Originally Posted by Kootenai Rider
I'm a newer rider and have not ridden ATGATT here in my first year when street riding, and having since joined ADV here recently, I am kicking myself for that after reading all of these first hand accounts, and the "what is the strangest thing you've hit/almost hit" thread. I've always ridden in helmet, gloves, and decent jacket, but not consistent elsewhere. I am reconsidering all that. I finally got off my butt and bought a good street helmet (Arai XD) and though I've had a Tourmaster jacket, I am looking at the Kihlamajaro or Scorpion Jacket, and some better street pants. I usually wear my Fly Racing MX pants, but those do not offer much protection on the street.
Riding offroad bikes I am always geared up with all the MX gear, (knee/elbow protection,KBC helmet, goggles, gloves, Thor boots,Fly chest protector, Fly racing pants) So I wondered why I haven't geared up as much on road. I have changed that.
Reading this thread though, I see a lot of mention of gearing up less for those short trips. Isn't the statistics about auto accidents something about how most auto accidents happen within just a few miles of the house? (You are statistically more likely to be near your house and let your guard down as they are familiar surroundings. ) So doesn't stand to say that you shouldn't lighten up the gear even/especially on those short trips?
Yeah, I pointed that out when talking helmet use in another ATG thread. Caught hell because I will ride in shorts and tee. Not without a helmet and not without gloves. The helmet is the main protection for the most vital organ, the gloves keep the black crap from the grips off my hands.
Again, I know I should wear more. I won't rationalize it. I will say I ride differently when covered less. A bit slower and more heightened attention (if that's possible) when reacting to drivers. I'll slow sooner and such. Still, not justification for less gear.
When I go to races I either have shorts in the back pack or under my pants. A coat is almost always on for any longer riding, if for nothing else than to have sun protection.
Back to statistics, really it doesn't matter where most riding is done, the fact remains a motor vehicle operator is most likely to be in a crash within 25 miles of home. Therefore it makes most sense to wear, at a minimum, the full face helmet for that most vital area - your skull and brain - and, contrary to what I sometimes do, wear the most protective gear then too.
I'm thinking more and more. I know I don't ride in shorts near as often as I used to for that very reason.
By the way there was a magazine, probably Cycle, that did some testing of materials with a rig the set up on the back of a truck. It would drop a bag filled with powder (flour or chalk) and covered with the test material. The results were pretty amazing. You were better off to run without a coat if your coat was simply single layer nylon, the nylon could melt into your skin. Elbow, shoulder, and back pads make that less an issue now. New denim would wear through quicker than worn denim, the worn denim apparently was smoother and slid better. Obviously the light thinner dress leather didn't wear as well as full motorcycle leather.
The results kind of went with nylon trashing out first in about maybe 5 feet (all this is guesstimate by memory), new denim went about 10 feet, old denim went about 18 feet, I think they may have tested Kevlar, but I forget. Dress leather went about maybe 25 feet, and motorcycle leather went like 43+feet. Now this was a direct drag with no rocking around like a rider might do. It was on an abrasive paved road. It wasn't overly scientific, but the results made sense. Maybe I'll try to see if I could find that article again. Regardless, leather was king with heavier fabric being second.