Jess's Riding Gear
While we were in Liberia planning for the trip, one of my favorite things to do was to read blogs written by women to get a sense of what they thought was the best gear. I’d swing from the articles to Revzilla trying to piece together a brand new riding outfit that would survive at least 6 months of travel in all 4 seasons. I had no real idea what women wore riding as I hadn’t interacted with any women motorcyclists. All I had was the internet and my husband to help guide me. So while I was very happy to see that I wouldn’t have to look like a man riding a motorcycle, I did wish that there were more styles that would fit my taller, slender frame but still made me feel feminine. Here is what I ended up with, for better or worse:
For the 3 season riding jacket I chose the Dainese Women's Temporale D-Dry Jacket. First, let me say that I went with mostly Dainese gear as I liked the more fitted, European cut that they provided. Also, I was very hesitant to get any gear that actually looked like motorcycle clothing! I’m not 100% sure where that idea came from but it was probably tied in to my feeling that I hadn’t earned it yet and didn’t want to feel/look like an imposter. Dainese looked as close to regular street clothes as I could find - thankfully that phase has passed and I’m excited for something that screams moto-chick next time!
Pros: The jacket worked well enough. The thermal lining kept me warm in cool weather and left space for my heated vest in the really cold weather. The cinching worked as well as I had seen on other women’s jackets giving me a slightly hourglass figure. The jacket had the Dainese d-dry membrane baked in. It did its job for the most part except as with all baked in water resistance, the jacket would get soaked and heavy after a good downpour. This was not the best thing for riding every day as putting on a wet, cold jacket in the morning was not the most pleasant of activities. The outside pockets were useful (if it wasn’t raining) and it was overall a comfortable and functional jacket.
Cons: Firstly, I felt like the jacket wasn’t long enough for my 5’9 frame and would have liked to see it made in a women’s tall. Perhaps I was between sizes (I chose the 42) but the larger size was swimming on me and negated the sleek European look I was going for. The pockets on the outside were said to be waterproof but I was constantly pulling out wet pieces of paper after a downpour. The vents were not sufficient in warmer weather and I was very wise to purchase a mesh summer jacket. The Wave G back protector made me look like a turtle in comparison to my husband’s D30 amour, which was much softer and pliable. Also, the reflectivity could have been better especially for a mostly black jacket.
For my summer jacket, I bought the Dainese Ladies Air-Frame Textile Jacket.
Pros: Nice fit, light weight, great airflow. I felt like it was a great jacket that packed down relatively small and used the same armor as the Temporale so I could just substitute them. The wind liner was useful for the mornings and evenings when it got a little chilly.
Con: I wish there were more pockets. When I used them, I felt like it ruined the line of the jacket. An inner pocket would have been fantastic to keep my iPhone in. The connectors that kept the wind liner attached to the shell were flimsy like in the Temporale and I found it a hassle to attach the liner.
For the pants, I purchased the Dainese Women's Tomsk D-Dry Pants.
Pros: The pants looked and felt great! Very shapely and exactly what I was looking for. The thermal liner provided a lot of warmth in the cold. The vent flap in the front looked good but could have been better placed to allow more airflow.
Con: Huge con, the pants were too short! Again, Dainese needs tall sizes for women. I was able to adjust the armor so that it wasn’t horribly out of place but it was not ideal. I found that the waterproofing was not very good on the pants especially on the seat where water would pool and seep in. Like the jacket, I preferred to wear a rain jacket and pants over my riding suit to prevent everything from getting soaked.
My boots were the Dainese Women's Svelta Gore-Tex Boots.
These were one of my favorite purchases. They looked great, were very comfortable, protective and held up well in rain and water crossings. The only issue I had was that the grip on the bottom of the boot is basically non-existent. When I had to walk the bike I was never sure of my footing. Going for a walk in them on a wet surface was also pretty hazardous. Otherwise, they were fantastic, held up well and I am still using them today.
My first summer gloves were the Women’s REV'IT Monster Gloves.
I bought these gloves after trying a couple of others because I was having trouble finding a glove that fit. The gloves fit snuggly, had the short cuff and looked pretty badass but were not as protective as they left my wrists somewhat exposed. And as expected with any leather gear, the gloves didn’t breath that well and my hands did get pretty warm when we got into the summer heat.
For the last couple of years I've been wearing the REV'IT Chevron Women's Gloves. They look great and fit great. My only complaint has been that even after all this time, the dye makes my hands black whenever they get wet.
My cold winter gloves are the Rukka Queen GORE-TEX Gloves.
These were very heavy-duty winter gloves. They had the two level fleece lining so in the really cold weather you could get added warmth with both layers on the top of your hand. They were wonderfully warm but the drawback was that they were very bulky and had reduced tactility in handling the controls. While they were a bitch to get on if you tried to put them on wet hands, they did keep my hands toasty in below freezing temperatures.
When it's not too cold or when it rains, I wear the REV'IT Hydra H2O Women's Gloves. I like that they have touchscreen fingertips and they feel good, fit great, and keep me pretty warm, especially when combined with the heated grips. They're a short cuff so on really cold days, I wear the Rukkas or stay inside!
My helmet was the same as Greg’s – Shoei Qwest. I liked that it had a smaller shell and fit my small head well! The airflow could have been better but it was relatively quiet and comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
My heated vest (Mobile Warming Jackii Vest) was one of my best purchases. I puchased an additional battery so that while I was using one, I could charge the other on my bike with an adapter. It looked awesome and provided a decent amount of heat in the cold. I'm glad I had two batteries as on the high temperature they did not last very long. I wore the vest on and off the bike and still wear it today.