From errands around town to meetings to social outings, this has been my go-to helmet, gloves, jacket and shoes since the beginning of summer and, with LA temps now in the high 90s, I finally got a chance to see how it held up to some hot weather. How does you hot weather motorcycle gear compare?
Bell Moto-9 Carbon - $549.95
The first time I put on a Bell Moto-9, I was headed to Gorman to ride off road. I had always dreaded wearing a dirt helmet on the highway and that day was to be no different until I got about half way up the 405 and realized it was handling the speed better than some of my regular full face helmets. It's been my hot weather helmet ever since. The Bell Moto-9 Carbon is one of the lightest, most advanced and most progressive MX helmets to-date; with it's carbon/fiberglass/Kevlar composite shell, 16(!) huge vents (in addition to the open eye port), Emergency Removal System, and six shell sizes. This is the only MX helmet I've worn so far that actually feels like a quality helmet inside as well as out. I wear the carbon black version, but the painted ones look awesome too.
Dragon NFX Goggles - $83.65
Now, I'm not going to try and tell you these are really worth two or three times the price of budget goggles you can find on The Clymb or something. However, the field of vision on these is the absolute best available, the four-layer foam padding really does a great job at providing an awesome seal around the eyeport while the hypoallergenic fleece lining wicks away sweat while remaining soft. The armored venting keeps the breeze flowing and, while I haven't tested it much yet, from what I hear the lenses are as close to bulletproof as it gets. I love the my gold ion lens because it lets me see out while not letting others see in. So what's the extra money for? They look freakin' awesome.
Dainese Air-3 Textile Jacket - $239.95
Upon reading Tim's review of the Dainese Air-Frame Textile Jacket, I realized these two jackets are essentially identical, at least in the perceived strengths and weaknesses. Yes, the lack of a giant "Dainese" across the chest is nice, but the white panels on the side create essentially the same look. The mesh panels are essentially the same shape and in the same location, the slightly lower price coming from the lack of a removable liner. Overall, this jacket does the job of keeping you cool pretty well, but it created some wind whip at speed. As with all the jackets in the Dainese lineup, it includes CE armor at the shoulders and elbows, with a pocket to add one in the back. Which brings me to....
This jacket is a year or two old, but came up in the comments section of Tim's Air-Frame Textile review. This is the summer mesh jacket I end up wearing most of the time. Adey and I actually both own them and wear them around all summer, we just end up switching to something more current for photos so we can use the pics in reviews. I got mine during a 40 percent off sale at the D Store in Orange County, and I recommend doing some internet sleuthing to try and find one of your own. It has a slightly heavier duty feel than the Air-Frame or Air-3, while flowing almost as much air, all with understated looks and without any glaring logos. The mesh pattern on the front is a little funky looking, but doesn't look nearly as weird in person. This is my favorite thus far.
Rev'IT Sand Pro Gloves - $119.99
Rev'IT originally sent me these with the Rev'IT Defender suit I wore on my Westcoast Roadtrip. They felt a little under-armored for any real adventuring, but they are absolutely perfect for keeping my hands cool and (relatively) protected while riding around town. Obviously, these aren't leather race gloves with PU inserts, but the knuckle padding is both one of the smartest and coolest looking things I've seen in a long time, adapting comfortably to the movements of your hand while still providing excellent impact protection. These gloves look and breathe awesome and are what I recommend to everyone looking for anything short of race quality gloves.
Dainese Technical Sneakers - $179.95
A good part of my life involves running errands around town on a bike and, when choosing between my leather boots and vans, I get very grumpy. Riding sneakers are a wonderful idea, in theory, but often fall short of what we need safety wise and, unfortunately, these fall into that category. I love a lot about these shoes. I love lacing system, I love the comfort, I love the ankle guard, and I absolutely love the look. I don't love how much I can twist the sole, don't love the extra padding they included to make them feel safer while really just turning the shoes into foot-sweaters when off the bike, and don't love the lack of lateral support. They aren't terrible and there is still a time and a place for them, but there is still plenty of room in this market for improvement. These just don't provide the stability or protection that riding a motorcycle requires.
What do you think? Have you ever considered wearing a dual sport helmet on the street? What's your favorite summer gear item? What bottoms do you wear (I still haven't found any that fit me)? Also, I apologize to any of your children who I've scared as I've ridden by, though I can't say I mind looking like Master Chief.