Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sport Touring: Gear upgrade and a three legged dog

The warm moto-friendly weather is back and I feel ecstatic. Although I’ve taken a break from blogging I have been riding in the local area, more like awakening from hibernation (muscle memory and reflexes need a touch up). It was a mild winter and now the open road is calling once again, ah what a feeling! I’ve also been taking inventory of my gear and decided that it was time for an upgrade.

I had been riding in an old, really old pair of hiking boots, so old the Gore-tex lining started to fail. Oh, and my gloves, well it is hard to find a good pair of gloves, that will leave your tactile senses unaffected, thus it was hard to let go but it was time. The other day I read a good review on AGV sport Laguna sport gloves and Alpinestar Scout WP boots and decided to give them a try.

First impressions.

The Laguna gloves are priced right and look nice, however, you will find a couple of obstacles to a perfect fit and that is due of course to price point, at this price you are unlikely to find a perfect fitting glove. However, my first impression is that these gloves look nice, are made of thick leather with re-enforcements in all the expected places. I have only gone on short (shakedown) rides and already encountered some issues, primarily the internal finish. There are some spots around the outer wrist that feel sharp and really uncomfortable after a few miles.

I am trying to modify these and still working on cutting and smoothing some of the excess leather to achieve a better fit. Second, although the gloves are labeled small they do fit differently, where my left hand feels snugger than my right hand. It could be intentional or it could be a defect, time will tell. On the upside, everything else about these gloves is nice. I really like the yellow stitching, the added protection of the gauntlet and most importantly the perforated leather around the fingers, a feature that will be greatly appreciated during summer.

The Scout boots are first and foremost practical with an added fashionable benefit of being decent looking. My old riding boots (hiking boots) are made from a combination of fabric and leather with a solid wide Vibram sole. They offered great stability but lacked protection in key areas. I was looking for a solid boot and also ordered the Sidi Adventure Rain, however, as soon as I open the box I was drawn to the Scout. I tend to avoid being an advertising billboard, and the Sidi’s had letters all over them, fit too large and were beyond stiff.

Fortunately, the Scout run true to size and are low key in the advertising department, offer a lot of protection and claim to be waterproof. These boots are stiff and will take awhile before molding to your paws. My first recommendation is learn to control your Moto before riding in Moto specific boots. These things are so stiff right now I have had to readjust my riding style since they’ve slow down my shifting and timing. Something I expect will change once they are broken in. Ultimately only time will tell if these were practical purchases, I will do a long-term review later.

By now you may be still be wondering, dude what’s up with the three legged dog bit?
I was out walking my dog the other and saw a three-legged Pomeranian and thought: I wonder if that dog could have reduced the risk of loosing its leg, would it have done it? As motorcyclist, we accept the risk involved in the sport, and rely on our skills and equipment to increase our success rate on the road, this odd encounter accelerated my intent to inventory my gear and take the necessary steps (pun intended) to upgrade.
Sometimes inspiration or motivation is found in unexpected places, either way heed your intuition, get out there and Enjoy the Ride.