2013’s Most Innovative Motorcycle Gear

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2013’s Most Innovative Motorcycle Gear

One of the things that keeps the world of motorcycling fresh and exciting for motorcycle journalists is the new ways gear companies find to improve our lives. There are always new products that we can’t wait to get our hands on to see how it will improve the motorcycling experience. Here are the products that changed the game in the past year (or so).

Schuberth SR1 Helmet
Schuberth SR1 Helmet

Schuberth SR1 Helmet

Schuberth makes some of the best helmets in the world. We’re huge fans of the touring oriented C3 Pro and all-around street friendly S2. Then one of the world’s few actual superhero’s, Michael Schumaker, decided he wanted a helmet to race in and the SR1 was born. The SR1 pairs Schuberth’s incredible handmade helmet techniques with an unbelievable amount of testing, and the result is an incredibly light, amazingly aerodynamic piece of equipment that wears unlike anything else. The bar has been set.

Alpinestars Rideout Collection
Alpinestars Rideout Collection

Alpinestars Rideout Collection

The Alpinestars Rideout collection was met by very mixed reviews from the motorcycle community, but we at RideApart think it’s a stroke of pure genius. While we prefer to wear the best and safest gear possible, we understand that we all have to take our own journey to get there. Gear for low-speed, around town riding has been available for years in areas with warmer climates, but if you wanted to be warm you had to invest in expensive and heavy motorcycle gear. The Rideout collection is basically what everyone is already wearing in cities like Portland and Seattle, and we think it’s the perfect bridge to reach a new segment of motorcyclists.

Skully Helmet HUD
Skully Helmet HUD

Skully Helmet HUD

Between the Skully HUD helmet and the Bike HUD system, we’re at the crossroads of something that could revolutionize the way we interact with technology on a motorcycle forever. While a lot of people aren’t going to see the need for the additional information or are going to feel like it ruins some of the simplicity they enjoyed about motorcycling; they once felt the same about navigation systems in cars. Neither system is perfect or probably even close, but it’s an exciting time to see what companies can do and to see how they’ll use the feedback given. Look for more in-depth reviews in the near future.

AGV Pista Helmet
AGV Pista Helmet

AGV Pista Helmet

The AGV Pista was designed with the help of Valentino Rossi, and brings a number of revolutionary upgrades over standard shaped helmets. The interior of the helmet itself has been shaped to match Rossi’s head; a technology that, while not currently available, is getting a whole lot closer with 3D printing. The helmet itself has a radical shape, which completely changes the way the helmet handles the wind at speed, and we’re already seeing companies like Shoei moving their helmets in that direction. We can’t wait to see what helmets look like in a few years based on the work that AGV has begun here.

REV’IT Denim
REV’IT Denim

REV’IT Denim

Our first pair of REV’IT denim is finally in and we can now say that someone makes motorcycle denim we would actually wear. It seems crazy that it took this long for someone to combine reinforced panels, high-spec armor, and a pair of pants that are cut straight and without stupid logos or embroidery, but REV’IT has done it and it’s beautiful. Sizes run a little big, so make sure you order from somewhere with a nice return policy and look for more in-depth reviews coming shortly.

Dainese Map Windstopper Base Layers
Dainese Map Windstopper Base Layers

Dainese Map Windstopper Base Layers

A year ago, the only base layers we could find with windstopper in them were my set from Schampa. Today, the major gear manufacturers are finally getting on board and Dainese has come out with a really nice line called the Map Windstopper Shirt and Pants. We’ve worn all the fanciest gear from REI, but none of it is built to stand up to icy wind rushing at your chest at 80 mph. One of these over a t-shirt or cotton thermal and even your regular leather jacket will work down to some surprisingly cold temperatures.

ICON 1000 Collection
ICON 1000 Collection

ICON 1000 Collection

Alpinestars has their Black Shadow and City collection and Dainese has always made fairly nice looking gear, but nothing comes close to the ICON 1000 Collection. They are absolutely crushing the “motorcycle gear that you can look nice in” game. The Akorp is the nicest looking jacket I’ve seen this year and the Elsinore Boots have become my absolute favorite. They’ve hinted that this year’s collection was only the start and we should be excited for what comes next. We can’t wait.

What new items of gear have you purchased in the last gear that changed your motorcycling experience?

  • APG7

    Is the SR1 an adaptation of the auto racing helmet, or are they actually the same thing?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      The SR1 is a unique product designed specifically for motorcycling. Michael Schumacher is a motorcycle racer.

      • APG7

        Didn’t know that. Thanks

  • PERCOCET PAPI

    Aether’s Skyline and Canyon jackets were game changers for me in terms of functional jackets that look good.

  • Ayabe

    I found the SR1 incredibly uncomfortable either due to the shape of my head or the neck roll, getting pinched everywhere and at the time they didn’t offer replaceable cheekpads. That was after going up from a medium to a large – actually made the pressure points worse.

    If you don’t have that issue and don’t mind paying a $200 premium for…nothing extra over a Arai or Shoei then go for it.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      All helmets require a head shape specific to their internal form.

      • Scott Otte

        Is there a list out there of Helmets for head shapes? If not can Ride Apart make it happen? The only one I can find is by Webbikeworld and pretty out of date.

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          There isn’t and yes, we need to make one.

          It’s always boggled me why helmets aren’t sold like bras, with detailed shapes and sizes. You could, for instance, go on RevZilla and say, “hmmm, I’v e been measured by a professional, so I know i’m a 28B6, let me search by that precise fit…” Instead, it ends up being a guessing game, which is terrible for the consumer and results in most people riding in helmets that don’t actually fit them just right.

          • Scott Otte

            It is why I keep buying the same damn helmet from Arai, I know it will fit, even though I would love to spend less money for what could be a safer helmet.

            • Jack Meoph

              Just walk into a shop and start trying on helmets. Find something that fits good, walk around with it for a while and see if any hot spots develop. But I’ve been staying with the Suomy Spec 1R for some time now. A bit noisy, but I use ear plugs. It fits good. And for a cheaper helmet, the ICON Alliance.

              • Lourens Smak

                Trying on a few different ones is absolutely essential, because then you feel the *difference*. If you put on just one helmet in the right size, it will fit “okay” most of the time, but you will find the brand that will fit perfectly only after trying on several different ones. I have a Nolan/X-lite head myself. After 15 years of perfect-fitting Nolans I would now (maybe) order one on-line, but I would still prefer trying it on in the shop first.

                There are also other issues, I tried the Nolan flip-up but it seemed relatively heavy at the front and light at the back, compared to a normal full-face helmet. Not what I want, with a slightly sporty riding-position… You don’t notice that when ordering on-line, not even when looking at the weight. Go to a shop!

            • Stuki

              If you fit nicely in an Arai, you’re not going to gain much by switching to any other brand. They may not be the new-new thing, but they don’t exactly suck, either.

              • Scott Otte

                They are just pretty expensive compared to a lot of other helmets, and I’m not sure from what I’ve read that they are $200+ more safe.

                • appliance5000

                  They seem just as expensive as other expensive helmets – and less expensive than a lot of more expensive helmets.

          • Lee Scuppers

            Like bras? You mean they might finally make room for the nipple on my head? YES!

        • Justin McClintock

          Yes, there is. Webbikeworld has a 7 shape breakdown and put all the helmets they test into one of the categories.

          http://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcycle-helmets/motorcycle-helmet-shapes.htm

          • Scott Otte

            Which like I said hasn’t been updated in ages and includes many makes of helmets that are not available any more.

            • appliance5000

              Revzilla is good with this stuff – and you can always contact them – they respond quickly. That said – my helmet was the one item I went to the store and tried on – and like a decent human being I bought it from that store after taking up their time.

            • Jeffw

              It is constantly being updated. The scale bar includes a random sampling of helmets but often refers to out of production ones because they were the defining examples of certain head shapes that most readers are familiar with. Go to the head shape page if you want to compare how they have categorized more contemporary examples with one another.

              The problem is, the whole process mostly a waste of time. Using a 1.5 dimensional scale to describe 3 dimensional heads really isn’t all that helpful…

  • Jason 1199

    +1 on Icon 1000, and really Icon gear in general. It’s grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years and has carved its own section of the market for edgy urban riding gear that blurs the lines between cruiser /sportbike/adv.

    Not to mention the awesomeness that was Portland to Dakar

  • JT

    Might be getting the Elsinore’s with my tax refund. Really want to try them on, kinda worried since my feet are really narrow.

  • Motorcycle RN

    Looks like Rev’it has a few models of jeans. Which ones are you rating?

    • Lee Scuppers

      Yeah

  • roma258

    Did you guys break up with Revzilla or something?

  • Guy Simmonds

    I don’t think I can say enough nice things about Icon’s 1000 collection. That said, the jackets are pretty expensive… but my Elsinores are also my favourite bit of gear right now, even though they’re still nowhere near broken in yet. Great bits of gear all round.

  • markbvt

    The Icon 1000 stuff is nice, but it’s preposterously overpriced for what it is. At those jacket prices, you could get a Vanson. Or spend less and get a Fox Creek Leather jacket that’s higher quality and made in the US. Icon should be pricing this stuff to compete with Cortech/Tourmaster, FirstGear, etc, because it seems to be at about the same level of quality.

    • NoneMoreBlack

      I have the Chapter jacket, it’s about 18 months old now and is as good as new. No broken zippers, no failed stiches. It has been through a minor low side which has just given it a bit of character, no actual damage. It fits properly and has all the features of any similar jacket as far as venting, pockets, removable lining, etc.

      It was slightly cheaper out the door than a comparable Vanson, which would have come with no armor adding around $100 more on top. Things could have changed here pricewise but it is still an excellent jacket.

  • livacpa

    Dainese jeans are fantastic

  • Dave

    I got Elsinore boots last year, and hardy ever wear them. The toe is so large that it doesn’t easily fit under the shift pedal on any of my bikes. If not for that one problem, they’d be amazingly great boots.

    • Guy Simmonds

      I had to re-learn gear shifting to use my Elsinores. It’s different but I wouldn’t say it’s any better or worse than the way I shift with other boots. For the amount of protection you get on those boots, I’d say it’s worth taking a few hours to figure out a different way to move your feet around the pegs…

  • Jack Meoph

    The AGV helmet, with the cut out in the back, makes a lot of sense. Tucked in, looking up, what the first thing that annoys? The back of the helmet hitting your jacket and shoving the helmet further down into your already compromised field of vision.

  • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

    This article is a bummer.

  • Stuki

    I think most Icon gear looks lie it was designed by someone who mistook The Matrix for a worth vile movie, but what do I know? Or care, for that matter. I’m just an old fart who fits in Arai Signet and Vanson, and honestly don’t see much reason to look elsewhere.

    • HollywoodRider

      ICON = ugly gear for tools who want to look like they are part of the SS

  • HellomynameisAG

    Umm revzilla > bikebandtits

  • ThinkingInImages

    I like AGV helmets and this design makes sense.

    Can anyone explain why jeans made for motorcyclists come with pre-made “whiskers and creases”? I don’t buy everyday jeans with them. They just fade and it happens naturally. The pre-made “whiskers and creases” always look fake.

    You wouldn’t buy boots with worn down heels or scraped steel plates, leathers with scraped up pucks, a scratched up helmet, for that “lived in look”. You wouldn’t buy a motorcycle with OEM factory dents, dings, and scrapes for that “dropped look and thrown away” look.

  • William Connor

    I definitely dig the ICON 1000 Collection. Some really nice gear.

  • Guest

    A skully helmet would be cool to get if it was for sale. It would definitely improve my commuting experience.

  • Alan Smith

    The Skully Helmet HUD would improve my commuting experience if they were for sale.

  • Steve Fox

    I’m really eager to read your full review on the new Rev’it jeans

  • appliance5000

    The revit jeans look good but $270.00? I wear agv sport corsica kevlar jeans – they’re about 1/3 the price and fit well. Kevlar everywhere you might need it, and I wear armored knee/shin protectors and underwear underneath. I don’t look too bulky and feel well protected. If they’re too blue you can always get them dyed for short money.

    I do feel that wearing armor separate from the pants is safer than in pants pockets- any thoughts on this.

    quality value and price: that’s nice.

  • Jim Rose

    i really like the roland sands stuff too. great style, very nicely made.

  • Jeffw

    (BTW, the feldmarschall throwback jacket pictured here isn’t the Akorp but the women’s “Federal”.) Perhaps China assembled, but ” with premium brazilian cowhde iverlays” (sic). If you want to pump money to the elitist scumbags clearing out swaths of rainforest, this jacket will look swell over your pave the planet t-shirt. And that thing cost more than i paid for my Atlantis4- i guess it ain’t cheap keeping Hitler’s brain alive down there…