Bikers, are a stange group of people, we will happily spends large amount of money on things which other people tell us is the right stuff … I remember years ago, everyone had the buy Rukka (most still do), then and now it is Klim, both of them have been bought up by large corporations. And on the sideline one finds Stadler (the last of the big ones), then of the “B” like there are companies like RevIT, Alpinstarts, and so one. We are not discussing clothing for fast bikes, this is the “real” stuff for the traveler who wants to go and see the world.
Now as usual I’ve listened to the wrong people, and ended up with something which I should not have spend money on….
First back in February I decided to get an Klim Overland Jacket, as everyone rave about the price / quality, it did not fit me at all, and due to the wonderful customer service from where I got it from I could not return it (I was stupid enough to drive 35km with it on), which cost me 50% of the price – as funny enough no one else was interested in buying it … hummmm….
But as I really needed a new jacket, and my favorite; Stadler Tour was too expensive (+1100€), I decided to try with a Klim Latitude, which is a very nice jacket, which comes with the right amount of pockets, almost the right amount of ventilation (very few do – read; Stadler), and I was happy.
Now a few weeks back I was on my way to HUM Germany, and due to a brain fart I ended up face down on the asphalt sliding a few meters, which I would expect would not be a big problem. Ok, it did hurt like a bitch, but I was ok, my right leg took most of the impact, but my crap boots and trousers (BMW with good protection) left me with a black n’ blue leg, but otherwise ok.
The problem was (is) my right arm …. now back to a few facts;
– Klim only provide D3O Level 1 armor in their jackets (even Overland is only an upgrade, but still level 1).
– D30 is impact resistant
– D30 is NOT abrasive resistant
This means that if it hist something it will dispert the power of the impact, but when you slide over a surface it can fold up and not give any protection. That is a massive issue, as most of the problems comes from sliding ….
Our skin is made up of 5 layers, and my “small” spill where I landed with my arm underneath my body, the D3O albow proctetion folded up or slid away and did not provide any proction to my arm and the layer of skin which sits ontop of the muschle has lost the connecton to the muschle … this is reasonable painful… and according to my doctor who does diagnostics from the other side of the table this will eventually heal…. (do not get me started on Dutch Doctors – all of them)
But I have a used Stadler Jacket (which is too small) which comes with Level 2 back protection and hard shell shoulder and elbow protectors … so I could just move them across. Nop, no such luck, Klim’s pockets for protectors are too small.
So now I have a very nice jacket which looks like it should do, but it scares the living daylights out of wearing as there is practically no protection in it.
So what is it with a company like Klim, for me it looks like we’re all stupid enough to believe what they tell us – ie. they use the best possible proctors; they do not – they are the cheapest one can get from D3O, they have the best warranty; actually if the garment have been close to the ground at any speed they might refuse any warranty claims, lucky enough Gore-Text will help out. Most of their cloth fit like it was made for a cow, but we’re still happy to buy it, which I do not understand – we much be stupid.
As the market in my part of the world makes it difficult to actually have a look at products before I buy them I have to rely on the internet for information on what to buy – also what people tell me, but as we’re not all the same, I sometimes have to rely on people who might see things differently.
I have for year been using hard panniers (aluminium boxes), but due to getting a different bike (BMW g650 xChallange) it was advisable to switch to soft luggage – based on the broken bone theory, and also if an alu box is dent it’s leaking and it’s difficult to fix on the road…. I’m not sure I’m a strong believer of the first theory, the other one I know all about. After hitting a “small” rock in Bulgaria in 2012 I spend 6 hours getting my panniers waterproof again….
Then enter the soft luggage, there are a number of producers, and due the exploits of Walter Colbatch (who can nearly walk on water – or so I’ve been told), everyone rave about the Adventure-Spec Magadan Panniers (mk2), so after seeing them first hand (they look right way), I decided to just in with both my feet pointing downwards…. right…
What I discovered after getting them on the bike was:
Now I have a pair of Wolfmans Teton’s they are too small for use for much more than a long weekend, but they are so much easier to deal with, strap them to the bike, and they stay there
And at the price they charge for them, one start to wonder what one is actually paying for
Now they have an Cordura 500 outer shell (fabric), then a kevlar layer which is supposed to make them secure to be cut open with a knife (someone told me that this is not the case … can’t remember who, so I say that is a verified fact), and then an inner shell (fabric) of Cordura 500. Cordura 500 is very resistant, and should not wear through, but it did…
Getting some Sea to Summit, or Ortlieb bags is the only option to fix this issue, but that is even more money on top of the extra straps, and with the initial price of +400€ this is starting to become a very expensive friendship
Velco, who ever came up with that idea… it rips very easily, that is one thing, the other one is that with that idea out goes the idea of using proper straps and buckles (someone might have a brilliant idea)
The pockets for the fuel bottles I can live with, but pockets for 1.5 liter bottles, that is just plain … (I’m not even going to say it out loud), I drink a lot of water, and it comes in 0.5, 1, 1.5 and 2 liter bottles, not I have to remember not to buy the 2 liter bottles again, which is silly. They could have thought that through a bit more….
I bought them because I was convinced by other people that they were the right thing, after had them on the bike, I am just very annoyed that I ever bought them as they are very expensive and not very vell thought through.
Due to this and other things, I am probably not going to use my xChallange on my upcoming vacation trip, I know that the Magadan’s will drive me insane and that will ruin part of my vacation.
I am not saying anyone should not buy them, but be sure you know why you spend your money on.
I always talk about this thing I really want to do, which is travel the world, specifically on the back of a bike (that is motorbike). I think that while writing this, most of my family and friends would give a great deal of money for me to actually do it so that I finally would shut up (or that they would be happy to see go away for a few years) :-)
I just by accident stumped over a blog by a guy not too far from my hometown in Denmark, who actually have done what I would like to do…..
This guy Paul Randa Jensen, is from 1944 and circumvented the globe, and still is talking about doing Oz….. man how I would like to do that….
Friday last week, a colleague told me that one could see my motorbike from Google Earth – right…. in the office parking lot.
Well I had a look at yes, he was right, one can see it
It’s nice that once can see that I was actually was at work that day when they took that photo.
Reading this (from spiegel.de/international), I understand that some people have come up with a “great” idea. They want to make away with [stag]trafic signs[/stag]…
Reading this, make we wonder if the people makeing these decisions actually driver [stag]car[/stag], [stag]motorbike[/stag], [stag]bicycles[/stag], or just walk. Most people who move around in the trafic tend to ignore trafic signs in the first place, do they actually think that removing them will help!!
Living in a country where most indicators (you know the flashing things which will tell other people that you intend to leave the road, or change lane) are broken (even on new cars), this will not really help.
But it will probably save them some money on the budges, which will then be spend on mending people in hospitals instead, but that is a diffrent budget.
Also reading that Makkinga (some please in the Dutch province of Western Frisia) have done this, is kind of scarry.. But the worst part is that they will replace the tarmac with cobblestones instead is frightening; that will cause some broken bones for motorbike riders – these thing are slippery when they are wet, and it will cause acidents. But who cares it’s only a motorbike rider… praise to stupidity
The absolutly worst thing I know when I venture out on the Dutch roads is [stag]tailgating[/stag]. First I drive a [stag]motorbike[/stag], and if you don’t know it – these things can both out [stag]accelerate[/stag] almost anything, and on a strait out break anything (that is if you’re not driving a car which cost more that most houses).
So if I’m driving at 120km/h and have a car 5 – 10 meters behind me I get nervous, as I know that if I break hard there is a chance that I’ll end up in the hospital.
The other week I was told that in some US states you are at fault if you hit someone from behind, no matter what the reason was (well there might be reason why you would not be). I think that we would see less accidents caused by tailgating if that would be the law in this wonderfull flat country.
So what would make one drive 2550km (aprox. 1700 of these in pissing rain), cross 3 countries, I don’t know how many mountains, etc. on a motorbike?
Well [stag]Triump Motorcycles[/stag] German decided to throw a small party in Austria which included a bit of drinking, eating, bike driving, sleeping (and I suppose that other thing which cannot be mentioned also happend). This small party is/was called [stag]Triumph Tridays[/stag], and with a bit of luck it will happen again next year.
The highlight was a group drive to the [stag]Grossglockner[/stag] (which I’m told is the highest mountain in Austria), the group I was in was lucky – we did not have snow, but that did not stop the rain (every kind of it which exist….)…
What else, except for food, beer, and … oh, yes [stag]Kevin Carmichael[/stag] was there to show us mortals how to drive a bike (he is actually quite good, and a nice feller).
For me the road home too me over some more mountains to Zurich, Switzerland, and then up through Germany, still in rain;-)
Will I go again next year, probably….