Day 134 – More thoughts on riding gear

I’ve done just over 700 km on the Duke now, which is substantially less than I was expecting to have done at this stage.  2012 has been one of the wettest summers that I can remember in KZN, and as I don’t particularly enjoy riding in the wet for safety reasons, this has severely curtailed my riding.  The Duke continues to be a source of joy,  although this morning’s ride was a little less enjoyable than usual, with noticeably greater volumes of traffic and several incidents involving careless road users focussed only on Xmas shopping issues.

Anyway, I thought this might be a good time to update my initial comments on riding gear made back in August.

I’ve used the Shoei X Spirit II for four months now, and am happy to report complete satisfaction with the helmet.  There are plenty of detailed reviews on the ‘net of the X Spirit II’s features so I won’t duplicate any of that here; the point that I do want to make is that this helmet is vastly superior to the dual purpose type helmets (such as my previous Shoei Hornet) which are still favoured by many riders of adventure/motard type bikes.  The X Spirit II is lighter and far more aerodynamically stable than the Hornet,  and so, higher speeds can be maintained more comfortably and safely.  If you read this, are in the market for a helmet, and are considering a dual purpose helmet, because you think it looks cool -please don’t do it!  Helmets, in my opinion, should be selected according to the type of riding that you are going to do, and not as a fashion item to match the ‘style’ of your bike.   If you ride on terrain that requires you to wear goggles, buy yourself an MX type helmet – if not, get a street helmet.  If you do both types of riding (off-road and street) get two helmets – you won’t regret it.  If you don’t believe me however, I have a nice plain white Shoei Hornet Size 59 in perfect condition which I’m happy to sell for R3500.

The SPIDI Net 7 jacket I bought around the same time as the helmet has been a qualified success.  It is a good jacket for warm days but is still a bit hot on really hot days if you’re not moving.  I have a back protector fitted to the jacket and I think that this cuts down on the exhausting of hot air quite a bit.  I miss not having an internal pocket, although the two external pockets are quite large.

I decided that I did want a pair of full height boots, rather than the mid-cut SIDI Apex boots I originally thought I might buy, and considered the Alpinestars SMX5, SIDI Vertigo and Dainese Torque Pro Out before plumping for the Dainese boots.  Although I am a SIDI fan, their boots are just a little too ‘in your face’ for everyday usage.  The Dainese TPOs were available from race1 in Midrand at the same price as the Vertigos,  and although, a discontinued line, are a higher spec boot.  From what I read, Dainese run ‘true to size’, so I ordered my usual size 43, rather than the 44 that I would have ordered in the Sidi.   As it turned out this was a mistake, the boots are far too tight and I will have to return them in exchange for a size 44.

Dainese Torque Pro Out boot

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