Friday, 13 November 2009

Rider Tek

Although the guys at BMW Bahnstormer did their best to sell me the brand's matching clothing, I found myself with an aversion to looking like catalogue man (or even Charlie and Ewan).

So last weekend I went to see my good friends at Grand Prix Legends to sort out some riding gear for the bike.

My requirements were pretty simple, I was looking for a 2 piece textile suit that would keep me both warm & dry but would also give good protection should I find myself sliding down the road.

In the 'old' days, leathers were the the only choice for safety, but at the cost of letting the water in. Soggy crotches weren't my fondest biking memory! Textile suits were around and would keep the weather out, but generally weren't as good as decent cowhide for protection, especially against the road surfaces. Abrasive tarmac vs sliding rider only ends one way, and as an instructor once reminded me "In hospital they clean gravel rash with a scrubbing brush".

In the 15 years or so since I last bought any gear, there have been a lot of development in this area. The best textile suits now combine the best in water, wind and cold proofing, with protection from impact and abrasion better than traditional leather. Armour is part of the equation, and protective back armour is de rigour.

Rukka make some of the best gear out there, although you do have to pay Rolls-Royce prices, up to £1500 for their top of the range suits. I was prepared to pay the cost of some of their more democratic equipment, until the GPL team pointed me at Halvarsson's range.

Made in Finland by people who know a thing or two about the cold, its lovely stuff, with a bunch of high technology fabrics and linings, and each one seems to come with its own tag. Its getting a good reputation even though there's not a whole lot of distribution in the UK. Better still, its much cheaper than Rukka's gear, so much so that the GPL people told me they're happy to have it in Rukka stockist as it makes it look great value!

I ended up snaffling up a 'Phanter' jackey and 'Zen' trousers (both having lost something in translation), to accompany the beautiful Racer gloves I bought the week before.

Alas, events overtook me, and I now find myself 6,000 miles from the bike and the English weather. More posts to come, it will be 6 months before I get back to the GS, but there's plenty to blog on about here in Hong Kong!


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