QnA

Reader Question: Is Gore-Tex the Best Summer Waterproof Option?

Reader Amara needs help figuring out which summer waterproof textile jacket she should get. To Gore-Tex or Not To Gore-Tex, that is the question!

Hi there, I would love some advice on gear.

I am also looking at a new textile jacket and I am choosing between the dainese tempest d dry and the gore tex zima jacket. Do you think the goretex is worth the extra cash? Are these jackets going to work with a sportsbike riding position? What pants would you recommend? I am looking for some textile pants that are well waterproofed but also have enough ventilation for hot days. 

I am 5'7, small build but have largish hips. I wear a 40 in dainese jackets and need a 44 in dainese pants to get the over my butt.

Any advice you can give me would be appreciated! I am riding an Aprilia Tuono.

Many thanks, Amara.

Hi Amara!

So when it comes to waterproof Gore-Tex gear with Great ventilation, the best option is really the Altitude jacket in Small. The reason is because they laminate the Cordura Shell with the Gore-Tex so it becomes one layer. Then the vents provide direct ventilation. In a perfect world, I'd recommend this as well. But unfortunately it’ll be too big on you, given the size you need in Dainese, they just don’t make their jackets that small yet. And the overall fitment isn't quite perfect for your bike riding style, since it's designed for dual sport / adventure style riding.

The fit is also wonderful, tailored and perfect when you're petite on top. It won't bunch up and it's super comfortable. I tried on one a few years ago and I LOVED it. Here's a terrible pic of me wearing one in 40. It was really tight on me back then, I probably would've ridden in a 42 not 40. Since it has a removable thermal liner, it runs a tad loose. I love how the material is forgiving and stretchy. I've always thought Dainese was the best when it comes to sport touring gear, simply because of the way they tailor their gear.

Dainese Zima GTX Jacket Dainese Zima GTX Jacket

As far as Gore-Tex, I think it’s absolutely worth the extra money. It’s such a versatile membrane. I only trust my older Revit Legacy suit, where the Gore-Tex membrane is attached permanently and I can’t remove it. When I open the vents I can only feel it a little bit. So the Dainese Zima jacket you mentioned is going to be very similar. This is the only downside to this suit.

I’ve worn my Legacy in 95-100F with humidity, and I can honestly say I’d gladly take that over a non GoreTex membrane. It has so much versatility in terms of temperature. You can go from 100F and drop down to the 40s. My last trip was to Deals Gap in September and it was HOT. I wrote a brief review in my ride report.

I have worn other waterproof membranes as well, but the one thing they haven’t been able to provide is the Windstopping that Gore-Tex does. I noticed a big difference when I wear my heated jacket liner with both types of jackets as far as how well the outer shell does with wind. The other thing you are getting for the extra money is a lifetime guarantee from Gore-Tex that the membrane will not fail and keep you dry! So in 3-5 years (well after the 1 year warranty from Dainese) you can call Gore-Tex and tell them your jacket is leaking, and they will work with you to figure out what’s wrong and warranty it if necessary. At some point, the membrane might fail so it’s great to have this to fall back on. With other membranes you are stuck with a leaking jacket after that first year without any recourse. The membrane also breathes so well, it literally pulls the sweat away from your body. I highly recommend reading this description of how it all works, I can’t give you a better explanation than they can!

It also means you need killer baselayers, so whether its 40F or 100F make sure you’ve also invested in proper layers like Icebreakers or Dainese  for the Summer and Schampa for the Winter. And of course, baselayers are important under all motorcycle gear to maximize comfort as well!

I think the Dainese Zima is an amazing option for your beautiful Tuono in terms of fitment. It has a fantastic sporty cut, and if I absolutely needed another Gore-Tex suit it would be high on my list, simply because it’s more fitted and I like my gear really snug and tailored. Actually I recommend Dainese for sporty rides since the pants are tapered at the bottoms (unlike other brands which have touring / bootcut leg fitments). I also think the Tempest isn’t going to be small enough for you, even in 40. The cut on that jacket is a bit looser from what I’ve seen of it in person.

dainese_travelguard_goretex_womens_pants

The matching pants would be the Travelguards, and you’ll be the same size as your other Dainese. Unfortunately they’re just not very hip friendly :)  I don't know what Dainese pants you currently own, but the Travelguards will be a little looser in the legs than say the New Drake Airs or Sherman D-Drys. The only downsides to all these Dainese pants is the venting is not direct, to your body like I mentioned above with the Klim Altitude.

revit_neptune_goretex_womens_jacket

However, another option would be the Revit Neptune, if you want a cooler option. You would wear a size 36 in the jacket (if you have broad shoulders) or 34 if you are narrower and don't need extra room in the bust. The thing about this jacket is that the Gore-Tex liner is removable, so you have to put it in to stay dry. That means when you take the liner(s) out, it's a much cooler, vented jacket! Far more versatile, in my opinion. The matching pants would be great as well, and you would probably wear a 38 or 40 since it's a different cut. I think this suit would fit well on the Tuono too. I love Revit fitments, but they aren't as sporty cut as Dainese. If you really want a tighter, more fitted outfit then you'll love them. But this Revit suit is definitely worth checking out as well.

Now, if you aren't convinced that Gore-Tex is worth it then I would recommend the Revit Sand Suit:

revit_sand_jacket_womens revit_sand_pants_womens

 

This is a MUCH lighter suit for Summer / Spring riding. If your main riding season is going to be summer and warmer weather, you'll love this option. The fitment on the jacket is similar to the Zima, very fitted and narrow in the shoulders/arms. I would also recommend a 36 for the top and 40 for the bottoms. These will definitely work well on the Tuono too! They both have 2 removable liners, one is waterproof and one is thermal so you can really change the layers to your liking. The material is really lightweight, perfect for ultra hot riding weather. If you'd rather be more comfortable in hotter weather then you'll really enjoy this suit.

Between all of these options however, I would personally choose the Dainese Combo Suit because I prefer having my waterproof membrane permanently attached so I don't have to take it on and off. And because I'm so devoted to the Gore-Tex membrane and how it performs. I'd also rather be too warm than too cold, I feel like smaller folks like us are able to take hotter temperatures a bit easier since we're *always* cold!

Hope this helps, Ride Safe.

Smaller Motorcycle Boots for Men?

alpinestars_mono_fuse_gtx_motorcycle_boots_smallfeet Reader Jason needs help finding a pair of boots! :-) 

Hello there, I have just recently started riding and had a question about boots. I have very small feet for a guy and would need to look at women's boots and was wondering what I could get away with without them being too girly looking. I wear size 7.5 in women's.

-Jason

Dear Jason,

This is no problem! TCX is one of my favorite brands, as they offer many boots in Euro 38 which I think is the size you're looking for. The TCX Infinity Evo GTX dual sports above are a prime example, if you're looking for a Gore-Tex adventure style boots:

tcx_infinityevo_dualsport_boots

 

They also have a couple of good city sneakers like the X-Street WP (available in waterproof, non waterproof and air versions) and S-Sporttour EVO if you need a good sport touring boot. But take a look through all the TCX boots, because many are offered in Euro 38.

tcx_s-sporttour_evo

 

Alpinestars is another company that offers many boots in Euro 38 as well! If you need a sporty boot, many of their race and sport boots are offered in 38 including the SMX-6's below (which I wear).

alpinestars_stella_smx6_womens

On the touring side of things, in addition to the Monofuse boots I linked above, they offer the Web GTX boots in 38:

alpinestars_web_gtx

 

And of course if you're looking for city sneakers, they have quite a few in 38 too. I think you'll find plenty of options in both these brands in your size in various styles!

 

Women's Motorcycle Jackets with the Longest Sleeves

This is my second video for Revzilla.com!

In this vid, I give you all my recommendations for women's jackets with the longest sleeves.

But in case you missed my last Geek Speak video for Revzilla.com, you can watch that one here too:

QnA: Finding a Motorcycle to Lower?

2006 Triumph Speed Triple Reader Susan asks me what kind of sportbike should she get in order to lower and learn to ride. 

I am trying to find a bike that is safe to lower... I have a 27 inch inseam... all of the sport bikes are too tall and I dont want a cruiser or rebel.... wanted a ducati 696 but thats too tall and too much power... any suggestions ? - Susan ( love your page too )

Dear Susan,

First, thank you for reading GearChic.com!

A Ducati Monster 696 can be a terrific bike to start on. But it's not for everyone. And it certainly wouldn't have been for me. If you've read about me, then you know I started on a lightweight scooter. No, you don't have to start on a scooter. However, it's MUCH easier to start on something LIGHTER AND TALLER than heavier and taller. My scooter weighed ~250lbs but had a 30" seat height! But it didn't matter since the weight was really low (below my butt) and I could easily pick it up when I dropped it. :D

If the Ducati Monster 696 is the sportbike if your dreams, then I really recommend starting with something smaller and spend the time you need to learn how to ride! Just because you start on something like a Ninja 250 doesn't mean you are going to be married to that bike forever. We can't grow taller, so what can we do? We can hone our riding techniques and skills so balancing a bike with 4-5" of extra seat height doesn't matter!

suzuki drz 400 sm

By the time I started riding a Ninja, it was an easy transition. I was already used to using my left foot first and keeping my right foot on the brakes to keep the bike from falling over. I was already used to something almost 300lbs, so jumping up to ~350lbs was easy.

The other thing to know is that with a 27" inseam, you will probably never flat foot anything if your dream is to ride a taller bike like a Ducati. Also keep in mind that lowering sportbikes means losing ground clearance, meaning when you lean you will be limited to how much you will be able to! Something that you don't understand know, but trust me you will learn to love especially when you ride a sportbike.

A Ninja 250/300 might have a 30" seat height but that doesn't mean you can't ride them. Keep in mind that when you buy a proper pair of motorcycle boots like these you will automatically be 1.5-2" off the ground from the heel to the arches of your feet. You're now close to 29". And when you take your motorcycle safety class, you will learn the proper techniques to brake and use your controls so you don't drop you bike.

2003 Kawasaki Ninja 250

The key to all of this is being willing to learn, grow and make mistakes. It's not easy, it's not quick and it's going to take time. But trust me, when you put the time into a smaller, lightweight bike the payoff is amazing!

But that's what worked for me, and I feel I'm a MUCH better rider because of it. There's absolutely NO WAY I'd be able to ride bikes like these without having invested the time and making mistakes.

Whatever you decide, just know that motorcycling is something you work at, constantly. Even after 12 years, I still struggle every time I ride to do it better and safer each time.

 

QnA: How Do You Handle the Weight of Your Bike?

A woman rider asked me recently about how do handle the weight of her bike as a new rider.  Initially, she had questions about the Daytona Lady Stars, and whether they would help her get both feet down comfortably on a Ninja 250. When I do wear my Daytonas (but not all the time), they only allow me to have both balls of my feet on the ground. So most of the time I use one flat left.

2012_triumph_street_tripleR

"So with the boots, I'm able to put a foot down. How do you handle the weight of the bike? I meant like when you're parking or in situation where you need both feet to roll the bike?" - Mango 

I'm assuming that you can get almost one flat left or a full flat left down. If this is the case, then you will always, always keep your right on the rear brake for stability, no matter what. As long as your right foot is on the brake, your bike won't go anywhere.

Continue to practice braking as perfectly Smooth as you can. Pretend you're entering a contest for the best braking technique and the grand prize is going to be a million dollars. The only way you're going to balance the motorcycle without dropping it is really finessing and perfecting your braking so you don't stop and release too soon or grab all at once.

As far as parking, get off the bike. There's nothing wrong with having to park the bike while walking next to it. In fact, if I never did this I wouldn't be riding my motorcycle today because I can't park unless the pavement is completely flat. If there's even a slight slope I always get off and park. Most of the time I find it faster and a lot easier to manage. When you do park, lean the tank on your hip and walk the bike backwards. I have a blog post here that shows what I mean with a few pictures.

Keep practicing, and try not to think about what others will think or say or do. It's all about You riding your motorcycle, not them.

 

 

QnA: Can a short woman ride sportbikes?

Riding my Husband's 2006 Triumph Speed Triple

Riding my Husband's 2006 Triumph Speed Triple

Reader Farhana emailed me asking if it's ever going to be possible for her to ride a sportbike at 4'11". 

The short answer is YES. Here's her original question and my slightly longer answer :D

I'm currently in the riding course, and needed input from women rider. I am 4'11, and I need input for bikes. I really want a sport bike, but since I have never maneuvered a bike before, everyone is telling me to start on a Rebel. Do you even think it's possible for me to ever ride a sport bike? I appreciate your time.

-Farhana

Dear Farhana,

Everyone is correct!

To ride the SportBikes of your dreams you have to start somewhere. Motorcycling is a constant learning experience and you have to build skills to jump to the next bike! I started on a rebel in my safety course and also started on a scooter. You won't ride a rebel forever, but you'll learn so much so you can ride a SportBike someday.

Never flat foot, even with  fancy Daytonas . 

Never flat foot, even with fancy Daytonas

Me, riding the tallest motorcycle I've ever ridden. A stock DRZ400SM with ~36" seat height. Yikes.

Me, riding the tallest motorcycle I've ever ridden. A stock DRZ400SM with ~36" seat height. Yikes.

I have learned that because I'm shorter, starting out on smaller motorcycles was the only way I could get enough experience to manage bigger, heavier bikes. If you try to attack a larger bike that's beyond your experience level, it's going to be a much harder learning curve. Gaining confidence and learning to ride something smaller and lighter is one of the best ways to adapt quickly to taller bikes. Since we'll never grow taller, all we can do is master our skills and learn to ride better than someone taller.

That being said, since I don't know your inseam, I'm going to assume it's ~26-27"? Personally, I've been able to ride bikes with 2" higher inseams than my own. Mine is 28.5" and I'm very comfortable on 30-31" bikes. There's a chance you won't be able to physically ride anything larger than maybe a bike with a 29" inseam. It's totally dependent on the individual, really. I think if you can get close to flat foot on your left, then there's no reason why you can't ride something. Of course, building enough confidence to ride something that tall without dropping or falling constantly is going to take a while.

And for inspiration, watch this video:

 

Before you start, check out my post about riding motorcycles when you're short. It'll give you some tips to get started.

Good luck!

Sena vs Cardo

Another reader question! What is a better communicator, the sena smh10r or cardo scala g9x?

Thx for your help, Patrick

So if I had to answer this question in a quick minute, I have to say the G9X. However, that answer is based solely on features and functionality when you compare the two side by side.  But that is simply because the G9X is designed as the master of Group Riding, assuming all of the riders are using Cardo units. It's a robust bluetooth intercom to ride with a ton of people. Whereas the SMH10R is really a low profile unit designed to interact with maybe 3 riding friends, not all of the members of your local riding club.

sena smh10R shoei qwest
sena smh10R shoei qwest

I whipped up this chart to compare what features each unit has in common, and then who wins in certain categories so you can see how different these units are. In the first section "Shared Features", you can see they do have similar functionalities. In the "Cardo Wins" category, there are a few cool features that the SMH10R doesn't have.  And then in the "Sena Wins" category, it has a few features that the G9X doesn't have.

SHARED FEATURES:

CARDO G9X

SENA SMH10R

4-Way Intercom Conferencing

yes

yes

A2DP Stereo

yes

yes

Answer Intercom Calls via VOX

yes

yes

Digital Signal Processing (DSP)

yes

yes

GPS Connectivity

yes

yes

Hot Dial

yes

yes

Make and Receive Mobile Calls via VOX

yes

yes

Mobile Phone Connectivity

yes

yes

MP3 Connectivity

yes

yes

Music-Sharing™(between Rider-Passenger)

yes

yes

Plug-In Speakers (3.5mm)

yes

yes (optional)

Replaceable Mics

yes

yes

Software Updates

yes

yes

Spoken Status Announcements

yes

yes

Voice Commands

yes

yes

 CARDO WINS:

Web platform to change settings

yes

no

FM Radio with RDS

yes

no

Automatic Volume Adjustment (AGC)

yes

no

Click-to-Link®

yes

no

Flash Pairing®

yes

no

Group Signal

yes

no

Intercom Bike-to-Bike

Up to 1mile

Up to 0.55 mile

Intercom Toggling

between 9 bikers

between 4 bikers

Talk Time

13 hours

8 hours

Standby

7 days

7 days

SENA WINS:

Universal Intercom

no

yes

Ultralight Profile

no

yes

Cardo Scala G9

Cardo Scala G9

I would say that if you're looking for the Cardo version of the SMH10R, look at the Q3. Lower profile than the G9 and offers practically the same features as the SMH10R, with the exception of it's low profile, thin unit. For ME, this trumps everything else. It's aesthetics, and purely superficial. But it totally depends on what your priorities are as a rider. Having ridden with the SMH5 for so long, I really like the low profile look of the SMH10R and am getting comfortable with the controls each time I ride.

Help Finding Plus Size Leather Jackets and Gloves

Another Joann needs help with gloves and a leather jacket. Let's see what we can come up with to help her out!

Height and Weight: 5' 5", 175 lbs

Chest, Waist, Hip Measurements: C 41, W 40, H 44

Message:

Hi! In my crazy search for new gear I came across your site and I have been following you on FB. I need a good leather jacket with armor, and I do not want all black, preferably with some white. Price doesn't really matter, I want good stuff for street riding. All of the women's gear stocked in this town is for skinny girls with styling for 20 year olds so I have to buy online. Most of what I like (fairly simple) is not available in my XL, size 14. I love the Revit Zena, but I think it will be big enough for me. From you notes it sounds like Dainese will not fit me either :( I'm looking at the Icon Hella. Do you have any suggestions?

Also, what are your favorite gloves? I have medium sized hands.

I just bought a 2014 Street Triple, cosmic green, in January. My son has the R, but it is just too tall for me to be comfortable and I probably won't ride hard enough to ever really know the difference. My local dealer even lowered it by almost an inch. Love it! Breaking it in has been painfully slow but I only have another 400 miles to go before I can max out on rpms. It's going to be a great summer.

Thank you for all of the information you have up!

Joann

Thanks so much for the follow! Let me see what I can do to assist in your search.

It might be a little difficult but I have a couple ideas. First off, I think you're right about the Xena. The waist may be too small for you. It's certainly worth ordering, since the bust fit will be nice for you. But, I am slightly concerned about the waist size. One thing about Rev'it overall is the sleeve lengths are longer, so I would also be worried that at a 46, it would be too long in the sleeves for you as well. But, I fit into a 38 and I have a 31" waist, which puts me in a very different size. So I would recommend ordering a 46 to try it on.

As far as the Icon Hella goes, I would definitely recommend that as an option for you. Given the size charts, I would probably order XL.

Here are a couple more ideas for you:

1/ Cortech LNX Leather

I know you want white, but this may fit you better. You can always throw a reflective vest on top for more visibility. You'll probably be a Plus S. This will be a better option for shorter sleeve length. Not versatile for multi season riding, but a good mild weather jacket.

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 10.58.20 PM

2/ Revit Ignition 2

I know what the size chart says, but this jacket fits VERY boxy and straight from shoulders to waist. It flares a bit at the hips so that should also work for you. Remember that the sleeves run a bit long on this one. I have monkey arms, so long sleeves work well for me.

revit_ignition2_leather_womens_summer_leather_motorcycle_jacket

 

 

As far as gloves go, these are my current favorites:

  • Held Airstream; Amazing glove for summer weather, you would probably need a 7, since they're unisex. Fit is wider and thicker in the palms.
  • Revit Summit H2o: Great for year round riding, or mild/cool/wet weather (not summer). Fit is narrow in the wrist and palm, long in the fingers.
  • Dainese Carbon Cover ST: Also great for year round riding, but not waterproof. You can definitely get through them in the summer, but they aren't ventilated very much except between the fingers. Fit is smaller in the palms with shorter fingers.

Hope this helps!