IMS San Mateo 2009













This year's IMS in San Mateo was kicked off by a fantastic local edition of the SideStandUp podcast in the heart of San Francisco, at BMW Motorcycles on 6th and Bryant Street. In case you missed it, catch up here (Episode 120)! Carla and I had a great time chatting with Jennifer of Werkstatt, Crystal of Scuderia West and Larry of BMW SF.

Big thanks to Larry for hosting us.   The facility is beautiful, if you haven't yet visited them downtown. A customer lounge with a flat screen tv, wifi and espresso.  That's so San Francisco, isn't it? As soon as I walked in, a CHP officer was sitting in the lounge, waiting for his Beemer to be finished.  I asked him if he likes the new Beemer or the old Harley and he just sat back and laughed.   Apparently that was a silly question.

This year's IMS at San Mateo was a little smaller than everyone expected. Although a few manufacturers are missing, I met some fantastic vendors that didn't disappoint.   First off, I met the folks at Teiz Motorsports. They're making affordable one piece textile and leather suits.  They've recently started doing custom orders in women's sizing,  which I was happy to see.  You do need to custom order this option, but it seems like a good value given the price point ($219-$500) for the base suit.

If you're a woman and you're looking for one piece suits, it's pretty difficult to find anything except an Aerostitch.  I'm a fan of choice and the Teiz seems like a good option. So here's a quick summary of what might be available if you're a woman riding a motorcycle and need a one piece:

1. REV'IT Infinity Suit $1299.99 Although the smallest size is a men's small, if you're roughly a women's size US 10 and up, you may find this will fit you.  Take a minute to watch the revzilla video review of this suit. It's freaking amazing. Before you pick your jaw back up off the floor, at least watch the video and see Why it costs so much.   A lot of R&D went into the design and construction of this suit. If I were large enough to fit a small, I would so get one. *sigh*

2. AlpineStars 360R Drysuit $599.95 I'm not sure how a men's small would fit for a woman, but based on the video that Revzilla posted, I think you'd have to be at least a size 12 or up to fit this suit. *sigh*

3.  Aerostitch Roadcrafter $797.00 (base) Good ole' Aerostitch. It's been 'The" one piece for the motorcycling community for the past 10-20 years? Especially since you can order a 34 Short, it should fit a woman as small as me. Actually, I'm 99% sure it would fit me.  My friend ordered a 2 piece Darien and she's also my size.  It fit her quite well.  Wasn't as fitted close to the body as some jackets, but it did fit her quite nice. She did a custom order and was quite happy with it.

4.  Olympia Phantom $459.99 The Phantom is comparable to the Aerostitch, waterproof in the shell and has a full length removable liner.  I think a small men's wouldn't fit any woman under a size 12 or 14. There's only one size for inseam, so if you're lucky enough to be tall and a size 14, this should be a decent option for you. The cut is fairly generous across the shoulders, arms and chest, so if you're busy too, even better!

5.  Teiz Motorsports Lombard Suit $319.00 Teiz has introduced smaller women's sizing, down to a size 34. I've asked for some clarification from the Cofounder and hope to report back in January with more details about the company and their products.  Although they've been called an Aerostitch knockoff, for less than $400, it's hard to beat.  They're a real company with a genuine interest in the safety and protection of riders. There are tons of companies that live abroad and 'manufacture gear' for less than $100. I've been contacted by companies like that and have refused to even consider looking at their products.   You can custom order their suits as well. I saw them at the San Mateo IMS, they will probably stop in at the Chicago IMS since they're based in the MidWest.

If you know of any other companies making one piece suits that fit women really well, please let me know!

Another company that I ran into was Adventure Motorcycle Gear.  I met briefly with one of the owners of the website, but unfortunately had no time to try anything on. I'm hoping to see them again in Long Beach and will report back.  In the meantime, their winter offerings are here:

They're quite popular in Europe, I hope to review some of their gear in January.

Sept 1, SSU Podcast

Bad GearChic, Bad! I forgot to post my talk from Sept 1, from SSU, all about Boots. You can listen here (9/1/09, Ep.100), or if you don't have time, here's an overview along with my recommendations for boots.

Why do you need protective motorcycle boots?

Well everything starts from the ground up, doesn't it? One lesson in riding that you've hopefully learned by now is that you start small and work your way up. It's the best way to get better, in my opinion. I would never be where I am today if it weren't for this little 50cc scooter that I started commuting to work on 6 years ago. Having a great foundation and starting point can really make a difference on your ability to ride well.

So why not start with a solid foundation by putting your foot down and wearing a real boot with traction and reinforced protection to make sure your feet are well protected in an accident?

Especially when you're "vertically challenged" like myself. I'm short and not as strong as I should be.  But wearing boots that grip the pavement give me the self confidence I need to ride freely, without self doubt.  I do worry from time to time that I'll drop the bike, but I know that I've greatly minimized that risk by wearing proper footwear.

(Prices are current as of this post on Revzilla's website)

Boot Recommendations (Basic).

Boot Recommendations (Mid to High End):

The S-MX 5 boot is a track/performance boot, but if you want something more street/touring friendly, try the S-MX 4's. The standard Vertigo's also go down to a 37 (~size 7 US) if you like those instead.  If you are wondering why the Daytonas are $400, check out my other blog posts about them as well as my review. The first pic above is me wearing one of them to demonstrate how much extra height you'll gain from these boots.

Another podcast segment, updates

Catch me tomorrow night, Tuesday, 9/1/09 on another SSU podcast segment, this time all about Boots!  Why you need them, what to look for,  where to buy them, etc. Tune In at 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern! I'll be starting off the show this time around, so you'll definitely want to log on right at 5.  Then stick around to hear Carla King report back about the AMA women's conference in Keystone, CO which I sadly had to miss, but hope to attend next year.

Also, I'll be sending out another newsletter tomorrow, so be sure to sign up if you haven't already.    It's a great way to catch up on all my blogs for the previous month if you don't have time to read them on a weekly basis.

SideStandUp Aug.4, Gloves

This month's SSU topic was all about Gloves! One can never have enough pairs of gloves, in my opinion. How important are your hands? your wrists? Maybe you're an architect, a software engineer, a construction worker, a lawyer, a teacher, or a fabricator. No matter what you do for a living, I imagine using both of your hands is crucial to the success of your occupation.

So why shouldn't full fingered, leather gloves be important while riding your motorcycle? If you think about how long a good pair of gloves can last (sometimes 5-10 years, if you buy the right pair), they are well worth every penny. It can be hard to justify $100-$200 or even $300 for a pair of gloves. My wonderful friend Brian (you rule!) who works with me at Scuderia, gently reminds customers that if you take the average number of days a year that you ride (say 5 days a week x 52 weeks= 260) and divide it by how much you spend on one pair of gloves (say $100 for a decent pair of gloves with protection), that equals $2.60/day!

And more than likely, a good pair of gloves will last you at least 2-3 years. If you want your gloves to last 5-10 years, then you definitely need to spend at least a couple hundred dollars. So how do you find that perfect pair? Well first, narrow down your options by figuring out what kind of glove you're looking for:

  • Summer: Perforated, ventilated
  • Winter: Waterproof, insulated
  • Year Round: Street, track, touring

In San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area, these are the kinds of gloves that work here, given the year round fantastic weather that we have (except in San Francisco in July and August, when it's 60 degrees, windy and foggy):

Yes, these are ALL women's gloves! I would highly recommend the basic gloves for those of you riding scooters as well. The Olympias are probably the most popular scooter gloves that are sold at Scuderia.

Basic: (less than $70, all leather, full fingered, 3 season gloves, not waterproof, minimal armor)

Better: (more armor, stronger gauntlet, higher quality leather, $100 and up)

The Phantom goes down to a Size 6, which is pretty small for a race glove. So if you have really small hands and need a fantastic glove, you'll love the Phantoms.

Finally, when you're shopping for gloves, you'll want to assess fit in the following ways:

  • Are they snug enough so that when they stretch they will still fit?
  • Leather gloves will stretch so try to buy the snuggest size you can.
  • How do they feel when working the throttle, clutch and front brake? Do you feel any extra 'bunching' of material along the palms, fingers?
  • Remember that you'll never make a closed fist while riding, so assessing fit while opening your hands all the way and making a closed fist doesn't matter. You'll never fully extend your fingers straight out either, so remember that fit around the throttle is most important.
  • When your hand is wrapped around the throttle, are your fingertips pushing up against the inside seam? Or do they just touch the inside? If they're just touching, that's normal. You just don't want added pressure onto the seam.
  • Can you fit the gauntlet over your jacket? Or will your sleeves go over the gauntlet? Keep in mind that putting your gauntlet over your sleeve will keep you warmer and prevent air from going up the sleeves.

For me, my hands are the second most important part of my body when I gear up. I hope they are for you too!

Another segment on SideStandup, Tues. 7/7/2009

5:10pm Pacific / 8:10pm Eastern.

I'm going to give my review of the REV'IT Ignition Jacket. As some of you may know, this jacket is made for men *and* women.

So if you're a small, petite girl who needs a fitted, protective motorcycle jacket, you'll want to tune in. Or if you're a tall guy with a long torso, long arms and a narrow waist, you'll want to tune in too!
Either way, just listen!!

Come and chat tomorrow night on SSU!

I'll be on once again, talking alllll about Gear at around 5:30pm PT-ish. Sometimes I get pushed out to after 6:00, but who knows! I'm going to be giving my tips for finding gear that fits. The one thing I hear the most from every woman I meet is how difficult it is to find gear that works for their body type, and actually fits them. Well I'm going to help you do that remotely the best way I can. So tune in and listen to my tips!

Click Here to listen to the show. Or if you can't make it tomorrow night, download the show from iTunes Here.

Tomorrow night, Tues. 4/7 at 5:30pm PT/8:30pm ET

A friendly reminder to catch me tomorrow night on Side Stand Up! The first of my monthly segments on the show. I'll be giving a brief review of the Daytona Ladystar boots and some general tips on buying boots and why you want these in particular!

Click here to hear the show at 5:30pm PT tomorrow.  
See you then. 

Side Stand Up, First Tuesday every month!

Well, my debut on the SSU podcast last month went so well that Tom, the show's host asked me to come back for a regular segment on the first tuesday of every month! I'll be doing a 18-20 minute segment on some aspect of women's gear and gear in general. So we'll have talks about fitment, how to shop, how to buy a helmet, what to look for when buying over pants, blah blah blah. I'll throw out reviews of women's gear every now and then as well. My next show is Tuesday April 7th, a week from today!

To sign up and join the show, go to and enter 64458 in the Search box. You'll see the SSU show come up and then you can join in from there.