AGV Sport Onyx Pants
While technical gear has its place, sometimes I want to wear something a little less conspicuous, and the AGV Sport Onyx textile pants fit the bill. They don’t have huge mesh panels or cargo pockets, and the smooth 600-denier polyester shell has a straight cut that fits closely over boots, so they look good paired with numerous jacket styles and on multiple bike types. Four zippered vents in the thighs open for a bit of airflow (although I wish the zipper pulls were a little smaller), making the Onyx best in moderate to cold temperatures. A removable waterproof/windproof Reissa liner can be quickly zipped in. Hook-and-loop waist straps customize the fit, and stretch panels at the knees allow enough give to make them comfortable even on sportier bikes. As a habitual earplug loser, I also appreciate the zippered hip pockets. The Onyx pants are available in black, in women’s sizes XS-XL, for $149.
Ballistic EVO Power System
The EVO Power System from Ballistic Performance Components is a complete, lightweight lithium-ion starter battery system with everything required to charge, maintain and monitor the EVO3 Battery, which is available in 30 different combinations of size, capacity and terminal location. The lithium-ion (LiFePO4) battery weighs a few ounces vs. several pounds for typical AGM or flooded batteries, and if fitment isn’t identical to stock it generally only requires a few shims. The EVO Power System also comes with a Ballistic Optimate 1 Lithium Charger, a fully automatic battery charger designed to charge, optimize and maintain the Ballistic EVO Battery. It’s safe for 24/7 long term, unsupervised battery care, and plugs right into the EVO Health Monitor for easy charging. The Health Monitor mounts outside the battery box and gives the user “at a glance” LED indications of the battery condition. Pricing varies by battery model.
Bell Star Helmet
Bell’s Star helmet has been around since 1967, and the latest iteration promises to bring race-level performance to the “everyday rider.” The Tri-Matrix composite shell is made of a proprietary blend of aramid (the same stuff that Kevlar is made out of), carbon fiber and fiberglass for light weight and strength. The “Panovision” shield boasts a larger field of vision for better visibility in a tucked position and quicker, safer lane-change head checks. The liner is woven with silver fibers, inhibiting growth of bacteria and fungi, but it can still be removed and handwashed like normal liners. In fact, the magnetic cheekpads are extremely easy to remove and reinstall. The shield is our only nitpick; we wish it had more detents—it has only two positions, open and closed. Otherwise, though, the Bell Star is a comfortable, lightweight (our size small weighs in at 3 lbs., 8 oz.), fairly quiet lid. It is available in two solid colors and eight graphics, starting at $449.95.
BMS No-Wait GS Saddles
BMW’s newer liquid-cooled R 1200 GS and GS Adventure models are some of the best bikes the company has ever made, with the exception of their uncomfortable stock seats. Bill Mayer Saddles can build a custom seat for nearly any motorcycle or scooter, but its GS/GSA LC seats are special because BMS manufactures its own custom seat pans to fit the bike, so you have the choice of keeping your stock seat. You tell BMS things like your height, weight, riding position and style and reach to the ground, and Bill “Rocky” Mayer will shape your custom seat from a blank with one of five different foam densities. Rocky fixed our neighbor here at Rider HQ up with one of his R 1200 GS LC seats, and he says the seat looks and feels quite differently from stock and he’s now able to put in 8-plus hour days on the bike in comfort. Pricing starts at $599 in vinyl and $749 in leather.
Fly Apex Leather Jacket
You can’t beat leather for abrasion resistance, and it certainly looks cool—especially in black—but leather can be impractical for touring. Fly’s Apex Leather Jacket is designed to make the protective benefits of cowhide easier to live with. For ventilation, the 1.2-1.4mm top grade, drum dyed cowhide is perforated on the front, back and arms, and the removable back protector is also perforated. For ease of movement, there’s breathable, 500-denier stretch nylon on the arms and sides of the torso as well as accordion-style expansion panels at the shoulder and elbow. For protection, in addition to the back protector, there’s removable, CE-approved armor at the shoulders and elbows, as well as rigid plastic and titanium external armor on the shoulders. For comfort and convenience, it features expandable sides, a removable wind- and water-resistant insulated vest liner, full-circumference and 8-inch jacket-to-pants zippers, a microfiber comfort collar and two external handwarmer pockets and one internal pocket. The Apex is available in black or white, in men’s sizes XS-5XL, for $349.95.
Fly FL-2 Gauntlet Gloves
We ask a lot of motorcycle gloves. They should be comfortable, durable and provide good protection, yet they shouldn’t interfere with our sense of feel on the handlebars nor our ability to use the clutch and brake levers with precision. Fly’s FL-2 Gauntlet Gloves check all of those boxes, plus they have special touchscreen-compatible stitching on the tip of each index finger for easy Instagram posts. Made with a durable goatskin palm with Kevlar stitching and a cowhide shell, the FL-2 Gauntlets also have hard plastic palm and knuckle sliders, leather reinforcement panels in the palm, thumb and sides, and impact foam in key areas. Perforated leather panels and intake vents on the knuckles and back-of-hand protector for ventilation allow hot hands to breath, and precurved fingers and expansion gussets at the base of the fingers and back of the knuckles make them all-day comfortable. A dual closure system with a wrist cinch strap and large gauntlet closure fasten them securely on the rider’s hands. Available in multiple colors in sizes S-3XL for $99.95.
Forcefield Base and Tornado Mid Layers
Forcefield Body Armor pioneered soft armor technology, but it also offers armor against the heat and cold. Its snug-fitting Base Layer shirts and pants for men and women are made from BeCool, a four channel thread that has a diffusive area up to three times greater than cotton, so Forcefield says its acts like a fan, forcing the skin’s hot and humid air toward the outer layer of the fabric while allowing cool and dry air to circulate. A seamless and flat seam design insures that the fabric doesn’t rub or chafe, and its antibacterial element maintains freshness. Although it seems counterintuitive to add layers when it’s hot, trust us, this stuff really does act like air conditioning.
For warmth and a looser fit Forcefield’s Tornado Mid Layers are made of windproof and thermal Defender fabric and antibacterial Thermolite, which blocks airflow yet remains breathable, warm and comfortable, even when wet. Flat seams and a soft lining keep the Tornado shirts and trousers comfortable. Pricing ranges from $64 to $89.
GoGo Gear Protective Leggings
Our Senior Editor’s wife Carrie dutifully adheres to ATGATT, but for years she has struggled to find riding pants that offer protection, comfort and form-fitting style. On a recent motorcycle tour another woman raved about her GoGo Gear Protective Leggings, so Carrie tried them out. Made of a durable 95-percent cotton, 5-percent Spandex outer layer and a highly abrasion-resistant 95-percent Kevlar, 5-percent Spandex inner layer, the GoGo Gear leggings have removable CE Level 1 knee armor and inside pockets for optional hip protectors. When she put them on for the first time, she beamed a wide smile and said, “They fit like regular pants!” The 5-percent Spandex allows them to stretch, so there’s no binding at the hips when sitting or getting on or off the bike, and there are no buttons or snaps to dig into skin. And since they fit Carrie like a glove, the armor is exactly where it needs to be for optimal knee protection. They’re available in black in women’s sizes 2-24 (see website for proper sizing) for $149.
Olympia AirGlide Jacket
Our arsenal of mesh apparel has completely changed our attitudes about warm-to-hot weather riding. Even when it’s 100-plus F we no longer fear the heat, and our weapons of choice are often Olympia’s AirGlide jacket and pants. Now in its fifth generation, the Airglide 5 jacket is constructed of 500-denier Cordura and mesh panels, with a cool mesh airflow lining. Air flows so well it’s like not wearing a jacket at all, yet the ballistic mesh panels in the high abrasion areas and CE-approved Motion Flex armor in the elbows, shoulders and back provide protection from the fall. A 2-stage, wind and waterproof Thermolite insulated rain jacket seals out the weather and can be worn under or over the jacket, and five storage pockets and an interior cell phone pocket hold your essentials. The women’s AirGlide 5 has all the same features with a shapely cut and style, and both men’s and women’s pants are similarly constructed and easily hemmed for length. Jacket colors are black, ivory, red or high-viz in men’s sizes M-4XL and women’s S-3XL for $289.99.
Pit Bull Stands
When your motorcycle lacks a centerstand it really complicates chain maintenance and tire changes. Although Pit Bull offers a wide variety of rear stands and front stands to fit specific motorcycle models, around the Rider shop we needed a universal model that will lift the rear ends of lots of different bikes. The Pit Bull SS Rear Stand can be used as a standard or spooled rear stand by flipping the top supports over, and adjusts to fit most double-sided spooled and non-spooled swingarms (with a few exceptions that are clearly listed on the website—be sure to watch George’s video). We’ve tried it on several different bikes now and it pops ’em right up, though we recommend having a helper steady the bike while you’re lifting until you get the hang of it. Pit Bull stands are welded by hand, built to last forever and come with a lifetime warranty. The SS Rear Stand is $159.95 and the optional rear handle goes for $10.
Strider Balance Bike
Is there a toddler or tot in your life that could be a future motorcyclist? Get them started early and easily with a Strider no-pedal balance bike. When our riding buddy’s son, Auggie, turned 18 months, we got him a Strider 12 Sport in bright red (and a size-adjustable helmet with a cool stars-and-stripes paint job), and he took to it like a fish to water. Easy to assemble and durable as a hammer, the Strider is perfect for kids up to 4-5 years of age. The 12 Sport has a steel frame, puncture-proof tires that require no maintenance and height-adjustable seat and handlebars that don’t require tools. Improved ergonomics include built-in footrests, a padded seat, minigrips tailored for small hands and a cushy handlebar pad. Weighing just 6.7 pounds, the Strider 12 Sport’s seat height ranges from 11 to 19 inches and fits children with inseams from 12 to 20 inches. It’s available in a wide range of colors for $119.99 with free shipping.
Once upon a time, there were bungees and there were straps. Then along came a wonderful invention that combined the best of both: Rok Straps. Rok Straps have two parts: a stretchy flat strap with a loop at one end, and a regular nylon strap that also has a loop at one end. Simply attach each loop end to the bike or luggage, buckle them together and pull the nylon end tight. Because they come in multiple lengths and won’t damage your bike’s finish, Rok Straps are extremely versatile and can be used to attach just about anything. For example, we used them to mount a Nelson-Rigg duffel to the back seat of our long-term Africa Twin on a three-night camping trip. Then, after setting up camp and dropping our luggage, we used them to strap on a large load of firewood to haul back to the campsite. Rok Straps come in multiple widths/lengths; the 5/8-inch by 42-inch sizes is $18/pair and the 1-inch by 60-inch size is $25/pair.
Tour Master Sentinel 2.0 Rain Suit
In my book, rain suits should keep you dry, but they should also be conspicuous (read: high-viz), and there are bonus points for reducing clamminess. Tour Master’s Sentinel 2.0 rain suit checks all three of those boxes. The jacket and pants are both fully seam sealed and are MVM 5000 rated for breathability. The jacket features 3M Scotchlite reflective piping and Tour Master’s signature triangles for visibility, a patented Aqua-Barrier underhelmet hood that prevents water from dripping down your collar and stows into the collar when not in use, large waterproof pockets and several vents that allow warm air to exit. The pants feature a polyester mesh lining, a jacket-to-pants zipper and under-boot loops to keep them in place. Pro tip: slip a plastic bag over your boot before pulling the pants on—that way it won’t catch on the mesh liner. The Sentinel 2.0 jacket is available in four colors in men’s sizes XS-3XL (up to 5XL in black) for $99.99, and the Sentinel 2.0 pants are available in black in men’s sizes XS-5XL and women’s sizes XS-XL for $77.99.