GEARING UP FOR WINTER
By: Sarah Wilkinson
We asked readers what clothing they trusted to keep them warm and dry in winter.
These are their recommendations, together with details of new products to hit the shelves.
Winter wonderland in Wales – this was the scene (above) that greeted BMW F650GS owner Stuart Howe when he emerged from the remains of his storm-wrecked tent on the second day of the 2005 Dragon Rally.
They say mad dogs and Englishmen share an eccentric love of frying in the noon-day sun but when it comes to meeting up in rally fields in the grip of sub-zero temperatures, dogs prefer to remain curled up in front of fires leaving the bikers of Britain pretty much on their own on that one.
Stuart’s tent at the last Dragon was blown to the ground in the early hours of the morning but he wrapped himself up in its tattered remains until the sun came up. Then after breakfast he brushed the snow from his bike and set off with friends for a bracing ride home to Leicestershire.
And very nice it was too! The secret of enjoying motorcycling in winter is good, warm, and waterproof clothing. Not even masochists take pleasure in riding on ice but crisp winter days when you are wrapped up warm and dry can be fun and invigorating.
Stuart’s gear includes a Buffalo jacket, which he bought three years ago in a sale for £99. He said: “It has been a really good jacket for the price. It has a removable lining, which means I can wear it in both summer and winter. It includes armour, has good-sized pockets, and during my recent visit to Iceland (see feature, page 23) stood up to a 100-mile ride in torrential rain without leaking.
“As far as warmth goes, I am a believer in the more layers the better and in winter they include my M&S fleece. I have also for some time used Hein Gericke leggings.” What do other UBG readers use and recommend? Read on...
Bering up well to winter
Rider: Bob Pickett
Annual mileage: 8000
Average winter use: 30 miles per day to and from work plus weekend rides (sole means of transport, so used pretty much every day)
Make: Bering Portland
When bought and cost: 2002, £125
Technical description: Made from a fibretech material, reinforced at shoulder and elbows. Four waterproof outer pockets and two adjustable waistbands. Tucked away inside the windproof zip cover is a handy wallet/map pocket, and there is another wallet-sized pocket, along with a mobile phone pouch.
All buttons are rubber-coated. It also has removable anatomic and back protectors and a double collar integrated in the detachable thermal lining. The jacket features reflective strips (3M Scotchlite) for visibility.
Best feature: Completely waterproof and warm.
Worst feature: The sleeves are a bit on the short side – they work well with a pair of Bering's own gloves though. And the jacket seems to have a real talent for acting like a sail in strong winds – not ideal at motorway speeds.
Summary: Overall this is an excellent three-season jacket – for summer you'd want something lighter. But if you are looking for a waterproof jacket that keeps out the cold as well, you can't go far wrong.
Make: Bering Corpus
When bought and cost: 2002, £55
Technical description: Made from the same fibretech material as the jacket, the Corpus trousers feature removable knee protectors, built-in body belt, waterproof outer pocket, Velcro adjustment with press studs at the ankles and, once again, removable thermo-quilted aluminium lining. They feature a high back panel, covering the base of your spine and ensuring your back stays warm.
Best feature: Thermal lining works a treat and the waterproofing has kept off everything thrown at it. The Scotchite 3M strips also throw up oodles of light to the following traffic.
Worst feature: There is only one press stud and a Velcro strip securing the waist, giving no margin for adjustment. They also only come in one leg length. Fine if it is the right length for you, but if you are short in the legs (like me), it means they ruck up a touch – not enough to be a problem, but a range of lengths would ensure a better fit.
Summary: Well designed and effective kit, with only a couple of minor niggles.
Make: Bering Duke 2
When bought and cost: 2002, £34.99
Technical description: The Duke 2 come in leather or synthetic options – I went for the fibretech material. They have leather and nubuck reinforcement at impact areas, and to keep your hands warm are Thinsulate lined with a polar fleece insert. They also feature a wide cuff, so pretty much any jacket sleeve will fit comfortably within.
Best feature: They do a decent job of keeping off the rain, but a really heavy downpour will test their resistance. But they do dry quickly – useful if you use them for commuting. They are also warm and the fabric at the fingertips is grippy, giving you confidence in cold weather.
Worst feature: Any decent glove should allow a little room for movement at the end of the thumbs, but there is too much room in the Duke 2, making it hard to tell if you’ve switched on your indicators until you are used to them. The cuff adjustment is done with an elasticated toggle – which is nigh impossible to operate single-handed, especially when that other hand is in a glove.
Summary: These are good gloves at a decent price, but could be even better with a couple of minor alterations.
Make: Hein Gericke Cycko
When bought and cost: 2002, £90
Technical description: Made from sturdy leather, with a Sheltex lining to wick the moisture away from the feet. At 22cm tall, they fit under jeans and over-trousers, but will fit over leathers. The boots are secured by Velcro side panels, with an additional Velcro strap for extra tightness.
Best feature: Comfortable from the word go – my feet normally get chewed up when wearing any new footwear, but I have never had a problem with them. The soles are very grippy (essential when you commute into London every day with the attendant grease, diesel etc) and my feet have stayed dry, no matter how heavy the rain.
Worst feature: No armour on ankles or shins, but otherwise I really cannot fault these boots.
Summary: Great value for money, shame about the lack of armour in impact areas.
From January 2006 Edition
Responses to “GEARING UP FOR WINTER”
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• Next issue on sale: September 18, 2015