budget

All The Motorcycle Gear All The Time (ATGATT) on a Budget

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When you are considering purchasing a motorcycle, gear should always be in your budget.  You'll need to carve out at least $1000 to find some of the more expensive, higher quality gear at lower prices. Although you don't have to spend thousands of dollars on race suits, or the most expensive leathers/textiles, you do need to spend more than $100!

If you're in denial about the risks of not wearing gear, you're in for a world of hurt as well as expensive medical bills and a ton of physical therapy. Don't forget about disability, time off work and unpaid wages because you had to spend a week at home recuperating. Then of course, on top of all that there is still the risk of riding motorcycles. You could very well die or be injured permanently regardless of what you're wearing. That's simply a decision you make from the very beginning.

Theoretically, you could buy a used/questionable helmet for $100 on craigslist and nothing else, and then climb aboard and ride. But, just because you can, does that mean you should? And if you can carve out $5,000-10,000 on your bike, then $1,000 for gear shouldn't be that much harder!

There's a part of me that says everyone should be able to do whatever they want. But the bigger part of me says, before you jump in, try and prioritize yourself a bit here and avoid major risks that will cost you far more than gently used or new gear might cost you in the short term. 

If you've decided to say yes to safety, yet you don't have a fancy job to support the dream wardrobe you've dreamed of, then here are some tips to help you shop while looking for gently used, higher quality gear.

1/ Get to know Your Size, Shape, Measurements and Weight

Every now and then I love perusing craigslist to see what kind of unworn, brand new gear is out there. inevitably there's everything from race suits to 2 piece touring leathers to expensive custom gear that someone doesn't want or need anymore.

This is of Utmost importance. I know how difficult it is to size and fit yourself online. Especially if you have a few curves, disproportionate body shapes (different size on top v. bottom) or a simply hard to fit size.   

womens_measurement_guide

So the first step to take advantage of all this luscious gear is to know and understand your measurements / sizing. take out a tape measure and figure out your chest (over the bust), waist and hip measurements. Heck, go all out and get your shoulders/arms/thighs/ sleeves while you’re at it.

One thing to be aware of with Motorcycle Gear, is that it will not be vanity sized in the way that you're used to. When you shop for casual clothes, sizing is sometimes lower than we expect because companies have created sizing charts in the last 20-30 years that didn't exist for (0/00) and that makes us feel better about ourselves when we shop. So it’s best to be well armed with real measured numbers. Get to your closest RiteAid/CVS/Walgreens and pick up a roll of measuring tape for a couple bucks, it’s the most accurate way to get your numbers! And make sure you measure starting from the 0”. Some tapes don’t start the 0” at the very end, so be sure you’re starting in the right place. 

Something that I know a lot of women hate talking about is our true size/weight. But understanding these numbers and knowing exactly what they are will make the difference between finding the right gear or not finding anything at all. I also want to remind you that the way you're supposed to wear motorcycle gear is Completely different from your casual clothes so remember to read all the articles in my Gear Fit 101 Tab , so you know what to look for when you start trying things on.

Now that you've read everything, it's time to start measuring.

A) Bust / Chest:  Over The Bust v. Under The Bust

This page has a nice overview of exactly where to measure: http://magicdressukprom.blogspot.com/2012/11/how-to-buy-custom-made-prom-dresses.html

However, when you compare the “over bust” and “bust” numbers, go with the biggest number and use that as your overall bust measurement. One thing I’ve noticed is that some manufacturers use one or the other. I've found my over the bust number lines up perfectly with Dainese’s “Bust”. But my under the bust number lines up with Revit’s “Chest” measurement. Confusing, I know. One thing to be aware of is if that you’re sizing yourself for a jacket with multiple liners, you might match up better with the jacket shell, not the liners.

Also measure yourself with your bra on, not off since it keeps the girls in a bit and you’ll most likely be wearing one while riding. I always wear sports bras because they’re more comfortable under my gear as well. If you can spare the push up bra, you'll have a little more room to work with or conversely, if you aren't filling up the bust spaces very well, consider one for a snugger fit. 

B) Waist

Where exactly is your waist? If you look at my pic above, my hands are right on my waist. Basically the smallest part of my upper body. where it tapers in like an hourglass. If you don’t have a defined waist then measure the largest point around your belly or your belly button, whichever is larger.

C) Hips

Your hips are right over your hip bones, or the widest part of your beautiful booty. :-)

If you don’t have much of one like I don’t, then that certainly makes things easy!

When you look at my pic, notice how my shoulders line up almost perfectly with my hips. I’m a straight shot with a fairly straight proportion. This helps me fit into a lot of gear and I could *almost* wear men's gear if it weren’t for the fact that I have narrow shoulders (from front to back, not side to side) as most women do.

D) Inseam

Take the tape and hold it at the bottom of your crotch all the way to your ankle bone. Riding pants don’t have the same fit as your casual jeans. Remember that riding pants should be articulated nicely so when you bend your knees, the pant leg will not rise up on you like a pair of boot cut jeans will. Realistically, you do NOT want pants that meet your true inseam! Otherwise they will be dragging on the floor when you walk. You only need the inseam to hit your ankle bone at the most, especially wearing them over boots.  And an incredible pair of pants (like my Rev’it or Dainese) will hug your knees at the right spot so they fit perfectly  even if they’re a little too short. :D

best women's motorcycle leather pants

Of course, if you have any problem areas that need to be addressed, like really wide shoulders or extremely large hip-to-waist or bust-to-waist ratio, that’s going to take a little advice on my part. I’m going to be brutally honest here.

I know that there are *many* body types and not everyone needs to be a small size like myself. Of course not, and that’s not realistic. However, if you know that your sizing issues are directly related to your measurements and inability to find a properly fitting piece of gear you owe it to yourself to make it a little easier. If just one dress size is really going to make all the difference in the world I would highly encourage making that dream a reality. I wish motorcycle gear were as varied as casual gear in terms of sizing and availability, but the bottom line is there are far less people to cover and motorcycle gear isn’t required like clothes are. It’s also an *extremely* expensive undertaking with a fraction of the markups that the tshirt your wearing has (i.e. nowhere near 1,000%).

I know that some of us were dealt with proportions such as short torsos, but if your height and weight are directly related to your size I recommend doing everything in your power to make it better.

Now that you’ve spent all this time measuring and measuring, it’s time to start shopping! Here are my favorite places to internet search to save tons of money:

Craigslist, Searchtempest, eBay, Google

Craigslist is one of the best places to shop for anything used. But you cannot search multiple locations at once! I love SearchTempest.org because I can put in my zip code and search XXX miles away.

I think it's pretty safe to shop regionally, so if you live in NY but see something in Philly then I think someone might be willing to ship you something. Start searching and see what comes up. Craigslist and eBay are the only ones I can think of that almost everyone uses. If you're looking for a particular type of gear, use these sites to your advantage to set automatic alerts when someone posts something.

On Craigslist, use the “set alert” and “save search” options below your city/region drop down menu  on the upper right hand corner. I'm going to be on the lookout for gently used Street Triple R's so I've set up my alert below:

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And of course,  eBay always has a great deal just waiting for someone like you to find it. This is how I found the most incredible online deal ever. $90 (including shipping) for Daytona Lady Stars, practically new! Google emailed me when the listing showed up so I bid on it as soon as I saw it..

To set up an eBay alert, just enter your search terms in the Search box and then click on the green link that says "Follow this Search". Then everytime you log into Ebay you'll see anything that falls into that search category on your homepage. You can also set up email alerts by going to: 'My eBay', then click on 'Searches You Follow'. Now click on 'More Actions' to get emails when new searches show up.

setting up ebay searches and email alerts

Heheh I might have a little shopping problem. Stylish, comfortable and waterproof shoes are hard to come by!

If you want to set up an even bigger alert, like across the entire Interwebs, then you need a Google Alert. 

All you have to do is log onto your google account, then go to google.com/alerts. Enter your search term and then a more detailed box shows up so you can set some parameters:

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The google search will also cover websites like bikeforums and classifieds that you would never have known about otherwise. You might end up finding someone who lives across the country who has what you want but its worth a shot.

Online Sale/Clearance 

There’s always a good deal to be found on websites like revzilla.com! As much as I hate junkmail myself,  it’s the best way to find killer deals when you least expect it. Especially when brands like Rev’it have flash sales! Or something is going to be discontinued, and that’s when the real sales kick in. Often 30-40% off MSRP. 

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Right now there are quite a few closeouts on Revzilla that I wish someone could take advantage of like this Rev'it Union Leather Jacket, Size Euro 46/ US 12-14.

Note, if you have Gmail (like most of us do) you can create an alias https://support.google.com/mail/answer/12096?hl=en  for the email lists so if your address gets spammed you can easily delete it without having to give up your YouAreAwesome@gmail.com address. I'm guessing other sites like Yahoo mail offer a similar feature. 

Yellow Devil Gear Exchange

Yellow Devil Gear is run by Jessica Prokup, a fellow gear enthusiast who offers much more than used gear. She has a wide variety of gear including vintage offroad and 1-2 piece race suits. Her suit room is fantastic! She also does video reviews of things that come in so check out her Youtube page

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I’ve had the pleasure of visiting her shop in Long Beach and it was an awesome little spot. If there’s something you’re needing or looking for, it doesn’t hurt to send her an email to see what she has! And even better, if you live in SoCal it’s worth a trip to her awesome shop. Look at that suit room. 

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Moto Shop San Francisco

If you live in the Bay Area, stop by the shop and check out what my girl Aleks has on the consignment racks! Her inventory is always growing.  In fact, she just told me about a gently used Rev'it CR Leather Jacket in Cream, 36 that was just dropped off at her shop recently.

Oooo, look at those Dainese boxes!

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GearChic.com

If there's something tyou need, please feel free to post on my facebook wall or email me and ill post on my blog to see if any of my readers have some used gear theyd be willing to part with. it seems that every rider who has at least a few years of experience inevitably has used gear lying around that they'd be happy to sell or give away.

I've also created a Used Women's Motorcycle Gear board on my Pinterest page. If you aren't on Pinterest, post a comment and I'll pin it on my board!

http://www.pinterest.com/gearchic/used-womens-motorcycle-gear/

I always have my eyes and ears peeled for gently used gear, so just drop me an email using the Contact button or post a message on any of my social media channels.

Ride Safe!

Budget ADV Gear for Men

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We've chatted before on Twitter and I listen to your Podcast from time to time. I know you are an expert on motorcycle gear so I thought I'd ask you for some advice.  

A friend of mine was looking for some good ADV pants on a budget and I thought you might be a good person to ask that question. 

Thanks, Rob

Hi Rob!

Thanks for your email. I'm thrilled to answer anyone's questions, regardless of gender :)

As far as ADV pants on a budget, how about these various Klim pants on sale? The nice thing about Klim is the construction, Cordura. For less than $100 you can't go wrong with any of these. Hopefully there's something left in his size:

Klim Revolt - $55.38 ; however only sizes 28-30ish are left, these are vented but you can close them if need be. these are designed to be worn over the boots

Klim Mojave - $93.49; only a few sizes left, these are permanently vented for summer riding only, these are designed to be worn over the boots

Klim Chinook - $93.49; again, only a few sizes left, these also have adjustable vents and are designed to wear inside the boots

Olympia Dakar - $189.99; also Cordura construction, which zip away above the knees to turn into shorts!

Email me before you shop online.

womens motorcycle gear used new ebay budget

Ebay and Craigslist can be a goldmine when it comes to finding a good deal on gear. I know that not everyone has the budget for full priced and/or new gear. But before you buy something online that may or may not fit right, email me.

No one will tell you what the right fit/size/brand is for your body type, riding style, needs and/or budget.

If you need help deciding which size to get, which brand is best for you, which boots are going to fit your narrow feet, which pants are going to have enough space in the hips, or which jacket will fit you, email me. I'll do my best to help you make the right decision and find the best deal.

 

Shopping Tips

I've created a 6x9 full color version of my shopping tips.

I created these to help not only women, but men as well. We have similar challenges when it comes to buying gear. Sometimes it's hard to tell if it fits right, or we're not sure what to look for in a certain piece of gear.

 

Download them here (or right click and save on the pics) and share them with everyone you know. Happy Shopping!

So You're Taking an MSF Class. What To Wear?

Me on my first ride, a 2003 Kawasaki Ninja 250. Woo woo!

Me on my first ride, a 2003 Kawasaki Ninja 250. Woo woo!

Before the Ninja there was me and my 50cc Aprilia Scarabeo for 3,599 miles in 1 year

Before the Ninja there was me and my 50cc Aprilia Scarabeo for 3,599 miles in 1 year

Maybe you've decided to move up from your 50cc scooter like I did. Or maybe you're going to take the class on one? Congratulations!! You've made a smart decision on your lifelong learning adventure in motorcycling. One thing you'll hear over and over again from seasoned riders is that you always learn something new every time you go out for a ride.

Once you sign up for the class you might be asking yourself "What Should I Wear ?" Well, here are my recommendations, based on what I've seen students wear that can make a real difference in the outcome of the class. On your first day of class you're going to be nervous, maybe a little scared and anxious. Adding to that by not wearing the right gear can really hamper your ability to learn and keep up with what we're trying to show you. When small details like the wrong footwear and improperly fitting gloves get in the way, it can slow down the rate at which you are learning and achieving the objectives we're putting in front of you. We want 100% of your focus to be on learning the skills, the bike and having fun.

Here's a really great quote from a student that emailed me after she shopped for gear with me:

"Having real, protective gear during the class gave me a lot more confidence, and I don't know if I would have leaned that motorcycle over nearly as far if I hadn't had it."

A couple of general rules to remember when gearing up for your class.

  • Anything you'd wear to an office job will NOT be suitable for riding. Neither will your workout clothes, sweatpants or shorts. You're going to ride a motorcycle! Not sit down at a desk and work on a computer or go to the gym. Everything you wear is going to affect your ability to ride. Your intention is to be comfortable riding, given the weather conditions and everything we're going to ask you to do. That means no slacks, dress clothes, wing tips, loafers, high heeled boots, basketball sneakers or Uggs (Yes, I had someone show up in those once. She said her feet were cold. I had to send her home). You get the idea. A coach will not hesitate to send you home if you haven't followed the requirements that you were given.

  • Read the confirmation letter and/or the guidelines that the school gives you. It's YOUR responsibility to be proactive and make sure you know what they expect of you before you get there. If you have any questions on what you should be wearing, bring it up to your teacher in the classroom portion and even bring some items to class for them to look at if you're not sure your gear is suitable.

  • If you're interested in a sport like Motorcycling, it's time to take it serious as a sport and be prepared to risk everything from injuries to failing to meet the objectives. If you were going to go skiing, would you wear sweats, flip flops and a tshirt? Probably not. You'd go out and get snow pants, an insulated, waterproof jacket, ski gloves (not mittens) and a beanie to keep your head warm. Why does a sport like motorcycling demand any less?

My first time ever, riding my Ninja in the parking lot (before I swapped the fairings for yellow)

My first time ever, riding my Ninja in the parking lot (before I swapped the fairings for yellow)

Now it's most likely that the school will have a full face (yes!) or 3/4 helmet for you to use. What they probably won't have are leather, full fingered gloves, eye protection or a footwear. If you can, I'd highly recommend buying a helmet for the class if you have any fit issues (ie you have a very small or very large head measurement). The school will probably have average sizes between Small and XLarge. But if you have any issues that might affect the possibility of the school having a helmet that fits you, you may want to get one beforehand. Otherwise, it's perfectly fine to just use the helmets that the school supplies. If you have your own already, make sure it's Full Face or 3/4, and DOT Certified. You cannot use a half helmet in the class (nor should you ride with one. Yes, even if you're *just* buying a scooter).

At the school I work in, here are the items that we require students to wear for the range portion of the class:

Over-the-ankle sturdy footwear. A couple of examples:


Notice that all of these boots have a substantial rubber sole and really good traction! You're going to be putting your feet up and down over and over again, to hold up a 200lb+ bike. If you don't feel stable when your feet are down, how's that going to affect your ability to maneuver it? Especially if you're vertically challenged like me. They also cover your ankle bone. There's a chance you may drop the bike or tip over and if your ankles are caught between, you need something in between to minimize any injury.

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And contrary to what you might think, steel toe boots are NOT a good idea for riding. The steel toe can actually make it harder for you to feel the shift lever. You'll need to get your toe in and under the lever so you can shift. Having a steel toe can get in the way of your ability to feel that. Some riding boots do have reinforced toes so that you don't wear down that part of the boot, but steel toes make it harder to feel the lever. The other thing you don't want is a high heel. The heel of your boot needs to rest on the foot peg when you're riding. Having more than 3/4" heel will make it difficult to rest your foot comfortably and go back and forth between shifting or braking. Don't worry, there will be bikes of varied seat heights so if you're worried about the bikes fitting you, the school should have plenty of options. Feel free to call the school and see what kind of bikes they have in their fleet and then go online and check their seat heights.

  • Long non-flare denim pants or material of equivalent durability. Denim jeans, or heavy cargo pants would be a good option. Make sure the legs are long enough for your legs to be fully covered when in a seated position. Remember to check your backside as well, as we shouldn't see any skin while you're on that bike. Ladies, this means you can't wear your low hip slung jeans which will probably expose your lower back while riding. Gentlemen, it might be time to throw away the pair of 10 year old jeans you have that have shrunk so much they're too short to cover your legs anymore. Leathers are not necessary for this class. But if you can go to your local motorcycle apparel shop and get some overpants or riding jeans, of course those will work well.

  • Long-sleeved shirt or jacket to below the waist. You need to be long sleeved when on the bike. It's best to at least wear a jacket or something non abrasive. A cotton long sleeve shirt really isn't the best thing to wear. Bring a jacket (waist length only, No trenchcoats) something sturdy. And again, sit in a chair or assumed a seated position and make sure your sleeves are long enough and the length is adequate to cover your back too. A couple of good examples would be a ski jacket, leather or denim jacket.

  • Full-fingered gloves, preferably leather, but at least with leather palms. Street motorcycle gloves range in price from $25 - $300. Your hands are going to be manipulating the clutch, the front brake and the throttle. You want decent gloves that are going to help you manipulate everything without any problems. If you can get some real motorcycle gloves for your class, they will help tremendously. Being able to grip the throttle and the front brake will make such a big difference in your performance. There are hundreds of styles, types and brands to choose from, so if you can purchase at least one new thing for the class, buy good gloves. Especially if you're going to be riding in wet or cold weather. Keeping your hands dry and warm are really go to make a difference.

  • Your eyes must be protected at all times. This means that when you're on the bike, you must have your visor down or if you have an open face helmet, you need to wear eye protection. Preferably with shatterproof lenses, such as safety glasses. Most schools will accept regular sunglasses or eyeglasses. Visors are shatterproof, so that's why they're considered eye protection. Here’s a pair of cool photochromic sunglasses that would work well.

So now that you know what to wear for the class, get a GOOD night's sleep, have a solid breakfast and bring some water/snacks to the range! Try not to 'study' for the class, as all you need to know is what you were taught in the classroom.

These gear preparations are simply my opinions as to what will really help you on the range and set you up for success in the future. More often than not, people put less thought into their gear and too much thought into studying more than they're taught in classroom. Everything you need to know is in the Rider Handbook. If you're going to study anything, just stick to that and you're golden.

Remember, the MSF Basic Rider Course is only your FIRST step into the world of motorcycling! You have your whole life ahead of you to keep learning. Why overload yourself with more information than you need? Keep it simple and remember that this class is designed for the true novice in mind (never seen, sat on or ridden a motorcycle).

And most importantly, Have FUN!

budget gear and newenough.com

For those of you looking for a good deal on inexpensive, protective gear, remember to check www.newenough.com, they always have amazing deals (and reviews) as well. This week, they have Setup boots for $79 and River Road Mesh overpants for $30. Unfortunately the Setup boots are only in 4 sizes (european 38-41), but if you're lucky enough to fit these sizes, these can be a really good deal.

http://www.newenough.com/closeouts/bargain_basement/river_road/ladies_mojave_mesh_motorcycle_pants.html

http://www.newenough.com/closeouts/bargain_basement/set_up/grand_prix_motorcycle_boots.html?s=p
I wouldn't count on these carrying you for the rest of your life, but you're completely poor after shelling out $3k on your bike and another $500-$600 on insurance, then you probably don't have another $1k to spend on gear. BUT do start saving for better gear asap. This is good starter gear, but I wouldn't count on them forever.