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How Do I Outfit Myself for Off-Road Riding?

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I cannot tell you how many of us have a riding jacket, suit, helmet, boots, etc... we don't wear anymore.  I know it's lots!

 

I really wish I had spent more time researching this and talking with people who knew more than the dude at the dealer I bought my bike from.  It's funny, you get more assistance buying a pair of shorts at Old Navy for $19.99 than you do at a dealer ready to plunk down nearly $2500 in gear after having just plunked down around $20k for a new bike!

 

There wasn't a lot I knew back then but I did know that I wanted to ride this thing ('11 BMW GSA) off road.  I ended up being sold a Shuberth C3 helmet (regret), a BMW Rallye 3 suit (regret), a pair of BMW Rallye 3 boots (regret) and a pair of BMW enduro gloves (regret).

 

Regrettable purchases

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Out of all those, I probably regret the Rallye 3 suit the least, but I got zero help with sizing and ended up with a jacket that fits great but pants that are way too loose.  After a while, I also started seeing so many noobs wearing the Rallye 3 suit that I wished I had bought something else only because I didn't want to look like those guys :).  I also didn't want to look like some ad for BMW.  It's not a bad suit, but in hindsight, I wish I had bought KLiM (either the Adventure or Badlands suit).  I think KLiM just fits and performs better.  Many had issues with the zipper on the Rallye 3 too.  I have a pair of KLiM Dakar pants I LOVE, a KLiM Overland suit (lighter for warmer climate; still armored) I love as well as an ICON Raiden Patrol jacket I really like (after I took off the goofy sponsor patches that I thought made me look like a poser).

 

The Schuberth C3 is probably one of the best helmets out there, but it's really better suited for touring and street use.  I know Brad Barker uses one because his boom mic needs a better helmet enclosure and he loves it.  But I found I'd really have preferred an Arai XD4 or a Shoei, both more the dual sport style helmet with a sun visor and more goggle-friendly.  I still have the Schuberth and had a cheap Joe Rocket helmet (stolen in Bolivia) and now an ICON Variant Construct helmet I really like.  I wore the Shuberth on the COBDR and still wear it when I ride around town or the rare touring trip.

 

If you're ever going to ride off road,  you REALLY need an enduro-style boot.  I've seen too many guys bust a fibula or even tib/fib and foot from wearing the wrong boots off road.  You really need something hard shelled with lots of protection.  The BMW Rallye 3 boot (also the Forma Dominator Comp) is a decent boot, but the soles delaminated like four times!  BMW took them back twice then told me "not again."  Forma thinks it was a bad batch because sometimes a color combo (white/black) can not work so well.  They said they'd never seen that in their Dominator Comp line of boots.  I also had an injury to my right achilles where my boot came off the peg and was jammed back against it.  I ended up with a pair of Gaerne SG12 that I absolutely love.  No, they're not water-proof (water resistant) but I don't ride in many wet conditions living here in SoCal.  The Sidi Adventure Rain boot I hear is really good for that.  I've seen injuries with the BMW Santiago boot as well, so not a good pick there.

 

The BMW gloves I got aren't horrible but they bleed a dye in the leather and that doesn't give me a good feeling.

 

I also ended up buying some armor and other gear that I particularly like.  I usually wear the Fox Titan armor vest when it's warm with a jersey over it or just an under armor type shirt underneath when it's really hot.  I also got the Fox Titan knee/shin guards.  They have really saved my legs/knees on many occasions and it's nice to be able to kneel down and not feel every pebble on the ground when you're checking your tires or setting up/taking down camp.  I got the Leatt neck brace, which is supposed to reduce neck and collar bone injuries (seen a few busted collar bones).  I also really like the KLiM Revolt Pullover, which is basically a wind/rain stopper that's very light.  I wore that in Bolivia and because it kept the wind off me, was not too bad at high altitude where it got cold.  My favorite warm weather glove is the KLiM Mojave or Dakar glove and for wet/cold I like the KLiM Element glove.  The Element glove isn't insulated though, so it's not good for when it gets really cold, like in the 30's or lower.  And for when it's not hot and I'm not wearing the Fox Titan armor vest, I like to use something like their chest/back protector when I'm wearing either my KLiM or ICON Raiden Patrol jackets since they have no chest protection.  The higher end KLiM suits have chest protection.

 

I hate to bash BMW's gear, but it is what it is.  I have to call it like I see it.  Some of their gear is better than others.  Even a BMW guy from New Jersey told me "off the record" that their gear isn't as good as other stuff you can buy elsewhere.  There are definitely different levels of quality, function and durability just like you'll find with any other products.  You have stuff on the low end all the way up to the high end.  Sometimes we just can't afford that good stuff either :)  It did take me quite a while to get all that stuff; I couldn't afford it all on the front end.  You do the best you can with what you have.

 

Some of the gear I've ended up using and liking

 

ICON Patrol Raiden jacket

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KLiM Mojave glove

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KLiM Element Long glove

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KLiM Revolt pullover

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Fox Titan armor vest

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Fox Titan knee/shin guards

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Leatt neck brace

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Gaerne SG12 boots

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KLiM Overland suit

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ICON Variant Construct helmet

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Fox subframe vest for when your jacket has no chest protection

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I'm a pretty ghetto geared rider, it's weird too because I spare no expense on my bikes when I purchase or if something is needed. Here's the very low dollar unimpressive list, I have a pair of worn out Fly over the boot riding pants I rode mx in for 3 years, I wear my gloves until my fingers pop out (except for the good winter stuff), My boots well I have some decent Icons and Tech 10's for the gnarly stuff but have never worn them on the ADV bike, Probably the cheapest ADV jacket known to man (Tourmaster), Columbia high vis rain gear from Bass Pro Shops (which BTW work pretty damn good), mediocre Bell helmet, My hydration pack is from Target, my tank and tail bags are el'cheapo's, Walmart long thermals, way too old Fox compression underwear, old ratty worn out knee high socks (several pair of those around the garage). I dream of KLIM, but every-time I get ready to take the leap the bikes need tires again!! Pretty pathetic huh?

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I picked Klim since i found they seemed to fit my large body.  So many times shopping online I looked for stuff that was 2XXL and something over 36 waist and it was difficult.  My first riding pants were MSR since they had my size.  When I was shopping for my latest BMW, the phoenix dealer had Klim and lots of sizes.  It fit great, so I can usually order what I need and confident it fits me. 

So many dealers have so little gear in stock.  My two local moto dealers have only fox motocross or HD gear.

What I hate is going to a store and them telling me they can order it for me.  I'm sorry, I can order it too but was hoping you would have it so I can take it now.  

 

Anyone want to go in and open a motorcycle dealer in Yuma??  =)

We only have Yamaha, Polaris, Honda and Harley.  

Sure would be nice to have a BMW, KTM, Triumph, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Moto guzzi superstore.  

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Adventure type riding ,some slabbing, some fire roads,some off the road on a trail, requires riding gear to handle just about everything. For me , it means good freedom of movement, somewhat light, almost totally waterproof,critical protection against impact, good price point , solid construction. If buying off the net, I try to do my homework first to avoid sending stuff back for a refund / size change , most reputable places will do this but it's still a hassle. I've bought very little from my local bike shops as they seem to focus on the cruiser and racer wanna be types. In my case here's my gear currently.

Suomy Adv. helmet

Fieldsheer Adv jacket w/armor

Scorpion Yukon pants w/armor

Falco Avantour armored boots

Armored gloves meant for demolition work.

To round things out I use a Buff stretch bandana that also can be worn around the neck. I've ditched the thermal liner from the jacket and carry a performance windstopper micro fiber zip up top in the back storage pocket of the jacket. Hardly any bulk.I also wear ultralight wicking long johns and long sleeve underwear which makes wearing the gear way more comfortable. Smart wool lightweight hiking socks keep the feet dry. I don't wear any cotton only wicking /fast dry fibers. Can't stand being bulked up like a cartoon character or armored out like an imperial storm trooper. I do like to stop for coffee at some point in a ride and still be comfortable with my gear on, lol . I know I should seriously look into a kneck brace but haven't gotten one yet. I've read enough testimonials of people using them to know they can be the difference between mobility and immobility. I've been fortunate so far even with my numerous crashes / accidents throughout my time riding.

Edited by PeteMoto
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Adventure type riding ,some slabbing, some fire roads,some off the road on a trail, requires riding gear to handle just about everything. For me , it means good freedom of movement, somewhat light, almost totally waterproof,critical protection against impact, good price point , solid construction. If buying off the net, I try to do my homework first to avoid sending stuff back for a refund / size change , most reputable places will do this but it's still a hassle. I've bought very little from my local bike shops as they seem to focus on the cruiser and racer wanna be types. In my case here's my gear currently.

Suomy Adv. helmet

Fieldsheer Adv jacket w/armor

Scorpion Yukon pants w/armor

Falco Avantour armored boots

Armored gloves meant for demolition work.

To round things out I use a Buff stretch bandana that also can be worn around the neck. I've ditched the thermal liner from the jacket and carry a performance windstopper micro fiber zip up top in the back storage pocket of the jacket. Hardly any bulk.I also wear ultralight wicking long johns and long sleeve underwear which makes wearing the gear way more comfortable. Smart wool lightweight hiking socks keep the feet dry. I don't wear any cotton only wicking /fast dry fibers. Can't stand being bulked up like a cartoon character or armored out like an imperial storm trooper. I do like to stop for coffee at some point in a ride and still be comfortable with my gear on, lol . I know I should seriously look into a kneck brace but haven't gotten one yet. I've read enough testimonials of people using them to know they can be the difference between mobility and immobility. I've been fortunate so far even with my numerous crashes / accidents throughout my time riding.

 

I've never thought of a neck brace outside of motocross. I don't see me ever wearing one on an ADV bike because I don't feel like I'm pushing it enough to warrant one. Famous last words huh?

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My take is, don't spend it all on that first set of gear, buy something that does not compromise protection, but covers the basic.

Getting wet and freezing for a few hours will not ruin a big ADV-trip! After a few months you'll hardly remember promising yourself to buy a warmer pair of gloves..

After some riding in that first basic set of gear, you'll know what features you really want/need, sizing and fit is also something you'll have formed your own opinion about after a while.

I found that the A-Stars Andes Tourer is a nice basic set, think it's 400 - 450,- usd for jacket and pants. Mine has about 9000 miles on it now.

Now while I definitely can think of some things that could be improved, I also know that I won't be spending on the top of the line stuff. I simply don't find that an additional 1000 bucks on jacket/pants will improve my riding experience, probably better spent on an extra annual moto-trip.

Gaining experience and using it to prioritise your resources sums it up I guess.

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I've never thought of a neck brace outside of motocross. I don't see me ever wearing one on an ADV bike because I don't feel like I'm pushing it enough to warrant one. Famous last words huh?

On three different accidents throughout my riding resume I've impacted my helmets enough to warrant replacing them. Just thankful that I was lucky those times not to have any neck/ spine injuries. People , deer , turkey , moose , in that order, scare the bejesus out of me in my area.
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On three different accidents throughout my riding resume I've impacted my helmets enough to warrant replacing them. Just thankful that I was lucky those times not to have any neck/ spine injuries. People , deer , turkey , moose , in that order, scare the bejesus out of me in my area.

 

I hear ya. I'm somewhat new to my area and had the idea that wild life is only a concern at dusk & dawn. Well, I was rounding a blind corner the other day and an oncoming car hit a deer around lunch time and it did a full gainer and landed right next to me. Now that's adventure!!

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On three different accidents throughout my riding resume I've impacted my helmets enough to warrant replacing them. Just thankful that I was lucky those times not to have any neck/ spine injuries. People , deer , turkey , moose , in that order, scare the bejesus out of me in my area.

 

Sorry to laugh, but I'm trying to vision you hitting a turkey and feathers flying everywhere!! HAHAHAHAHA

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Haven't hit any big birds yet, but many close calls with them. When one comes out crossing a road there's usually a whole group behind that try to fly across or follow. Had a scare with a moose at night because of the darkness of their body, they don't hesitate on the run,before you know it they've come out of the woods. My direct hit was with a fawn deer, no awareness - both me and the deer, lol ! Another scary time I caught a squirrel under my front tire after I grabbed a handful of brakes trapping it under my locked up tire until I came out of my surprise and let go of the brake. Talk about pulse-pounding relief :) I like Turkey dinners my Mom whips up. Maybe I should bring her my own haha!

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Haven't hit any big birds yet, but many close calls with them. When one comes out crossing a road there's usually a whole group behind that try to fly across or follow. Had a scare with a moose at night because of the darkness of their body, they don't hesitate on the run,before you know it they've come out of the woods. My direct hit was with a fawn deer, no awareness - both me and the deer, lol ! Another scary time I caught a squirrel under my front tire after I grabbed a handful of brakes trapping it under my locked up tire until I came out of my surprise and let go of the brake. Talk about pulse-pounding relief :) I like Turkey dinners my Mom whips up. Maybe I should bring her my own haha!

 

Any small animal will get a handful of throttle, moose or deer well that another story.

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I picked Klim since i found they seemed to fit my large body.  So many times shopping online I looked for stuff that was 2XXL and something over 36 waist and it was difficult.  My first riding pants were MSR since they had my size.  When I was shopping for my latest BMW, the phoenix dealer had Klim and lots of sizes.  It fit great, so I can usually order what I need and confident it fits me. 

So many dealers have so little gear in stock.  My two local moto dealers have only fox motocross or HD gear.

What I hate is going to a store and them telling me they can order it for me.  I'm sorry, I can order it too but was hoping you would have it so I can take it now.  

 

Anyone want to go in and open a motorcycle dealer in Yuma??  =)

We only have Yamaha, Polaris, Honda and Harley.  

Sure would be nice to have a BMW, KTM, Triumph, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Moto guzzi superstore.

A Guzzi super store would be awesome! Floor space would be minimal. I believe there are only 3-4 factory accessories for my Stelvio!

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