Clothes & Riding GearClothes & Riding Gear https://www.linesonmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2014.08.07___20.54_bearb_crop.jpg 1000 562 Michael Michael https://www.linesonmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Portrait.jpg
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For clothes the most important thing is always that they fit and you feel comfortable with them. I haven’t changed many of my clothes but have at least achieved experience in very different weather and riding conditions. So for all those who start with motorcycling you’ll find a short overview and recommendation below the links:
None of these companies made any kind of deal with me, I don’t have an advantage by linking them.
Main facts: A motorcycle suit cannot be cheap, waterproof and breathable.
I am currently aware of 5 different design concepts for textile suits which differ significantly in functionality.
Summer suits without membrane are permanently ventilated with mesh inserts or with closable vents. They form the most favorable class and offer the best comfort from 20°C. Suits with mesh inserts are often too cool under 20°C. Because of the missing membrane it can usually be repaired by every seamstress.
All-round suits with removable membrane and mostly with removable insulating liner. The famous egg-laying wool milk pig (I know that’s not common in English but that is such a nice German phrase that I had to translate it directly ;-)) which is able to do everything but nothing really good. Currently this is the dominating concept. As a rule, the water drains over the hips into the trousers due to the construction. However, this only occurs when the outer fabric is completely saturated. On most pictures you can see me in one of these all-round suits. It is a Vanucci Okavango. Most of the time I used it without the two liners, quasi like a summer suit. This has the disadvantage that the suit is too wide and the protectors slip. Good is that it can be very easily sewn like the Summer Suit.
Membrane suits with a fixed membrane which is not laminated to the outer fabric. Usually these are special suits for spring, late autumn and winter. With these suits you normally don’t need a rain protection. With my very first motorcycle jacket it wasn’t necessary. However, the outer material sucks full of water and cools very strongly. Biggest disadvantage in summer, these suits are much too hot due to bad ventilation. The repair of such a suit is more complicated because the membrane has to be sealed again.
Goretex Pro suits are now slowly pushing onto the market. The membrane is firmly laminated to the outer fabric. The outer fabric cannot suck as much water than the other construction principles and dries off more quickly. The cooling effect is thereby reduced but not gone. Over generous waterproof zippers good ventilation is usually achieved. The repair friendliness is not given here either. Summer temperatures are more tolerable, but a membrane-less suit is significantly more comfortable from 25 °C. Since Baltic Sea 2016 I drive such a suit the Klim Overland.
Offroad suits are almost always a protective shirt, protective pants and knee protection. Above that is a jacket, jersey and an off-road trouser. The ventilation is clearly in the foreground, but it is also available with membrane. The abrasion resistance is by no means comparable with the above mentioned suits, which are made entirely from Cordura. On the street these suits are therefore out of place.
What is the right thing to do?
For the start I recommend a pure summer suit with closeable vents without membrane. This is favorable and a good addition to possible second suits. You’ll need a separate rain protection which you’ll for example need for the all-round suit too. With the rain protection, however, you can also complement the offroad suit or make the membrane or Goretex Pro suit more winter-ready. For the transition period, a better base layer from Merino is used. In the ideal case it is then all covered with the price of an all-rounder and more versatile. It only becomes more expensive, if you realize that you want to drive a lot in spring, late autumn or in winter. Then it makes sense to buy a special winter suit.
Only if you drive a lot (10 000km + per year) and also in spring, late autumn or in rainy cool countries it makes sense to invest the money for the Goretex Pro suit. For the predominating temperatures of 15-25 ° C it is a good compromise. Manufacturers of these suits are, as far as I know Stadler / Touratech, Rukka, Klim and Held. The problem is that only some of them have enough ventilation to make them tolerable even in hot conditions above 25 ° C.
If you want to drive off-road seriously, you can forget about the membrane anyway. As soon as you do more than driving gravel roads it is always physically demanding and cooling wind is limited. I have not found the ideal solution for me yet, so there is no recommendation for that.
Waterproof is great for on-road riding but in off road conditions the breathability is not enough and water can’t leave the boot if it get inside from the top. Not Waterproof boots offer a better safety and due much better breathability the comfort is higher. If you drive in rain and you have to deal with a lot of puddles you can use waterproof socks. Because the liner is closer to your skin the breathability is compared with waterproof boots better. If you have to cross fords waterproof socks don’t let the water flow in as fast than the waterproof boots. This is a small advantage but you reach the level for wet feet quite soon quite soon in this conditions. I can’t recommend using wade trousers, it’s annoying to change them every time and they are ruined fast by foot pegs. Most likely you’re riding not just the fords without protection. We did that in Iceland.
Most important thing to know is that membrane gloves in summer conditions will be ruined quite fast because your sweat will unglue the lamination soon. So you need well vented summer gloves in any case, with heated grips they will work in spring and autumn too. In longer rainy rides a membrane glove will soak a lot of water and because you move your hands all the time water will trickle in. I’m not taking about the common mistake of turning on heated grips or wearing the rain protection below the gloves. For the average rain or cold conditions they work well enough for the extremes (you maybe experience on Iceland) you need waterproof latex gloves to wear above your normal ones. I drive some 2 in 1 gloves of held it’s an acceptable compromise I would recommend a long pure Gore-Tex and a short summer glove for touring.
Most important for me is the possibility to wear googles but still having a visor in backup. In Summer I drive most of the time with googles. In case of a short rain or heavy dust I close the visor above my googles and keep my googles clean. In longer rain, cold or fast periods I drive without them. Especially in Cities they offer a lot more ventilation while they still protect from the streets dirt. So googles are an essential part of my equipment. If you have a sunshield you need a sun visor just in early morning an evening if you ride in direction of the sun. I prefer the lighter helmet without and use sunglasses or a second glass for the googles instead.
Membranes work just with a synthetic or woollen base layer and these materials are not just because of that first choice for travelling. They dry much faster and at least the synthetic clothes are lighter. My T-Shirts are all synthetic during travels. Don’t buy cheap synthetic clothes they often smell soon and scratch. If a synthetic shirt feels soft and fleecy it’s most likely good if it feels hard and rough don’t buy it. Merino wool is my choice for underpants, socks and insulating layers. Merino socks don’t smell as fast then all the others. Even after 3 days in motorcycle boots they smell still bearable. My insulating layers are all from Woolpower. The Woolpower Ullfrotté is an amazing invention. I own products in 200, 400 and 600g/m² quality. The 200g/m² shirts and long johns are enough for typical riding in transitional season or for winter activities. Just in the extremes it makes sense to use the 400g/m² shirt and long johns on top. If you go up to 600g/m² we are not talking about base layer anymore and Fleece or downs offer a much better weight to insulation balance. This quality makes just sense for socks if you’re shoes are big enough.
So I hope it helped a little bit otherwise don’t hesitate to comment.