Riding gear, can it really save your life??


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Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby made2care » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:18 pm



I'm curious as to the different types of riding gear some wear. I am really bad in this department, probably since I live out in the open in a small town , miles from the crazy, zombie like cell phone addicts that pose so many threats to us and everyone else. Not that they aren't here, just much fewer.
I really need to start wearing the proper gear, so let me know what that would be and, would it really save my life in a semi serious or even serious accident/situation??
thanks

Can one wear all this gear in the dead heat of summer?



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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:20 am

Can gear save your life? When it comes to helmets, absolutely. Other gear (pants/jacket/gloves/boots): possibly...but more likely that it prevents or mitigates injury than anything else. A "get off" without gear that causes broken bones, severe road rash and bruising, even as far as a paralyzing injury, could be turned into a non-event with just a few bruises were you wearing decent gear.

My first bike came to an ignominious end when a pickup truck turned left in front of me, at age 17. I was wearing shoes, jeans, a light, non-biking jacket and a helmet. The helmet saved my life - after I pirouetted over the hood of the truck, I slammed hard into the ground, and bounced my helmet onto the corner edge of the curb. I then tumbled, and slid along the road for quite a ways. My jeans ripped through almost instantly. My jacket also shredded pretty much instantly. I was left with nothing but skin sliding along asphalt. My right foot was smashed, the light running shoes offering zero protection. My palms were also shredded, as the natural instinct is to put your hands out to break your fall (which incidentally also broke my collarbone when I hit). The road rash was exquisitely painful (particularly when they dug the bits of gravel out) and took forever to heal. I was bruised from head to toe from rolling when I first hit the ground. My foot took months to heal properly, and caused me pain for a good 20 years afterwards. I still have toes that are fused and don't bend anymore.

Had I been in the same situation now? I like to think 30-odd years of experience would have had me identifying the risk in advance and avoiding the crash entirely. But if I had been wearing then what I wear now...I probably would have walked away with the broken collarbone and a few light bruises.

As for what I use? In colder temperatures, I wear my Olympia Ranger jacket and Olympia Ranger 3 Overpants, along with a pair of Alpinestars Valparaiso Drystar gloves. I have an Arai Profile helmet, which is serving its last year before being replaced for next season. I don't remember the manufacturer/make of boots I have, but they are breathable, waterproof motorcyle boots with protection for toes, ankle and shin.

In summer temperatures, I have an Olympia Airglide Mesh Jacket that I have owned for years, along with matching Olympia Airglide Mesh pants, and Spidi Jab-R summer gloves. I wear the same boots. This gear flows enough air that I can wear it comfortably up to about 90-95 degrees, particularly with the Baker Hand Wings I have on my bike, which move a ton of air onto me. When it gets really hot or humid, I'll add my Polar Vest Phase Change cooling vest which will keep me cool and comfortable pretty much regardless of how hot it gets. I often find that in higher temperatures, wearing the gear actually keeps me cooler than without, because it keeps the hot air from blowing onto me. And there's no question that my cold weather gear helps extend my riding season considerably, and keeps me comfortable and warm while doing it.

Both the cooler weather pants and the summer mesh pants have armor in the knees, and come with rather useless "memory foam" in the hips, which does not protect against any impact. I replaced the memory foam with SAS-Tec reactive armor. This amazing stuff is soft and compliant, but upon impact it instantly becomes hard, to absorb and distribute the impact.

The jackets both have armor in the shoulders, elbows and along the spine. The gloves have light padding on the palms, and padding on the top of the hands and fingers, along with hard armor over the knuckles.

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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby harvey01 » Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:32 am

Can the proper riding gear really save your life? honestly it depends. I once investigated a crash where a dump truck lost control and ran over a motorcyclist. Nothing would have protected him. In fact I seriously doubt if you were in a compact car if you would have had any chance of surviving.

Proper riding gear will not prevent a crash, it just offers some protection during the crash. Helmets definitely can protect your head and are the most important protective gear to wear. Obviously a full face helmet will offer more protection for your face than a 3/4 or smaller helmet. The helmet offers protection during the actual crash and then continues to protect as the crash or rider bounces or slides to a stop on the pavement.

Protective clothing does not provide a lot of protection from the impact but does help a lot when you go sliding down the road or in that initial hit on the pavement. Most good stuff comes with special energy absorbing pads at key points such as hips, elbows, shoulders, knees and so forth. boots obviously protect the feet and ankles.

The benefits of this protection go well beyond just what happens in a crash. A full face helmet protects your face and eyes from insects and other flying objects such as bricks(one flew off a truck and ruined a new helmet I had) rocks and other flying debris such as alligator strips. Protective clothing also protects against these things better than a tee shirt. Both helmet and clothing also provide protection from sunburn/windburn.

You can get good protective gear that also is waterproof. Temperatures do affect what we wear and there are mesh pants and jackets that provide basic protection while allowing a lot of air flow. I also think you should be aware that good stuff is not cheap. While there are many manufacturers and many styles available, some of the big names are: Aerostitch Darien and Roadcrafter suits, Olympia, Tourmaster, First Gear, and then there are the pure leather suits available from Dainese, Sidi, Bates, and Vanson.

I have a Roadcrafter that I used for years for commuting, easy on, easy off hang on a coat rack and great protection. I tend to wear my First Gear Kilimanjaro Jacket in fall winter and summer with the HT riding pants. This outfit provides full protection, is water proof, comfortable, has a lot of pockets for stuff and goes over other clothes. It is also HYViz to help me be seen. For the summer I have a First Gear Mesh jacket, and Mesh riding pants and this outfit has all the padding and stuff in the right locations but is not waterproof. the jacket does have a waterproof lining that zips in and out. Fortunately the Wing provides great weather protection and as long as you are moving you really don't get that wet. I use a pair of elfskin gloves also from Aerostitch. My present set is 6 years old and going strong, but they are not waterproof. for the really hot days I have a pair of OSI mesh gloves.

I did not buy my gear all at once but over a period of years and have replaced different pieces over the last 25+ years.
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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby maintainer » Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:31 pm

Proper gear certainly doesn't guarantee an injury free accident. Proper gear is going to reduce or minimize injury. Leather, textile, mesh are all much more resistant to abrasion than skin. Armor type padding cushion's blows to bones similar to a shock absorber. A helmet can withstand abrasion much more so than skin and the extra padded shell will minimize or perhaps eliminate skull fracture or concussion type brain injuries. Just like seatbelts and airbags will not guarantee accident survival in a car, riding gear cannot on a motorcycle. However the likelihood of survival and reduction of injury is much greater.
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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby CMReynolds1 » Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:30 pm

As a retired Paramedic, I have seen the effects of not using, AT LEAST, minimal riding gear. Ankles ripped off the body from no boot or lace up (over ankle) shoes. Bones will still break, but road rash (putting it mildly) is a misnomer. I have transported people that had very little skin and muscle left from not wearing good leather or jackets/pants made for holding up. Many have stayed at the hospital for months while skin grafts heal and get built up. Helmets. goes without saying. DOA 99% of them. mental impairment most of the other 1% of the them.
I just rode 370 miles Sunday in 92 degree weather. Wore my Joe Rocket jacket with armor in. Sweated like a pig, but was prepared as best as possible for the worst. Saw a lot of HD folk in flip flops, t-shirts, even in shorts. Only because Oregon and Washington are helmet states, did they have that on.
We used to mention that those people might live to realize the pain and misguidance of their lack of protective wear. None helmet people just DIE!

To short answer your question, it may not save your life, but your odds are hundreds of times better!!!
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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Jun 11, 2015 3:31 pm

I'll post another Rider Magazine editorial - their editor is a good writer, I've already posted one of his editorials before.

It reads:

Hanging 20
By Mark Tuttle
Rider Magazine, May 2015

If your two feet are the same size, consider yourself lucky. About 60 percent of the population has one foot that is a little bigger than the other, and for some reason it’s usually the left one. Perhaps when scientists figure out exactly why more of us are right - handed than left they will solve this bigger - foot mystery too. Anyway, my left foot is about a half - size larger than my right - sorry to burden you with that visual - which as you might imagine makes shopping for casual footwear a challenge. It’s not a big enough difference to warrant buying two differently sized pairs of shoes, and even if it was I’m too cheap for that. So finding sneakers for my daily walks that don’t squash the big toe on my left foot or slip off the heel on the right is a real pain. Though, like many Men of a Certain Age, I find that a particular shoe company with the initials NB seems to have tennis shoe designers with some empathy for regular ol’ guys in addition to marathon runners.

Thankfully, I have no such difficulties with motorcycle boots, a good thing since I never ride without them and go through boots rather quickly. I think it has something to do with the boot’s wider toe box, or perhaps the tall upper holding the boot more securely on my smaller foot. Anyway, donning and removing boots is still the least convenient chore in a rider's apparel routine, but right after your helmet it’s a vital part of an All The Gear, All The Time (ATGATT) arsenal. Your feet are likely to be the first things to make undesirable contact with something hard in an accident, and each has 26 bones - more than a quarter of all of the bones in your body - and more than 100 tender muscles, tendons and ligaments. Heck, my blindingly white feet hurt just walking into the chilly surf - I have no desire to expose them to the road, bike or both at speed.

Good motorcycle boots do a lot more than just look the part. They provide better crash protection than typical work or hiking boots, with critical armor in the anklebone and shin areas, high abrasion resistance, and a retention system that will unfailingly keep the boot on your foot no matter how violently you and your limbs are flung around in a get - off. Many offer inner bracing to resist twisting, a reinforced toe area and reflective material for conspicuity at night. Good boots are also designed to help you ride the motorcycle, with no laces or straps that can get caught on footpegs or levers, soles that provide good traction on road surfaces at stops, and low heels that won’t hang up on footpegs when you’re trying to move your feet around. Many also have shifter pads on the left or both boots to resist wear from the shift lever (some older British bikes have the shift lever on the right).

In addition to boots, most riders smart enough to wear ATGATT consider a good pair of motorcycle gloves a vital part of that ensemble, but I’ve noticed a disturbing amount of bare - handedness lately, even among a few ATGATTers. The excuse? Smartphones. Gloves insulate the fingers and can prevent a capacitive touchscreen from working. While it’s no less stupid to text or use your phone while riding than it is while driving, once you’re pulled over and stopped it is inconvenient to have to remove your gloves to check directions or voicemail, so some riders have simply stopped wearing gloves for that reason.

Not a smart move. What’s the first thing you stick out in front of you when you fall? That’s right, your hands. You could be wearing ATGATT except gloves, suffer no injuries other than road rash to your hands, and yet still be severely incapacitated. Unless you’ve experienced it, you can’t imagine the agony and inconvenience of road rash on your mitts. Everything you need to do is compromised, from eating to going to the bathroom.

The good news is that there’s no need to do without anymore—several companies make touchscreen - compatible motorcycle gloves. Just search online for those four words, or drop us a note and we'll steer you toward some. You can also buy conductive thread online (watch out for scammers selling phony stuff) and sew it into the fingers of your gloves, or try applying one of the compounds available that will purportedly make the fingertips conductive (we haven’t tried any). We’re also going to be testing some touchscreen motorcycle gloves quite soon.

I think most of us can agree that we ride motorcycles because we enjoy it enough to accept a certain amount of risk and discomfort, but that it’s so easy to reduce both with things like helmets, boots and gloves - there’s no reason not to.

One final point, about denim: It’s rewarding to see that many riders are finally trading - in their blue jeans for real riding pants. Prior to my enlightenment, I had some personal experience with crashing in jeans, and I promise you that unless they’re specially made for riding, denim jeans offer about as much resistance to asphalt as tissue paper. If that doesn’t convince you denim holdouts to gear up, consider that even if you don’t suffer from bad road rash or worse on your lower body in a get-off...you’re very likely to end up standing there naked.


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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby CMReynolds1 » Thu Jun 11, 2015 4:06 pm

Great article, I met Mark many years ago in Rider's infancy. He is very knowledgeable and writes very well.

We also called people who did not wear good gear, Organ Donors!
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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby Happytrails » Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:00 pm

I live out in the country now too. Sometimes I have to venture towards the city but traffic isn't too crazy here.

Helmet, jacket, gloves and boots here but just haven't found pants yet. Been looking for awhile but just cant find what I want. Wearing a helmet, gloves and boots is easy for me in any weather. Wearing a jacket in high temps is difficult but I think its because I've been wearing cotton shirts that dont breathe. Out of everything I would suggest spend the most money on your helmet so its comfortable, well vented and you enjoy wearing it. Otherwise you may not and then whats the point if your noggin isn't protected.

Revzilla is a nice place to browse online and there guides can help you start out. There prices are normally very competitive too. Scorpion SGS gloves are a great bang for the buck gloves and TCX XFive boots are great if you have wide feet like me. A lot of boots are italian and like to squish my wide feet. For helmets I wear a full face Arai. One of the helmet manufacturers put together a study and about 44% of impacts to motorcyclists heads were in the jaw and nose area. Having been in an accident it made me appreciate the benefit of wearing gear. I think the key is buying gear you really like a lot that way you'll wear it.
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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby cruiser1800 » Sat Jun 13, 2015 8:28 am

From a person that myself and my wife are recuperating from an accident that happened on May 29, the more protection you have the better. I had a full faced helmet and it took a beating, still had a little bleeding of the brain, how my noise got cut loose from my upper lip and not have a scratch on it or my face, I don't know. I had full leathers on, still had a broken collar bone and broken rib. Even had skin on my arm sliced loose and the coat was fine. The wife had a 3/4 helmet on, has a scull fracture with her brain bleeding, has been in and out of ICU, is finally in rehab. When things warm up, I use to shed safety gear, except the helmet, but if I continue to ride, I will be keeping more on. The if I keep riding part, I still want to ride, but I may go through hell with the wife if and when she gets back to normal. but I don't think she will get back on another bike, even as much as she like the trike, that we only had 2 weeks.

I think being on a trike helped keep us more safe, if I was on my cruiser, we may not of survived, that 900 lb bike would probably have been on top of one or both of us at one time or another during the crash. The trike stayed upright and we just got thrown off.

Be Safe

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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby CMReynolds1 » Sat Jun 13, 2015 8:33 am

I am so glad you both survived. It sounds very, very bad. Thanks for wearing the gear, I will keep you both in my thoughts. Heal fast and take care!
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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby redial » Sun Jun 14, 2015 3:08 am

Hey Cruiser1800,
Glad you are on the mend, and trust that your wife fully recovers. Just get better, and then make your decisions. Whatever your decision is, I trust you stay safe.
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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby made2care » Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:38 am

Cruiser1800,
Thank you for sharing your experience. Happy to hear you both are on the healing path to a full recovery. I never wear a helmet around town, probably since I have never been in an accident. From now on I will wear my helmet 100% of the time.
Thanks again.

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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby CMReynolds1 » Sun Jun 14, 2015 8:27 am

I used to never wear a helmet unless it rained. I had a 650 that I used to go to work a long time ago. It looked like it would rain later in the day so I put on the helmet. Going through a green light I got broadsided by a red light runner. I went down and the helmet hit the street. What a sound inside my helmet! If I had not had the helmet, I would have had serious head trauma. Since that day in 1981, I have worn a helmet. My commute was about 5 miles on secondary roads.

PS, Skull caps DON"T work.
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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby Mh434 » Sun Jun 14, 2015 3:51 pm

As CMReynolds1 said, above, "road rash" is a misnomer, and frequently a cutsey-pie name referring to horrendous, debilitating injuries. I've personally seen flesh ground off completely, right down to bone, and called "road rash". Take what he says as gospel - as one who has suffered true "road rash", there's nothing cute about it. Mine took almost a year to heal, left ugly scarring, involved a great deal of long-lasting pain, occasionally still spits up bits of gravel 20 years later...and I was LUCKY! I've seen LOTS worse than mine. The worst of it is that merely wearing proper gear would have prevented, or at least largely mitigated, such injury.

Trust me - if you think it can't happen to you, think again. NO ONE has ever gone out riding, fully expecting to go down & suffer injury...but we need to go out prepared for exactly that, every time. A moment's vacillating at home (Should I put it on? I'm only going a short way...) can end in a lifetime of regret.

As far as helmets are concerned, well, the fact that I can still compose relatively literate prose is a testament to the effectiveness of real motorcycle helmets. My own experience has illustrated that, were I not a hard-core advocate of their use, at best I'd be drooling in my shoes, and at worst my life's end would be an agonizing footnote for my family and friends. Those idiotic "skid lids" (you know the ones...the flat-black plastic salad bowl with the little strap, and the sticker inside saying "For novelty use only", the ones outlaw Harley riders wear if in a helmet-mandatory area) are pointless. I have investigated 3 deaths that would not have occurred if real helmets had been worn instead of these ridiculous imitations.

My personal favorite type of helmet is the modular style. It gives me the advantages of a 3/4-style, with most of the added face protection of a full-face, but the convenience of being able to scratch my nose, talk to another rider beside me at a red light, open it to cool off for a moment when stopped without having to remove the helmet entirely, etc. etc.

Sorry if this appears to be a rant, but I ache when I see a rider smashed up in a collision knowing that most of his (or her) injuries could have been prevented with halfway decent protective gear. I know exactly the pain they, and their families, will have to endure.

**Rant over!**

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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby cruiser1800 » Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:04 pm

My accident was caused by a sheriff deputy pulling out from a side street and hitting us. I hope I hear why she did it, if she was on the radio, cell phone or just not paying attention, the area has a clear view, no blind spots. I hope the ISP (state patrol) checked her phone, nothing gets overlooked or covered up.

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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:08 am

The comment above about 44% of helmet impacts being to the facial area is true - and every time I see people wearing 3/4 helmets, I think what their faces would look like afterwards. When I got hit, I flipped upside down in the air, landed on my feet, still going about 30 mph, and was immediately slammed into the pavement, face-first. My helmet was destroyed, but my head (and face) remained intact. I'm still here today because of that helmet.

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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby NVSB4 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:52 am

I don't want to hijack the thread, but take it off on a relevant tangent.

What constitutes the wide price variance in gear, particularly helmets?
Is a $700 Shoei or Arai "safer" than a $100-200 helmet? There are lots of full-face at <$100 as well.
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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby harvey01 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:31 pm

Helmet pricing is not the only consideration in purchasing a helmet. The first thing I want is to know that a helmet is Snell and DOT approved. Why both, hopefully that means a little extra protection!

The next thing is how comfortable is the helmet? Can you change padding to improve comfort? how comfortable is the liner in the helmet? Does the helmet have great ventilation( on a Wing you don't get as much air as a sport bike)? What is the quality of the faceshield and how easy is it to see through the shield? How easy is it to change shields from a clear to a tinted. Does the manufacturer support the product?

Simply put if the helmet does not fit and feel right on your head, you will look for reasons not to wear it.

So how does a $700 helmet stack up against a $100 helmet? Only you know what is right and best for your head! Years ago, back in 1990, I tried on an Arai and loved it. I have no idea how many I have had since then but I still feel very comfortable in the Arai helmet. Yes, I have tried on others and they were just not as comfortable. And over those 25 years I have never had a failure from one of the helmets in several hundered thousand miles. I do try to replace every 5 years or so.
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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby Mh434 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:48 pm

I'd say that almost any DOT-approved helmet gives reasonable protection (although DOT stickers have been known to be forged by companies selling really cheap helmets). To some extend, fit-and-finish will determine the price. Take Arai helmets, for example - mostly hand-finished, flawless construction & paintwork, with prices (in my area) from $1200 - $4000. On the other end of the scale, some really nice, reasonable quality helmets can be had in the $150-$200 range.

Another thing that's going on right now is that there's so much competition in the market that companies are coming out with new models almost weekly, which means that last-week's model is on sale. I just bought a pair of Vega Summit 3.1 helmets (they were a brand new model) a couple of months ago, and since then a new version has come out (cosmetic changes only), so the ones I bought went on sale a short time later - for almost 1/2 what I paid for them.

Features can make all the difference. Mine have drop-down dark shields behind the clear shields, much like sunglasses. That's a WONDERFUL feature, IMHO!! I won't buy another helmet without it. Another feature is having the helmet headset-ready, if you have intercom etc. on your bike. It saves a whole lot of hassle mounting the headsets.

Don't get too excited about fancy vent systems (for which some manufacturers add extra cost). I've yet to try a helmet that has vents that actually do much (and I've owned several dozen helmets). If you take a vented helmet apart, you'll find that inside the vent is solid styrofoam protection material - air doesn't pass through it, so it's kind of like having an opening window that opens to a blank brick wall. Looks nice, but doesn't do much.

As far as rating systems go, some will direct you to Snell Foundation-approved helmets (at one time, I wouldn't buy anything else). This has advantages & disadvantages, though - the Snell testing standards are, indeed, much tougher than DOT standards, but there are drawbacks. The Snell standards were developed for race-car helmet testing, NOT for motorcycle helmet testing, and the needs are quite different between the two (common impact angles, point intrusion, etc.). I don't know if it still holds true, but in the past Snell refused to test modular-style helmets at all. As some of the finest motorcycle helmets around are modular style (Shark, BMW, and others make some really nice ones), they may appear substandard without the Snell sticker - it just isn't so...Snell just refuses to test them. Additionally, Snell-approved helmets tend to be heavier, which isn't a big deal when you're sitting in a race car wearing a Han's device, but IS a big deal after several hours in a motorcycle saddle!!

So - my best recommendation is to go to a motorcycle shop, look at the various features available, try on a bunch to find out what is the best fit & the most comfortable for your head shape (yes, heads differ a LOT in shape - what may be feather-bed comfortable for one person may be torture-rack painful for another, even if they wear the same size helmet). Once you've decided what you want (ideally, what brand & size fits best), go online & see what's out there in that model, too. You can save big $$$ online, and many of the sellers are licensed for specific brands, which means they're warranty centers as well. Conversely, if you're comfortable with your local motorcycle shop, go in there armed with online pricing & see if you can bargain.

Hopefully, some of this helps...

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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:15 pm

For me, Arai helmets are the most comfortable helmet - they're pretty much the only helmet that comfortably fits my strange head shape, and that I can wear for hours at a time without developing "hot spots." They also meet every US safety standard (DOT and SNELL) as well as the European ECE R22-05 standard. There are very few (if any) other manufacturers that do this.

Arai helmets have replaceable pads with various sizes available to make the helmet fit your head and face perfectly, instead of trying to get the "closest you can do" with other helmets.

Yes, Arai helmets are expensive. I mean, really expensive. How much is your head worth?

Lastly, go take a look at professional motorcycle and car race drivers. Notice the very large percentage of them that are wearing Arai helmets.

More tellingly, take a closer look at those race drivers who have a sponsorship from a different helmet manufacturer, but are in fact actually wearing Arai helmets, with their sponsor's logo sticker stuck onto it. There are quite a few of them. They could get their sponsor's helmets for free, but choose to buy an Arai helmet instead.

There is a reason for this.

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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:50 pm

Something I should mention that I just thought of on this topic is boots. I wear motorcycle boots that go partway up my shin, and also have hard protective areas over my ankles. I recall from my bad crash at age 17 that I was literally knocked out of my shoes, and for whatever reason, that seems to be quite common: the rider's shoes are ripped off during a crash. Quality boots that cover your ankles and part (or all) of your shin will not only protect you, they won't be ripped off during a crash.

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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby NVSB4 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 10:07 pm

WingAdmin wrote:Something I should mention that I just thought of on this topic is boots.


There's a review of some new ones here. Some sure don't look like the moto boots that I'm used to wearing.

Warm-Weather Boot Buyers Guide.
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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby dwarven1 » Wed Jul 01, 2015 8:13 am

harvey01 wrote: I use a pair of elfskin gloves also from Aerostitch. My present set is 6 years old and going strong, but they are not waterproof. for the really hot days I have a pair of OSI mesh gloves.


As a Dwarf (note the screen name), I would have a personal objection to wearing elfskin gloves. Heck, some of my best friends are Elves!

OK, now that I've snarked at the funny typo, I've been riding for 30+ years and gone from a half-helmet (in my moped days, 35+ years ago) to a 3/4 to a modular helmet, and there I've stayed. My beloved BMW System 1 helmet got replaced after I low-sided in a sandy corner and got treated to a lovely view of the pavement sliding by my nose, less than one inch away. I picked up the bike, dusted myself off and rode home... mainly because I was wearing boots, chaps, gloves and a leather jacket. Since getting a Wing, I keep looking at 3/4 helmets longingly... and can't bring myself to get one, mainly because of that memory of the sliding pavement.

So these days, my riding gear consists of Meindl Duty Boots (not bike specific, but I need boots I can WALK in, too), a pair of Art's Cow Parts chaps, a Pro-Tech jacket (we're talking seriously heavy leather here), a Vega helmet, and fingerless gloves. Unless it's below about 70, I have a hard time dealing with full gloves... Warm days will see me trade the Pro-Tech in for a Brosh-Tex mesh jacket or a Kilimanjaro Air mesh jacket.

My wife just started riding a couple of years ago, and we just bought her a Virago this spring. AND she has just learned WHY I insisted we spend the money to get her good gear, unfortunately. We have a lot of dirt roads up here in Vermont, and she missed seeing that the road was transitioning to dirt from pavement (the transition was in a shady spot) and she lost it in the dirt. Went down... bruised her knee and some abrasions on her left forearm, with a few pieces of gravel that had to be picked out of it.

Her gear: riding boots, chaps, River Road mesh jacket, gloves and an HJC full-face helmet. So, the road rash would have been much worse if not for the jacket - but a MESH jacket isn't as effective as a solid jacket if you go down on dirt. (I know - this is a GOLD WING forum, and we don't do trials on 800+ lb touring bikes - but you never know when you ARE going to find a dirt road. Especially once you get away from the NYC-Boston metroplex!)

Her chaps ripped the waist strap loose, and they're plenty dirty. Big fat hairy deal - I'd cheerfully pay to replace her bike AND all her gear as long as SHE is safe. Fortunately, it's all repairable, and there's not a scratch on her helmet - she tells me her head never touched down.

Oh, and as for wearing gear in the heat? Soak your t-shirt with water and put your leather jacket back on. Worked for me when I rode from NY to Boston back in 99 on a 101-degree day. Evaporative cooling is great. And I tried to leave my visor up a bit but quickly put it back down - it was too hot to BREATHE with that wind coming in!

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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Jul 01, 2015 8:27 am

dwarven1 wrote:Oh, and as for wearing gear in the heat? Soak your t-shirt with water and put your leather jacket back on. Worked for me when I rode from NY to Boston back in 99 on a 101-degree day. Evaporative cooling is great. And I tried to leave my visor up a bit but quickly put it back down - it was too hot to BREATHE with that wind coming in!


Evaporative cooling is great, but doesn't work all that well when the humidity is high. Nothing beats my phase change cooling vest for comfort in ridiculous temperatures.

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Re: Riding gear, can it really save your life??

Postby dwarven1 » Wed Jul 01, 2015 8:40 am

WingAdmin wrote:
dwarven1 wrote:Oh, and as for wearing gear in the heat? Soak your t-shirt with water and put your leather jacket back on. Worked for me when I rode from NY to Boston back in 99 on a 101-degree day. Evaporative cooling is great. And I tried to leave my visor up a bit but quickly put it back down - it was too hot to BREATHE with that wind coming in!


Evaporative cooling is great, but doesn't work all that well when the humidity is high. Nothing beats my phase change cooling vest for comfort in ridiculous temperatures.

I guess it depends on where and when you ride. Living in Vermont, I don't worry that much about staying cool - it's staying WARM that's the trick!




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