Gear report - warning: long

Discussion in 'Riding Gear' started by Lauren, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. Lauren

    Lauren New Member

    Just some non-Airhead specific but motorcycle specific gear observations I thought I would share:

    I hate riding in the rain - it just is no fun for me no matter how warm and dry I am, I don't even like driving in the rain, but on a bike you are so vulnerable to idiot cagers that I get paranoid, plus I have yet to find gear that keeps me warm and dry. I am coming closer, but not close enough to feel comfortable.

    I wear an Aerostich Darien and a pari of Roadcrafter pants. I recently washed both. The Darien I just washed plain with soap, the pants I washed with soap, rinsed, etc. then washed and risned with a NikWax treatment. I know the Darien is Goretex, and I think the Roadcrafter pants are too IIRC. I also have some Alpinestar gloves that are usually comfortable and that have a "Breathable waterproof membrane". I wear Fox Forma MX boots.

    I don't normally choose to ride in the rain, but sometimes I get caught in it. Last Monday I rode from Oregon up to Seattle. Although the sky looked threatening, weather forecasters assured me that there would be no real rain until the late afternoon at the earliest. I hit Portland at about 10 AM and it was starting to rain and it just went downhill from there. To get donw to it, here are my riding gear impressions:

    1) The AlpineStar gloves are in no way water proof - they are somewhat water resistant, but even in a mist they start to soak up the water into the fabric lining. Eventually they get rather cold being wet and sticking out up front in the airstream. Maybe if I had sprayed them with Scotchguard they would have been a *little* better. They are usually fairly comfortable, but a bit too warm in warm temps above 70, too cold in temps below 50, and did I mention they are not waterproof. When I got home I tried to pull them off the the wet lining came out with my hand, so I just let it. Today, after they had been drying for a few days I tried to push the lining back in. One glove went back fine, the left hand glove just wouldn't no matter what I tried.

    So, being thoroughly frustrated, I figured what the hell? I would just remove the lining as I wanted heated gloves anyway, maybe these would make good hot weather gloves without the lining and I could put the fabric . So with some scissors I snipped apart the one glove enough to take the lining out. Come to find out the reason the lining wouldn't go back in was because the Goretex like membrane glove lining between the shell and the fabric lining was messed up, even all apart I couldn't put the fabric liner back in. So, figuring the membrane was useless anyway I ripped it out. Now I can put the fabric liner back in. I guess I will do the same with the other glove too.

    Conclusion - I don't recommend Alpinestar gloves as waterproof cold weather gloves. I do like their synthetic leather palms, and I like their general comfort (I like the stretch knuckle area - I have large hands), but they are not what I hope they would be.

    2) Darien jacket (Hi-viz yellow of course). I bought mine slightly used and now I wish I had gone ahead and bought new and got the XL instead of the large. While riding it is usually okay though. It is too warm when riding in anything above 90, too warm while sitting still in traffic in the sun or anything above 80. Until you wash it a few times it is way too stiff, especially around the neck. I have the fleece liner, and that is okay down to about 60 if it is wet out, 40-50 if it is dry, lower if you are only going for a short ride of less than an hour. YMMV. I always felt it was fairly waterproof, but have never really ridden in the rain long enough toknow for sure (did I mention that I hate riding in the rain?) - with only short rides of an hour or so in real rain. Monday I rode for over 4 hours in the rain. I noticed one spot at my sternum where somehow some water leaked through a zipper or something. I didn't notice it until I got home, although I am sure it contributed to heat loss. I also noticed anything I had in an outside pocket was soaked - fortunately my cell phone was in an inside pocket - although the charger, which was in a bag on the rack, got soaked and shorted out when I plugged it into the wall! :(

    I have noticed that the Darien liner is a bit warmer when I reverse it and have the nylon lining on the outside as it seems to keep the wind out and insulate better that way. I do like the armor in 'Stich products better than others - especially Motoport.

    3) Roadcrafter pants - with bib/suspender attachment. I bought these used from Dave C. and I bought some hip pad armor for them. Very comfortable compared to my Motoport pants. A lot more waterproof too - but the MP makes no claim for waterproofness of the MP pants I have. I do wish that 'Stich would just go ahead and make bib pants though, instead of having to zip the suspenders/bib to the pants - it looks ugly and leaves gaps all around the front - and it fits poorly.

    I also wish that 'Stich would put a much larger flap over the crotch zipper area. I haven't yet suffered from the wet crotch syndrome that others do, but I think that is because the Darien covers that area up. The flap comes undone too. Same goes for the flaps over the side pockets. I have had a wet spot there. When I got back home Monday I was interested to see a wet spot on my street pants on my left inner calf above my boots. It seems that water had got past the zipper there. 'Stich puts an inner flap inside the zipper to help seal it, but I think they would do better with an outer flap, and ther the inner flap is on the wrong side facing forward. I also wish that 'Stich would cover the butt area or at least just the hips, with the heavier "ballistic cloth" they use for the knees. I haven't torn up that area yet, but I did on my MP pants and I am very glad they had the heavier cloth there.

    4) Fox Forma MX boots. Although still stiff and almost impossible to walk in for any distance, they are probably the most protective boot you can get short of the Daytona Security boots with the custom molded shells (for over $700). Right after I crushed my foot by dropping my Suzuki on it, I bought these boots and wear them whenever riding. While they are waterproof and very comfortable for riding (albeit a bit hot in the summer) - I was astonished to notice that my socks were wet when I took the boots off. My feet weren't cold at all - apparently water had not gotten in (at least I don't think so), but it had not gotten out either and it soaked the socks, which was a first for me, even after riding in 90+ weather for many hours. Either way, since I didn't notice I don't really have a complaint there. I would caution that it is almost impossible to use these stiff boots with stock Airhead GS controls, especially the shifter. I had to modify my controls a bit to give me more room, and still it is a bit awkward at times to shift - but I would rather live with that than another crushed foot.

    5) Ortlieb pannier bags - still not a drop of water inside, and they are holding up very well.

    6) Decel switch - I have swaped out my homemade spring for one sent by MotoLoco, and now the switch is working much better as intended and has a lot more range for adjusting to just the way I want it to work. If you buy one of these then be sure to tell him that you have an Airhead BMW and that I said to get the special adjustment screw and spring - the stock one will not work.
  2. moto

    moto New Member

    Good and thorough assessment. I know exactly which Alpinestars gloves you are talking about. I had a pair years ago and the same thing happened to me with the lining getting all messed up. Plus, they didn't inspire a lot of confidence that they would protect my hands in a crash, either.

    I also used to have a Darien jacket and I never got wet while wearing it. It had other drawbacks, but it was waterproof.

    For true waterproof protection, nothing works better in my opinion than a motorcycle-specific rain suit over top of protective gear. And the key with gloves is not letting water get down in the gauntlet, perhaps from running down your arms.
  3. jayjacinto

    jayjacinto Member

    I have the same thing with the Alpinestar too.. But I always thought it was the water which crawled from my wrist..

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