The other piece that I’m not feeling are my gloves. They’re sufficient (they are Joe Rocket biking specific gloves) and they are comfortable, but plain black and not particularly warm. I was aiming for a white/grey vibe when I started, the Alpinestars SP-1 gloves shown are a nice, gauntletted glove that look like they offer a much wider range of comfortable temperature options (they close up or vent as needed). They also cost four times what the beginner gloves I got cost. I imagine they are whole levels of awesomeness beyond the basic gloves I started with.
I did the same thing with boots, I picked up the cheapest pair of bike-specific boots that were available. They are warm, dry and quite tall. I’ve always wanted an ankle boot, for cooling and the Alpinestars S-MX1 boots on the right give me the monochromatic look I’ve been looking for in a boot that isn’t huge. I purchased pretty low-rent gear to begin, mainly because what was available in the shop in the budget I was looking for. It was all purchased without any time in the saddle, so I didn’t really know what I needed, other than it should be motorbike specific.
The pants I got (I hadn’t planned on buying pants), happened to be on sale. They’ve been great, and as early/late season pant they’re wind resistant, have a liner that would let you ride in a snow storm and have a zipper, so you could get some air going through them. They are too long and way (WAY) too hot for summer driving. Looking for well ventilated pants I could wear over shorts, these Rev’It Airwave pants fit the bill, and continue the monochromatic theme I’m looking for. A light coloured pant would also help keep the heat out.
The one piece of kit I wouldn’t want to change is the jacket I got. The Joe Rocket Atomic 11.0 textile jacket is fantastic. Great wind resistance, a removable liner, vent openings, it fits me perfectly and feels fantastic… this is a jacket for all seasons, I have no regrets with it at all. I imagine the more expensive jackets might offer lighter weight, but this particular jacket is my favorite purchase. It’s padded in all the right places and I even like the break with my monochromatic vibe. I’ve yet to find a situation where the jacket hasn’t been just what I wanted it to be.
The other purchase I’ve been really happy with is my Zox Helmet. The funny part was I was treating it like a
full face helmet until one day I wondered what the red button on the chin did, and suddenly it was a modular helmet that flipped up! It’s comfortable, but the wind noise isn’t ideal. I’m guessing more expensive helmets offer a tighter fit and finish meaning less wind noise. It has nice venting, and when I treat the visor with a bit of soap, it’s fog free. As a cheap first helmet, I’ve no regrets. It does more than I hoped it would and didn’t break the bank to do it. It also lets me live my inner Stig, which is never a bad thing. The built in sun visor is a nice touch too. It really is a full featured helmet. The double adjustable top and bottom vents work very well and the storm trooper vibe is cool.
If I had any advice for buying kit your first time it would be: don’t rush it, try on lots of stuff, and then walk away and think about it. Waiting a couple of weeks saved me a couple of hundred bucks as things went on sale for spring time. Trying on a number of different styles also lets you decide what fits you better, and what feels right. I need to adjust the pants (too long in the leg) but I can probably pin them up. After a bit of looking, I’ve found pants that offer the same size with a shorter inseam. My next purchase will be more pinpoint accurate in terms of sizing.
In riding I’ve noticed that there are tribes. I definitely fall into the sport bike/standard bike crowd with my textile gear and full face helmet. The ‘I’m too cool’ leather cruiser crowd are so busy putting out a vibe they don’t have time to wave. I’ve found everyone who isn’t a Harley knob makes a point of giving me a wave. As a new rider, that’s a nice feeling. To all the ZZ Top chopper types, I say, “whatever dude.”