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Old 08-26-2010, 04:06 PM   #1
hyperboarder OP
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Location: Meridian, ID
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Mega Gear Review Ė Firstgear, Klim, Fox, HJC, Garmin, Ogio, HT, Big Agnes, Kelty, etc

Just got back from my first real ADV ride (report is here) and I figured I’d throw up my review for my gear. I bought a lot, and I’ll try to review it all, but I’ll probably forget some. I’ll do one piece per post (except for the bonus reviews) to keep it broken up. Disclaimer: I took none of these pics, so if they're yours, sorry, just wanted to put up representations of what I'm talking about. First the bike stuff:

2010 Firstgear Rainier Jacket (the one with the D3O armor)



Let me start with what I don’t like, the stupid 3D logos on the arms. They’re already peeling off, not gonna last.

Now what I didn’t get a chance to use, the liner. It’s a softshell material, pretty comfy and looks damn near normal (minus the zipper for the flap to attach pants). I’d happily wear it out during colder months, but it was never cold enough to wear it on this trip, so it stayed in the pannier the whole time.

Finally, the jacket itself. Bloody fantastic. I paid about $300 for it (MSRP is like $500) and I was a little apprehensive, never spent this much on gear before. I came from sportbikes and a trifecta of Icon jackets (I quite like the Timax, but it’s not overly functional) that I got second hand. This thing has at least 13 pockets without the liner, one could argue too many, but not enough to get in the way. I think I used 5 total and did just fine. My favorites were the two security ones (wallet and paperwork) and the key pocket on the left arm.

It appears to fit true to size (I wear a large shirt and the large jacket fit great) and is so comfy. The D3O is CE approved and very low key, much more flexible than the hard stuff. I didn’t get to see how well it worked thankfully, but assuming it’s as good as they say, I’m not at all worried about my safety. They claim 100% waterproof and aside from the exhaust vents I forgot to close, I have to agree. The hood in the collar worked great, it cooled me down a bit (forces air down your back) but 100+ miles of rain and I came out dry. As far as adjustability, there’s a lot, enough to make it fit well with or without the liner in. Two on the arms, one in the torso, and an elastic cinch at the bottom.

The venting was adequate, two exhaust, two chest, and two arm (on the wrist). The only time I felt truly hot was through Nevada, when the temp was above 100, and even then I wasn’t too bad. Not horrible for a non-mesh jacket. I’m confident this will do well down to at least 40F, much lower with heated gear. The styling was good, not a true ĺ length (looks too goofy imo) but long in the back and still overall a little longer than a standard length, which was helpful in the rain. One other small thing I’d change is the collar, it’d be nice to have something like the Rev’It collar restraint, it does flap a bit. A camelback helped to tuck it away nicely.

That’s about it, looks great (I have the brown one) and I have very miniscule complaints. Worth every penny in my opinion.

Bonus Review: 4 year old Alpinestars S-MX 2 Air Carbon Gloves



I can’t believe these are still going. The silicone on the fingers is gone and the Velcro is dying, but at the end of the day, I wore these the whole trip and left my brand new Frank Thomas XTi gloves in the panniers. God I love these gloves, comfy, airy, and pretty protective with a great feel and control. That’s all, just plain awesome, saving to buy another pair right now.

hyperboarder screwed with this post 08-26-2010 at 08:10 PM
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Old 08-26-2010, 04:11 PM   #2
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2010 Klim Dakar Pants



These were an impulse buy. I got carried away at Happy Trails and decided why not. Got the Silver/Gray ones in a 36 regular and they fit great (I wear a 36 regular or long in jeans) as a standard pant (tight as an overpant). Very MX styled with added ADV aspects (venting and pockets). Super comfy sitting or standing, nice leather panels in the inner lower leg, and great functionality. Tucked on the bike they sit on the boot without riding up much. They sell these in a longer length but the standard was enough for my 33Ē inseam.

I tend to like my pants baggy, and these were great. They matched the Rainier well and with a pair of athletic shorts underneath, fit perfect. You could definitely tuck them over boots and/or knee or shin guards. I walked all over in these and did great, never got overly hot and stayed super comfy. Awesome pockets, big enough for a lot of stuff and the right one has a key loop.

They are definitely a summer pant, not waterproof and probably a bit chilly, even with heated gear (the exhaust vents donít close), but thatís what I wanted and I think theyíre great at it. The two long front vent zippers are great, huge, and can go either direction, which is great while opening/closing during a ride. The crotch is like another vent, open your legs a bit on the highway and youíll lose a few degrees almost immediately.

I paid retail ($160) but itís nice supporting a local company (Klim is from Idaho where Iím from) and these are more than enough to keep me coming back. I wish they sold a better cold weather pant, guess Iíll have to stick with Firstgear there.


Bonus Review: River Road rain suit pant


No pic, they're boring

Got these cheap and decided why not, my legs were the weak points in my waterproof outfit. Very simple rubbery overpants, black with a couple pockets and the XL was enough to fit over my Klimís. They also had stirrups to hold them over my boots and snaps and Velcro to hold them closed at the bottom. I wore them for a couple hours total, and though they fit awkward, what can you expect for a cheap rainsuit. They did their job, kept me dry, and earned their place in the pannier. I have the jacket too, but with the results from the Rainier jacket, I donít think Iíll ever use it. Check the Flea Market, might be up FS soon.


Bonus Bonus Review: Jockey GoMesh underoos



Tried to stay cheap without sacrificing my butt, ended up picking up 4 pair of GoMesh for $30 or so at Kohls. I love the seamless butts, very comfy on the seat all day. They wick moisture fairly well and staved off Monkey Butt for 6 days, which is all I asked for. The only ones that got really funky were the ones I hiked in, and even those werenít bad. Exactly what I needed, thanks again ADV inmates!
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Old 08-26-2010, 04:14 PM   #3
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HJC FS-15 Terror Helmet




The bike I bought came with an Arai Profile, but it was too narrow and I just don’t trust used helmets. I had an AC-11 before and loved it, so I went and tried this one on at a local shop. Fit great, so I found the cheapest print (Terror, which doesn’t even look all that bad) and ordered it up. I think it was $120 or so, not bad for a DOT/Snell helmet.

The snap on the strap was great, keeps it from flapping, a welcome improvement from my AC-11. I pulled the chin and nose covers, but they’re nice features to include. I wish the shield had more detents, but I survived with the 4 they give you (full open, half open, cracked, and closed) and usually left it cracked, which leads to my first gripe. I don’t know if it was the shield or the lower vent, but the airflow totally dried out my nose. I’m still recovering a week later, but it’s a manageable issue.

The venting was decent, permanently open lower and exhaust vents and open/close top and chin vents. I had them open almost the whole time and they kept my head reasonably cool. Even in the rain, they only leaked when the rain got really bad. I like the Coolmax liner, it’s nice seeing higher end features in a mid range helmet. The ear pads are also loose enough to allow fairly comfortable use of earbuds.

One of my favorite things about HJC is their use of the same shields almost entirely across the boards. They’re cheap and readily available and the included one locks closed and accommodates pin-lock shields. On that subject, the stock screen does alright in terms of fogging, I was in a dry part of the country with minimal cold mornings and humidity, but I never had an issue.

The price was right on this and I’m glad I got it. The Arai would have been too tight and I really think HJC is the #1 helmet producer for a reason. I’ll definitely keep shopping with them and hope the release a dual sport helmet soon.
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Old 08-26-2010, 04:16 PM   #4
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Fox Comp 5S Boots



This was another decision I agonized about. I wanted ankle coverage and support without going to a full MX boot. I also wanted to not spend an arm and a leg, so Sidi and Alpinestars were probably out. I was pretty much left with some off brands, a few Icons, the Thor 50/50, and the Foxes. After reading a ton of reviews, I took the plunge and got them. I wear a 13 shoe and the 13 fit well, if not a tad loose. They are made to be on a bike, my foot slides back a tad while riding and make them fit like they should.

One of my main gripes about the KLR is the footpeg arrangement, itís set up for someone with a size 8 foot. I rotated my shifter up a notch, and though it took getting used to, they worked well. A pair of slightly lower pegs would make it all work perfectly, but real moto boots would not work at all, especially for long distances.

I canít remember reading anything saying theyíre waterproof, but they appear to be at least tenaciously water resistant. Lots of rain, no wet feet. No complaints. Theyíre also pretty comfy compared to MX boots, I walked at least a few miles in them and they werenít much worse than my Keen hiking boots. The buckles were good, easy to adjust, but as others have said, the Velcro is kind of annoying. It would be better as a 3rd buckle, but meh, itís easy to get over.

The other gripe Iíve heard is the odd ankle guard on the inside of the boot. Yeah, it looks dumb, but thereís a plastic panel running from the sole all the way up it, and I didnít notice it after the first couple miles, so itís fine by me. I wish they came in not-black, but again, minor inconvenience, Iíll get over it. At the end of the day, it was definitely $120 well spent.


Bonus Review: Omni-wool socks



After hearing that merino wool was a great way to go, I stumbled upon a 3 pack for $15 at Sams and picked them up. Aside from a few hours in sandals and sleeping times, I had a pair of these on the entire trip. For the most part, I straight forgot I had them on, which is about the highest marks I can give them. No stink, and though my feet often came out of boots (hiking or riding) sweaty, I really couldnít feel it while they were on. Like much of the gear, they only got hot while in ludicrous weather (108F), which is acceptable. Theyíre also easy to find, cheap, and Iíll happily wear them year round. Money well spent.
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Old 08-26-2010, 04:19 PM   #5
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On to the parts section!

Garmin Nuvi 500 and associated accessories



It was a toss up between this and the 60cx (or 60csx, canít remember which I liked more). I liked how similar it was to a car GPS without the Zumo price, and the fact that it came with preloaded street and topo maps. Plus the RAM mount was cheaper and works better, so I went Nuvi. Still not sure about this decision.

Itís a very easy interface that works well, even with gloved fingers. One button push to get to a trip odometer, three to get to a screen that shows you elevation (used it a lot). I honestly donít know if it speaks street names because I had it muted the whole time (I think it doesnít), but it was good about clearly displaying directions on the screen and never led me astray. I took it through rain and the KLR shook the bejesus out of it and it never skipped a beat, so thatís nice. Glad it lived up to itís specs.

As many have said, the topo was pretty meh. Itís a cool feature and I hope to use it more in the future, but not amazing. It also claimed that 67 was unpaved and the maps were obviously a bit old, but new enough to get me around. It seemed to have fairly up to date city maps though, it had new streets in my neighborhood. OddÖ

The RAM mount lived up to their reputation, easy to mount and position (I had it so it barely blocked my neutral light). It transmits every vibration to the GPS, but what can you expect? The actual cradle holds the GPS in a way that you usually press the power button when taking it out, but I got used to it. You also have to put the GPS in the cradle before plugging it in, but thatís a minor inconvenience. For some reason my charging plug bent a bit, really not sure what from, but it wasnít enough to damage anything, just something to note.

Overall Iím still on the fence with this purchase. Iím happy itís usable in a car and quite burly (this will be my traveling GPS in the future) but Iím not 100% sold. Knowing me Iíll pick up a 60cx in the future and run a trip with both of them because Iím a giant nerd .
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Old 08-26-2010, 04:24 PM   #6
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Ogio Tanker Tank Bag



I was seriously eyeballing Wolfman stuff (heís less than 10 miles from me as I type this) but was already a tad over budget. When I found a used Ogio for $35 shipped I jumped on it. First things first, this thing is a monster! I never filled it over halfway full and didnít even think about expanding it to get more room. Itís definitely big on the KLR, probably better suited for a cruiser or maybe a sportbike, but I made due. Luckily it wasnít overly wide, I never really noticed it between my legs.

One of my favorite features is the adjustability of the magnets. I pulled the front and rear one and moved them to the sides so it would hold better to the tank. One came out twice and scratched my tank a bit, but thatís alright, it did its job for the most part. Thereís one safety strap at the front that I looped around the fork and it has clips on both sides to make getting to the gas cap easier. After a few tries I got the hang of this, unclip left side, peel bag back, open cap, prop bag up with cap, etc. Works fine, about as good as the Joe Rocket Manta I had on my old bike.

The map pocket on the bag wasnít big enough for my Michelin atlas but served as a good home for the blackberry, ipod, and camera. Itís easy to get into with a gloved hand and is relatively rainproof. On that note the bag has an attached rain hood stashed in a pocket on the front. I used it once, did its job just fine. There are two side pockets, one with a little divider to stash stuff in front of, one rear pocket (I put cash in here) and the big main pocket. The main pocket has a small mesh pocket in the front, great for storing cords and chargers. As I said, plenty big for most users.

Another cool feature was the bag zipped off and left just the base on the bike. Very nice and easy to remove or replace. When the bag is off, you still get a clear map pocket which proved to be a very good place to store paperwork from the campsites. You also get D-rings, so theoretically you could leave the bag at home and strap something else in its place.

Not sure if Iíd pay the $90 or so retail price, but at $35, this was a great deal.


Bonus Review: Stearns ATV Seat Pad




Bought this on a whim, Iíd heard good things and thought why not, itís $18. I didnít bother to modify it, just popped the seat, strapped it on, and finagled it back on. It doesnít interfere much with the plastics, so I didnít modify those at all. While itís nothing amazing, it is a welcome increase in padding. It was odd, my butt got sore on some of the shorter days, but on the long haul home (700 miles in 12 hours) it did just fine.

The thing is a sponge, so keep it covered when stationary with any chance of rain, but otherwise it was a good buy. I want a sheepskin long term, but Iím comfortable waiting for a bit on that purchase as this will do for now.

hyperboarder screwed with this post 08-26-2010 at 04:44 PM
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Old 09-07-2010, 02:24 AM   #7
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Thanks for the review

there is so much bs on gear and it gets crazy.

I have the Rainer and love it but this will be my first LDR trip.

I really like the info on the Klim Dakar pants,

thanks, j
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graceav
there is so much bs on gear and it gets crazy.

I have the Rainer and love it but this will be my first LDR trip.

I really like the info on the Klim Dakar pants,

thanks, j
There is a lot of info out there, glad I could help you out a bit. I rode in to work this morning in the Klims and the Firstgear in ~40 degree weather. With the liner in on the Rainier and just a t shirt underneath my torso was warm. I had light thermals under the pants and was a tad cold at speed. The gloves were the real achilles heel, my hands are still sore and stiff. I need something with more insulation.

Ceri JC, I haven't tried yet, but I'm sure it would be cake. It's a bit flimsy, but with any luck sturdy enough so it doesn't grenade or anything .
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