A Roundup of Great New Gear Rider Magazine Staffers Have Recently Put to the Test
Aerostich Kanetsu Warm Bib
A heated vest or jacket provides the most warmth in the least amount of packing space. The Kanetsu Warm Bib takes that idea to the extreme, since it only covers your front torso and neck, and can be packed into a small self-closing bag. It’s just the thing for chilly mornings or evenings when you need a little extra warmth without bulk. Its fleece-lined collar fastens around the neck with hook and loop, and nicely seals the gap at your jacket collar.
A ringed-terminal harness with a fuse is provided to bring a convenient power source close to the rider. The SAE plug hangs below your jacket and connects to a separate coiled wire with a lighted pushbutton switch. Our power switch came with the QuiConnect connection, although there are options for BMW and SAE-style wiring.
The Bib uses 30 watts at 2.5 amps and comes in regular and tall sizes. Gore-Tex WindStopper outer fabric and a comfy micro-fleece inner layer cover the heating element. The garment is hand-washable with mild detergent. It’s advertised as repairable but it seems rugged enough to survive hard use.
The Gore-Tex Windstopper layer does a fine job as a windbreaker on its own. Instead of bulky layers that you would need to haul around later, wear the bib over a short-sleeve T-shirt, then layer a sweater or another T-shirt over that, which presses the heated bib element against you.
(800) 222-1994 or aerostich.com
If you own a Kermit Chair, you already know that its comfort, easy setup and quality wood construction are worth its extra weight and somewhat larger packed size over many compact aluminum camp chairs. While Kermit offers a cup holder for the Chair, an even better companion for it is the Kermit Table. Like the Chair, the Kermit Table is handmade in Tennessee from white oak and finished in a thick coat of marine grade polyurethane. At 12.5 inches it’s just the right height to sit alongside the standard Kermit Chair, and the table surface is 12 x 14 inches.
While that isn’t a huge working area, it’s large enough to park your dinner plate and beverage, play a game of cards or work on a laptop, and the Kermit Table’s seven pieces pack down into a 1,000-denier nylon bag to just 15 inches long by 5 inches in diameter, so it stows in most saddlebags with ease. To assemble, unroll the table—its wooden slats are connected with nylon webbing—slip the legs and braces into the four recessed corners and tighten the elevator bolts on each leg. It takes less than a minute, and disassembly is even faster.
(888) 729-9836 or kermitchair.com
Dowco Guardian Covers
Whether you park your motorcycle or trike indoors or out, Dowco has great covers for touring bikes, vintage machines, sportbikes and most three-wheelers. The Guardian WeatherAll Plus is Dowco’s latest top-of-the-line cover for outdoor or indoor use. We recently received WeatherAlls for some of our staff machines and were impressed by how many features Dowco has crammed into a cover that packs down to such a reasonable size. The ClimaShield Plus heavy-duty polyester fabric is waterproof, breathable and has a Durable Water Repellant (DWR) topcoat and mildew-resistant undercoating. Covered vents prevent moisture build-up and soft cotton inside the front protects windshields and windscreens.
New features on the WeatherAlls include reflective elements for better nighttime visibility, an access port in the front wheel area to allow for a cable lock to be passed through and a drawstring backpack included for easy storage. We found that they fit well and snug down tightly around our bikes. Sizes are available to fit most motorcycles, including new fitments for the Can-Am Spyder and a 3XL Trike cover for large trike conversions from California Sidecar, Champion, Hannigan, Lehman, Motor Trike and Roadsmith up to 119 inches long and 61.5 inches wide.
Dowco also has lightweight travel covers and half covers starting as low as $39.99, and soft indoor-only dust covers in all motorcycle sizes (these work great for vintage bikes, by the way).
See your dealer or dowcopowersports.com
Held Carese II Jacket / Torno II Pants
$850-$900 jacket, $620-$670 pants
This high-end jacket and pants combo is so well-made and feature-laden it seems like overkill at first, but once you wear it a few times you begin to appreciate its effectiveness. Held’s Carese II jacket and Torno II pants are versatile, feature-packed, three-season riding garments, with a tough 500D Cordura exterior and a CoolMax breathable mesh lining. Lightweight 3-layer Gore-Tex membranes can be zipped inside or worn outside like a rainsuit. There’s CE-approved SAS-TEC armor at the shoulders, elbows and knees, and Temperfoam hip and back pads (we recommend upgrading to the CE-approved Sakari back/coccyx protector with built-in kidney belt, $150). Numerous vents and 3D mesh back panels circulate lots of air, and even with everything zipped up the suit feels breezy, so you need to layer-up for cold weather (a thermal lining is not included).
There are enough pockets—four internal and four external (two are waterproof) on the jacket and four external on the pants—to lose your earplugs several times a day. Stretch panels at the shoulders and knees add comfort, adjustment straps on the arms, hips and collar adjust fit, and 3M Scotchlite reflectors aid nighttime visibility. The pants have heat-resistant material on the inner calves, slip-resistant material on the seat and a zipper to connect to the jacket. Available in several colors and men’s sizes S-5XL.
See your dealer or heldusa.com
Kabuto Kamui Helmet
A relative newcomer to the U.S. helmet scene, Kabuto was founded in 1982 and is one of Japan’s leading helmet manufacturers. A Kabuto is a type of helmet first worn by Japanese warriors that was eventually adopted by the elite samurai. Wearing the Kamui sport-touring model did not improve our fencing skills, but we felt pretty safe inside its dual-density EPS liner and shell made of thermo-plastic resin. Its drop-down inner sun visor, functional venting and light weight—just 57 ounces for a size large—are most impressive, too. The Kamui’s soft CoolMax interior is removable, washable and eyeglass-friendly, and face shields are easily changed. It also comes with a Pinlock anti-fog insert (though we’ve had mixed results with these).
Kabuto says its anti-buffeting Wake Stabilizer shell-shape technology allows high-speed and long-distance riding with less fatigue, and after wearing the Kamui for a couple months we found it to be nearly as quiet and comfortable as more expensive lids. One editor, who wears a size medium, suffered a forehead hot spot after a long ride, and had trouble adjusting the quick-release buckle on the chinstrap tightly enough, but our size-large wearers didn’t share the experience. The Kamui meets ECE 22.05 and DOT standards and comes in three solid colors and two graphics in sizes XS-2XL (2XL DOT-approved only).
See your dealer or kabutousa.com
Tour master Solution WP Air Boots
There’s so much great apparel out there for riding in hot weather, you really have no excuse for heading out in anything less than ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time). That even goes for your boots. Most waterproof riding boots can get pretty hot inside when the weather warms—not so with the Tour Master Solution 2.0 WP Airs. Special panels in the front, side and back of the boots flow a large amount of air, while the Hipora membrane allows warm air to escape and helps keep water from entering. The leather upper is water-repellant, and the boots have a single-density compound sole with a grippy tread pattern. Inside there’s a preformed orthopedic vibration-absorbing foot bed for comfort.
We’ve got lots of experience with both the Air and standard Solution WP boots during cooler weather, and appreciate their supreme comfort, protection and convenience. A full-length side zipper with a waterproof gusset makes them super easy to put on or take off, and it’s covered with a full-length, adjustable hook-and-loop closure for security. If there’s a cooler street-touring boot than the Airs that also resists rain this well we’re not aware of it. In a heavy downpour some moisture will eventually seep into the boots, but they’re watertight in anything less. They come in black in men’s full sizes 7-15 (plus 8.5 and 12.5), wide sizes 9W-14W including 12.5W, and women’s sizes 6.5, 7-9, 9.5 and 10.
See your dealer or tourmaster.com
Most cruiser riders bought their bikes at least in part because they look good, so they don’t want to bolt-on accessories that detract from that style. LeatherLyke motorcycle hard-case saddlebags are produced from UV-resistant, high-impact ABS plastic with a leather texture on the exterior. This gives them the look and feel of genuine leather saddlebags but with the security of a locking rigid motorcycle bag. The inner ABS structure is custom-formed to each motorcycle model for a good fit, and both the 17-liter Cruiser and 24-liter Cross-Country bags are available with or without studs and conchos.
Saddlebags slip over four support studs that are fastened into existing holes in the motorcycle, and are held in place with retainer clips. Installing the 17-liter Cruiser bags on our Kawasaki W650 was a snap. No auxiliary saddlebag supports are required, and basic turn signal relocation kits are provided if needed.
We were pleasantly surprised to find 17-liter Cruiser bags for the W650 among LeatherLyke’s extensive lineup of saddlebags for cruisers, and love the way they look on the bike. The 7.5-inch wide x 11.5 tall x 18 long bags have somewhat narrow openings (Cross-Countrys are not available for the W650), but in conjunction with a seatbag hold everything the rider needs for an overnight ride, and valuables can now be locked on the bike.
LeatherLyke bags come with a limited lifetime replacement warranty against any defects in material or workmanship from the date of purchase.
(800) 594-2008 or leatherlyke.com
Shoei Hornet X2 Helmet
Dual-sport helmets, with sun-blocking visors and pointy chinbars, are popular among adventure riders. Since most adventure bikes cover more paved than unpaved miles, Shoei’s all-new Hornet X2 blends the best elements of on-road and off-road helmets. Constructed of a Multi-Ply Matrix AIM+ shell with a dual-layer, multi-density EPS liner, it features multiple vents, the removable, washable 3D Max-Dry Interior System II and Shoei’s Emergency Quick Release System. Developed in a wind tunnel, the X2 has an aerodynamic shape with an extended chinbar that provides huffing-and-puffing space during off-road riding and has a closable vent. The V-460 visor’s wedge shape and vent louvers reduce lift/drag and direct air into the crown vent, and quarter-turn screws allow quick removal. A larger eyeport accommodates the new CNS-2 face shield, which comes with a Pinlock Evo fog-resistant insert. The spring-loaded QR-N base plate allows rapid shield changes and seals the shield tightly to keep out dust, wind and water. Goggles fit easily with the shield up or removed.
We’ve worn the Hornet X2 almost daily for months, on- and off-road on a wide range of adventure, touring and street bikes. Comfort, ventilation and noise-reduction are on par with Shoei’s premium touring helmets, and the new shape and visor cut cleanly through the air. We felt some aero drag when turning our heads at speed, but less so than with most other visor-equipped helmets.
See your dealer or shoei-helmets.com
Fieldsheer Adventure Tour Jacket and Pants
$439.99 jacket, $329.99 pants
No matter what kind of bike you ride, if you cover lots of miles in mild to cold weather, the Fieldsheer Adventure Tour jacket and pants combo is for you. The jacket shell is warm enough by itself for temps down into the 60s—lower if you’re behind a fairing and windscreen. Zip-in the separate waterproof rain and insulated liners and you’re ready for winter. It also deals with rain well—the removable collar extender deflects the water between your helmet and jacket, though we noticed some dampness in the sleeves during one rainy ride.
When it warms, the Adventure Tour’s six vents in front and one across the back help it breathe, but we still can’t recommend the shell for summer temperatures. Its highly abrasion-resistant 500-denier Maxtena-Pro shell has CE-approved armor in the elbows, shoulders and back, and the arm volume adjusts easily for layering. The pair of cargo pockets in front are waterproof and backed with handwarmers, and there are several inside as well. Adjustable hook-and-loop straps snug the waist and cuffs. It comes in several colors and men’s sizes S-4XL and Tall.
The Adventure Tour overpants are not as warm and are therefore practical in all weather. They have a single zip-in insulated waterproof liner, but are otherwise similar in construction to the jacket, with adjustable knee armor and full-length leg zippers. Available in three colors and S-4XL and Short sizes (hooray!).
See your dealer or fieldsheer.com
Rev’It Vapor Jacket and Pants
$419.99 jacket, $299.99 pants
Here’s a sporty jacket and pants combo that offers a lot of innovative features without a lot of bulk. The Rev’It Vapor jacket has a Hypalon outer shell with a built-in Z-liner waterproof membrane, so as long as all of its vents—including the long vertical VCS/Aquadefence vents in the front—are closed the jacket is watertight. Open the vents in front, sleeves and back and air flows readily. When the weather cools, the full-sleeved insulated liner zips in easily, and waist and arm straps adjust both around the perimeter as well as up and down for fine-tuning.
The Vapor jacket comes with CE-approved armor in the elbows, shoulders and back, and plenty of reflective material on the outside for nighttime safety. It has trimmer fit and looks great. There’s only a pair of handwarmer pockets in front, but the zippered wallet pocket in the storm flap and inner cargo pocket are good-sized. The Vapor jacket comes in three colors in sizes S-3XL.
The Vapor pants have the same Hypalon/Z-liner construction and are waterproof, with a zip-in insulated liner. Unlike overpants, they’re designed to be worn alone, so the cuffs only unzip to just below the knee. A full circumference zipper fastens to the jacket, and there’s CE-approved armor in the knees and hips as well as a pair of zippered vents and pockets. Black only, S-3XL, L-2XL Short, M-XL Long.
See your dealer or revitusa.com
With the tall seat height of the adventure bikes, does anyone make a touring/adv. boot with a little thicker souls.
Also, I have a Shark evo modular helmet, I really like it. It has its faults, noisy. My question is has anyone tried or tested the ” new and improved ” model? Thanks
I subscribe to three motorcycle magazines, Rider is by far the most informative and the online info is great. I bought my brother Bud out in Utah a subscription. The technical comparisons are spot on. I have a 2012 Triumph Thunderbird and am currently looking for a big tourer, Harley, Indian, Wing, Victory or BMW? $6,000 difference in price ranges ???
Personal opinion, the most comfortable long distance tourer I ever had was a 2003 BMW k1200. I have never had a better bike for every situation. The flying brick down low helps a lot with bad weather and emergency stability, plus keeping the weight off your legs when you have to lean it off vertical. I rode six hours the first time I got on it in perfect comfort without any adjustments. Wonderful mileage, and I never worried about anything mechanical. Tons and tons of storage and power to let you pack it full. The only downside at all is short tire life. I think you would getting more value for your money buying a used one with 50000 miles on it ( under 20000 is what a quick look showed the average for sale here to be) than anything newer than your current bike.