Thinking of buying a sportbike. Any advice on riding gear?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Eric M Jones, Jul 10, 2002.

  1. Eric M Jones

    Eric M Jones Second Unit

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    Ok, I know there's a few of you sportbikers out there. I'd like advice on helmets and gear. I'm pretty hot blooded so a helmet with a good amount of air flow is a must! Not sure what's out there have any favorite websites/ sources of info?

    -EJ
     
  2. Chris Derby

    Chris Derby Second Unit

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    Disclaimer: I'm a gear snob...

    I'm pretty much an Arai guy as far as helmets go. The RX7-RR4s offer amazing ventilation, but are louder than their other helmets. I wear earplugs when I ride, so it doesn't bother me as much.

    My next jacket is more than likely going to be a Vanson.
     
  3. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Before you do anything else, make sure you take the RiderCourse from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. No amount of safety gear can substitute for rider training.
    Helmet: If you're interested in "the best helmet money can buy" you can easily spend into high 3 figures, probably even 4 on a top of the line helmet.
    The two "best" helmet brand names are SHOEI and ARAI. They use different head mold profiles in their helmets so what brand you favor will have more to do with the shape of your head than anything else, assuming you want "the best". Arai has recently come out with a line (I think they're called "/f") for people with so-called "SHOEI HEADS". I have a "SHOEI head" and I think that the new Arais are just as bad as the old.
    If you want a good helmet that won't break the bank, I recommend Italian AGV (and their budget line "MDS"). I have an old SHOEI and a newer AGV and they're both very nice. I would recommend avoiding the cheap Korean brands KBC and HJC unless you really like the graphics they have.
    Some people swear by the Snell (Snell Memorial Foundation) certification on helmets but from what I've read I wouldn't worry about it. The DOT (US Department of Transportation) testing methods and certifications are much more motorcycle-specific than Snell's certification. I've actually read testimonials by people in the business who wouldn't buy a Snell Helmet. There was a great article in the "Real World" section of the magazine "Motor Cyclist" recently from a helmet expert that was very enlightening on this issue.
    Both my helmets are Snell certified.
    Boots/Gloves I have little experience here. I have a pair of Alpinestars touring boots that I really like. I'd buy Alpinestars again. But they're pretty expensive. I have AGVSport gloves and really like them. Motorcycle specific boots will have velcro fasteners and zippers. Laces can easily get bound up in the mechanicals on a motorcyle and many a new rider has dropped their bike because their laces got stuck in the brake or shifter mechanism. Boots are important.
    Pants Jeans offer no protection at all. Any rider who thinks they do has either never been down in jeans or never seen anyone go down in jeans. The cotton shreds as soon as it hits the hot pavement. The only jeans that should even be considered are Fast Company Kevlar reinforced "Draggin Jeans". I ride in "Tour Master" armored cordura riding pants. They breathe very well (a little too well when it's cold outside) and are not too expensive. I know it seems like it will be hot wearing jeans and cordura overpants, and sometimes it is, but believe me it's not as hot as road rash.
    Jacket You can spend a fortune on a jacket, or not. I recommend a nice cordura jacket with a zip out liner and ventilation. Many companies make such items. I don't like leather because it's too hot. It's great for the race track where you absolutely need the superior abrasion resistance, or when it's chilly outside, but on regular summer days it's hot. (some high dollar leather jackets are well ventilated) Leather is great for posing however, you will definitely look sharp in nice leather. No-one wants to look goofy on a motorcycle. I have an old Vent-Tech cordura jacket (the company went out of business years ago) and a new Kawasaki cordura jacket.
    Oh, and forget "mall store" leather jackets. You need a jacket cut specifically for sportbike riding or it will be uncomfortable and will not protect well in an accident. And you need it armored in the shoulders, forearms, and back. Mall store jackets are for poseurs not riders.
    If I had more funds I'd have an Aerostich suit. That's what I really want.
    www.buykawasaki.com often has very good direct deals on gear. Particularly if you're thinking of a Kawasaki motorcycle (they make really good ones) you may be able to get matching gear for a good price. I got my red cordura riding jacket from there and it matches my red Kawasaki sport touring bike very nicely. Another great resource is www.agv.com where they have a factory store. They sell clearance and closeout/older model AGV helmets and AGVSport jackets/boots/gloves for sometimes ridiculously low prices. I practically stole my helmet and gloves there. I just ordered a new helmet from them just now actually, the Q3 Professional that once retailed for $450+ for $100. No brainer.
    Good luck, and have fun!
     
  4. Jared_B

    Jared_B Supporting Actor

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    Arai helmets are simply the best. Don't take any chances with you nugget.

    I second what Philip said: Go to a real bike shop and get all your stuff their. They usually have excellent people that can help you get the right fit and gear for your needs. You might balk at the prices, but just remember that you get what you pay for (protection, in this case).

    Also, many places will give you a deal, like 10% off, when you buy a complete set of gear. Even if they don't offer it, ask them.
     
  5. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  6. Michael Caicedo

    Michael Caicedo Second Unit

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    Philip is right on. I have a SHOEI head and could never fit Arai. For warmer climates like Florida, color can be important also. Dark colors tend to be warmer on your head. Visibility should also be considered, so bright colors are OK [​IMG] Philip, Aerostich's can be had for about half the price if you don't mind getting a used one. I bought new but then sold it(on the internet) a couple of years ago in excellent condition for $375.
     
  7. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  8. Chris Derby

    Chris Derby Second Unit

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    Mine is an Edwards replica. I don't think you can get much brighter than this:
    [​IMG]
    Anybody going to Laguna this weekend for the World Superbike Race? I'm thinking about riding up there from LA since some friends of mine from TX are doing the AMA races.
    I've also thought about taking my bike up to San Fran on Monday. Haga is supposed to be doing an appearance, autograph session on Monday and I think it would be neat to get him to sign my bike.
     
  9. Brent Cantrell

    Brent Cantrell Stunt Coordinator

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    DAINESE!!! (Spelling may be wrong, jacket's out in the truck). Their race quality stuff is out of this world! I've taken several high speed dumps in their stuff, and walked away from all...(please karma, don't hit me now!).
    I highly recommend their stuff.
     
  10. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    I second/third AGV.
    I've owned several AGV lids and their X vent lid is a VERY good lid. You can currently buy an AGV Xvent fromt their website for 210$ shipped, that's like a 450$ lid.

    arai can go screw themselves. I wouldn't put their product on my head if they paid me.

    dainese, vanson, alpinestars.. all good gear. Joe rocket is ok, the teknic stuff is OK at best. Depends on your budget.
     
  11. Terry Hansen

    Terry Hansen Stunt Coordinator

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    First of all I'm happy to hear that you are interested in getting proper gear. It's mandatory in my mind. If it's too hot to wear gear then it's too hot to ride.
    Helmet:
    Arai rules!!! I just bought one so I have to say that. [​IMG] Very comfortable and light with good ventilation. I also have a cheap HJC (about a third the price of my Arai) that is a good helmet for the price.
    I recommend buying what you find most comfortable. Also I think someone mentioned wearing a brightly colored helmet. I second this, it will help cagers (car drivers) notice you. I try to always wear earplugs as well.
    Jacket/pants:
    For jackets/pants I have both textile and leather. Leather is preferred over textile for the protection aspect(and not just for the track/poser appeal). It is hotter than textile in traffic, but neither of my jackets is very well vented. Textile is more versatile as you normally don't need rain gear, they are a better for hot weather and usually lighter. Make sure you get armor.
    Gloves/boots:
    My gloves have kevlar inserts on the knuckles and other contact points. Chrome knuckles will earn you poser points. Don't skimp on gloves. Get something leather with ankle protection and shin protection is nice. Lots of guys wear hikers or work boots.
    Those are some of my recommendations, but make sure what ever you get fits you well and is comfortable. YMMV.
     
  12. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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  13. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  14. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    these WERE layered and kevlar reinforced.
    the sand/gravel trackside sliced through them like butter. Part of the problem was the palm reinforcement wasn't large enough, it should go from behind your palm, like your wrist almost, all the way to the base of your fingers (based on my observations anyway) a lot of the impact was taken in an area not reinforced.
     
  15. matt bee

    matt bee Stunt Coordinator

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    While I'm a fan of cruisers moreso than sport bikes, my only advice to you is Please don't be one of "those guys" who ride around in shorts and sandals. Seeing people do that (I seem to see more people on sport bikes do it, but I've seen them on all types of bikes.) just makes me wince.
     
  16. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    [​IMG]
    Oooopps, wrong kind of sportbike [​IMG]
    Seriously, I second the idea that the more obnoxious jersey/shirt/helmet you have, the greater chance car drivers will see ya. I'm buying that Bell Phi Pro (AG2R team colors, but at least it's small and I can take it off (AG2R Prevoyance is a professional cyclist team, BTW)... My co-workers sometimes shreak when they see some of the jerseys that I wear but at least I've yet to have a major runin with a car yet. Minor ones but nothing that I couldn't ride away from.
    Jay
     
  17. Chris Derby

    Chris Derby Second Unit

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    I've been down a few times, too and my carbon/kevlar knuckles saved my hands at least once. You should have seen how crushed the knuckles were on my glove.

    Yes, your first instinct is to put your palms down to brace or stop yourself. This is more likely in a lowside. In a quick highside, you might end up "punching" the ground w/ your first.
     
  18. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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  19. Eric M Jones

    Eric M Jones Second Unit

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    Thanks to all of you for your advice. I've been wanting to buy a sportbike since I was 14 (turning 30 this year). The wife vetoed it when we first got married but that was almost 10 years ago. Now she's softening up or maybe I've finally worn her down...

    I'm not completely new to motorcycles as I grew up riding dirt bikes and had access to a sportbike during my last few summers of highschool. So I definetly know the importance of using the proper gear (helmet has already saved me twice on dirtbikes.) That's pretty much why I asked what's out there. I want to get good gear that I can trust.

    Talk to you all later,

    -EJ
     

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