break in

Breaking in New Motorcycle Boots. Ugh.

Last year I wrote about the newest women's motorcycle boots from Dainese, the Torque D1's, the first true women's motorcycle boot that offers real ankle support. What this means they make it incredibly difficult for you to twist your ankle. Of course, the impact protection is also incredibly supportive as well. 

I didn't think I could wear these. I still am not 100% sure. My problem was that as a woman with a very small, wide foot boots like these from Dainese are incredibly difficult to wear. 

Typically I size into a US 6.5-7 (7 if it's a narrower shoe) which translates to about a Euro 36-37. These are a Euro 38. My feet are also incredibly high at the instep. My other weird issue is that I have a small cyst on the top of my left foot, so that makes wearing any tight shoes (like if I lace my shoes too tight) especially painful. 

Since these are fairly difficult to get my foot into so I had to size up. 

I've been wearing them around the house for about a total of 1.5 hours and luckily I haven't felt any pinching or piercing pain anywhere. Just tightness from a new pair of boots, especially race boots. They're just not easy. 

I did find that crossing my legs while sitting on a kitchen stool did make my toes go numb... so I recommend not doing that ;D

I've also added my super insoles to still give me the extra heel height that I like having.

They seem to fit okay, of course I removed the insoles that came with the boots but it certainly makes the heel and ankle space a bit tighter. I'm hoping as I keep breaking them in they only get better!

Just a little test ride.. in the kitchen! Always take your gear for a test ride at home so you can see what it might feel like to wear things for more than 2-3 minutes. 

Just a little test ride.. in the kitchen! Always take your gear for a test ride at home so you can see what it might feel like to wear things for more than 2-3 minutes. 

Breaking in new boots isn't fun. It can be a pain in the ass really. But I really wanted the extra ankle support that these boots offer that my old Sidis don't even though they took great care of my feet when I crashed two years ago.. I'm also doing a track day next month so I want to be ready for that too. 

Also, I'm trying to sell my new-used Sidis (not the ones I actually crashed in) if you know anyone who might be interested.

 

Are these motorcycle pants going to fit?

revit marryl womens motorcycle leather pants How do you know if a pair of leather pants / gloves / boots or jacket is going to fit or stretch? 

This question gets asked often as well. How do I know how much more it's going to stretch? It's difficult to say, really. But I can tell you that for the most part, leather can and does stretch. Especially when it come to motorcycle gear.

I recently acquired an older Rev'it pant (Marryls, pictured above) because I found them on eBay and couldn't pass them up. They're the BEST leather women's motorcycle pants I've ever seen on women of varied shapes/sizes. It's sad that Rev'it discontinued them here, because they're absolutely incredible. Of course, you can still get the fabulous Gear 2's but if you want something all leather without venting, these were a great option.

As soon as I tried to get them on, they were definitely difficult to zip up. Like, couldn't.zip.up.at.all. Like many of us do, I gave up, took them off and hoped I could drop 10lbs by the time I bought a motorcycle.

The problem was that they fit everywhere else SO damn good. I mean Perfect. I admit, I like my gear SNUG. I don't want a saggy butt, or saggy waist, or saggy anything. And that's generally how you want your gear to fit, if you can. It's a lot like clothes, when you wear bigger sizes you simply look bigger. Of course, it's also directly tied to safety as the placement of your body armor needs to be close to the body and immoveable in case of an accident.

marryl_stretch

 

I eventually slid them on and as soon as I pulled them over my hips, the stretching process started. Slowly I was able to pull the zipper up all the way (after 2-3 minutes or so) and it started to immediately feel better. You can see in the pic above that I could barely button the top, because the flap is showing. This is why it's SO important for you to try leathers on for MORE than 30 seconds. Of course, don't forget those crucial baselayers to make the process even smoother.  Another 5 minutes later and the waist/hip started to feel more comfortable to where I could sit in a chair, lean forward and start typing. I was even able to button it on the tighter (inner) button at the waist.

I know they're not done, and I have more stretching to go. I'll probably get about ~half size of break in and then they'll be loose enough to hopefully wear my winter weight thermals. It's been almost an hour and they feel SO much better than when I first started.

So don't give up, just give it a few minutes.. maybe 30..

Breaking in new Motorcycle Boots

TCX_XStreet_Waterproof_Ladies_Motorcycle_Shoes_Anthracite  

I recently acquired these cute TCX X-Street Waterproof Motorcycle Shoes so I could have something stylish in this horrible snowy, cold winter we've been having.

I don't plan to ride in them, they're definitely a casual shoe for me. But, I wanted to share my experience breaking these in! It wasn't easy and definitely a little painful along the way. I tried them on and they felt pretty good. A little pressure across the toebox (width wise) but not too bad. I only wore them in the store for a few minutes. But as soon as I put them on the next day to wear to work, I completely forgot about this whole break in thing. (It's been a couple years since I've had to go through this).

And my feet were SCREAMING at me the whole time. 'WHY DID YOU BUY THESE? YOU'RE KILLING US?!' I was worried, a little worried. Okay, *really* worried. But, I knew I had to stick it out. The pressure wasn't so bad that I got bunions or anything, but they were just uncomfortable after 2-3 hours of wearing them. I just assumed that I wouldn't be able to wear them all day and would have to use them as cute, going out shoes. A dinner... a movie.. maybe some shopping.

But after a few weeks (not wearing them every day to work, but at least every couple), they fully broke in and I realized one day that my feet weren't killing me like they used to. These particular shoes were also very very wide in the heel and ran a full size large. I'm normally a Euro 37, US 6.5 but I had to go down to a Euro 36. With such a loose ankle, I realized that I needed to lace them very snug around the ankles. Otherwise my feet would slide forward and smush my foot into the toe box.

As soon as I laced them up nice and tight, it made a Huge difference because my ankles were sitting right where they should be so my feet weren't moving back and forth inside the boots. Remember, you don't want any forward and backward movement of your foot when it's inside the boot. And it's totally normal for your toe to be close to the edge of the toebox as long as it's not pushing forward into the very end as you walk.

I know breaking in gear is a b*tch, but it's SO worth it in the end. Try not to size yourself in the store (when it comes to leather), but size yourself the way you want it to fit a month from now.

Do You Need a 1 or 2 Piece Leather Motorcycle Suit?

zoom zoom ladies track day dainese womens leathers motorcycle pants jackets  

A reader contacted me via Facebook recently and asked me what I thought about Spidi's 1 piece leather suits for women. The first thing I said was that they're outstanding. The quality is fantastic and they look incredible.

I had to poke and prod this new rider a little more. She was about 20 and just starting to ride.  I asked her why she was interested in a 1 piece and she said simply because it looked cool. I can't argue with how cool they look. I'd LOVE to wear one of these from Spidi.

spidi_trackster_ladies_leather_suitspidi_mantis_wind_pro_ladies

But I'd probably wear the one on the left (Trackster Touring Suit) more often than the one on the right (Mantis Wind Pro Suit). Mainly because I need the flexibility of a 2 piece when I'm actually out riding. And the Mantis is probably more aggressive in terms of fitment for track riding. Notice how the knees bow out a little bit on the Mantis, immediately forcing you into a more forward posture.

But which one do you need? I guess the answer is both, technically speaking. They both offer excellent levels of protection while on the road, no matter what you're riding. But which one are you more likely to wear? Probably the Trackster. Given it's easier to take off your jacket, say if you're stopping for lunch. But on the other hand, I ride with a lot of friends who wear 1 piece suits for weekend rides too, not just track days or racing. And they simply zip off the top half to walk around or when we're sitting down for lunch. That's simply not my ideal method of wearing gear.

It all comes down to what your preference is and which one fits you the best. Having ridden in 2 piece suits over the years, I absolutely love the flexibility and feel. I also tend to wear sport touring suits which aren't as aggressive in terms of fitment. They're designed more for touring and upright riding positions. I do wear the Revit Galactic however, as my summer riding jacket since it's so light and ventilated. It's definitely the most aggressive jacket I've worn so far. And it's not as comfy as my touring textiles. But I do appreciate the fit on my sporty. It almost supports me while I try and keep my upper body off the tank on long rides.

revit galactic womens leather jacket

Keep in mind also that 2 piece leathers come in many forms, not just racing. Take for example the Dainese outfit I'm in the photo at the very top of this post. The jacket is the Cage and the pants are the Firefly (discontinued awhile ago but they offer several other alternatives).

I wore that outfit for my first novice track day. As a novice, it was the perfect outfit since I definitely wasn't planning on pushing myself to the racing, knee dragging limits. Although that jacket looks a bit 'race like' it's really not. It's far less aggressive and fits more like a casual jacket without the added articulation that you see on the elbows of the Galactic pictured right above. The fitments are really what tell the two apart. One immediately feels comfortable, doesn't immediately make me bend forward when trying it on and is definitely easier to wear overall.

dainese_womens_street_leathers

 

When I'm able to do track days on a regular basis, I will probably invest in a full 1 piece suit not only for the added protection, but comfort on the bike. When all you're doing is leaning forward and riding around a track, you want your suit to support you completely in that position.

Remember that when you're venturing into leathers that there will be a break in period that's going to be uncomfortable (no matter what style or brand they are), completely out of your comfort zone and just plain annoying until they soften and loosen up. How much they break in varies from brand to brand, and type of leather to type of leather (kangaroo v. cow v. sheep v. goat, etc.). You could get anywhere from 1/8" up to a half size increase in fit.

Just remember my shopping rules to ensure that you get the right size and don't forget those baselayers to help increase your overall comfort while wearing leather!

Gear 101: What is Lorica?

Lorica Synthetic Leather

Lorica is synthetic leather. Manmade, and completely artificial! 

"Lorica is a hi-tech material created from a remarkable combination of extremely thin microfibres.  This interlacement of microfibers, soaked in special resins, has a microporous structure which is very similar to the collagen of natural skin.  This gives Lorica excellent softness, durability and breathability." -Sidi Care Brochure

Sidi, like many other brands such as Alpinestars and Dainese are incorporating Lorica in their street and race motorcycle boots.  You can't really tell the difference, as they look and feel just like boots made of cowhide. I would never know the difference just by looking. 

For some reason, I thought that Lorica wouldn't stretch out as much as cowhide, but it seems the opposite is true. 

In reviewing the Fusions, I found that they stretched out quite a bit. I'm looking forward to breaking in a new pair of Vertigo Leis, to see how much they give and perform, especially under hotter riding conditions.