Very simple advice - do not buy cheap. If you can't afford the right stuff then save money until you can. I wish there'd been a website like this when we first bought our gear; it would have saved us thousands of rands. Let me explain further. We bought our riding gear after consulting with a sales man who worked for a very well-known bike shop in Joburg. We explained our travel plans to him, being that we wanted to ride down to Cape Town via Durban on a Superbike. I could see this guy didn't quite think we were really going to travel that far on a Superbike...but anyway, he showed us certain gear and assured us it was perfect and water-resistant too.
Ok, so we bought the togs. But on our trip we soon realised the gear couldn't take high-speed riding; in Vryburg my jacket sleeve began tearing apart.
When we hit the desert near Upington it was unbearably hot but we couldn't change because the clothes were too thick and bulky to fit into our bags. Remember, we're on a Superbike with very limited space to pack stuff.
We kept going and in the Cape were met with rain. There's a big difference between 'water-resistant' and 'waterproof'. Waterproof means no water will come in while water-resistant means it will keep water out only for a short time. Well, if you are travelling at 140km/h it'll only be a few seconds before you're wet...
Experience behind me, here are my tips:
- Jackets should fit very tight, with no loose flaps. Rather spend money on a very good leather jacket than on one made of inferior material.
- Pantsshould fit just right but not be too tight; else you'll be very uncomfortable when riding long distances. Dragon Jeans offer great protection and are lightweight.
- Helmets should fit snugly; your head should not move around inside the helmet.
- Earplugs are necessary for any trip. That said, no helmet on the market will block out all noise.
- Shoes should be comfortable riding boots.
- Gloves should be of a good quality.
- Rain suits - buy a one-piece suit and remember this is not a fashion show. It's there to protect you against the rain. Check out OXFORD products for rain suits and more.
Bottom line - there are no shortcuts when it comes to riding gear. The gear you buy is what will ultimately protect you in the event of an accident.
Always Keep It Safe.....
What can I say about accessories? Well again, do not buy cheap. I personally love Oxford products but there are so many others on the market. So the question is, what do you need to take on a Superbike if you are planning a long trip?
Firstly, you need something to put all your stuff in and if you travel like we do, two on a bike, you'll find there isn't much space to pack.
Again, Oxford makes soft side panniers for a Superbike which work great. You can fit in 5kgs of stuff on each side. That means no hair dryers; only the necessary stuff can go. These bags do come with a rain protection bag but it scratches the tailpiece a bit so pack your clothes in a black bag and then put it inside the side panniers. This will keep your clothes dry. To prevent those scratches, Oxford makes a paint protection sheet, which you can cut and stick on; very user-friendly. We have used it on numerous occasions to protect the paintwork. However, if you are travelling alone well then a pillion bag will do just fine, maybe with a tank bag.
We had to travel with backpacks as well. Although it worked for us at that stage, I would not use it again. The backpack does get heavy after a few kilometres and your movements are restricted. For shorter trips it'll do fine but if you're doing long distances it does irritate you after a while.
Moving on to the smaller things now - but these things will make your trip much better believe me.
A first aid kit is a definite necessity, containing burn shields and other basic stuff.
A tyre repair kit with the necessary fittings; you don't want to be stuck in the desert with no help. (And make sure you know how to use it!)
Tyre gauge to check tyre pressure.
If your bike has a tracking device installed, make sure you have the number. And while we're on numbers, make sure you have your insurance number too. Plan your route carefully and make sure you store emergency numbers on more than one cell phone.
IPON' LOOK anti-demister for the inside of your helmet visor.
I'm sure there are many other little things that can make your ride easier but I think the above essentials will get you through most situations.
All the products can be bought at Roaring Wheels. Check out Reviews for contact details.