Expert advice and a few gear recommendations from the manager of our Oxford store, Steve.
Located in Dorchester, just outside the city of Oxford there is plenty of moto traffic rolling around as situated right next door to the shop is popular biker haunt, H Cafe. And whilst you're shopping you may very well hear modified machines revving up on the dyno at GP Performance who's premises are just behind the store.
Come rain, sunshine, or even snow, Steve commutes from the Northern Costwold edge to Southern Oxford daily - 35 miles each way. Let's take a look at what he's wearing when tackling a route that consists of multiple twisty sections and the glorious car park that is the Oxford ring road...
We'd like to point out that some of the kit Steve wears is no longer available either due to it being recently superceded by a new model or the stock has been delayed due to the global shipping delays. In these cases we have listed alternatives at the bottom of each section.
Starting at the top and Steve has recently changed to a new full face motorcycle helmet, the Shark Spartan Carbon GT with Iridium Visor:
“I have just upgraded within the last week to a Shark Spartan GT Carbon, with a road legal blue iridium visor obviously, and must say after 200miles in, I wish I did sooner! The venting is fantastic to the degree that its now to cold for it, the Optical class 1 visor reduces distortion and as I put the road legal iridium on it, I can look cool and never have to carry another visor with me, plus it has a lovely hi-def yellow hue to the vison which will suit the foggy mornings coming! The interior is made from techy fabrics and uses elements from Sharks racing pedigree meaning when I hit those national speed limit roads it doesn’t have any annoying buffeting movement.”
Aproaching his clothing with a layering approach, Steve dons a variety of garments as well as a Dainese Smart Vest for an extra piece of protection:
“For my jacket I chose to have ‘layers’ with the Spidi Mission T, the closest thing you can get is by using Knox’s seasonless collection, a 3 layer system that keeps your safety close to your body whilst being able to remove upper layers dependant on weather conditions. That’s why I only need one jacket! It’s completely water tight, warm and comfortable.
This year I looked to the future and decided I wanted to do everything I could to protect myself so that’s why I got myself a Dainese Smart Jacket – electronic air bag vest. Comfortable, easy to use and a 26-hour battery life so I can just zip up and crack on getting to work or home. There are 2 main reasons I chose it over every other air bag out there – 1. There no monthly subscription costs and 2. It’s the only airbag system, that doesn’t need extras, that will activate on stationary rear impacts so it’s a real peace of mind.”
Spidi Mission T Alternative - Spidi Traveler 3
“No one wants a soggy bottom so I put mine in a pair of Halvarssons Laggan trousers! They are their newest laminated trouser that has a stretch fit, making them the best tailored biking trousers I’ve personally ever owned and are totally waterproof and breathable. They have great safety specs too being AA abrasion resistant and have fully adjustable lightweight LVL 2 armour I really couldn’t not have them. When the sun is shining, I have a pair of Spidi J-Tracker Jeans – again they have adjustable armour which can also be removed by the external side zip for when I want to walk around in them all day!"
For finger protection, a double dose of Halvarssons gloves does the job:
“I love a good set of gloves, that’s why I have 3! My summer set is the Halvarssons Hofors – beautifully thin, supple goat leather – honestly, we sold out of them the first time we had them before I got a pair! My mid-season set are the Halvarssons Ljusdal – again a fully waterproof with a goat leather palm and a spandex upper, I get distracted watching the water pool over the top of them! They also have a light insulation and Outlast liner (who doesn’t love a bit of NASA technology in their riding gloves!). Finally my winter set, these have seen some action recently, Spidi NK5. I’ve had these for over 5 years now and they have never left me down. Great long cuffs to go over or under my jacket so I can be completely water tight and epic amounts of thermal weight means I’ve never needed anything more, they beat the beast from the east!"
Getting to the bottom of things, Steve chooses 2 different boots depending on the duties:
“Winter in the Cotswolds means mud and plenty of it, that’s why have a pair of TCX Infinity 3 Mid boots. They have a Groundtrax outer sole that was designed for touring and light off-road use so I can trapes about the fields without a worry. Fully waterproof and have the comfiest innersole by Ortholite, also the micro metric fly reel dial closure system is so Nerdy I had to have it! My summer boots I have a pair of Dainese Metropolis boots as they are comfy and light weight, plus a great look when using my riding jeans."
The rest of his set up compiles of a few key pieces to make his riding more enjoyable and comfortable:
“I’m a firm believer in base layers being your friend no matter what and how you ride, I use Halvarrsons Comfort top and bottoms – they are a blend of Merino wool and Outlast (that NASA tech again) meaning I use them every day except when its 30C out there in summer when I have a set of the Forcefield Tech3 base layers for their moisture wicking properties without and thermal.”
“Something I also never leave the house without is a good set of ear plugs, mine are the Auritech orange set, biking is loud and helmets aren’t ever quiet so always protect your hearing! My bike doesn’t have luggage so I whole heartly rely upon my Kriega Max 28 backpack to carry everything I need (many sandwiches) to work and I can then extend it out when doing the odd shopping trip on the way home”
A big fan of sportsbikes, Steve had an unfortunate off which meant a change to his usual steed of choice:
“I used to commute on a GSXR600 K4, two pheasants and big patch of gravel later, I changed down tempo to my Yamaha XJ6. Its got all the power needed to commute, sure it doesn’t rev to 16500RPM in every gear like the Gixxer but it weaves and bobs through my rush hour traffic easily! The urge for another sports bike will always be there though!”
AND THAT'S ALL FOLKS!
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This article was written by Thomas Evans.