Thursday, April 2, 2015

New riding gear on its way

I've just ordered the Olympia Motoquest guide jacket and pants from Canada's Motorcycle to replace the leather pants and fabric jacket I've been enduring for far too long. In fact, I just discovered that my jacket is torn and falling apart in a few critical places. So there's a genuine safety reason to upgrade besides my desire for lighter weight and better integration of pockets and bladder drinking system.

It took a lot of research to narrow down my options. The Klim Badlands Pro was at the top of my list for technical features. But at well over a grand for the jacket and almost a grand for the pants, I couldn't justify the premium given what I feel are marginal technical advantages over the Olympia. The BMW Rallye 3 pants were also in the running, as well as the Rev'It Sand 2 gear. The BMW was eliminated for cost and the Rev'It for choice of materials and the rather dumb concept of using an interior waterproof liner. (Too much gear seems to be designed by people who never actually ride, or only ride in perfect dry conditions.)

Other manufacturers I looked into included Hind and Rukka. Hind offers some nice looking gear. However, it's pricy and is more aimed at roadies and fashion than true DS rider needs. Rukka offers some great gear for DS riders. Unfortunately, no one carries it in my area and it's awfully expensive to gamble on without at least seeing it first.

Amazingly, Olympia seems to be the only company that offers a sensible compromise of quality materials and construction, thoughtfully designed features for DS riders, and price. One weakness may be the armor. I plan to upgrade at least the back protector to something CE-2 rated like D3O. Otherwise I'll remove the armor and continue to use my Fox pressure suit for more trail-oriented rides.

The other major weakness for which I can't find a solution in any jacket is neck-brace compatibility. I have a brand new brace sitting on a shelf because it doesn't fit with my Fox armor or with any jacket.

The goodies should arrive over the next two weeks. I'll post a review as soon as I can get some riding in.

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