Reader Cori needs a 2 piece summer suit to ride in hot weather but still provide protection and comfort. She also needs help finding something with a little more room in the shoulders.
I am looking for some advice on what gear to buy for riding in South Louisiana. I am a brand new rider (I actually have yet to ride and will be purchasing a bike next week). I will be a commuter with a 9 mile, non freeway, daily commute. What do you recommend for gear? I'm going to start with purchasing a helmet, gloves, boots, jacket, and knee pads. I am feeling very overwhelmed by the process, and have no idea where to start. Any suggestions, or places you can point me? In particular I'm looking for gear that's good for warm weather. (very, very warm).
Some back ground information,
I am 5'3" and 140 pounds and am in the process of purchasing a honda rebel 250cc. I have an average to short torso, with broad shoulders ( my waist is a small and chest + shoulders range from a bigger medium to a smaller large. I don't know my inseam as of right now but I typically need pants that are labeled short.
The only other concern I have is about my arms, I have bigger arms. ( I am a weightlifter so while I have a slim athletic build my arms and shoulders hold a lot of muscle)
Cori in Louisiana
For your helmet, it's all based on proper fit. If you live anywhere near a dealership that has helmet options, I would highly recommend going in and getting fitted. If you can't find a dealer, then you want to check out this article on helmet shopping
. Honestly, I find it impossible to help anyone get fitted for a helmet over the phone or online. There are also a ton of youtube videos for you to figure out how to fit a helmet. Do not, I repeat do not pick a helmet simply due to colors/graphics. You MUST get the fitment right for a helmet to work properly and actually protect you! I have a few favorites when it comes to helmets, but it really does come down to fitment. For example, if you have a true long oval then you need an Arai Signet-Q
. But if you have a really round head and are XS, you need an Arai RX-Q
. It just depends.
Gloves are also tricky in this sense, because they really require trying on and fitting. But I can give you a few ideas here:
- Revit Bomber ; these fit longer in the fingers and narrower across the hands, but are the Best summer gloves out there. More protection and ventilation at the same time.
- Dainese Mig C2: these fit a bit shorter in the fingers, and also are fantastic summer gloves. Avoid synthetics, they are the cheap, less protective and don't work well for pavement. You need real leather for street riding!
My recommendation for a jacket is the Olympia Switchback 2 Jacket
($239), size S
(shown above). Don't worry, it's available in 2 other colors if white isn't your style! I really love this jacket not just for the fitment, but also because it has a really great fit for you. Relaxed in the shoulders, biceps and forearms, this will give you plenty of room to move around without feeling too constricting. You might feel a little tightness in the elbows/shoulders since the armor is fairly thick and rigid, so I would definitely recommend upgrading the armor to Forcefield
if you find it too restricting.
The other reason I love Olympia for you is the torso is average length (lower in the back, higher in the front) and is constructed of Dupont Cordura,
which provides more abrasion resistance than other mesh jackets in the same price point. The mesh is still nylon, but your slide zones are covered by Cordura.
I would also consider mesh overpants instead of just knee guards. You need more than jeans when riding, they just don't have the abrasion resistance.
First, I would recommend the matching Olympia Womens Airglide
Pants ($229) in a size 4. These have a slightly fuller fit, so if you need extra thigh, hip and booty space you'll love these a little more. These are also constructed of Cordura (except the nylon mesh for airflow).
The second pant to consider is the Revit Airwave Pants,
($199) in size 36. I would recommend these if you need a leaner leg and slightly less room in the hips/booty area. I call this table booty (which is what I have).
Both are available in lighter colors, including white (Revit) and silver (Olympia) to keep you a bit cooler.
Looking at boots, it's hard to find vented boots for women. When it's really hot, it's the opposite you actually want a slightly heavier boot to keep the heat out! Imagine a lightweight sneaker, and how quickly that absorb heat. Leather actually deflects quite a bit. A few ideas:
- Sidi Livia Rain ($230): Ideal for wider feet, higher insteps and larger ankles. It's a very loose fitting boot. These breathe very well and are fully synthetic leather as well.
- Dainese Svelta GTX ($289): Ideal for narrower feet (all Dainese boots are narrower, btw) and these are GoreTex which are the most breathable waterproof membrane. I've ridden in 90+ temps in GTX boots and they are fantastic.
- TCX Aura Boots ($219): Also waterproof, they run even narrower than the Svelta in the toebox. Super comfortable and low profile.