Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Riding Gear is Wearing out

and needs to be replaced. For instance, I have a few riding jackets that I don't wear much and are just like new but my Joe Rocket jacket is the one I have been wearing for nearly 5 years. It is my daily driver jacket and the one I throw around and abuse. Recently I mentioned that I purchased a new JR Ballistic Alter Ego 11.0 . I tried it on at the dealer and got it for a good price.


It is shorter than the one it replaces so I thought that it wouldn't ride up so much, and that would be a good thing. It was mentioned to me by someone recently that I should actually try it in "riding" position to see how it felt. So finally I assumed my usual riding position and it seems to fit better than my old one.


The jacket seems more tailored, slimming & form fitting. It feels good. The next step is to unzip all the liners and see how it feels when I convert it to a mesh jacket. It will be a project for next weekend then I can make sure all the zippers work. I wanted a convertible mesh/riding jacket for my tour of Oregon this summer

A couple of years ago I purchased a new pair of riding boots. I wore these new boots to Oregon for the IMBC2010 and the buckle broke before I got home. I returned them to be repaired and it was a nuisance trying to take care fastening them (they looked flimsy) so I got discouraged (ie: fed up) and gave them away.

I had an older pair of Icons which I wore on my tour to Montana last year and they leaked like a sive. After I got home I told myself that I had to buy a new pair of waterproof riding boots and bought a pair of AlpineStars*. I wrote about this last year and I am saving them for my upcoming trip. They are ready and waiting,


All I have to do is to cut the tags off and put them on. They have been patiently sitting here since last August or September, just waiting to be taken out

I am not in the habit of buying expensive helmets. I pay a moderate price and usually replace them every two years. Last year I decided to replace my helmet and I bought a new one. It has been sitting on the floor since last summer as I didn't want to wear it out until I got the last ounce of utility from my older one. I have a wired headset/boom microphone installed which is very useful on group rides where I can connect an FRS/GMRS radio and be in contact with other riders. This year I decided to upgrade to a Bluetooth Headset unit


After I cut the lawn last Saturday I grabbed my new helmet to wire in the speakers and boom mic. I also charged the Bluetooth unit so I could try it out. I really hate to open new things and it was a struggle to finally cut the tags off, but I did . . .


I sat on my front stairs and breathed in the warm sunshine as I did my installation work. It's not a difficult operation, I unsnapped the padding and used double sided tape to mount the ear pieces on both sides, and then the boom mic. The unit also comes with a velcro'd mic for installation on the chin bar of full face helmets.


I really wanted a full face but I have a funny head and with glasses they just pinched too hard. I have a modular helmet I bought a few years ago. It is still new and unused. It makes me feel claustrophobic. Because your right hand is on the throttle, I mounted the Bluetooth unit on the left so I could reach the buttons. The helmet is curved so I had to move it around to the back of the helmet


My new helmet also has an inside sliding sun shield which is engaged by moving a lever. The Bluetooth works great. I have already synced it with my iPhone4 and it is clear with loud volume. The person on the other end says that I sound great (ie, like normal) I have two BTA: BlueTooth Adapters. I have connected a radio to the BTA and the audio comes out of the helmet speakers, and I have also played old radio shows which I have stored on my iPhone. I have another BTA which can be attached to an FRS/GMRS radio, so hopefully this function will work as well.


I'm slowly checking things off my list, getting ready for my yearly m/c tour to Oregon. I have my new Joe Rocket Ballistic Alter Ego 11.0 jacket, my new Helmet with BlueTooth communicator helmet set, and my new AlpineStar* waterproof riding boots. I need to replace my riding pants soon

Bike maintenance will be next. I had new Michelin Anakee2's installed last September, so they should be okay. I am thinking that the antifreeze should be changed and check out the sprockets, chain & brakes. I will order parts as necessary and have all the work done late June


  1. Bob

    Hallelujah - the Crocs(tm) are back!

    I find that the boom mike sticks in my nostril so i have modified mine.


    1. Nikos:

      the Crocs © have never left, it's just you don't get to see them.

      I can move my boom mic around but I tuck it into the left side when not being used

    2. ....indeed Bob, I took the metal swan neck off and sewed the mike insert to the cheek padding.

  2. Looks like you are getting race ready.

    From someone who just started using new Sidi boots, you might want to break your new ones in a bit before a long ride as the controls feel a little different with the new and you can tell if you are going to get any hot spots and need some mole skin to prevent blisters.

    We've thought about getting wireless communication for our helmets too but we don't need the phone and music stuff, just for between bike chatting. How did you decide on what to buy? And does it have push to talk or does everyone hear whenever you say something out loud?

    1. Trobairitz:

      you females are too efficient. First I didn't try on my jacket in the riding position, and now I have to "break" my boots in by actually using them. They do seem a bit stiff and needs some flexing action.

      as you know, I used the "wired" headset the last time but when I have to ride by myself all the way to Oregon, it gets a bit lonely with echoes bouncing around in my head, so I would like to listen to music, or old "radio" shows. I couldn't do this with the wired ones. Also, while I don't like to answer my phone whilst riding, sometimes I am expecting a call and it is a nuisance to let it go to voicemail, then retrieve the voicemail and stop somewhere to phone back, and often by the time I can stop, the caller is long gone and I have to leave a VM, and the cycle repeats all day. That's why I prefer text messages. Anyway, I sync'd the phone to the BT;Bluetooth and it works and has good volume. I should be able to connect an FRS/GMRS radio to it too, to be able to talk to you too.

      I was going to get the SENA SMH-10 with BTA but decided to stick with Mr LEE from http://imc-motorcom.ca/ I am a long time customer with him and he is the importer of Cameos


      I got the BHS-500 solo rider. It is useless to get the dual channel as you are only able to sync with ONE other rider, which is no good on groups rides with more than two riders. I considered getting another wired one, BUT with this one I can sync TWO BT units, so I was going to sync with my BT GPS to get directions. With these IMC units I can go to Mr Lee's home and pick them up and also easier if there are any warrantee issues by dealing with a local person

      I think for touring in a group it is compulsary to have some way of communication with each other, such as we did with washroom breaks, and scenic pullouts for photos. It's not always easy to find a place to safely pull over and stop to chat

    2. Trobairitz:

      forgot to add: You use regular FRS/GMRS radios, PTT button, but anyone with an earpiece can hear the transmission, so those without headsets won't be able to talk back, but they will be able to hear directions and where to turn or stop

  3. Yo are going to be looking flash when you head to Oregon! Best looking biker around.

    1. Roger:

      Sorry you are not coming over to OUR continent this year. I was going to invoice my 300 mile rule. I would come to anywhere from a 300 mile radius to see your beaming face. I have a convertible leather jacket which changes into a full mesh which I wore 2 years ago, and it was a bit tight back then. I don't dare try to zip it up this year, I need to breathe

  4. Bob: That's just what I need – a jacket that's tailored, slimming & form fitting.
    Got to love outfits that'll do that for you.
    So, you're going to Oregon? That's only 2-days and 2-hours from Tom and me. Why not extend the trip a bit?
    I like the communications thing but with only one ear working, I can't have any distractions coming in.
    But I can sing. Real Loud.

    1. Mike:

      That JR Ballistic Alter Ego 11.0 seems to fit very well, but the proof will be in the riding, if only I get the courage to cut the tags off.

      You just gave me an idea, I could tell the family I am riding to Portland, but end up in Portland, Maine by accident

      communications is especially important when in a group on a tour. We can discuss stops, washroom, gas breaks, or decided not to stop like we did the last time. You and Thomas should get a set. In heavy traffic the radio allows us to keep together and let each other in as we make room for them to merge into our lane(s)

  5. yay! i totally support wearing/using ALL the gear before this big trip. there are some surprises i know i would rather do without, lol.
    radio/chatbox, hmmm, ive always considered one...

    1. Ms M:

      You are right, I should "test" ride them before the trip and make sure all the zippers work. Lots of people have the chatterbox but I like the idea of the GMRS radios as you can also use the when you are not on the bike. If you are walking around at a bike show, or meeting somewhere you can reach each other by radio. The added bonus is you can hear music or answer your phone using the BlueTooth. I am hoping you are able to ride one day north in July. Would be nice to see you again

  6. Nice Bluetooth setup. So far, I have had no desire to listen to anything while riding and I generally use earplugs to try and save my hearing. My helmet is pretty loud and I thought about getting a new one but every time I look, I get sticker shock and back away. And the only one I've tried on that is really comfortable has been the Schuberth C3.

    A couple of years ago, I picked up some mesh gear but it has neer been warm enough to try it out. I'm sending it down to Oregon for my trip this summer since I don't feel like carrying two sets of gear. How do people normally manage that anyway?

    1. Richard:

      As mentioned, I only pay modest prices for a reasonable helmet and use them for 2 years before replacement. I stay away from high end, high priced helmets.

      as far as hot weather riding gear, I like to buy jackets which can turn into a full mesh by having removeable panels, so you only have to carry/wear one jacket. Same as the pants. I have Joe Rocket Alter Ego pants and the front panel is removeable which lets the air circulate into the pants giving you the feeling that the hot air is cooling you.

      My helmet is loud with lots of wind noise so I figured if I have to wear earplugs, I might as well have speakers in them to hear music and the bluetooth will come in handy with the GPS, so I can hear the person inside giving directions. I have to ride by myself until I get to Oregon and I have a few old "radio shows" inside my iPhone. I can stream the "shows" into the headset using the Bluetooth. I have already tested it, and it works. I have "only the shadow knows", a few "superman" and "charlie Chan". It's sort of like looking at TV with only the sound

  7. The new jacket really becomes you. You are getting yourself well prepared for the trip. Good job!

    1. Sonja:

      I still have that leather jacket I wore in 2010 which turns into a mesh, but it was tight back then, and I am afraid to try it on . . . so I just purchased a new Joe Rocket Ballistic Alter Ego 11.0 I was going to buy the Olympia Hi Viz yellow, but I already have the Hi Viz orange and it does not change into a mesh. I thought it would be too hot in the 100°F temps, besides my commuter/daily JR jacket is over 5 years old and I thought I needed a new one

  8. i will need to replace my hi-viz coat by the end of this trip. it is getting seriously worn out.

    new gear is nice. break those boots in before your trip though. it'll make walking easier.