Using my new motorbike gear

Although many Thai and tourists alike in Thailand drive around wearing a T-shirt and flip-flops, I would like to protect myself a bit better on my motorbike or motorcycle. So protective gear. First of all it is a bit difficult to buy it even in a westernized place where I live. So I went to Bangkok. My favorite motorbike-gear shop is Panda Rider in Bangkok. So we will be talking about helmets, gloves, jackets, boot and luggage space.

My Head
Most helmets for sale here are of very low quality and even the better one's would not get approved for safety in Europe. So for a good helmet you have to go to shop that sells helmets for big motorbikes. I finally bought a "Bell mx5" carbon full-face helmet. It is super light, the interior can be taken out and cleaned and it has air-vents to keep you head cool in this hot climate. It is one of the best helmets I ever had, but expensive. But it came with a nice kind of weekend-bag and 1 extra visor. When buying a helmet in Thailand please check the safety rating of the helmet, there are a lot of good looking helmets for sale that are actually "For use in Thailand only" or "For private use only". Disadvantage of this Bell helmet is that the visor is not easy to remove & change. And the dark visor is nice in all the sun-light but really not nice when it gets dark.

This helmet saved my face during crash in May 2014. It had actually already been replaced by a LS2 helmet but that one broke when it fall of my motorbike at a parking and some idiot did hit it with his car. So my current helmet is a Shark Speed-R with carbon outer shell that I bought at BKKspeed
See Review of Shark Speed-R Carbon

My Torso
I did choose to get a leather jacket because I do not believe in the safety of those textile or mash-jackets. As leather is hot you will need a light-leather jacket with air-vents. It was difficult to find the right size and model for me. I finally bought a "Rev'IT Apollo" leather jacket size 54. Size 54! That should be much to big for me, but not here in Thailand. It is a full-leather jacket with air-vents and protection pad's in the shoulder, elbow and back. Yes, it is hot in this climate so I wear it only for long trip. And it feels good. But I removed all the protective pad's. O yes one things is missing in the jacket ... a good pocket for your papers & driver license.

Now March 2016 I am still using this jacket, although I also bought a soft & thin Speedi Jacket. That saved my body during a crash in 2014. It was a bit damaged but it could all be fixed again. Still using it.

My Hands
Gloves, again full-leather "Spidi RV Coupe Gloves" with vented cowhide, vents, titanium fibre shields and Keramide over palm. First they did feel a bit stiff but after a few hours of using they feel good & comfortable. Actually I have a second set of gloves, just soft leather. For the short rides in town.

Well actually they have just been replaced (after 2 years) for much more comfortable leather RivIT gloves from Panda Rider.

My Feet
Then boots to protect the lowest part of the body. I did choose for the partly leather high boots "Rev'IT Rival H2O". They easily close with a zipper and are very light and feel comfortable. I can even walk good in it and they do not make me look I am from the moon. To give my short legs a bit more grip on the floor I added an extra sole. Now they are the perfect boots for me. Bought in 2011 I think and now in March 2016 I am still using them. Actually for my short rides I use strong leather mountain boots.

Luggage space
As you have only some place under your seat to take some small tools with you, you might need some extra space in the form of a tank-bag. I bought a small "Komine SA-03" tank-bag with magnets and straps. It is expandable and has a map-window. Quality wise it is a good bag, but what I never thought of is that like my phone inside the map-window would get boiling hot. And even my camera inside the bag would also get very hot. So I am not happy with this solution. On the look-out for a better solution. Well first of all I removed the plastic map-holder and that makes a big different of inside temperature. But I was still missing that it had only 1 pocket. So I bought a second, smaller tank-bag that has 4 pockets. As for traveling longer trips I use a yellow almost water-proof weekend bag that I put on the tail.

Well, later I installed an Givi E21 side-case set, made in Malaysia so not so expensive in Thailand at 4.400,- thb for the set. But that is without mounting rack. For mounting racks there are 2 options, the universal model that actually fits not on any motorbike but only costs 2.500,- thb. Then there is the original Givi quick-relaese rack that costs about 11.000,- thb! But it works much better as the universal rack, so that is what I did choose. Currently in March 2016 I do not use any side-cases anymore. Just my old tank-bag and a water-proof weekend bag.

Device mount
To take my phone with me on the bike I had a 12v-outlet installed at the dash-board and I bought "Ram mount" for my phone. The RAM mounts are very good, I even bought one for in the car but  .... there is a lot of dust in the air and my phone was/is not made for all the dust and vibrating. So my phone died a few weeks later. Good thing is I now have a great new phone. So if you are using a handle-bar mount and a normal phone, please buy something that protects the phone against dust (and rain?). I am on the look-out for a better solution.

Well ,I did find a good water- and dust-proof case, but I found out it uses a lousy mounting-system so I modified it and put this all case in a RAM-mounting on my handlebar. And that seems to work great, although a bit much work to take on/off (because of the charging cable). So actually considering to buy an Garmin Zumo 220 navigation device, but they are so bloody expensive in Thailand. So I bought an Garmin Nuvi 40 (that has been replaced by a Garmin Zumo 340). See Review of Garmin Zumo 340

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