Jackets

How to Shop for a Motorcycle Jacket

MONDAY, MARCH 27TH @ 8PM EAST / 5PM WEST  

I'm doing another Q&A via YouTube Live!

On Monday, all you have to do is click on this link to join:

Http://www.youtube.com/c/GearChic/Live

(and if you missed my last two, you can watch those videos as well) 

We're going to talk about how to choose a great motorcycle jacket, something to *actually* ride in, and yes, potentially crash in. As motorcyclists, we must think about the consequences if we choose to wear something that isn't going to provide adequate protection. 

Since I am GearChic, I will be talking mostly about women's specific gear but of course, everything I mention is available for men and then ten more options on top of that. Since women have a much harder time finding gear, I'm going to give you ideas for different options depending on your riding lifestyle and budget. 

Please bring questions, or add them in a comment here so I can address them live! 

 

Women's Gear Success Story!

dainese_airframe_womens_mesh_jacket
dainese_airframe_womens_mesh_jacket

 

Today I had a really great success story with a woman who needed almost an impossible jacket with longer arms, and a very lean body. 

She also had broader shoulders too which made it even more difficult. Another hurdle was the fact that she was rather tall and long waisted (~5'8") with a very lean build; probably a US 0-2 in the body but US 4-6 for shoulders and sleeve/torso length.

So what to do? After trying on many options, she left happily with the above Dainese Air Frame Women's Jacket, perfect for summer riding weather.  Dainese is a fairly slim brand, but not slim enough when you have to size up 2 times to fit your sleeves and shoulders.

What you don't see in the photo are also 2 key button adjustments; one at the bicep and one at the forearm to taper the sleeves even more. The last piece was adding a heavier back protector to take up quite a bit of volume in the body of the jacket.  I chose the Dainese Manis G1 Back Protector. The result was a better fitting jacket and a perfect sleeve length! This means that she can pretty much go with any Dainese ladies jacket in the same size and have a fairly good result with fitment.

Dainese tends to run narrow and long in the sleeves, but when you're caught outside of even this fitment, sometimes a little creativity needs to be employed for an ideal outcome.

An Open Letter to New Women Riders

 

So you just decided to get into riding motorcycles. WELCOME! We are so happy to have you. But before we get on the road, I just want to let you know a few things because I want you to know what you can expect. And I know there's a lot to learn. 

I've seen so many new women join the ranks of fellow motorcyclists. And I'm SO happy to see that! More women, the merrier! As a women's gear enthusiast, the focus of my message is more about you, not your motorcycle.

Something that I keep seeing that's really really difficult to swallow is the fact that many of you are simply wearing what you have in your regular closet. And this is especially disconcerting because it seems that you just don't know any better. Almost as if no one in your world has bothered to mention:

"Hey, you know that jacket you're wearing won't do anything to prevent you from breaking your elbow, or shoulder or getting road rash" or

"Hey, those boots are going to slip out from under you when you put your foot down on slippery pavement or an oil patch" or

"Hey, that open face helmet is still exposing your face and mouth, which are the most vulnerable parts in a crash" 

I feel like for some of us, this is definitely a no brainer. But that's easier when you've grown up around motorcycles, or you have a lot of motorcycle friends, or are really familiar with motorcycle culture. But when you're BRAND, spanking NEW and this is a totally alien planet to you, it's just not common sense yet. Because the little bit of motorcycling you've probably been exposed to is limited to movies, tv, movies and tv. And we can all agree that real life isn't portrayed quite right in the movies or tv.

So that's what me and my fellow female motorcyclists are here to tell you. The reality is that your body NEEDS gear. It NEEDS to be protected. And that you ARE vulnerable.

My elbow post accident, and that's while wearing really good gear. Just imagine what that would've been like without any at all!

My elbow post accident, and that's while wearing really good gear. Just imagine what that would've been like without any at all!

My Revit Jacket held up great in a 40-45mph lowside. It really doesn't take that much. I wasn't racing, just riding at the speed limit into an easy right hand curve.

My Revit Jacket held up great in a 40-45mph lowside. It really doesn't take that much. I wasn't racing, just riding at the speed limit into an easy right hand curve.

I was crossing the street this morning while walking my dog, and a care went speeding by down our residential street going at least 30mph when they really should be going 15mph. I had a quick vision of that person not seeing me and hitting me as I crossed the street. The tremendous force of that would've thrown me a good 20-30 feet from where I stood. And you can only imagine how my body would make out from something like that.

But now imagine wearing a full face, Snell approved helmet. And then head to toe protective gear with body armor covering your shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and spine. And then boots with ankle protection and reinforced soles, heels and toes. Now how would I make out?

As a brand new rider, it might seem like you could never get hurt because you're not "racing". I hear that SO much when people ask me about what gear they should buy. And it's quite the opposite! There are FAR MORE choices for casual, functional, real street motorcycle gear than what's available for the racetrack. Because there are probably more of us on the street. In some cases, you might get hurt far more on the street than you will on the track. The constant stop and go traffic patterns make us vulnerable to being struck as we're moving, and the last thing you want is for someone *else* to stop your motorcycle for you!

I also find it ironic that if you're riding around with just a tank top and nothing else, that you obviously are proud of your body. And have no trouble showing it off to everyone who sees you driving that motorcycle. But, the minute someone cuts you off, merges into you or turns left in front of you (which is a constant occurrence in Philly) then you're going to lose what you've just shown everyone that you value so very much.

But I want to assure you of one thing, you can absolutely look fantastic while being safe and protected. No, you won't have the exact same clothes as you are probably wearing right now on the motorcycle. But you can definitely get really, really close. If you're in it for the Look of riding motorcycles, and not the Feel, then you're in for a world of hurt. And a really expensive hospital bill, and a week / weeks / month / months off of work, and a bruised ego and whatever else comes out of you making an uninformed, uneducated choice.

And Last but certainly not Least, meet my friend Brittany of RockTheGear.org. She has an incredibly painful but inspiring story to tell which I think every new rider should read before they learn to ride their motorcycle. There's absolutely no way for me to tell her story since it can only really be told by her words. Read her story and then make see if you can still make the same decision.

Me and Brittany Morrow at the Women's Sportbike Rally East, 2015

Me and Brittany Morrow at the Women's Sportbike Rally East, 2015

If after you've figured out everything that can possibly happen, and you still choose to wear very little or nothing at all then More power to you.  And I honestly applaud your ability to take those kinds of risks, where I'm just a big wimp. There's a huge difference between knowing what's coming and making your own decisions vs. having absolutely no clue and making the most uninformed, uneducated choice that can result in living with regret.

#atgatt

(all the gear all the time)

New Dainese Women’s Motorcycle Gear for Spring

dainese_womens_veloster_leather_jacket  

Dainese launched a few new products worth mentioning in its latest Spring 2016 Women's collection. Here are my favorites. 

Veloster Perforated Leather Jacket

This jacket has a great sport fit to it, without being too aggressive for street riding. It features a removable, long sleeve thermal liner so you can make this work most of the year depending how mild your winters are.  Lucky you! :-(

For those of us on the East Coast, this would definitely be a Spring/Summer/Fall Jacket. Even the toasty thermal liner wouldn't cut it in the middle of February!

I tried this one on and I really loved it. It reminded me of my Dainese Cage jacket,  which has a more relaxed fit from other women's Dainese Jackets. It's too bad my closet is already overflowing with leather.... #firstworldproblems.

Veloster 2 Piece Women's Race Suit $999.95

This suit comes in 2 pieces, both in the size that you choose. It isn't a new suit, but hot damn it's HOT! I just had to mention it. It also comes in 2 more colors including less red and more pink (for the few pinks fans out there)

! If there's one thing Dainese knows how to do, it's designing motorcycle gear. Why am I sweating so much right now? If I needed a 2 piece, I'd run out and get this one. Too bad I have tooooo much gear in my closet. The only downside to buying a set like this is if you are different sizes on top or bottom, then you're stuck. But the good news is you could always buy the Veloster jacket, and then buy Delta Pro Evo (race fit) or Pony Pants (street/touring fit)!

dainese_veloster_2piece_womens_suit

Women's Torque D1 Out Boots

$389.00 I wrote a blog post about these boots earlier this week, check it out!

dainese_torque_d1_womens_boots_black

 

 

Carbon D1 Long Gloves

$179.95 THANK YOU again Dainese, for adding Palm Sliders to these gloves which the mens version had previously! Some brands like Olympia and REV'IT has always made the women's gear equally as protective as the mens versions, but some brands are still catching up. These are also offered in 2 more colors as well. Whoop!

dainese_womens_carbon_d1long_gloves

 

As you may or may not know, Palm Sliders are *really* important for street riding, because the minute you fall down you will almost always put your hands out in front of you. And if you're moving, now you're tearing through the leather on your palms. These are also available in a shorter version, which I don't recommend unless you're wearing them with a Dainese jacket, because the elbow armor guards extend almost down to the wrist.

You can check out the rest of the items in the Dainese Spring 2016 Women's Collection on Revzilla.com!

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.

QnA: Summer Gear for Athletic Body Type?

olympia_womens_switchback2_jacket_pewter  

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
Hi Cori,
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 or D3O 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).
Olympia Airglide 3 Women's Motorcycle OverPants
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).
Rev'it Airwave Mesh Pants Summer womens textile
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.

 

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:

Went out for a quick 150 mile ride yesterday

triumph_street_speed_triple_scorpion_zion Went for a quick 150 mile ride to Northern PA the other day for ice cream!

We used this ride route that I put together, but only did half of it since we didn't leave early enough. So we made it to just below Bangor, PA and then headed East towards the Delaware River heading south on 32.

On the way we stopped for ice cream at Homestead Coffee Roasters. Yum! They also have a small lunch menu, ice cream and misc snacks. There's also a nice patio out back to sit and enjoy your scoops. Oh yes, we're also both testing out new helmets! He got this special edition Bell Star Carbon and I picked up a Shoei RF-1200 'Graffiti' (LOVE this helmet).

bell_star_carbon_shoei_rf_1200

I don't know why the man looks unhappy posing in front (it's also called the General Store), but he puts up a good front because we had a great time that afternoon.

homestead_coffee_pa

 

And along the way down 32, we found this cute bridge to take a couple pics on.

scorpion_zion_womens_jacket (2)

The weather was perfect, high 70s for the most part. Not hot, not cold, just right. I'm testing the Scorpion Zion jacket for WRN and it worked well that day. A full review will be coming soon, so stay tuned.

 

 

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!

 

 

More Pinterest Boards: Plus Size, Racing Gear

pinterest motorcycles womens gear plus size  

More boards and more pins are up at Pinterest.com/GearChic.

You don't have to be a member, the boards are available for anyone on the interwebs to see! I've got more boards by size / fit and updated boards with new gear including racing gear, plus size gear, long and lean gear and more.