Just when I thought I'd ran out of good things to say about my Alpinestars Bionic Jacket, I swapped out my 4-year, 250,000+ mile old jacket for a newer version. The old armor jacket is still fine, and I'll find some use for it someday, but Alpinestars has clearly done it right again with this newer version: The Bionic Jacket for BNS.
The topic of motorcycle gear and our recommendations for staying comfortable and safe continues with Part 3 of our Free Download: "Motorcycle Gear Advice."
In the previous blog post about dual sport riding technique, we talked about the Pros or reasons to opt for standing position in off road riding. The point of this 2nd part of the article is to remind riders that, just because the terrain you're on isn't paved, that doesn't mean you need to be standing up on your motorcycle. (Some riders draw an automatic connection between the two, thinking that: Dirt = Standing.) While there are plenty of good reasons to ride standing sometimes, of course there are "Cons" to standing as well that we're about to address for you:
With the world of dual sport riding booming each year, adventure riders are heading out in droves to test their skills both on and off road. As the less experienced riders first start to experiencing the changing terrain, weather conditions, and speeds, the question keeps coming up: "Should I be sitting or standing when I'm off road?"
Some riders won't wonder and others don't care; but if you're new at dual sport riding, hopefully these Pros and Cons of the standing position will help you enjoy more and ride longer. The Pros are listed below, and you can either check back with us or sign up to follow our blog on the top right corner of this page to see the "Cons" of the standing position here!
Continuing our focus on motorcycle gear, here's another portion of our tutorial on how to choose the right products and stay as safe and comfortable as possible in your motorcycle travel. Remember, you can always download the entire document here Free Download: "Motorcycle Gear Advice."
This document focuses mostly on the 'adventure riding' type of motorcycle travel but the principles discussed apply to all types of motorcycle riding. We think it's a fairly unique look at creating your own combination of motorcycle gear to handle the widest variety of climates while offering the best protection possible.
Part 2: Innovative Padding Solutions by Alpinestars
As you’ve probably noticed, most motorcycle jackets and pants come with some basic padding built in. Is that your best or only option though? For reasons of a) better protection, and b) greater comfort under the hot sun, we think you should wear a separate body armor system like those in the Alpinestars Bionic series.
To understand why, first take notice of the soft foam padding included in your jacket and pants. Sure, each pad will absorb impact considerably, but will these foam pads always be in position when your elbow or knee hits the ground? Remember: We said in the part about "staying warm and dry" that your motorcycle gear should be loose enough to allow for layers to be worn underneath. As such, that “looseness” allows the elbow, knee, and shoulder pads to twist out of the way just by wiggling them with your hands. Now imagine how much those pads might shift out of place in a high-speed impact situation with much more force, and you might agree those built-in pads are not something to depend on.
By removing the original foam pads from your jacket and pants, you can replace those pads with the Alpinestars Bionic gear and vastly improve protection. The Bionic gear is meant to be worn as a first layer (well, outside your underwear and base layers) and therefore is fitted so that the pads stay in place in the event of a crash. Try on a properly fitted Bionic setup and attempt to wiggle the elbow, shoulder, and knee pads out of place: You’ll feel the difference!
In addition to fitting better and staying in place, you’ll find that the hard shell exterior of the CE rated pads that come in the Bionic series offer a far superior level of impact absorption than any foam pad can ever claim. Furthermore, each pad in the Bionic series tends to wrap around your elbows, shoulders, and knees far better than other pads do, offering superior protection from multiple angles of impact. As was witnessed in the motorcycle crash shown on this link, wearing this padding could mean you simply get up, brush yourself off, and keep riding! (The rider was wearing the Alpinestars gear shown on this page and walked away without injury.)
As a bonus to wearing a separate armor system like the Bionic Jacket, we are not obligated to wear a full heavy jacket with padding built in just to stay protected. Think about it: Under the hot summer sun, aren’t you tempted to skip the riding gear? While RIDE Adventures will never condone riding without full motorcycle gear, a nice compromise might be to just wear your Bionic armor jacket and leave the outer shell and insulation off while you ride. Protection against skin abrasion will certainly be reduced, but at least your skeleton is protected in this scenario while you ride and stay cool with full padding on and in place.
On this post, we've decided to share some questions and answers we're exchanging with customers about their upcoming Patagonia motorcycle trips and a) how to deal with the riding challenges or b) if motorcycle GPS is worthwhile.
Motorcycle travel and your success in doing so internationally will hopefully be much easier after enjoying our advice shown below. The first points of Part 2 cover your fuel situation and food, and please remember you can always download a full copy of our International Motorcycle Tour Guide on this link!
Our Free Whitepaper Download about Motorcycle Gear and our explanation what we use as motorcycle tour guides is now available on this link. Just to give a preview of some of the items we discuss in the document, here's a clip from the part about Waterproof & Abrasion Resistant Outer Shells & Innovative Padding Solutions:
First: Some Typical Mistakes Riders Make
- Buying a jacket and pants that claim to be waterproof, but aren’t in actual use
- Buying a jacket and pants that are waterproof, but wearing them without the neck, wrists, waistline, or ankles completely sealed off (then blaming the riding gear)
- Choosing gear that has a waterproof liner on the inside, thereby designed to let the entire outside to get soaked and extremely heavy
- Wearing non-breathable waterproof gear, and sweating inside to the point of being cold and wet inside anyway
- Assuming that if a jacket and pants come with padding built in, that’s the best protection
- Buying jackets and pants that are too small for them, not allowing extra layers to be added or a “heat pocket” to exist within their outer shell
- Believing that you need to wear a “jacket with padding” in order to stay protected, and dealing with all that insulation under the hot sun
- Enjoying heated electric gear, and accidentally depending on it