Here is some sound advice about protective clothing for autumn and winter from Wayne Kershaw at Rev’It! Sport International.
The British summer may never have appeared, but now is the time of year that many bikers think about buying new clothing to tackle the autumn and winter weather. This is especially important for those who choose to, or have to use the bike all year round . . .
Shopping – Research your needs before you buy. If you prefer to take advice at a motorcycle dealership, take your time, visit two or three dealers and choose from a range of options to suit your riding style. The internet is also a great place to start. Look at a number of the best brands, get a feel for what choice is available – one or two piece? leather or textile? – and then go shopping for a deal. Buying online is not necessarily the best way; even if you are exactly sure of your vital statistics. Same sizes can vary and similar garments can have an entirely different fit, so try before you buy.
Protection – Always look for clothing with CE approved armour (it should be stamped ‘CE-approved’). You should expect jackets to have elbow and shoulder armour at least and possibly an integrated back protector as well. If the back protector is just a small foam pad, consider replacing this with a more substantial back protector that fits comfortably under your jacket and extends fully from your neck to the small of your back. Wearing a back protector that is firmly strapped to you – rather than sitting separately in the lining of your jacket – is a safer option. Trousers should have knee armour and extra padding or tougher material around the thighs and hips.
A comfortable ride – When you have chosen your clothing, try it all on together; this allows you to check that all garments attach or link to each other properly, avoiding exposed areas. Fasten all zips, press studs, Velcro straps and so on – as you would wear it on your bike. Then sit on a bike in the showroom that is either the same or has a very similar riding position to your own. When you sit in your usual riding position, everything should be snug and comfortable; ensure that you can move your arms and legs, but that everything else stays in position. It is especially important that body armour sits properly over elbows, shoulders and knees and stays there when you move around. Ask you dealer to check the fit, on the bike.
Staying dry – At this time of year thoughts turn to winter gear, or, at least waterproofing for unpredictable weather. Textiles are generally better through the wetter months, although leathers with a waterproof oversuit are an option. Water ‘resistant’ garments may be adequate if you are not a winter rider, otherwise, make sure they are fully water ‘proof’.
Layering & insulation – depending upon the weather conditions, layering can help. Think about wearing a light breathable layer against your skin to wick away sweat and keep you dry. If it is cold, add a mid layer – such as a medium weight fleece – for warmth and then wear your protective motorcycle clothing over this.
Every biker knows how much more we have to concentrate as vulnerable road users. Loose or flapping cuffs/collars/pockets are not only letting in cold air or rain; they can be a dangerous distraction.
Style & price – Most bikers are making a fashion statement by what they wear on the bike; although many would deny this! Buy the best kit you can afford, to suit your riding needs; there is enough choice out there to offer the best protection and still look good!
Thank you to Wayne at Rev’It!
. . . and visit this page next month, for more advice from the industry experts.