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Old 06-02-2011, 12:18 PM   #1
samadams0824 OP
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Location: Kingston, ON, Canada
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Hot weather ATGATT solutions.

Hi all, I always ride ATGATT (full face helmet, joe rocket textile suit with armored knee, shoulder, elbow,back, motorcycle boots and gloves)

Even zipped down to mesh (joe rocket alter ego suit) I am DYING in traffic. even out on the open road travelling 60-70 the heat is barely tolerable in full ATGATT,
side mounted radiators are great for avoiding stone chips and a nightmare for frying your legs (5th gen VFR)

I would like to find some alternative, particularly for my lower half which will enable me to maintain ATGATT or at least MOTGATT, without turning my legs into bacon (be it from road rash or sheer heat).

I went to the shop today and ordered the Icon Field Armor Stryker Shorts,

partially as part of an alternate solution and partially because I feel the hip armor in my suit is inadequate anyway. The shorts have an aramid side panel in addition to the CE approved hip armor, so they tick the abrasion and impact boxes.

My main concern is knee armor, ideally coupled with riding jeans but possibly also regular jeans, thus MOTGATT.

Does anyone use the Icon Knee/shin stuff?
How about Motocross gear?
How is the fit when coupled with full length riding boots?

Sorry for the long winded intro and thanks in advance for any input,


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Old 06-02-2011, 12:21 PM   #2
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I have a mesh suit for hot weather, and some heavier gear for when it's cooler. The thing is, when it's really hot out, and the radiator fan is pumping a lot of heat out of the engine, the hot air blast on my right leg is far less comfortable in the mesh than it is through leather.
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Old 06-02-2011, 01:21 PM   #3
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When it gets past 35C (95F) (even less if in high humidity) and you're in stop and go traffic, there is simply no solution... In low speeds mesh pants are indeed worst as the heat from the fans penetrates more easily...

Every year I set off determined to stay ATGATT for the whole summer but in the end some very hot days with lots of stops (I usually have to visit many customers) I end up going with just the helmet and gloves.

This summer I am gonna test some kevlar jeans from Polo, and these boots... Mesh jacket on top and, of course, gloves and FF helmet... A friend had a nasty accident (cager run a stop sign) and avoided the worst because of his gear so that gave me extra incentive to sweat it through and shut up...

So far the boots and jeans work fine (a little warm at the knees but not too much) but I know that the real test will be during August...
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Old 06-02-2011, 01:39 PM   #4
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Yeah, I was going to say that mesh pants are not always the best solution for bikes that give off a fair amount of heat. My old FJR was more comfortable in hot weather with non-mesh pants due to the heat from the radiator.

My current bike is a BMW RT and it doesn't send off a lot of heat. Mesh pants would work fine but my mesh pants were cut off me last year by paramedics. I was riding on a 95 degree day and had a serious accident. That mesh gear saved me from a LOT of pain and misery. The back armor saved me from a snapped spine when the bike landed on me.

I currently use a mesh jacket but non-mesh pants. The Aerostich Darien pants haven't been as horrible as I feared they would be in extreme heat. I may splurge for Motoport pants at some point but right now, I think I'm fine without them.
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Old 06-02-2011, 02:16 PM   #5
samadams0824 OP
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Well i'm going to pick up some EVS motocross knee armor and run them under some double front carhartts and see if things improve much.

Half the issue with the overpant in terms of heat is it is OVER another layer...
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Old 06-02-2011, 02:55 PM   #6
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I certainly hear your concerns.

I run a mesh jacket and pant. They come with liners for rain/wind/cold as needed.

Varies pairs of gloves as needed; mesh summer/lower protection ones defiantly get worn.

Yes I get hot..

What I find interesting is that often in the summer when I occasionally wear shorts + the bike pants, I feel the engine heat more than jeans + pants. The rest of the legs are cooler from airflow, but net effect of heat it worse.

To summarize -- layering obviously keeps summer heat in, but can also keep bad heat out.

As a result, I just wear what I wear based on daily plans and deal with the heal accordingly. Stopping is terrible, but when mobile things aren't bad. You know this; I just haven't found a good way around it with out removing armor.

Now that I have been entirely unhelpful, carry on....
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Old 06-02-2011, 03:01 PM   #7
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this is what i wear in the isn't too bad as far as heat goes. i wouldn't want to go for a jog in it, but even at slow speeds, it is not unbearable and at highway speeds it is actually pretty comfortable even at 95* and high humidity.

i consider it (at least close to) ATGATT, but some might not.

on my feet, i wear smartwool socks (don't let the "wool" part fool you...smartwool socks are great in hot weather) and fox comp 5 shorties (half height MX boot).

between my feet and waist, i sometimes wear a base layer of underarmor heat gear (meaning "designed to keep you cool" gear) tights. sometimes, no base layer. no base layer is a bit cooler, though the UA does a great job of wicking and does not add too much heat. however, i like the base layer as it prevents the straps on my knee/shin guards from irritating my skin.

then, i wear alpinestars reflex knee/shin guards and alpinestars bionic freeride shorts (with CE rated armor...similar to what the OP described). over that i wear duluth trading company firehose cargo pants. they aren't leather, but seem like the would provide decent abrasion resistance (i have not had to test them, though), and they breath better than even regular jeans...and certainly better than leather. (also, the bionic free ride shorts have hard armor over the hip/quad area where much road rash seems to happen...and the tailbone)

(duluth firehose clothing is made out of the same material they wrap firehoses in to keep them from getting destroyed when being dragged around on pavement and run over by cars. it seems pretty similar to carhartt stuff, but is more supple/comfortable and breathes better, imho. it's not leather, but definitely way tougher than regular jeans.)

on my top half, i wear a long sleeve underarmour heat gear shirt with an alpinestars bionic II "jacket" (really a zip up compression suit with CE rated armor). if it is really hot out and i am not going to be riding at high speeds for long, i just wear a loose fitting synthetic t-shirt over the bionic II "jacket".

if it isn't terribly hot, i wear a firehose jacket over the bionic II for extra abrasion resistance.

the bionic II with just a shirt over it does leave a few small areas open to possible road rash, but the shoulders, elbow, forearms, back, and chest (i.e., most likely road contact points) all have good, hard armor on them that is tightly held in place. further, this set up is very cool (temp wise, not fashion wise ). even sitting still at red lights, i don't get *too* hot. and moving at any speed above 15mph or so is no problem at all.

what made the biggest difference for me, though, i think was starting to wear my MX helmet and goggles instead of a full-face street helmet on the street in the summer. yeah, my full face helmet (which i what i wear on the road in cooler weather) does provide better protection, but the MX helmet with googles is still pretty good protection and *waaaaaaaaayyyyy* cooler for me. and your head is key in regulating your body temp, so a cooler helmet will make a big difference.

ymmv, of course. but, for me, this set up is way cooler than leather. i like the compression suit over an armored textile jacket because i think it will keep the armor in place better. also, all this gear doubles as decent off road gear, so i have one set of gear that works pretty well both on and off road. er, well, i have crash tested it (more than once) off-road, and it definitely has done the job there. fortunately, i have not crash tested it on the road (and hope i don't), so i can't really say how it works in a road crash. i think it would give pretty good protection, though, and i know it is not nearly as hot as leather.

(and, no, i don't work for's just that, when i was looking for this stuff, they were the only ones i could find that that had shorts with hard armor instead of just foam and the only compression suit i could find with CE-rated armor.)

(also note that i ride a DRZ and it does not generate much heat on my legs like some of you guys are describing with other bikes...though i think the firehose pants might actually deal with that OK, but i dunno.)
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Old 06-03-2011, 11:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by samadams0824 View Post
Well i'm going to pick up some EVS motocross knee armor and run them under some double front carhartts and see if things improve much.

Half the issue with the overpant in terms of heat is it is OVER another layer...

I rode last summer with double front carhartts and Thor MX knee/shin guards. Worked great for me.
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Old 06-02-2011, 04:35 PM   #9
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Opening vents

They do recommend having venting. Loosening the sleeve cuffs (although that only works if you are using shorty gloves), and opening the jacket front zipper about 25%.

I loosen the sleeve cuffs (carry several styles of gloves) and open the front zipper a little, and the back vent zippers about 1/3. Works for me, traveling through Texas in the summer, for temps up to about 105. Higher than that, I move my travel to the nighttime hours. YMMV.

I agree with a previous poster that mesh pants don't work well in stop and go traffic. I wear non-vented, waterproof pants when traveling, and control my body temperature via the upper core. Evaporative cooling works for me, and the thicker material of wool or LD Comfort garments means longer times between replenishing the water.

In addition, I have ridden on some bikes (which shall remain nameless, but were sure-fire 'ham cookers') that gave off so much heat at 80 degrees and 60 mph on the highway that I felt like I needed a full-length oven mitt on my right leg.

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Old 06-02-2011, 04:43 PM   #10
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I got some Fieldsheer kevlar lined jeans and I was worried that they would be too hot, but they were fine in Palm Springs traffic at 90'F.

Just make sure you get them a little large and baggy.
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Old 06-02-2011, 05:07 PM   #11
samadams0824 OP
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Further internet research led me to this conclusion:

This evening I purchased a pair of black double front Carhartts.

I cannibalized an old Joe Rocket jacket that I had hanging in the closet for the elbow armor, ( I have knobbly knees).

With some massaging (read, exacto-knifing). the openings at the bottom of the double front were enlarged to fit the elbow armor. After stuffing the armor up inside and making sure it wasnt twisted or folded, I stitched the opening closed to its former width so the armor couldn't fall out.

I consider these to be a happy medium between ATGATT and NOTGATT and will use them mostly for commuting and town work as I feel the Joe Rocket pants are still superior in terms of abrasion resistance.

I will report back on their usefulness soon.
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Old 06-03-2011, 01:27 AM   #12
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I just wear all of the gear and not think about the heat.

After a few wrecks I won't even think about getting on the bike without full gear. Last week it was in the low 90's and I rolled up to a non-rider friend. He typically asked me how I can stand to be in all that gear? Simple reply, it's better than the alternative. And if you haven't experienced the alternative I can post up a few photos for you all.
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Old 06-03-2011, 04:25 AM   #13
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Something like this might help...

Never tried it myself but been considering it.

I regular bandanna soaked in water would probably work as well. I like this one because it holds ice.
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Old 06-03-2011, 07:00 AM   #14
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Im with PhOrk on this one

when its 95+ i have under armor loose fitting tee shirts. I drench them with water for evaporative cooling and keep my sleeve vents open. I rode into Las Vegas last year it was 100 as a rolled in but the cooling worked. You have to keep the jacket venting cut down or the shirt will dry out too quickly and you'll be looking for another gas station with a clean bathroom sink.
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Old 06-03-2011, 07:12 AM   #15
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A vented (NOT MESH) jacket with a long sleeve polypropylene shirt soaked in water for temps over 90. About an hour of comfort until a re-soak is needed.

Temps 70-90 a mesh jacket works well.
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