Shrinking The Planet – One Ride At A Time

Posts tagged “goretex

Sidi Adventure Goretex Boots – Mid Term Update

It’s been a little over a month since I wrote my initial impression of the Sidi Adventure Goretex Boots.  In that time I’ve had easy pavement and gravel rides lasting for hours as well as some fairly spirited single track woods riding with friends and can say that the Sidi Adventure goretex boots have come through with flying colors.  Smooth tarmac, loose gravel, mud, rocks, water crossings small fallen trees and hidden obstacles have all been easily dispatched by the watertight armored boots that can.

So what do I mean by all of this?  Well on the pavement, smooth gravel and just plain walking about where outright boot performance is not put to the test and comfort is the deciding factor, the Sidi Canyon goretex boot has been up to the task and the more appropriate choice.  On the other hand, the Sidi Adventure goretex with each wearing, seems to become more and more comfortable.  I would not rate it as comfortable as the Sidi Canyon goretex, but comparing the two is like comparing an armored car and a tank.  Both can do protective jobs, but you’d only really bet your life on the tank in all out war.

The Sidi Canyon is the armored car, protecting you from small arms fire, like light gravel roads and the average rain storm.  The Sidi Canyon gortex is the M-16 tank, capable of securing the troops from all sorts of mayhem, such as big rocks, trees, water crossings and the like.  The trade off is that you are a bit more cramped in the tank than in the armored car, but when you need to protect yourself at all costs, bet on the Sidi Adventure goretex boot.

One thing I really like about the Sidi Adventure goretex over the Sidi Canyon goretex is the stiffer sole.  Not that noticeable while walking, it is immediately noticeable while standing on the pegs, especially when taking any hits.  Far less jolt is transmitted to the feet and to my 50+ year old feet, that is a godsend.  For some, that may represent a tradeoff in “feel”, but if you’ve ridden in motocross style boots, there will be as much if not more feel in the Sidi Canyon Adventure than in a pure motocross boot.  However, if you’ve only ridden in street boots, you’ll notice the extra stiffness and that may take some acclimation time.  It should be no big deal.

There have been reports of squeaking with walking but I’ve yet to experience it which is a good thing.  I’ve read reports that if it does occur, WD-40 or such lubricants will stop the noise, but the downside is that they generally dry up and would require reapplication.  However as I said, I have not experienced any squeaking in over 3 months use to date.

The Sidi Adventure goretex boots are also fairly heavy, significantly more than your average street boot.  But if you are going to buy the Sidi Adventure goretex boot, you should be a more off road oriented rider, otherwise you are wasting your money.  You’d be better served buying the Sidi Canyon goretex which is less expensive and more on road oriented.

So when all is said and done, are the Sidi Adventure Goretex boots worth their significantly lofty price?  For those people who spend a good deal (i.e. more than 50% of their time on gravel or off paved roads, but still want a boot that is comfortable and usable on the street; the answer is a resounding yes.  They can be the single pair of boots that do it all for you.  On road, off road, woods, walking about, these boots can do it all.

But if you do more than 50% of your riding on pavement, you may want to look at less expensive alternatives.  The Sidi Canyon being one since they can do 75% of what the Sidi Adventure can do and is signficantly less expensive.  In any event, you can’t go wrong with either of these boots; it’s just that to me, a more off road oriented rider, the Sidi Adventure Goretex boot represents a very smart choice.

Ride2Adventure – Shrink The Planet One Ride At A Time


Aerostich Roadcrafter 1 Piece Suit Long Term Test Ride

For about six years now, Kim and I have been doing nearly all of our daily and adventure riding in an Aerostich 1 piece Roadcrafter suit.  We thought that perhaps you’d like to know a bit about the suits themselves and how they’ve performed for us.  The short answer is “remarkably well” with only a couple of reservations.

So let’s talk a bit about the suit itself.  With its “armor” inserted, it’s big, fairly heavy, and at first not really easy to get on and off.  Are you put off by this?  You shouldn’t be, because here’s the complete story about the suit.

The suit is made of 500 Denier Cordura (i.e. heavy weight) which is highly abrasion resistant and which although not as abrasion resistant as leather, is pretty damn good.  It’s also made of man’s single greatest accomplishment in textiles since the first diaper; Goretex.  I am convinced that Goretex was a divine miracle of some sort.  Water resistant (nearly water proof) and breathable, this fabric can keep water out and breathe (letting hot damp air out) at the same time.  If you have ever ridden in the rain on a warm/hot day and you are wrapped in the sauna of an non-breathing rain suit, you know the miracle that Goretex represents.  You stay dry and cool.  Nice!

There are some bugaboos however.  Downpours of greater than an hour or so will ultimately overcome the Goretex fabric and you will get wet.  Light rain or drizzle for extended times can be handled without issue and you will stay dry.  One issue that does occur on a hit or miss basis depending on the suit is what’s been known as “Aerocrotch”.  After extended periods in the rain, water can accumulate in the crotch area of the suit and ultimately soak through leaving you with a wet crotch.  It’s uncomfortable riding with a wet crotch and even more so when you arrive at your destination and you take off your suit with that “I just pee’d in my pants look.”  Strangely, this doesn’t occur in all suits.  I may have something to do with the fit of the suit.  For example, I can get Aerocrotch, but Kim does not.  Hmm….

I do note that Aerostich has redesigned the zippers of the one piece Roadcrafter suit and they claim the Aerocrotch issue has been solved.  They are now offer retrofitting of old suits with new zippers and I was so satisfied with my suit that I sent mine in.  Unfortunately, I still get Aerocrotch on occasion.

The suit has plenty of vents to let air in.  One opens across the entire portion of your back and there is one under each arm that travels from mid-bicep to mid ribcage.  There are also two hip vents just behind the hip pockets.  As a result, as long as you are moving, you can get quite a bit of cooling air through the suit.  Our experience has been that you can be comfortable in the suit as long as you are moving into the high 80s, low 90s.  However, if you consistently must travel in a lot of stop and go traffic with temperatures in the high 80s or greater, you might want to seek another option.

A total of 4 large pockets are available as well as zippered pockets that allow access to your pants under the suit.  You can carry just about anything you could possibly need in this suit.  There are two velcro closable pockets on the thighs of the legs, a large zippered compartment on the chest, one on the left arm and two large pockets where pants pockets would normally be.

The neck and wrists are adjustable for size (and air flow) with velcro tabs.  Options galore exist for the suit including clear map pockets for thigh, arm, made to specification sizing, extra comfort neck material.  You should really go to their website at http://www.aerostich.com/roadcrafter-one-piece-suit.html to check out all the options.

After you learn how to put the suit on, it is really, really easy to get on and off.  Literally, you can get the entire suit on or off in less than 30 seconds.  Really.  When you first get the suit, you feel very clumsy putting it on or taking it off, but as you learn how to get in and out, and the suit softens up (it is a bit stiff when you first get it – sort of like blue jeans) you’ll put the suit on or take it off just as fast as you take off all your other clothes.  It really is that easy.

All in all, we really, really like these suits.  They have served us very well in our travels all over the world including our rides on and off pavement.  If you consistently ride in very hot temperatures in stop and go traffic, the regular Roadcrafter one piece suit is probably not for you.  However, we note that Aerostich has come out with Roadcrafter Light and Ultralight suits that offer less abrasion and armor protection but are reportedly cooler and lighter weight.  We have not tried either of these suits so we can not render an opinion on them.  Oh and BTW, if you ever have a problem with the suit, or want it reconditioned (which we have done after abusing our suits for 5 years), Aerostich has fabulous customer service and will repair and refurbish its suits for a nominal charge.  They offer the same service for crash damaged suits.

So what does this all boil to?  If we were to use a star rating system, we would give the Aerostich Roadcrafter one piece suit 4.5 stars.  We’ve seen a lot of suits and a lot of options, but the Aerostich Roadcrafter works best for us.


Sidi Adventure Goretex Boots – Initial Impression

I’ve had a little time to ride in Sidi’s Adventure Goretex Boots and have formed an initial impression of their performance.  On a sunny Vermont day, we were able to put in a little over 100 miles mostly on pavement with some dirt and gravel and a tiny amount of slimy mud left over from the Vermont mud season.  With temperatures in the high 30s to low 40s, we did everything from low speeds to some higher speed twisties, so we had a fairly good day and mix of conditions to get initial impressions.

In keeping with a more pure off road bias, the Sidi Adventures are a fairly tall boot.  If you are used to a “normal” road boot, you’ll immediately notice the increased height of the boot.  In addition, it’s also significantly heavier than many road boots so when you first pick them up to put them on, you’ll immediately notice the increased weight.  Once on though, the weight is less noticeable.  Also immediately apparent is the increased stiffness of the boot.  It’s not as stiff as a pure off road boot, but it is fairly stiff and it will take a bit of getting used to if you have previously only been a road boot user.  If you’ve been in pure off road boots before, the Adventures will feel soft.

I found that the boot was a bit fidgety to get on, particularly the upper buckle.  It’s nothing significant, but you will have to do a bit of adjustment to get the buckle to overlap correctly.  This will likely go away with use, but it was a bit of a fuss on the first few fittings.  Not a significant worry however.   On the other side of the coin, adjusting the length of the buckle straps couldn’t be easier and Sidi has done an excellent job here.  A mere snap of the strap downward releases it for adjustment and when you have it adjusted properly snap it up back into place and you are done.  Wonderful!

Once you get the boot on, one thing you will immediately feel is the security of the boot and that is a good thing.   Your foot and leg feel encompassed by the boot; not oppressed by it.  It’s stiff but it feels stiff in all the right places.  It has a large shin guard plate and guards at the ankles and shifting areas.   I felt protected in this boot.

The interior of the boot was roomy enough for my very wide feet which are EEEs.  Normally, I take out the footbeds of my boots and insert rubber insoles as well as a 1 1/4 lift due to a previous motorcycle/car interaction.  I can say that the interior of the boot was roomy enough to accommodate my lift but not my rubber foot beds which are thicker than the factory originals.  So I did have to go back to the factory original footbeds to use my lift.  To translate all of this, I’d say that the toebox and overall interior is fairly roomy.  If you have very narrow feet, you may want to think about adding a thicker footbed, but for folks with normal to wide feet, you should be all set.  As far as sizing goes, I wear a 8 1/2 US shoe and wear a size 43 Sidi Adventure boot.

Initially, the boot had a couple of hotspots in them for my foot and leg.  There was a slight squeezing at the side of my foot, but that eased up as the day went on so I don’t anticipate any problems.  The other noticeable issue was a hotspot on my right shin.  It seemed to be right under the beginning of where the shin guard started only on my right leg.  Once again, this let up as the day grew longer so I attribute this to a break in issue as well.

As was stated earlier, it was fairly chilly out with temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s.  I was wearing one pair of smart wool socks and my feet were always warm and toasty.  They seemed to retain the heat in my boot but never got wet/clammy and therefore did not get cold.  Again, thanks to the wonders of Goretex, these boots can breathe and breathe they do.  We did not encounter any rain or hit any water crossings during this ride, so I can’t comment on its waterproof capabilities at this time but I will update you later in our long term review.

The boots have a lugged sole and offer excellent traction on pavement, gravel or mud which we experienced on this ride.   Since I’ve only worn them one day, I can’t comment on the longevity of the sole, but it does appear to be the same sole as on my previous Sidi Canyon Goretex boots that are 3 full seasons old and the soles look like they have a couple more seasons in them at least.

So can I say that the Sidi Adventure Goretex are worth their lofty price at this point?  It’s hard to tell since this report is only on one day’s ride in the cold.  So once I get some more miles and rides on them in warmer (i.e. hot) weather, I’ll update you all with a long term update and let you know whether I think the boots are worth their high price.  But for the time being, it’s looking like a good investment!

Ride2Adventure – Shrink The Planet One Ride At A Time


Sidi Adventure Goretex Boots

When you get old-“er” things might start to hurt.  It’s the beginning of payback time.  Remember all those falls you took having fun.  Remember feeling and thinking you were immortal?  No scratch that, remember knowing that you were immortal?

Now re-adjust your brain a bit and remember all the not so fun injuries.  A few get offs from your racing days.  A couple of collisions with immovable objects.  Well unfortunately they’re coming home to roost and you had better be prepared.  Prepared with good equipment if you want to keep up.  So it is with my decision to up the ante with a new pair of Sidi Adventure Goretex boots.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A hybrid of a pure off road boot and a touring boot, the Sidi Adventure Goretex would appear to have the goods to solve the problems of the Adventure Rider who wants a more protection and support than a road boot, but doesn’t want the all out stiffness of an off road boot.  Throw in the breathability and claimed waterproofing, it would seem that you have a winner.   We’ll be testing the boot in the near future to see it they live up to their reputation and whether they are worth their rather lofty price tag.

Stay tuned for more info shortly…

UPDATE:  We will be out for a full day of cold weather riding tomorrow (Saturday April 7) so I will have my first impressions of the Sidi Adventure Goretex Boots posted by Sunday.  Stay tuned!

Ride2Adventure – Shrink The Planet One Ride At A Time


“Lucky Tester”

Yes, I make no bones about it, I am indeed one unbelievably blessed, supremely fortunate, possessed of propitious providence “Lucky Tester”.  So what is a “Lucky Tester” you may ask?  Well dear reader, a “Lucky Tester” is a divinely fortunate person whose spouse enjoys adventure riding as much as I do.  So it’s clear where the “Lucky” aspect comes in.  But where does the “Tester” aspect come in?

Well, it comes in the form of all things riding oriented.  Take for example my Aerostich Roadcrafter riding suit.  Made of Cordura and Goretex, it has a large dual zipper system that allows it to be put on and taken off in seconds.  It’s bulky enough to layer warm clothes under, has plenty of ugly zippered vents for when it’s hot and it has sort of “bulky” ungainly armor.  Overall, it’s quite utilitarian looking but it does its job well.

My lovely spouse however, riding a BMW F650GS at the time, had her sights set on a BMW branded Sahara riding suit.  Wonderfully styled and also functional, it was a two piece riding suit of excellent quality.  But, it was designed to be worn as your riding gear and could not be removed lest you walk around in a t-shirt and underwear.  Additionally, it was more than $300 more than my quite utilitarian ‘Stich. Nonetheless, we proceeded with our individual purchases, me with the ‘Stich and her with her quite stylin’ Sahara.  We then embarked on a couple of rides where it was quite warm.

ZIPPPP!!!!   ZIPPPP!!!!   ZIPPPP!!!!  I was able to open vents and let in cool air.  Zip, and Kim’s pants were falling down.  It started to rain.  ZIPPPP!!!!  I closed the vents and I stayed dry.   Zip, and Kim got drenched.  But she did look quite sexy!  So after a few rides in heat, rain and dust, I had completed the testing.  It was clear that the ‘Stich was the better performer of the suits.

Then came the anticipated question.  “Can I get a Stich of my own?”  Test 1 completed.

I was ready for a new pair of boots having worn down my previous street boots in the LRRS series.  I did a little research and found the Sidi Canyon Goretex likely fit the bill for our type of adventure riding.  I really like the Goretex stuff as you can tell.  Kim on the other hand, was used to Alpinestars race boots and was ready for another pair.

“Are you sure you don’t want some Sidi Canyon Goretex Boots?  They are waterproof, the Alpinestars aren’t.”  “No, I’ve had Alpinestars for a long time and besides these are Max Biaggi boots and they are awesome.”  She was right, they were awesome looking.  But as we headed for our trip to Newfoundland which turned out to be 2 weeks of riding in the rain, this tester found that the Sidi Goretex Canyon boot was indeed waterproof while the sexy Alpinestars Max Biaggi race boot which looked so good on Max and Kim, weren’t.

I did find that my efficiency in testing was increasing, because it did not take the full two weeks of riding in the rain to recognize that the Sidi boots were indeed waterproof, the Alpinestars were not AND ultimately receive the anticipated question.  “Maybe I should get some Sidi Canyon Goretex Boots of my own?”

Finally, I was ready to change from my Arai RX7-RR race helmet and go with something that flowed a bit more air and had more visibility.  The then new Arai XD-3 seemed perfect. So to shorten the test cycle I asked Kim if she wanted one as well.  “No, I like my AGV Rossi replica.  I’m going to stay with that or get a new one later.”  So as we proceeded into a broiling summer, I was riding with my XD-3 with the visor open and as the sun set, all I had to do was tilt my head down so the visor blocked the sun’s rays.  Poor Kim, I could see her behind me in my mirror doing the blinded by the sun left handed salute, trying to block out the descending sun while trying not to block out her vision.  Once again, my test cycle was complete when Kim said, “Should I get one of those XD-3s?”.

So while I often do have to perform a thorough test program to ensure the performance of a particular adventure riding product, it’s one I gladly bear while I recognize what a “Lucky Tester” I am.  Because every time I look in my mirror, or look in front of me, I see my best friend, soul mate and riding buddy covering my six or twelve, and what could be nicer than that!

Oh… I almost forgot.  Does anyone want to buy a barely used BMW Sahara woman’s riding suit?

Ride2Adventure – Shrink The Planet One Ride At A Time