Buzz Killington
Buzz Killington Reader
5/24/10 10:14 p.m.

figured i'd start a new thread on this subject.

looking to get into a first bike for commuting and i'd appreciate any tips on gear. does anyone commute on their bike to a "business casual" office? i think a helmet (have a full-face SA), gloves, jacket and boots (I'll leave my shoes @ the office) are a given, but what about pants? are there mesh slip-on pants (and what protection should I look for...knees? hips?) or do i have to change pants twice a day? what should i look for in gear? seems like a brightly-colored Cordura jacket will work...or is leather better?

should i upgrade from a foam spine pad to something stiffer? should i spring for armored gloves/jacket? what does "armored" mean? is that different from other gear that has spine/elbow pads?

TRoglodyte
TRoglodyte New Reader
5/24/10 11:09 p.m.

Hiway or sidewalks? Fullface helmet everytime . Cover as much flesh as you want to keep.

kcmoken
kcmoken New Reader
5/25/10 7:28 a.m.

I have a pair of mesh overpants with knee and hip armor. At first I thought I wouldn't like them, but they are really lightweight and offer some pretty good abrasion protection (at least compared to clothing). They are easy to slip on if you take your shoes off first, which isn't a big deal as I am changing from shoes to boots anyways. I leave my shoes at work.

I have leather, textile, and mesh jackets; I choose based on weather.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve SuperDork
5/25/10 8:26 a.m.

I see a lot of people on sport bikes in shorts and flip flops with no helmet, so you are already way ahead of the game. My recollection is that jeans slow abrasion of skin by 1 second or @5 feet of sliding. Not much. So if you want to be protected, you need motorcycle-specific gear. A good pair of overpants seems like a great idea.

914Driver
914Driver SuperDork
5/25/10 9:14 a.m.

I invested in some thicker gloves with a higher gauntlet for cold weather riding. I don't usually ride when it's really cold, but things can change once you're out there.

Dan

Rusnak_322
Rusnak_322 Reader
5/25/10 10:31 a.m.

I have a one piece leather race suit, a 2 piece suit that has pants that zip to 3 different jackets, a set of kevlar reinforced jeans and when I ride to work, I wear my khakis. There just isn’t a good alternative other then a areostich suit, but even that will leave you wrinkled. I am very safety conscious, but sometimes you have to come down from defcon 4 to defcon 3 if you want to ride your bike to work on an occasion. I could bring clothes to change at work the day before, I sometimes do that with shoes.

Xceler8x
Xceler8x Dork
5/25/10 12:08 p.m.
Buzz Killington wrote: looking to get into a first bike for commuting and i'd appreciate any tips on gear. does anyone commute on their bike to a "business casual" office? i think a helmet (have a full-face SA), gloves, jacket and boots (I'll leave my shoes @ the office) are a given, but what about pants? are there mesh slip-on pants (and what protection should I look for...knees? hips?) or do i have to change pants twice a day? what should i look for in gear? seems like a brightly-colored Cordura jacket will work...or is leather better? should i upgrade from a foam spine pad to something stiffer? should i spring for armored gloves/jacket? what does "armored" mean? is that different from other gear that has spine/elbow pads?

Rode to work for years until I just got tired of the hassle. That and touting a laptop on a motorcycle isn't really fun. The lessons I learned are:

  1. All gear will leave you a little mussed. Even if it's just a helmet mashing down your hair. You do get cool points for having a helmet in the office. Chicks dig it.

  2. Wear as much gear as you can stand. In the winter it was no problem. In the summer sweat stains tend to degrade your professional appearance. Mesh gear works great at getting air to your clothes. The protection it affords is pretty good as a buddy of mine went down in mesh gear. He came out pretty well.

  3. Rain gear is always a pain and doubly so if you're wearing nice clothes.

  4. Pack your nice shoes and wear some serious boots while riding. I'd advise getting some boots with armor. Armor is defined on boots as hard parts around the joints, specifically the ankle. This will help in keeping your ankle from moving into unnatural angles in the case of an off. Armor should also be around the heel and toes. Those are essential parts to walking.

  5. Get the best gloves you can afford. Object lesson: Have your buddy at work trip you up as you walk down the cube rows. What's your first instinct? To catch yourself with your hands. Now, speed that up to 35 - 55 mph. Again, get good gloves. I'm a big fan of Held or Helimot. Armor on those should be heavy around your knuckles, heel of your palm, front of your palm where your fingers originate, and outside of the pinky should be heavier. Metal studs, kevlar like stuff, or extra thick leather on the heel of the palm.

  6. Full face helmet. No excuses. If you like your face, cover it. If you want to wink at girls get some dinky something or other and take your chances. Also applies to if you want to look like some chromo-sexual or urban biker who's too tough to wear a full face. DISCLAIMER - not a diss on the HD riders or Urban bikers. I like those guys. Everyone on two wheels is cool. Every motorcycle is cool. I just prefer a full face just like they prefer a brain bucket, nazi helmet, no helmet. I'm only making a joke so need for hurt feelings. Right brothers?

  7. Get a tank bag if you want to haul stuff and don't have saddle bags, hard bags, attached luggage of some type. A back pack can work but to really ride you don't need something flopping around on your back while leaning into a turn. Bungi nets are great for holding items under 5lbs on the pillion seat but for larger items a tank bag is a must.

  8. Cordura vs Leather - I use Cordura or ballistic nylon. It works pretty well. Leather is nice but it's hot, expensive, and looks wicked cool. I just can't afford it. Vanson stuff is $$. First Gear stuff works great and is much more reasonable.

  9. Armor is defined as hardening in a jacket, gloves, etc. Foam padding is the least effective. CE rated armor is some of the best. Do some reading, and purchasing, at NewEnough.com. Great site, good people, excellent service. Their sales are quite good on last year's equipment.

  10. Experimental stuff I haven't tried - I like the idea of some helmet mounted blue tooth stereo headphones. I've used iPod headphones for the morning commute and anything with a cord is a PITA to use on a motorcycle. Cordless headphones sound like a great way to get music and news into my helmet for a morning commute. I haven't tried this yet so if you do, please report back. A buddy "farkled" his Wee Strom (Suzuki Vstrom 650) all up and had a bluetooth connection to his helmet via Zumo GPS. That Zumo was cool. It played mp3's took calls via a BT connection to his cell, and would even give directions.

Btw - Farkled is a term coined on ADVRider.com. If you're riding motorcycles you should be on that site. Great pictorial documentaries of rides all over. Encyclopediac knowledge of anything motorcycle due to the amount and knowledge of the posters there. Damned nice crew too. That is head and shoulders above most any motorcycle site I've seen on the net.

Any questions?

stuart in mn
stuart in mn SuperDork
5/25/10 2:35 p.m.

If you can swing the cost, a Roadcrafter suit from Aerostitch would be the way to go. They zip on over the top of your street clothes so they work pretty well for commuting to work. http://www.aerostich.com/aerostich-suits

Mental
Mental SuperDork
5/26/10 12:19 a.m.

My Bimmer has saddle bags and those always held my shoes when I wasn't gonna wear boots all day. I have seen guys with off road style cargo pants that they pull off pretty well as busines casual attire with a colared shirt. I have leather for the winter and cordova for springs and fall and a titanium mesh for the summer (its 100 plus, anything more is just torture. When I don;t have saddlebags a backpack or messenger bag will still hold shoes so you can ride in boots. When I ride off road I have a set of slide on elbow pads and velcor on shin/knee guards, something like that might slip on under a pair of khakis.

skierd
skierd Dork
5/31/10 9:58 p.m.

I commute daily, all year all weather, on my bike.

The best single thing you can get for commuting in my opinion is a 1pc suit. I've got a Teiz Motorsports Lombard (http://teizms.com and http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=433219 ), but there are others from most big manufacturers as well as the above mentioned Aerostich Roadcrafter. It makes life so much easier, just get dressed for work, one zip two zip and off you go. Heated grips are a close second.

Barring that, you absolutely can't beat the Olympia AirGlide2 mesh overpants. With the insulated waterproof liner, they are almost perfectly waterproof and comfortable down below freezing; liner out they flow plenty of air for even the dead of summer. If you go with separate jacket and pants, try to make sure they zip together in some way. I pair them with one of my two jackets (Fieldsheer Aston leather or Rev'It Air mesh, temperature depending) when the temps get over about 75 degrees and the 1pc becomes a sauna suit.

If you can wear boots at the office, the Tourmaster Solution boots are a nice option. They look normal, have armor, are all-day comfortable with good insoles, are waterproof, and breath well in heat too. I've crashed in mine and they protected my feet without taking a mark, ~8000 miles and no leaks. They're my commuter boots, though I keep footwear for work at work usually to change in to.

xfactoraeg
xfactoraeg New Reader
6/3/10 2:11 p.m.

Newenough.com denniskirk closeout section motorcyclecloseouts.com motorcycle-superstore.com

deals can be had if you have the time... some of those places have coupons too. best time to shop is the cold season/end of year, you know, less riding and making room for next years stuff.

motomoron
motomoron Reader
6/3/10 5:53 p.m.

When I was commuting regularly I was wearing an Aerostich Darien 2 jacket & pants - and the jacket was dorky hi-viz yellow which actually works. I tucked the front end on some 25 degree dusty asphalt on my "new to me, have had it only a week" KTM 950 SM, at about 25 mph and went down pretty hard. I had 85mph lowsides racing that were much easier. The suit worked as advertised - I was generally sore 2 days later as expected, but no particular trauma.

Upsides? fairly light, completely impervious to the most torrential rain, you get cred from the ADVrider crew, will last forever. Looks OK if you're on an "adventure" bike, BMW or bigger KTM.

Down? doesn't breathe so terribly well, dorky looking on anything other than above mentioned bikes. Requires bulky insulation in the winter compared to leathers. Expensive.

Mainly now I wear Vanson night avenger and Spidi mesh jackets w/ jeans and 8-eyelet Doc Martens for most riding.

One thing I'll never compromise on is gloves- I've worn Held for about 15 years and absolutely love them. The fit...well, like very well made Austrian kangaroo hide gloves. Nothing stays together better in major crashing, and they wear like iron. They cost a freakin' fortune and you get what you pay for. Same w/ Vanson jackets - buy it once, take care of it, and unless they cut it off you you'll have it as long as you want to keep it.

For lids: And Arai XD for riding sit-up motorbikes, a Shoei X-11 for faster riding. I switch between clear and dark tint visors on the Shoei and leave a tint visor on the Arai the part of the year it's light late...

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