts when buying multiple items from the same person.  Always ask for clear pictures from all angles.  Honest sellers won't have a problem with that.

Since you are just getting started and summer is near, look around on the net for mesh gear with removable liners.  That way you are prepared for the slightly cooler temps in the mornings as well as the heat of the summer.  By fall you should be able to pick up used winter gear if you feel you will be riding through the colder months of the year. If not, then the summer gear you get now will serve you well for many years.

Another good source for earplugs is in sporting goods at Walmart.  I think the Winchester pack has 6 pairs for about $2.50.  My wife's cousin is an audiologist who says he recommends those over the custom made ones that can cost up to $50/pair because the customs can build up bacteria leading to ear infections and they only block out about 5 to 8 more dB than the cheap ones which you simply throw away when they get dirty.

lastly; keep these words of wisdom in mind -- "I'd rather sweat than bleed."


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: Blue is Best on April 03, 2015, 02:00:14 pm

A fact that I can attest to firsthand. Tinnitus sucks big time. Once the damage is done there is no cure short of killing the auditory nerve, and it gets progressively worse no matter how careful you are after it starts. Close the barn door before the livestock leaves.


WHAT'S THAT YOU SAY?


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: lionlady on April 03, 2015, 05:44:22 pm
First. What's your budget? You should be able to set yourself up for between $200-$500.

That said. Buy your helmet first, it is likely to be the single highest $$ item. Don't shop online for your first helmet. Go into a shop and try helmets on. Don't worry too much about getting the coolest design, focus on fit. Wear it around the shop for at least 10-15 minutes to make sure that the shape is right, and you don't get any hot spots at forehead or ears. Buy the helmet that fits, in the shop you found it in. Don't buy a used helmet from anyone. There is no way to be 100% certain that it wasn't dropped or stored in a "hostile"environment (shed or attic).

Try on gear, sitting on a motorcycle, so you can be sure that the waistband doesn't cave in your stomach or the jacket doesn't pull on your shoulders while in your riding stance. Think about jacket length. You don't need to buy the Very Best Gear available for your first kit. Just get good basic stuff that fits comfortably. You'll figure out what features are most important as you continue to ride. Most riders have more than a single jacket/pants for all the riding they do.

A word to the wise for your BRC: Don't wear brand new boots to the class. There's a lot of walking in the course, you'll get blisters. In fact, you probably won't need full gear at all. Call to make sure, but most sites provide helmet, eyewear (science googles), and gloves. It is up to the students to wear sturdy over the ankle footwear (work boots are fine, no Chuck Taylor's), long pants. and long sleeves. If you take the course in summer heat, you'll regret wearing your moto-jacket. As a Rider Coach, I usually suggest that those with small hands bring their own gloves (the gloves provided are O/S leather work gloves).

P


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: Slartibartfast on April 03, 2015, 08:51:47 pm


WHAT'S THAT YOU SAY?

Could you speak up, please?


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: caasland on April 03, 2015, 09:31:36 pm
Here a couple things I've learned in my question for putting together gear (BTW I'm in MN so we have similar seasons, i.e. hot humid summers, rain, and cool spring/fall):

  • If you can afford it, get the best, most versatile stuff now, instead of buying three or four other things on the path to the best, most versatile stuff. Usually it's just a few hundred more for the better stuff.
  • Waterproof shell is better than waterproof liner under a shell; you can open/close vents on the shell without stopping to remove the jacket/pants.
  • You have lots of skin on your legs to protect so don't skip pants.
  • Jacket/Pants are probably going to have the greatest variation in quality based on price; gloves/boots/helmet not so much. What I mean is that a cheap helmet can be just as protective as an expensive one, but cheap jackets are noticeably less protective than expensive ones (especially if you're looking at protection from water).
  • Race-quality leather will protect against impact and abrasion best, but 750+ denier textiles do an admirable job as well.
  • Textiles protect against the elements better than leather.
  • Jacket/Pants that don't zip together suck (drafts). Suits are awesome.
  • The outer shell and fleece/wool liners only work so much. Heated liner+gloves = warmth without bulk.
  • Revzilla.com has some great reviews and videos.
  • There are compromises everywhere!


It would be awesome if there was one jacket/pants/suit or glove/pant/helmet that was great in all conditions, but in the end you'll need to compromise or have multiple sets of gear. It's one thing to walk into your closet and pick what works for today's weather; it's another thing to go on a long trip and try to pick one outfit that will work for most conditions.

After a couple decades of riding I've narrowed my closet down to:

- 2pc perforated leather race suit for hot (85F+) local day rides
- 1pc Aerostich Roadcrafter + electrics for everything else

Another factor in this equation is wind coverage from your MC. On a Gold Wing you'll need much less protection from the elements from your gear than on a naked Z1000. This won't make any difference in terms of impact/abrasion resistance, but it does influence how waterproof, warm, or vented your gear has to be.


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: lionlady on April 05, 2015, 09:30:01 am
Definitely don't skip armored pants!! Consider what is likely to hit the ground first, shoulder or knee?

Spending $$$ on The Best Gear, before you sort out your particular riding style/comfort needs, can be a trade off.

Sure, you'll have gear that lasts a long time and does an excellent job of protecting, but then again, you'll have the gear for a long time, and if it has/doesn't have pockets where you need them, the jacket is too long/short in use, or the zipper is annoying, you're stuck with that choice until you can afford to replace it. Fasten the neck band on the jacket and lean forward and grasp handgrips. I've got a jacket that chokes me when I fasten the neck and lean forward. One thing I didn't check. Hate it!

Go moderate in price/quality. As with "regular" outwear, most of us have an assortment of jackets for use in varying weather conditions, the same is likely to apply for your moto-gear.


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: HipGnosis on April 05, 2015, 11:11:14 am
1) What I or anyone else would buy is irrelevant because we all have different knowledge, requirements, budget, desires, body type, bike type, riding interests.  Squid-raceers and pirate-cruisers have totally different gear.  You need to be aware of the relevance of all information and suggestions, no matter how well intended.

2) We have a whole board of gear reviews and recommendations;  https://www.sport-touring.net/forums/index.php/board,10.0.html#.VSFKINzF9A0

3) Not all helmets fit all heads.  People with oval heads seem to have the most limited selection.


Title: Re:
Post by: MichiganMan on April 10, 2015, 03:20:50 pm
Thanks all - I have added pants to the must have list. I planned to spend 500-1000 or so as gear would theoretically outlast the first bike anyway. I've snowmobiled for years so I am well acquainted with drafts!  And I'm a big believer in buying the best helmet - you only have one melon!


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: scarecrow on April 13, 2015, 05:04:23 pm
A guy just got killed near Palo Duro State Park last week. He was wearing all the safety gear but a head on with a car (driver in the wrong lane) tore him into pieces. His head was still intact, just not attatched to anything anymore. Wide awake riding, ... staying aware of your surroundings, ... the best safety gear is between your ears, not covering your body.



Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: Blue is Best on April 13, 2015, 08:42:40 pm

A guy just got killed near Palo Duro State Park last week. He was wearing all the safety gear but a head on with a car (driver in the wrong lane) tore him into pieces. His head was still intact, just not attatched to anything anymore. Wide awake riding, ... staying aware of your surroundings, ... the best safety gear is between your ears, not covering your body.




Good advice. Riding defensive is the best way to celebrate many birthdays.


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: cruisin on April 15, 2015, 07:00:02 pm

A guy just got killed near Palo Duro State Park last week. He was wearing all the safety gear but a head on with a car (driver in the wrong lane) tore him into pieces. His head was still intact, just not attatched to anything anymore. Wide awake riding, ... staying aware of your surroundings, ... the best safety gear is between your ears, not covering your body.




Awareness IS your best defense but all the gear all the time just stacks the deck in your favor a little bit.  Unfortunately for the guy at Palo Duro, no amount of gear could have saved him.  I was at my optometrist's office yesterday and he told me his brother in law was one of the park rangers who worked that accident.  Said the guy was decapitated by the mirror on the Jeep the young lady was driving -- ahem -- while texting.  That just burns me up.  I personally think she needs to be charged and punished severely.  In my mind, that is negligent homicide at the very least.


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: Blue is Best on April 15, 2015, 07:08:38 pm



Awareness IS your best defense but all the gear all the time just stacks the deck in your favor a little bit.  Unfortunately for the guy at Palo Duro, no amount of gear could have saved him.  I was at my optometrist's office yesterday and he told me his brother in law was one of the park rangers who worked that accident.  Said the guy was decapitated by the mirror on the Jeep the young lady was driving -- ahem -- while texting.  That just burns me up.  I personally think she needs to be charged and punished severely.  In my mind, that is negligent homicide at the very least.

Wish I was one of her jurors.


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: Sport on April 15, 2015, 09:45:58 pm
Riding like you're invisible is the best way to survive (any) ride.  You simply cannot count on any driver or rider, to do what you'd like them to do.  You must take responsibility for your own survival.  I have at least a half million miles on two wheels thru eleven states and have been riding since 1966.  Proper gear is your best friend for a numbers of reasons.


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: Mrs. DantesDame on April 16, 2015, 01:55:20 am
Let's keep this thread about gear, please. We have an entire General Discussion to rant about inattentive drivers.


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: Sport on April 16, 2015, 03:30:01 am

Let's keep this thread about gear, please. We have an entire General Discussion to rant about inattentive drivers.


That's what I remember, oh so gentle nudging from...forum moderators :rolleyes:

I think we've done pretty well talking about the necessity of proper gear.


Title: Re: Newbie - DON'T tell me about bikes, tell me about gear!
Post by: scarecrow on April 16, 2015, 01:19:12 pm
According to the 2006 Hurt report Chest and head injuries are (obviously) the biggest reasons for death in bike accidents. So training, awareness and head and chest protection are the most important. So a quality helmet and armored jacket should top the list of "equipment" that nature did not provide.

Some trivia from the report : Younger riders, 16-24, are most likely to have a fatal crash. Large bikes are less likely to be involved in a crash but their riders are more likely to be seriously injured if they do crash. Alcohol was a factor in 50% of fatal crashes. "The median pre-crash speed was 29.8 mph, and the median crash speed was 21.5 mph, and the one-in-a-thousand crash speed is approximately 86 mph." Poor braking techniques and collision avoidance skills were common contributing factors. Self taught riders are more likely to have fatal crashes. Crash bars are inneffective in preventing injuries (who would think they would be?). 60% of fatalities are not wearing helmets.

I don't have a link, just a hard copy but the full report is available from the University of Southern California.





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