Joined: Sep 2004
Location: Cranberry Country, MA
Gear Review - Part 1
Well, she beat me to it as usual. But here's the beginning of my review, beware it's long and boring.
Since I've been writing this for 6 hours so far, each review is getting shorter and shorter so I'll stop here and finish the rest later. Please let me know if there is a particular piece of equipment that I forgot to review.
Usage – Every day for 62 days, 12,000 miles
Conditions –Mixed terrain, ample rain, no mud. August through October.
Temperature range 24 -100 degrees Fahrenheit
Body Type – Athletic build
Motorcycle – 2007 BMW R1200GS Adventure
Bias – Like most BMW gear, own at least 3-4 coats and pants. I’m also a big fan of the Rallye II and previously considered it the best gear for this type of travel.
Background – 15 years of consistent riding, almost no understanding of garment/fabric engineering. 20+ years of camping, mountaineering in all climates.
Cayenne Pro - Pants (Large, Black)
- Fit- Perfect with room for adjustment, thermal and waterproof liners without being baggy or restricted at either extreme. Not sure how they did that, but it works. Also, the adjustable waist is a simple godsend that allows many different body types to use 3-4 size pants.
- Durability – Outstanding. The cuffs usually take a beating under this type of torture, but they show zero signs of wear. (Note: the R12GSA pegs would often grab the inner cuff of the pant as I would put my leg down, I was shocked that it never ripped or strained the seams.) Also, the black color never showed any dirt as opposed to my tan Summer pants or grey Rallye pants. The only drawback was heat. See below.
- Temperature range – Excellent. The thermal and waterproof liners allowed me to ride below freezing with nothing else on. In the past I would wear thermal liner (power stretch fleece) and heated chaps to ride in these temperatures. In the heat, they were a bit warm, but performed as well as any pants of this type I’ve owned. It’s worth noting that the pants were black which doesn’t help this issue.
- Cargo – Good. The pants have two waterproof pockets (brilliant) but it did leave me occasionally looking for more. I have grown to like the cargo pocket of my Summer pants. (I stored my passport in my coat which I would often remove and put down for short periods. I would have employed the cargo pocket in a pants and not been concerned)
- Ease of Use – Excellent. The zippers at the top and bottom are superior to the hook and snap design used on other removable liners. Also the vertical zippers make boot adjustments or entry much easier.
- Appearance – Good/Great. Black hides a world of sins including 12k miles of grime and bugs, but I think I might have preferred something that wasn’t entirely black without looking like I just landed. I always hated the attention that the Rallye II brought in it’s Spaceman Spiff styling, but basic black gets boring. Also, I love the fit, but hate the according styling that probably allows for flexibility and versatility.
- Serviceability – Poor. There are no care instructions on the pants or coat. (edit: found the tag in the pants) The instructions on the website do not permit for basic field care. Considering this coat appears to be marketed for third world adventure, they should allow for appropriate care in these environments.
- Velcro – I’m learning to hate this stuff. The adjustable waistband granted excess male Velcro which tore holes in my Widder electric vest and mangled my Techwick (quick-dry polyester) shirts. This might have been prevented or lessened by using female blanks. Something I would advise they ship with the pants.
- Two holes developed in the pants pockets in the same place, at the bottom of the zipper. No idea why or how this happened, but considering the symmetrical faults, it seems to be a design flaw. (unless I have unusually bony posterior superior iliac spine) Note: Rev'it asked me to send the pants back to them for review, look back here for updates.
- Would suggest exploring an waterproof overpant. The inner waterproof liner in the coat is not an issue since you usually have a shirt on, but I usually only wear underwear or thin shorts under the pants. Getting half naked on the side of the road in the summer* in the rain draws more attention than I prefer. (* in the fall, the liners stay in almost full time, so this issue is more prevalent when the temperatures stay above 70 degrees F
Overall: Outstanding. These will be part of my future kit for expeditions. I’m hoping Rev’it will sort out the small issues for me.
Cayenne Pro – Coat (XL, Grey/Red/Black)
- Fit – Excellent. I often have difficulty finding a coat that allows enough shoulder width without having a barrel waist. Although there is a tad more room through the waist than I would prefer fully cinched, it’s still the best fitting riding coat I’ve owned. The adjustable waist straps made it worth the extra money over the original Cayenne for me. The sliding collar button with bungie holder is brilliant and worked remarkably well. I would have appreciated a little more adjustment as I was unable to close it with the electric vest, but my neck may be larger than most. Armor was all well placed and rarely noticeable except for weight, The original backpad is poor and should not be included. My dealer was good enough to upgrade it to a Sastech for free.
- Durability – Excellent. The grey color is showing the miles, dirt and bugs, but the red color does not appear to be fading. There are no tears, pulls or frays. All the seams are in order. The Velcro is well placed and did not graze on any other articles of clothing.
- Temperature Range – Great/Good. The coat did amazingly well given the extremes. Overall it worked better in the colder temperatures than the warm, see cons below. The inner two liners allow flexibility without electric heat. The engineering of the zippers and ease of insertion is excellent. There are two options for zipping the coat and pants together which also allows extra range in temperature.
- Cargo – Excellent. Where to start. This coat has more pockets than you know what to do with, until you take a long trip. I found a use and regular home for things in each of the pockets. The there are two waterproof pockets instead of a removable sleeve which I prefer. The combination pocket/mesh inner pockets helped temperature control.
- Ease of Use – Great. I had minor issues with the rubberized zippers on the arms, snap closures of inner sleeve liners, but otherwise the entire coat worked flawlessly. The pant connect zippers were easy to use, something I’ve never been comfortable using in the past.
- Appearance – Great. I very much like the styling of the coat and although it still draws attention, at least they recognize you’re from this planet. What little this may detract from the coat is made up for with versatility. I would prefer a smaller logo on the back, or a large check for the advertising. ( I removed the BMW logos from my Rallye II)
- Serviceability – Poor. Please see pants.
- Temperature range was better in the cold. They might have improved the higher end with longer arm zippers and longer back zippers. I was able to wear the coat in 100 in Death Valley, but I was very uncomfortable in Philadelphia traffic at 85-90 (plus humidity). Please Note: My experience may be different than others based on motorcycle conditions (windshield, etc)
- Logo – You’re on the map now, could we make this a little smaller? Please?
Overall: Outstanding - These will be part of my future kit for expeditions.
BMW Savannah Boots
- Fit my wide feet well with all day comfort.
- Good temperature range, although better in the cold
- Bombproof. They are absolutely waterproof and don’t look any worse given the conditions
- Stankproof. These boots didn’t stink at all and they had every right to.
- A little warm in hot weather, but I doubt any boot could fit this role and be any cooler.
- Most comfortable and quiet helmet I can remember owning
- Durable – has worn very well on this trip.
- Visor was very helpful during sunrise and sundown.
- Looks cool.
- Minor rattling in visor.
- Visor could be a tad longer.
- Satin/matte finish was more difficult to keep clean.
- Needs ratchet strap, D rings are old and slow.
Garmin 276c GPS
- Full control of information, flexibility of display and ease of use without being too elementary.
- Large display, rugged, waterproof and good battery life
- Flawless performance under harsh conditions for 4 years.
- Awkward plug design
- Proprietary memory = expensive expansion
- Buttons would be better located on left panel
- Moving maps is tedious and battery consuming in the field.
MSR Mo Room 3
- Large, spacious design with ample headroom everywhere
- Compact packed design is not much larger than most of my 2 person tents.
- Weight is considerably less than any other competitor we reviewed
- Spacious vestibule is ideal for storing moto kit and doubles as a kitchen in bad weather.
- Lots of pockets, 2 gear hammocks,
- Truly a three person tent with gear
- Two doors
- Difficult to set up with one person
- Time consuming to break down
- Must be staked, not freestanding (difficult in some conditions)
- Frost collected inside, then melted and dripped inside when warmed
- Vents allowed rain to leak when not erected on level ground.
- Too big for our taste for two people. Will take a two person tent next time.
- Cost - $500
BMW R1200GS Adventure
- Bulletproof, powerful, comfortable, great ergonomics, fantastic handling
- Fuel consumption ranges from average to great
- Versatile, tool like design is the Swiss Army knife of bikes.
- Off road capable beyond expectations
- Shaft drive simplicity was beautiful compared to F650GS daily maintenance.
- Heavy, difficult to extract when turtled. Bags often needed to be removed before it could be righted even in ideal conditions.
BMW R1200GS Tank Bag
- Large, versatile bag
- Well contoured to bike, never left marks on paint
- Extra pocket good for small items
- Very waterproof
- Difficult to organize, often felt messy and cluttered
- Could benefit from more small pockets on the outside.
- Map pocket is almost unusable. It’s designed for A4 paper and the closure is smaller than the pocket. The plastic is discoloring and BMW will happily return it if you have your original receipt.
BMW R1200GS Adventure Panniers (Touratech)
- Ample space
- Sharp looking design
- Airtight, watertight
- Dual open design lids work well, removable feature came in handy in windy areas for cooking
- Durable, suffered mild torment without much issue (see below)
- Tight tolerances in lid closure are unforgiving when dropped. They are also no field serviceable without more precise tools to return to original shape
- Wire lid hanger falls off incessantly.
- Wide design is difficult for tight offroad conditions
Ortlieb Roll-top Duffle (XL)
- Bombproof design is truly a world traveler
- Ease of use with four buckles
- Quality is all first rate
Touratech Windscreen Spoiler
- Significantly reduced buffeting for me (5’11”, 32 inseam)
- Clip on design allows easy removal for off road
- Cost - $123 is expensive but worth it for me.
Custom Rear Gear Rack
- Worked well, allowed easy keyed removal of duffle without undoing straps
- Held other small repair items: extra straps, Velcro, JB Weld, small bungies
- Reduced height of load
MSR Whisperlite International Stove
- No (comfortable) capacity for passenger
- Will burn almost any fuel, ideal for moto travel
- No other fuel to search for/run out of
- Small, durable design
- International availability for service, parts, replacement
- Poor temperature control, largely dependent on bottle pressure
- Gets sooty with each use when using unleaded
Coleman Space Bags
- Design allows great compression, maximum space
- Bags tore open after less than 12 uses
- Bags leaked and needed to have straps/restrictions to keep from re-aerating
Yet to review:
HowlingMad screwed with this post 06-14-2009 at 10:27 AM