I recently went on a weekend moto-adventure trip up through the Pacific Coast Highway (click here for trip photo gallery), and I took this chance to put both new and old gears to test. All gears that I used and listed below, except for the rain pants, were provided by the respective companies; however this is not a paid advertisement/endorsement for their products or for the companies.
The trip was a 48 hour, 400 miles (644km) trip from San Francisco to Mendocino, California through the magnificent Highway 1 (aka. Pacific Coast Highway). What better way/place to test out some moto gears. So here is my brief impression of all the gears I used on the trip:
I already have full reviews on most of the gears listed below, so click on the title-links to see the reviews
AETHER was kind enough to provide us with three of their Skyline jackets. I already own one and have been using it as my primary jacket for the past year, but this was my first chance to really test it out on a long distance trip.
Three of us on the trip can agree that this jacket was super comfortable during the trip. It rained about 60% of the time we were riding, with temperature ranging rom 50-60 Fahrenheit (10-16 Celsius) and it kept us warm the whole time and dry for most of the ride. We hit a downpour once and during that time, it did leak through the jackets a bit, especially for my two friends who
were riding the Ducati Scrambler and r Nine T, which didn’t have windshields and very minimal front mudguards. I was on the BMW GS1200 for most of the ride, so I was dry the whole time.
I love the minimalist look of these jackets, and they looked really good with all three of the bikes we had: Ducati Scrambler, BMW rNineT, BMW GS1200.
I asked NEXX for a new helmet because I wanted something with a bit more minimalist look, so they sent me their new Devon XG100 helmet. I already really like the XG100 I own, but never really used it for a long distance ride, so this was a perfect testing opportunity.
Coincidentally, the graphics/color on the Ducati Scrambler we rented was a perfect match to the Devon helmet. Besides the look, the helmet is comfortable and light. Surprisingly the shield held up well during the whole ride.
The downside was that the helmet didn’t have a ear-speaker slot, so my ears were pretty soar after some time due to my comm system speakers I had to put in my helmet. Another down side is that the helmet only has a chin ventilation, so my shield did get foggy in the cold, but I think most of the fogging came from talking a lot. With our comm systems, we were chatting constantly.
You probably already know that I love my Motorpool pants and I’ve been wearing both my Motorpools for a long time (brown and olive color). For this trip, I just wanted something new, and they just came out with the black Motorpool, so they sent me one for this trip.
I opted to not use the knee pads for this trip (my friends did), but these pants have knee and hip pad slots that you can use. As always, Motorpools are super comfortable and reliable. Obviously, it’s not waterproof, so we did have to use separate rain pants during our trip.
They look good, are comfortable and provide protection if you choose to. What more can you ask?
Rain Pants | Rebel Roamer by Columbia
This is probably the only gear on this list that’s not a motorcycle dedicated gear. Although you could get rain moto pants, I just decided to go to a local REI (outdoor gear store) and buy a pair of good/cheap rain pants. People would normally use these for hiking, but I thought it worked perfectly well for bike riding. They were easy to put on-and-off on top of my riding pants, and they did keep my pants fully dry. Didn’t look too bad either.
Communication | PACKTALK by Cardo Scala
First, I have no idea how people ride long distance in a group without any communication systems. It’s like going on a road trip in a car and not talking to anyone in the car. I’ve used Cardo’s G9 bluetooth systems before, but they sent me a pair of their new PACKTALK, which uses their new technology, Dynamic Meshwork Communication (DMC).
If you used bluetooth comm systems before, then you know they can be staticky and unreliable from time to time, but this new DMC is supposed to be night and day different from the bluetooth comm quality so I was really excited to test this out.
We had a pair of PACKTALK, which is linked through DMC and we patched in a third comm system through bluetooth. This would have been a great opportunity to be able to compare between DMC and bluetooth systems, but… right as we were rolling out of the garage, one of the PACKTALK’s microphone homehow failed to work so my friend ended up having to replace it with his old bluetooth G9 system. As a result, we were all connected through bluetooth and I wasn’t able to test out the quality of the DMC technology.
Regardless, having comm systems takes moto traveling to a whole new level. During the trip, we were constantly exchanging feedbacks on our bikes, gears, and road during the whole trip. Makes trips like this that much more worth it. Plus, you don’t need to hand signals if you want to pull over to take a break or take pictures.
We flew into San Francisco and rented bikes and rode up to Mendocino. This was only a 48 hour trip so I wanted minimal luggage and Colfax’s backpack was perfect for the job. I was able to fit everything I needed in the bag, including all my camera gears (DSLR body, 3 lenses, tripod, GoPro mount, and accessories) and clothes for two full days. Additionally, the bag was comfortable and water-resistant, so it kept all my belongings dry during the trip.
I chose to wear my 1000 Mile boots because I know its comfortable and reliable. It’s obviously not a motorcycle boots, nor is it made for touring, but I know what to expect from it and that’s what mattered. These boots are not waterproof, but it did surprisingly well not at drenching my socks and my feet weren’t cold during the whole trip.