I recently picked up a new set of Alpinestars leather pants and jacket, perfect for the coming summer. I have been wearing the Alpinestars Bat Pants for over a year now, however the second hand set I had were starting to show their age, but a knackered lower leg zip drove me to finally replacing them. Jacket wise, I’ve been wearing a Hein Gericke textile affair, which although good in cold and wet weather, is a bit warm in the summer and doesn’t really suit the leather trousers.
After completely failing to find any trousers at the MCN show that fit me around the waist (I wear 30″ waist Levi’s, but all 30″ leathers were huge on me and nowhere had any smaller), I opted to get another identical pair of Bat Pants (labelled size 30 and fit perfectly). There weren’t many pairs this size on ebay, but those that popped up received few bids, so I was able to blag a pair in top nick for a measly £25 – epic bargain!
There’s very little question about it, when it comes to protection on a motorcycle, leather is where it’s at. Which is all well and good, until it rains, and that happens an awful lot here in the UK. Leather just isn’t very waterproof and soon becomes water logged, heavy, cold and pretty miserable to ride in. This is where this little tub of wax named Mr JoJo comes in.
I picked up this Mr JoJo wax up at the MCN show a couple of months ago, cost me a tenner for a 200g tub, with a few sponges thrown in. The sales chap demonstrated it on our boots with a spray can of water. Seemed worth a punt. It’s name, Mr JoJo, doesn’t seem to have any relation to a certain Madame JoJo’s of Soho fame, but is a leather waterproofing and conditioning wax from URAD, which contains Jojoba oil. This oil comes from the little Jojoba shrubbery that grows around Mexico, Arizona and California, and is a popular alternative to Whale oil. The wax is white in colour and has a distinctive sweet smell.
My daughter has been dying to ride on the back of my motorbike for ages now. The legal requirement being only their feet can reach the foot pegs and the wearing of a helmet. Since my daughter is rather tall, there’s been no problem there, however from a maturity point of view we have held off for some time. With her 8th birthday later this year, we have decided she is now old enough to ride on the back of the bike and hark back to the days when she was a nipper and would ride on the back of my bicycle.
Of course, safety is a paramount concern, so we have been keen to kit her out in some decent gear to protect her. A tricky prospect considering the price of motorcycle gear and the rate she will grow out of it, and so we hit ebay with a vengeance to find decent gear without breaking the bank.
Gerbing’s have taken their XR12 heated gloves and revamped and improved them for 2013/2014. Now with a number of key differences and tweaks that greatly improve them. After recently sending my old gloves back for repair (again), I received this new iteration as my replacement.
Summer is well and truly over and now there’s a good chance you fall into one of two camps. You either bike for leisure, avoid riding in the cold and wet and place your bike into hibernation until next year; or you’re a year round biker, by choice or necessity and just gear up to stay warm and fend off the elements. If you fall into this latter group, then you will be all too familiar with cold hands and numb fingers. Never underestimate wind chill, it maybe 5°C outside, but at 60 mph wind chill brings that down to -11°C! (Wind chill chart) Once your fingers are numb, it becomes painful, distracting and drastically affects your riding for the worse. Even the best winter gloves won’t protect you for long against that cold and so here I present a few options to tackle cold hands.
Quick heads up: Lidl are doing cheap motorcycle rain covers from the 3rd October this week. They look quite basic, but are dirt cheap at just £9. At a fifth of the price of an Oxford one and with a 3 year warranty, I’m sure you’ll get your moneys worth. I’ll certainly be grabbing a couple, so watch this space for a review.
Also this week, Lidl are doing base layers and cheap hi-vis waistcoats. Previous base layers from Lidl proved very effective last winter, so I can definitely recommend them. At just £2 for the hi-vis, I’m dubious as to how they will stand up to high speed riding. Still worth a quick look though.
I recently purchased these boots second hand off ebay, after the straps on my old Hein Gericke Bullson boots started to wear and looked ready to snap at any moment. I opted for Alpinestars as I’ve always found their gear to be good quality. It’s easy to see why they’re still going strong after recently celebrating their 50th anniversary. Granted their brand carries a premium price, but popularity does mean a large number of their products can be found second hand and so with a little patience, some real bargains can be found. These S-MX 4 boots will normally set you back in the region of £150, but I picked up a pair in good nick for just £40. Sorted.
To celebrate one full year of riding since passing my DAS test, I’m kicking off a little competition to win some handy goodies useful to all bikers out there:-
First Prize: NikWax Leather Care Kit. Featuring leather cleaner, leather restorer, aqueous wax for footwear, glove waterproofer and visor water repellant. Ideal combination to see you through wet weather. I reviewed this leather care kit earlier in the year.
Second Prize: Can of ACF50 anti-corrosion spray. Halts existing rust and prevents new. Perfect for protecting you bike through the winter.
These boots are made for riding. I purchased these boots almost a year ago during the ‘closing down’ sale at Hein Gericke when the UK arm of the company went into administration. As such they were heavily reduced at cost me around £60. Consider this a long term review on how they have fared as I’ve worn them 5 days a week for 12 months during my daily commute.
I was initially drawn to these boots as I was looking for something I could wear during the day at work without looking too obvious as motorcycle boots. The discreet black leather design fit this bill well. The Sheltex layer promised to provide waterproof protection and the reinforced sole – impact protection. I took a size 11, but do have narrow feet. The fit of the boots was pretty good, but a little wide, so did necessitate yanking the strap pretty tight. The next size down was too cramped on my toes.
The wonderful people at Hoo-Rag recently sent a couple of their Bandanas in for review. Less well known here in the UK, however the Hoo-Rag is a big product over in the US. Essentially it is a tube of material that can be worn in a multitude of different manners. As a biker I’ve been wearing it predominantly as a neck gaiter, but of course it need not be just for ride outs on the motorcycle.
The key thing about the Hoo-Rag, is it’s made from a single seamless piece of soft polyester micro fiber tube. No annoying seams, or labels, just one nice stretchy, soft tube to protect your neck from the wind, cold, dust, insects and so on. Wear it round your neck, over you face, or go all ’80s rocker style and wear it as a headband or bandana. With such versatility and loads of different patterns available, there should be a Hoo-Rag to suit almost everyone. They even do one for your Dog! Continue reading “Hoo Rag Bandana / Neck Gaiter Review” »
Trials and tribulations of a motorcycle newbie in London