Friday, October 26, 2012

Sport touring: Gear update and review

There are a few basic axioms in motorcycling: first, motorcycling will give your wallet a strenuous work out, second: perfect gear is an elusive proposition, and lastly this Lifestyle is inherently [insert own opinion]. I have now logged a few thousand miles (6150/3843km) on my 250R and have gained insight into a few things that I’d like to share, primarily my thoughts on gear.  When I re-started riding in ’10, I was unsure as to how long I was going to ride, thus I considered finding the best gear unnecessary and focused on the basics.  Here is my latest gear review and two cents on the topic.

Aerostich Roadcrafter one-piece suit
Miles < 2000/ 3200 km

I got this suit at the end of spring but did not get to wear it for very long as the temperatures rose rapidly to uncomfortable levels exceeding 90F/32C. Once the climate was more favorable I was able to truly test the suit. The first challenge you will encounter is that the manufacturer’s shop is located in Minnesota, U.S. You will most likely have to order online. They do offer extensive options in order to custom tailor the suit for you. I was fortunate to fit one right off the rack! At 5’6’’, 130, 30 inseam I settled for a 36 long red with black ballistics.

Initially the suit feels heavy and stiff and makes you wonder how are you going to ride in this thing for long distances. However, after a few hundred miles the suit begins to soften and it fits better, like an old pair of gloves. When I started riding I bought a Tourmaster transition jacket and caliber pants. The price seemed reasonable but that was it. The fit was off, it was bulky and claimed to be waterproof but after only one season I experienced a few leaks. I would not recommend it at all.

The Aerostich on the other hand is fully waterproof (Gore-Tex), I have been out in the rain and it has kept me dry, it is also somewhat windproof.  Once the temperature drops around 50F/10C you will feel the cold wind if you have layered improperly. The suit is made of what appears to be high quality materials and after a couple of thousand miles it still looks new. It has plenty of pockets and it has adequate vents along the pits. One of the main advantages of this suit is that it is incredibly easy to put on and take off. The two-piece seems more convenient initially, however, if there is significant probability of one becoming a bowling ball on the interstate, I’d rather be wearing a full suit.

The longest I’ve worn this suit is 10.5 hours straight on my last tour without any significant discomfort. I bought the suit with shoulder, elbow and kneepads only, I’d strongly recommend buying the hip pads and back pads for extra protection. The suit is great but not perfect. I find the sleeve cuffs to be too small to accommodate a gauntlet, and the neck flap fit could be improved. The suit is pricey, but the workmanship so far is solid, and considering its purpose the price seems reasonable. Based on my short ownership so far I’d strongly recommend it. This is my fair weather cold weather moto-suit; I still have not found appropriate summer gear. As I said earlier finding the perfect gear is an elusive proposition.
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Alpinestar Scout WP Boots
Mileage <2500/4000 km

These boots are solid. They provided support and protection in key areas (ankle, shin, toes) and are waterproof. I have ridden in steady rain; torrential downpours and these boots have kept my paws dry! I was concern that the rubber sole would wear out faster than expected, but so far it is holding, considering that I rarely walk far in them. They are semi comfortable and I think I’d be able to walk a mile or two. Actually, I have, in order to break them in faster I walked a couple of miles around the neighborhood.  The only concern I have so far is that the padding above my shifting foot has softened a tad and at times I have to reposition my foot in order to find a stiffer surface. Overall I’d recommend these boots.
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Scorpion exo-1000
Mileage <6000/9600 km

I have been riding in this helmet for a while now and have found it to be a solid performer for the price. I have not owned a high-end helmet (e.g. Arai) so am unable to compare it to such. It is comfortable, the fabric breathes well and won’t become soggy with sweat, the dark visor is a plus, and it is fairly quiet (at least it wont howl at high speeds). The shield has a decent anti fog coating that works well as long as one remembers to wipe off the shield with a wet cloth (water only) regularly. Overall, I’d recommend this helmet or its newest version. 
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Good luck with your search, procure the best gear you can find, trust me it will allow you to Enjoy the Ride.


  1. This blog was one of the main reasons behind my decision to get a 250R as my first bike. It continues to be a pleasure and an inspiration. Ride safely, my unknown friend, and enjoy every mile of it.

  2. Thank you. I hope you are having fun on the 250, it's a capable machine. Take care and keep on riding.