Last week Opponaut and two-wheel enthusiast Peter Black the SV wrangler brought us a great guide and discussion on the basics of motorcycle gear. Now he's back to talk about the more advanced stuff, like rain suits and GoPros. What kind of high-level gear do you use?
Welcome to motorcycle gear 102! Seeing how well Motorcycle gear 101 went, I made this second article to look into some more specialized and forgotten gear that you can buy, and some of the advantages and disadvantages of them.
This gear is exactly what it says on the tin. Gear for riding in the rain. The goal is to be waterproof, or as close as can be. The 3 most vulnerable areas for rain gear is the jacket collar, the gloves, and boots. The collar has to be a bit looser to let you turn your head with the helmet. I haven’t actually had any issues with the rain intruding in here (yet). The gloves and boots cover what the over suit doesn’t. So if you don’t have waterproof gloves and boots, you are still going to be pretty miserable, even if the rest of you is as dry as a bone.
You can accomplish this in a few different ways. You can buy gear that is water proof right from the start, or you can buy a rain over-suit. The over suit is just that: a secondary riding suit that you pull over your normal riding gear. Usually made out of some form of plastic to keep 100% of the wet out, they are often yellow for better visibility. Because of this, I like to refer to them as BYC’s, or big yellow condoms.
Keep in mind that these suits DO NOT have any protection whatsoever, they are made solely to keep you dry while you are riding.
<BMW prorain 3 suit
A couple of people mentioned these in the comments about their daily gear. Like the rain over-suit, these suits just pull over what you are wearing. Work in an office and need to wear semi-formal clothing to work? No problem, just get an over-suit on in the morning, and all you have to change out of at the office is your shoes. By far the most popular is the Aerostich roadcrafter. Can be bought as a 1 or 2 piece, just slide it over your work clothes and go ride!
Worth noting, these suits DO have full armor and protection properties, unlike the rain over-suits.
^One piece Aerostich roadcrafter
These are the ultimate in protection. Thick leather, certified armor, you can take a slide at 150 miles an hour in one of these things and walk it off. The leather is up to 2 MM thick in certain areas, and formed to make it easier to tuck in behind the fairing at speed. Of course, this means that when you are walking around, you constantly look like you are looking for a washroom, but the safety is worth it.
The race suits will sometimes have “aero humps” which smooth out airflow over your body. Sometimes you can even hide a small water bladder in here and stay hydrated on the track. These suits have very short legs, as they are made to work with a tall racing boot.
Also worth noting, these suit have knee pucks. When you are REALLY cranking on it, you reach some crazy lean angles and your knees may/may not touch the ground. These sacrificial pads are there to keep from ripping a hole in what would other wise be a perfectly serviceable suit. Replacement pucks can be found for $10-30, which is much cheaper than replacing a $600 suit every 4 track days.
<Dainese Aspide racing suit.
While this suit lacks the aero hump, you can clearly see the knee sliders.
“What? Why would I want to make it so that I cant hear the crazy person honking at me!??!”
Ear plugs on a bike aren’t meant to stop all the noise. Anyone who has worn ear plugs can tell you they don’t block everything - they just tone down the intensity, which is the whole point on a bike. Ear plugs are meant to tone down the intensity of the wind buffeting you hear in your helmet. At freeways speeds, the wind gets quite loud and can cause permanent damage to you hearing. You can get the cheap, two-dollar set of plugs, or go to a hearing specialist and get a custom set made. The custom set can be made to only drown out specific frequencies, meaning you will still hear the siren of the cop who is pulling you over.
Another less popular option is to use in-ear headphones. This is what I use and it does me just fine. I can listen to some tunes (at not too loud levels) and still be able to listen at whats going on around me.
While this isn’t technically a wearable piece of kit, it is a blessing if you get into an accident. Because of the bias against motorcyclists these days, any time you get into an accident or someone cuts you off, its always assumed that YOU were in the wrong simply because you are on a bike. A GoPro or other camera can help disprove that notion and provide CONCRETE evidence that it wasn’t your fault, but the other person’s. While not as big of a deal in Canada thanks to the government-provided health care, this could be a real life saver in the states.
Go-pro Hero 3+
Like I mentioned in “How to ride with a passenger”, communications is a big thing. instead of having different hand movements that start to resemble martial arts moves, you can simply speak to your passenger/driver about what you want. AND you can get them synced up with your buddies on their bikes so you can have a conversation as you are rolling though the countryside. For example: “Bear in the middle of the road, run around and RUN”
The most popular systems out there seem to be the sena’s Bluetooth com systems
Sena SM10 installed in a helmet.
As always, thanks for reading!