Shrinking The Planet – One Ride At A Time

Posts tagged “product review

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

SENA SMH-10 Bluetooth Motorcycle Communicator Eval

Communications are probably one of the single most important topics on trips that are undertaken that are not solo.  To ensure that everyone understands what is intended, we must all communicate the plan and we must do it well.  Well Kim and I have  used a number of the two way motorcycle communicators and we’d like to tell you about our experience with the Sena SMH-10.  Overall, we’re pretty pleased.

By way of background, the Sena SMH-10 is the first Bluetooth communicator we have used.  Previously, we had used the Collett series of radios the last being the Collett Platinum 900.  While we found the communicators to be good performers, we did not find their reliability to be so great.  They do have a 3 year 100% warranty and Collett does honor their warranty well, but who wants to have the down time associated with yearly repairs which is what we experienced.

So back to the Sena’s.  Overall we’ve found the range performance of the Sena to be pretty good especially considering that it is a bluetooth device.  Sena claims a reception range of “up to” 980 yards (900 meters).  We’ve found that the distance in unrestricted terrain to be somewhat less, perhaps 500 – 700 yards at best.  Frankly, if you are riding with friends, how often are you more than a quarter mile from them?  If you are going to be that far away, perhaps you should call them on the phone, eh?  For us however, the real world test of performance is in more restricted space such as in the woods or around corners in twisty terrain.  Here, the range of the Sena varies significantly.

If you are in the city and are several turns ahead of your riding partner cut off by buildings, range is signifcantly decreased.  The same goes for being in the woods.  The more dense the terrain, the shorter the range of the communicator.  However, we can say with confidence that with all our adventure riding in non-densely wooded terrain, the Sena has given us totally acceptable reception.  This is really important to me as I like to know how Kim is doing when we are in the woods and I don’t always have her in sight.  I believe the same goes for her wanting to keep tabs on me.  As far as range goes, we’ve seen as little as 100 yards in the woods, but frankly we were really buried in there.  If you’re looking for a communicator strictly for the woods, you probably do want to look elsewhere though.

As you can tell from R2ADV, we have ridden all over the world and we ride in all sorts of weather and conditions.  We are constantly riding in the rain.  Pouring rain; as in downpours for hours.  We continued to use the Senas in these conditions and we can report that the Sena did not suffer an water related failure in 2 years of use.  That’s something that the Collett couldn’t claim.  We ended up returning the Colletts 3 times in 3 years for repairs.

We also ride a lot of gravel and in very dusty conditions.  Both in South America and during last years Trans American Trail ride, we rode extensively in very dusty conditions where visibility was almost nil due to the bike in front or an ocassional vehicle we caught up to or passed coming from the opposite direction.  We literally were covered in thick dust at the end of the day and the Senas still worked flawlessly.

The Sena’s charge fairly rapidly.  Ours are the V3.0s and the V4.0s are now widely available.  The V3.0s will fully charge in 3 – 4 hours.  Sena claims that the V4.0 will charge in 2.  We can’t confirm that claim since as we said earlier, our experience is with the V3.0. but it seems a bit strange to this non-engineer that a firmware update would reduce the full charging time.  Perhaps an EE can comment in our comment section and voice an opinion.

Ultimately, after two full hard years of use, we have experienced some problems with one of the Senas.  One unit must be positioned just right to receive a charge.  It seems that there is a poor connection inside the unit.  In addition, the audio has become extremely distorted and has almost become unuseable.  It transmits well, but the receive audio is so bad it is almost impossible to understand the incoming communication.  Since the Sena comes with a 2 year warranty and these units are out of warranty.  Unfortuately, we won’t be able to test Sena’s warranty support on the older failing unit.  However, we do have a replacement pair that were shipped to us new in non-working condition, so we’ll let you know how Sena handles their warranty service as this plays out.

So when all is said and done, would we recommend the Sena SMH-10.  The answer is a fairly enthusiastic yes with a couple of caveats.  As long as you are not depending on the Sena SMH-10 for 100% woods riding, or very long distance communications, the Sena is a pretty good tool.  Our experience has been with these kind of electronics, a couple of years use is about what you can expect to get for service.  Priced at about $300 for a pair, they are not inexpensive, but for the communications, added bit of safety and overall communications, we think they are worth it.

We hope you found this review helpful.

Mike and Kim

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 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.

You Meet The Nicest People On A…

Many years ago (1962 actually), Honda introduced the concept of riding motorcycles to “everyday” people with an ad campaign that featured the slogan, “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.”  While that might be true of Honda motorcycles, Kim and I have found that Honda’s ad campaign slogan really is an anthem for all of motorcycling; and are we ever glad it’s the case.

Through our journeys and we dare say a few adventures, we have met the most amazing people and made most endearing and lasting friends.  Other friends have come and gone, but there is something special about those friends who we have made having ridden with them or having met as a result of a ride to somewhere.

Take for example our trip to Labrador.  While we were visiting the very small town of Port Hope Simpson which had only gravel roads and one means of lodging, the phone rang.  Kim and I looked at each other bewildered.  “Who could be calling us in the middle of Labrador?”  I gingerly picked up the phone and a happy voice on the other end said, Hi Mike, this is Dave Noel.  You and I have been corresponding on the Ride the Rock website, I came by to say hi.  Dave had just ridden 25 miles of gravel to say hello to strangers he had been having email conversations with.  After a nice visit at the lodge, Dave rode home and the following day we visited him at his house and met his family.  We’re still friends to this day and we still correspond.

Or how about the time we were on a ferry from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia?  I was posting about our trip to Newfoundland when I received an email from a stranger who invited us to ride with him if we were willing.  In return, he’d show us some of his favorite back roads.  Who were we to refuse?  We met Joe Treen at a local restaurant and we were off for an excellent day of riding.  Since then,  we’ve gotten together to ride a number of times and Joe has come to visit and stay at our home in NH.

Perhaps we should tell you about our chance meeting with a couple at a restaurant in Alaska who told us they had a friend who rode motorcycles and that they’d like to give him our email address.  Of course we said yes and ultimately we met Tracy and his wife MaryLee.  Since 2008 we’ve been friends and we were even lucky enough to get time off together last year to ride a good portion of the Trans America Trail together.

Maybe we should tell you about our trip from Pucon, Chile to Ushuaia, Argentina.  On that trip we travelled with Tavo, Leo, Andrew, Bjorn, Paul, Matt and Louise.  We’ve only lost touch with two of them.  We correspond with them fairly often.  But why don’t you meet up with them more?  Well, there’s a bit of a geography problem now.  You see, Tavo is from Columbia, Leo is from Germany, Andrew is from England, Bjorn is from Norway, Paul is from Australia and Matt and Louise are from……  Cleveland.

As to the non-riding people we have met, we can’t tell you how they have effected us and us hopefully them.  Almost everywhere we stop, the bikes are a conversation item.  Where are we from, where are we going?  What’s it like to ride off road?  What’s it like for Kim to ride the terrain she rides?  Isn’t it hard to do?  We always tell them that it is a very fulfilling thing and one of the best parts is meeting people like them.  They usually glow with comments like that and in turn they share themselves with us.  It’s wonderful.

One story stands out in my mind.   It was on our Labrador trip.  It was fairly early in the morning and I was packing the bikes in the rain preparing to board the ferry to Newfoundland.  It was dank and dreary and the grey ocean was topped with whitecaps.  Nearby a tour bus idled waiting for its passengers to board.

As I was finishing packing an older gentleman approached and quietly watched for a while.  He was wearing a clear raincoat and a yellow Gloucester fisherman’s hat. I noticed he was wearing a Cessna belt buckle and I could tell that this man had had some adventures of his own.  After a while, he walked a bit closer and asked where we were headed and where we had come from.  I told him that we had ridden from our house in New Hampshire and we were headed to Newfoundland.  We chatted a bit about the trip so far and what the Trans Labrador Highway had been like.  While we stood there in the rain, he looked me in the eye and looked over to the bus he would later board and he said, “I wish I was traveling with you.”

Ride2Adventure – Shrink The Planet One Ride At A Time

GeigerRig Hydration Systems

You’re hot, sweaty, tired, thirsty and in the middle of no-where.  You need a drink.  So does your riding buddy or buddies.  Now what?  You’ve made an unfortunate mistake and fallen off your machine, are a bit bloody and need to wash some grit out of that abrasion.   Eww…  what to do?  You need to carry some gear for the day trip or a bit longer trip but you don’t want to weigh down the bike with tied on or fully mounted gear.  So how can you solve all of the above equations?  Is there a simple, single solution?  Well kemosabe’, to this writer, there is.

Enter the Geigerrig.  A backpack with a built in hydration system.  You may be thinking, so what there are a bunch of hydration systems out there, what’s makes this one different?  Well among other things, this one is different in that it is pressurized; pressurized by you by means of a small, attached bulb on the outside of different sized backpacks.  So in the scenarios discussed above, your pressurized Geigerrig works like this…

  • You’re hot and sweaty, cool off by squeezing the end of the drink tube and squirting the liquid all over your body.  Ahhhhh….  so nice.
  • Share a drink with your buddies…  your buddies squeeze the end of the included drink tube and squirt the liquid into their mouths.  No nasty exchange on a single mouthpiece.
  • Dirt, sand, mud in your abrasion…  squeeze the end of the included drink tube and squirt the liquid onto the wound and wash as necessary
  • Need to carry gear…  put it in the backpack of the hydration system.

Now if all this seems like an advertisement for Geigerrig, it’s not.  All we can say is that we used this hydration system on our Trans American Trail ride this summer with temperatures often over 100 degrees every day.  The value in having cold water during the day (we filled the hydration pack with ice cubes and water in the morning) for drinking and for cooling off was immeasurable.  For example…

Pretty chilly water still squirting late in the afternoon on a 100+ degree day.

We can’t tell you how important the Geigerrig was to staying hydrated and cool enough to finish the trip.

As for the details of the rig, the one you see in the picture is the 1600.  It accommodated plenty of gear, it was large enough to handle a rolled up jacket, maps, some tools and other goodies needed.  It attached easily and securely with no flopping around noted.  There are many pockets to segregate your gear so if you pack your gear systematically, you can do so and know exactly where to find your items.

Filling the “hydration engine couldn’t be simpler.  Unhook it from the interior hook, slide off the clip from the hydration engine container, unfold the bag and open.  Fill the engine and reverse the process.  Easy.  Even with the engine filled with liquid, there was still plenty of room in the 1600 backpack.

However, all was not sunshine and roses.  One distinct shortcoming was the length of the hydration tube.  It was too short to drink from while riding and wearing a helmet.  This is a major oversight in my book and Geigerrig may have addressed this by now, but it is a very unfortunate and important shortcoming.  Drinking on the roll can be very important for those who ride long distances or who are in environments where stopping constantly is not an option.

Still all in all, I would give the Geigerrig an A-.  Frankly its a piece of gear that no-one should be without.  For more details on the Geigerrig, visit their website here.

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

Arai XD4 vs XD3 Helmet Initial Impression

I’ve had a little time to ride in Arai’s XD4 and have an initial impression of it as compared to the Arai XD3.  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.

Arai XD4

Arai XD4

Arai XD3

For me, both helmets seem to have the same helmet shape shell and the fit was essentially the same between the two models.  However, for the XD4, Arai has redesigned the cheek pads.  Not only are they a slightly different shape and size, but the cheek pads supplied as original equipment with the helmet are apparently now 5 MM thicker than with the XD3.  In the size M that I purchased new years ago, the stock cheek pads were 20 MM.  Now, in the XD4, the stock cheek pads are 25 MM.  Frankly, the 25 MM cheek pads are probably the best fit for racing and 100% safety, but in return they give you that squished face, kissing fish face feel and look.  Not the most attractive and comfortable way to ride.

So if you don’t like the look and feel of a small aquarium fish, never fear, in the XD4 Arai has thoughtfully included an easy peel 5 MM layer for the cheek pad.  You simply just remove the cheek pads, then the covers and carefully remove the clearly marked 5 MM layer.  I chose to go this route and if I can do it, anyone can.  Then just put the cheek pad covers back on and insert the cheek pads back in the helmet and you are ready to ride, newly minted 20 MM cheek pads and all.

Out on the road, one of the things that the XD line of helmets provides is excellent visibility.  The XD4 continues this tradition with excellent visibility with a wide viewing port, again big enough to wear goggles in if you wanted to remove the face shield.   Another thing that the XD series does well is flow air and the XD4 does not disappoint in this area either.  We did over 100 miles yesterday in temperatures ranging from high 30s to low 40s (F).   You do get a good amount of air around your neck and lower chin so if it’s really cold, you’ll want to make sure you have some way to block the air in theses areas.  However, with closed vents, air flow was blocked off and no cold drafts were noted, so I’m going to say that the seals are apparently good since the XD3 flows a decent amount of air through its vents when moving.  The vents on the XD4 are substantially larger than the XD3 and they portend much more ventilation than the XD3.  I’ll update this when we get into warmer weather.

The shield was susceptible to fogging in the cold, but it was easily dispatched with just a slight crack of the visor.  Nonetheless, I’d suggest an insert of some sort.  Kim and I use Fog City but there are others out there like Pinlock that Arai shields are set up to use.

The visor on the XD4 has been redesigned, is smaller and is claimed to be more aerodynamic than the XD3.  We did ride at a brisk pace during the day, but nothing approaching race speeds.  I was riding a KTM 990 Adventure and if you are familiar with that machine, it has a tiny windshield.  At 5’9″ sitting behind the stock KTM windshield, I did not notice any substantial increase or decrease in buffeting.  If there is a benefit, it must be more recognizable at speeds over 80 MPH.

Weight is claimed to be down on the XD4 compared to the XD3, but frankly to me it’s not that noticeable in riding.  Perhaps over a very long day, the lighter weight would be more noticeable and less tiring, but over a mere 100 mile jaunt, not much difference was noted.  I’ll add that Kim carried the helmet a bit and claimed it was lighter when compared to her XD3 and she’s a pretty good judge of these sort of things.

So there you have it, an initial impression of the XD3 versus the XD4.  Once the weather heats up a bit and we have a few more miles under our wheels, we’ll update you with a longer term update on living with the XD4.

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.

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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

Arai XD4 vs XD3 Helmet

With the new Arai XD4 recently released and my trusty Arai XD3 now having four years of hard labor under its visor, it is time for a replacement.  One thing Kim and I won’t skimp on is a quality helmet.  So I’ve ordered a new XD4 and we’ll shortly have a review and report on how it stacks up against the old XD3.  With a significant price increase, we sure do hope it’s a lot better!

Arai XD4

There’s still a bit of snow around these parts of NH and VT, so we may be a bit delayed in writing the report, but this is an adventure riding website so how can we delay for too long?  What kind of journalistic integrity would that reflect, eh?  So stay tuned and we’ll be reporting in 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 XD4 vs. the XD3 posted by Sunday.  Stay tuned!

“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

From The Pegs

Thoughts, musings and diatribes from the people who bring you Ride2Adventure.  Now that we think about it, some of this stuff may be really weird.

Riding Adventure? Just Add Water…

I don’t know about you, but I really like my adventure riding wet.  Yup, wet and sometimes even muddy.  I’ve been lucky enough to have been to a few places around the world.  In those places I’ve ridden across a fair amount of water crossings, hard bottomed puddles and even quite a few soft bottomed ones.  But mix them all together and you have a recipe for riding adventure.  Big splashes, roosts, and the occasional drop combine to make things all the more interesting for you and your riding mates.

I don’t mean the kind of interesting where your bike engine drowns and you’re in for an engine tear down exercise.  I’m talking about the kind of interesting where the flying water, shaking handlebars and changing balance exhilarates your soul.  Where the completion of a deep water crossing provides a sense of accomplishment, a muddy bottom plays tricks sparking momentary fear, and where the occasional fall reminds us that it’s important to stay humble.

All of them remind me that as much as I love to ride and as far as I have ridden in my 30 plus years of riding, whether in the wet and in the dry, I am indeed still a small part of the day-to-day adventure that is life.  You too should get out there, ride and exhilarate your soul… oh, and do it in the wet.

Ride2Adventure – Shrinking the Planet One Ride At A Time

What Effect Does Adventure Riding Have?

Have you ever wondered what effect you have as you travel the planet by motorcycle?  As a participant in two-wheeled roaming, women and men wander across vast stretches of land, riding away the days, potentially with no real destination.  They may watch sunrises in early morning chill and witness sunsets having experienced the searing heat of the day.  They may have ridden through monsoon rains of Southeast Asia or the seemingly ceaseless winds of Patagonia.  Does such riding represent the sorrow of a lonely rider, a “rich” person’s folly, a lost soul’s wanderings or is it something more?

I would argue it’s much more.  While traveling the planet by motorcycle may indeed represent one of the above, it more often represents a person’s desire to observe.  Observe and more often than not, share.  You see, when someone chooses to travel by motorcycle, they have chosen to expose themselves to a myriad of experiences, the effect of the elements and their fellow human beings.  They have consciously made themselves far more vulnerable than they would have been had they surrounded themselves in a cocoon of metal and glass in climate controlled comfort, with cup holders and other conveniences.  No, the motorcycle rider often chooses to bypass these in favor of experiencing the all the planet has to offer.

The smell of the flowers on the spring, the sudden change in air temperature as they pass from searing heat to a pocket of cool air and even the beginning of rain having watched the clouds swell and darken as the day progressed.  And most importantly for many adventure riders, when the wheels stop spinning, a chance to stop and think about the day’s experiences and perhaps share them as well as their journey’s experiences with the people of the community where the rider finds themself.

It’s through this sharing that the adventure rider gives and takes.  She gives others the benefit of her life, the lessons learned, of the things she has seen and knows from the miles she has traveled.  In so giving receives a gift without asking.  The people she shares with often give back more than she has given.  What is their community like?  What have they experienced?  How can they help her?  This giving without really trying furthers understanding between people and communities far more than any politician could.

So the effect of your adventure riding is to further the community of the planet.  Ride to new places, observe and share with others.  Keep riding and everyone benefits.

Ride2Adventure – Shrink The Planet One Ride At A Time

Ride 2 Adventure – Shrinking The Planet One Ride at a Time

Welcome to Ride2Adventure.  A website for adventure motorcyclists and people who are interested in new places and new people.  We hope that you will stop by often and look around.  In the coming months (and hopefully years) we will provide content including ride reports from far away places and perhaps a place near you.  There will interviews with interesting riders who will share their ride experiences and what they found on the road and off the path less traveled.

We’ll do some product reviews and let you know what we think of some adventuring products.  What can’t you leave without and what should you leave behind.  It’s all important when weight and space is limited.

Of course we have to discuss adventure bikes.  A topic which will never be exhausted.  We may not all agree, but they are always fun to talk about.  We at Ride2Adventure go on the theory that “lighter is better”, but there are a whole universe of people that wouldn’t think of traveling on an adventure ride on anything lighter than a big twin cylinder machine.

At Ride2Adventure, the topics are open so long as they revolve around adventure riding and the people who ride them.  So come along, join the adventure.

Mike and Kim Botan