There’s no question that I’ve come a long way in terms of riding gear since I set out on my first moto trip from LA to Panama City wearing a helmet, leather jacket and gloves, khaki trousers, and work boots.
Let’s start from the top and work down.
Previously, I wore a Shoei Qwest street / touring helmet. It’s not particularly light, good-looking, or well ventilated, but it is definitely well made and highly protective. Also, the lining has taken a lot of sweaty abuse and the pads are still firm and always smell clean again after a washing.
Jacket and Pants
I 2015, I began wearing the Nexx XD1 dual sport helmet and I really love it. The XD1 build quality is exceptional, and it’s light weight and easily configurable between off-road and street. It is quite well ventilated and the standard chin vent can be substituted with a grill. The lining is plush and in an emergency the cheek pads can be removed while the helmet is on. The visor is undistorted and offers great peripheral vision. Pinlock visor pins are preinstalled and the Pinlock lens insert comes standard. Pinlock is phenomenal for reducing fogging and it’s usually a $20-30 accessory from other manufacturers. If I could change just one thing about the XD1 it would be to reduce the shell size. It comes with two rather than three shell sizes, which means that if you’re on the lower end of the shell’s size range, it looks rather large. That said, this is a fantastic helmet!
The XD1 has almost the exact same look and build quality as the Touratech Aventuro Carbon, which is also manufactured in Portugal by Nexx. As far as I can tell, the only differences are these: the XD1 has a retractable sun visor; the Aventuro has two brow vents instead. Sena manufactures a specific communications system that integrates with the XD1 but not the Aventuro. The Aventuro is noticeably lighter but it cost $150 more.
For riding suit I wear the Klim Latitude Misano Jacket and Pants. The Latitude is the less off-road aggressive offering than the Klim Badlands and Adventure suits. I like it because it has plenty of protection; it’s light weight; and considerably cheaper than the Badlands and Adventure. There is a newer version of my Latitude, which seems to improve upon the weight, fit, and good looks that I like about the Misano version.
The D30 armor is very flexible, although it stiffens in the cold, and I’ve had to replace a couple D30 back protectors under warranty because they cracked. CE Level 1 shoulders, elbows, and back come standard in the jacket, and knees and hips in the pants. The elbows and knees are adjustable and it looks like Klim has made adjustment even easier in the newest Latitude version. The impact-prone areas like shoulders, elbows, knees, and butt are reinforced with heavy duty 840D Cordura and the rest is a more supple Misano fabric that drapes nicely.
For commuting to work and on-tarmac daytrips, I wear the Klim Induction Jacket. The Induction is a light weight mesh jacket with the same CE Level 1 D30 armor as the Latitude. It flows a ton of air, looks excellent, and isn’t too bulky to wear off the bike. The Induction comes with a windproof lining, which lets me stretch the jacket well into three seasons, and it has a slim fit so it fits right without the cinching.
I used to wear the Klim Adventure Glove as a three-season warm weather glove. It’s a combination of leather and textile and instead of hard parts it uses Poron XRD, which is supposed to harden on impact like D30. It’s certainly not the most protective glove on the market but it fits well and allows for full articulation of the fingers. One primary reason that I've moved away from the Adventure Glove: it doesn't have touchscreen friendly fingertips.
When it's cold and/or rainy, I have two options. The Rukka R-Star 2-in-1 Gore-Tex Glove is a plush, heavy duty, and expensive cold weather glove. It’s probably overkill for most riding conditions but I'm misrable when my fingers are cold so I spared no expense. The unique bit about the R-Star is the divider stitched into the lining. This creates two chambers. Put your hand above the divider and your palms get the full insulation. Put your hand below the divider and you get better tactility. Only around freezing do I go above the divider.
I wore the BMW Allround Boots for about 30,000 km and they were a great basic tour boot that I could comfortably spend the day and evening wearing. In 2015 I "upgraded" to the Sidi Adventure Rain Boots and promptly broke my leg during a mud puddle crossing. I don't think this had anything to do with or could have been prevented by the boots by it's more dramatic to present it this way.
I found the Adventure Rain boots to be a bit heavy for days with lots of sightseeing and walking. Then I tried the Sidi Canyon Boots. They are more comfortable for walking but maybe a bit low up the shin for rougher off-road days. I really wanted to be content wth these boots but it just didn't happen.
Most recently, I wear the REV'IT Dirt 2 Glove. It's sturdy than the Klim Adventure but also bulkier. The airflow is good and I definitely like the hard knuckles and touchscreen fingertip. One drawback that I've found to the mesh on the topside is that if you catch it on the Velcro of the wrist closure, it tends to pull at it and you get hair-like tendrils that stick out from the mesh.
When it's just rainy or cool but not too cold, I wear the REV'IT Summit 2 H2O Gloves. I really like these because the hydratex waterproofing is laminated to the shell and with no insulation layer, the tactility of these gloves is excellent. They're not for the really cold but do really well when combined with heated grips.
Finally, I discovered the Gaerne G-Midland Boots and I just love them. They're comfortable and their tough but not too heavy. They look great under jeans and I can wear them all day walking around sightseeing or at my desk on casual Fridays. Under really hot, sunny conditions, they do get hotter than any of the other boots I've worn, which may be due to the lack of Gore Tex. Still, these boots make me want to gt out and ride more!
Greg's Riding Gear