Bilt Explorer Gear

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by yeroc40, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. willfreely

    willfreely Elderly Beligerant

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  2. bgt595

    bgt595 Been here awhile

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    So I went and bit the bullet and picked up the Bilt Adventure air suit on sale......after trading in some Storm overpants and the Bilt Adventure helmet I had also previously purchased and a week later after I waited for my size order to be filled. .....

    First impression, the stuff is surely waterproof....160 miles of the winter riding in Washington state proved that in one day. I opted for the sand colored gear since this is primarily intended for summer use and I like it a lot. So after a little warranty issue that was fixed with an exchange on the first use of the belt closure which broke due to poor stitching.....oops. Other then that and a not long enough jacket to pant zipper I am quite impressed.... After I discussed some of the shortcomings with the local CG manager he said that instead of doing a warranty return for any alterations I make he will just reimburse me for my costs. So the first thing is a stronger belt closure attachment and then a full circumference zipper not the current hip to hip zipper (which is a pain in the ass to deal with)

    [​IMG]

    Sorry for the crappy pictures. More to come as the suits issues get resolved.
    #42
  3. EBMOTT

    EBMOTT Adventurer

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    bilt is all crap. i seen to many issues with that gear come into my store.
    #43
  4. cyron

    cyron Adventurer

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    Thanks for posting the reference to the article, unfortunately I found the article and it was pretty useless...
    I like the idea of the bucket test, but...

    I'm going to quote it.
    " I filled two buckets with water and submerged each pair of boots in turn to near the top of their inner gusset. Two minutes later, I withdrew them and checked them periodically inside for moisture—that is unless they leaked immediately, as most did."
    and
    "In the bucket test, the left boot took on water immediately; about 90 seconds later, the right boot did so also."

    That's the only pair of boots he said how long it took to fail. He doesn't tell you which of the "most did" did not fail. Would have been nice to know. Matter of fact he doesn't mention the bucket test in any of the other boot reviews.
    The boots lasted somewhere in the one minute and thirty seconds, my guess "about" means less, range for a 2 minute test that most of the boots failed also.
    I'm not defending Bilt brand boots. I can't argue that their quality is probably pretty low compared to the others. I'm not even sure that boot should have been included in the test since it seems to be a completely different style.

    Here's the review: http://www.ridermagazine.com/browse...rs-guide-touring-and-sport-touring-boots.htm/

    I think it would have been good if they put weights in the boots, pulled them behind a motorcycle and listed how long the boots lasted before they shredded... Kinda like the draggin jeans commercials.


    I do have a pair of the Bilt Perf boots that I put 5000 miles on this year. They've held up pretty damn good, extremely comfortable. The leather is nice and thick, but the finish isn't all that great. They trim the leather off at the edges in sort of a sloppy way compared to my Sidi boots. I think they'd hold up in an accident. For what they cost compared to a new set of Sidi's I could buy a new pair every year for 5 years.


    #44
  5. TH

    TH There and Here

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    I bit the bullet and bought the whole set. It definitely keeps me warm. I've used it for a few days of commuting in mid to lower 30'sF. Just turned up my heated grips and I'm fine. Just using an additional freezeout shirt to keep me warm.

    It may not be on par with some of the higher priced items, but the warrantee is hard to beat. Reminds me of when Hyundai first came into the market. They provided excellent warranty's with a product that wasn't quite there yet. The Bilt stuff may be in that same mold. Gear they are trying to slowly improve upon, but to address the buyers concern, they provide a great warranty. It is a better warranty than many of the high named brands.

    So far it seems to be decent. If someone wants to laugh at me for buying the stuff, so be it. I don't really care. As long as it does it's job, I'll be happy. If it doesn't then I'll return it.
    #45
  6. groop

    groop So much to ponder

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    I don't have any Bilt gear to provide any experiences. I do shop at CG often and get the catalogs regularly. I have always been a fan of this website for gear and tool reviews. It's been a trustworthy source of information for years and, the things that I do own that were featured on this website have performed the same for me as it did for them.

    Of course, the relationship with riding gear is supposed to last for years, not hours- so longterm testing results are always preferred.

    http://www.webbikeworld.com/
    #46
  7. TH

    TH There and Here

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    As rack up some miles, I'll try and report my opinions. I have average over 10k miles annually for the last ten years. So I should be able to give a good review in a few months.
    #47
  8. Toonces

    Toonces n00b

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
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    6
    First off I gotta say, I consider myself as lucky for getting such a smoking deal. I took advantage of the package deal from Cycle Gear. Buy the BiLT Explorer H2O jacket at the full price of $400 and get the matching pants, a pair of Explorer Urban Rider Gloves and an Explorer Helmet. Purchased separately at full price would have totaled over $840. All these items were on sale for $490. So at the sale prices, I saved $90.
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    Now second thing I have to say is that I knew right off that I wasn&#8217;t getting some kind of high end gear. I used BiLT stuff before and was satisfied if not impressed. What is impressive is the 5 year warranty Cycle Gear offers. If any of the BiLT stuff lasts me 5 years (I only buy the stuff when it&#8217;s on sale) then I feel I got my moneys worth. Besides, if the stuff fails at less then 5 years, you can get a brand new one. How cool is that?
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    Hand pockets are on the small side but are soft inside and close with a zipper
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    The cargo pockets have two snaps and Velcro &#8211; no zipper
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    My 100oz water bladder from Camelbak fit into the pouch but mouth piece won&#8217;t fit through opening. Shoulder loop to guide hose. Zips closed
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    Two adjustable waist straps &#8211; Better then Velcro and Velcro adjustments at the hips.
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    Removable liner is a little wimpy and is nothing to brag about. Too ugly to wear by it&#8217;s self. I prefer to wear my fleece from REI under this jacket. Warmer and more versatile.
    There are two pockets in the liner. One on the left is cell phone size and the one on the right is large enough to hold a folded map. There is a storage pouch on the lower rear section of the jacket for the liner. It closes with Velcro only.
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    Cuffs are adjusted with Velcro and well place.
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    There are two large panel vents on the front. The panels are not removable. The two sides just unzip which allow the panels to roll up and be secured at the top by one snap.
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    There are two large vents on the back about 14&#8221; long. There&#8217;s also a vent on the bicep portion of each sleeve. Vents are about 7&#8221; in length. The two position adjustments for the sleeves also help keep the vents open.
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    There are some reflective strips. One below the collar. One at the bottom of the bladder pouch and one on each sleeve just above the elbow.
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    There is some built in body armor in the shoulders, elbows and back. All removable via Velcro openings. I do have some issue with the armor in the left shoulder when I put the jacket on right arm first. Sometimes it gets a little cocked and bunches up. I then have to pull my arm out and reinsert it taking more care.
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    Being a matching set, the pants and jacket zip together with the zipper going about ¾ ways around.
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    The main zipper works very well and looks to be sturdy enough.
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    The jacket has a fairly large pocket on the inside on the left.
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    This jacket uses a waterproof liner to help keep the water out but as I&#8217;ve found out, it keeps the air out too. With all the vents open, not much air flows through the jacket at all. So basically from where I stand, the venting on this jacket is a no go. I won&#8217;t be using it in warm to hot weather (85° plus). BTW, I have a BiLT Storm Waterproff ¾ jacket and it flows WAY more air then the Explorer.

    So today, I took back the Explorer Jacket & Pants for an exchange. Got the Explorer Air. I'll write about it as soon as I try it out. BTW: the exchange was a no hassle deal and the manager was receptive to my comments about the gear not flowing any air dispite having vents all over.
    #48
  9. Greg MacD

    Greg MacD Been here awhile

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    I too was in the CG store yeasterday, took a look at the gear, seemed to be okay for the money, the heavy jacket, pants, a pair of cheap gloves and their helmet for $400.

    First impretion was the jacket fit my slightly fat ass well, I did not try the pants on, but I wanted to do some research prior to spending the time to try all the gear in the store. I am still on the wire with the gear. I don't need any additionnal equipment, but when I find a good deal, I usualy "find" a need for it.
    #49
  10. JR KLR

    JR KLR FJR and KLR rider

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    Austin, Texas
    I absolutely agree RE: the venting. I bought this jacket and fit and quality was perfect. However, anything above 70 degrees and I sweat inside. I didn't figure out that the vents actually don't vent any air to your body as the inside waterproof liner is non-removable. So great jacket for the cold, but not really a 4 season jacket. Bummer.
    #50
  11. Jnich77

    Jnich77 Been here awhile

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    They also do 10% off for Military
    #51
  12. AVGeek94

    AVGeek94 Been here awhile

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    I also picked up the full AIR version last month. I rode through a cold snap in Phoenix, and the quilted liner wasn't quite up to the task. I liked the rain liner (which is removable in the AIR) much better as a windbreaker with my WnS jacket underneath.

    The gloves are a non-starter for me, the rubber knuckle protection rubs my knuckles the wrong way, causing pain on certain knuckles (I have odd sized hands, and have always had trouble finding well-fitting gloves).

    The helmet was a bit snug on my temples, but with more wear-time, the helmet is settling in nicely. The drop down shield could be darker.

    The knee pads in the pants were also not go great. They fell to my shins when I was standing. I'll be looking for stand alone knee pads instead.

    Overall, for $400, I'm happy.
    #52
  13. bgt595

    bgt595 Been here awhile

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    I had the Explorer Air gear for a period of 3.5 months..... It was all returned today (except the helmet). The first pair of pants lasted exactly one ride of about one hour then the closure at the waiste broke and the pants leaked in the crotch during the rain storm I was in. The jacket lasted the same amount of time and leaked in the right shoulder. Thankfully the Cycle Gear return policy worked wonders and I was outfitted with new gear right on the spot. Now for the gloves offered, I had both glove options offered for the Explorer suit buy option....... three pairs of gloves later and they all sucked.... The knuckle guard dug into the back of my hand and one pair tore in the material at the back of the hand.

    My Cycle Gear was very accomidating and made the offer to me that if I made any alterations or repairs they would refund me the cost of those.
    So I had a full circumference zipper installed between the pant and the jacket to help keep the pants in place due to the rather lacking waist cinch method they employed. I also had a repair made to the right side waist velcro closure on the pants. These repairs got me along quite well for a couple months, but alas I just couldn't get past the strange cut of the pants and the gloves were terrible. So all went back today and the search begins for gear that better suits (pun intended) my style and stature.
    #53
  14. notrivia

    notrivia Adventurer

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    I worked at Cycle Gear. It is basically a potential IPO looking for enough investors to make the original investors rich. It is all show and no go, specifically tailored to the psychology of marketing to put as much grist into the mill as possible to make the bzness appear more proftable than it is, just, again, to attract investors. This has sadly become the standard model in U.S. business, merely running money through the till on the basis of any pretext to build potential investor cash, and profit off of selling the company. It is no Mom & Pop that knows their customers as their neighbor and cares about anything other than the bottom line. It is the Walmart of the industry, with low pay, armtwisting of employee's to do the difficult for next to nothing (that's why you get your tires put on for free - something that you usually pay a trained mechanic for), and "training" - which is just an excuse to speciously explain why the employees are'nt getting more than minimum wage. Keep in mind that most products you buy there are made by 3rd-world people working in slave-like conditions. By shopping there you help to ruin the motorcycle industry, because motorcycle shops cannot compete with their low prices, the way Sears cannot compete with Walmart. The apparent consumer advantages will one day disappear when motorcycles shops are so few that Cycle Gear will feel they can raise their prices with impunity. As to the Bilt gear, it is all polyester, mostly single-stiched, targeted to the ignorant, and designed merely to appeal to the faddists amongst us. Look at their new "Adventure Boots" as one example. They certainly are not made for walking.:cry It would be a crime to wear those to Alaska!
    #54
  15. TH

    TH There and Here

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    notrivia makes some valid points. But in todays economy and world market, it is hard to not get something made in a third world country. Some exceptions are out there (i.e. Aerostich). Even the beloved Apple products are made in China. Many of us in the US are addicted to a high standard of living at low cost, hence we are tied to foreign products made with inexpensive labor. Until I get my finances to where I want them, I will buy less expensive gear. It is much better to have something, than nothing.

    An update on my CG H2O Explorer stuff.

    I've had this stuff for about a month now, maybe a 1,000 miles of use. Initial opinions, yes it is entry level stuff. But it seems to be working. I do not expect the H2O stuff to be 4 season, as the waterproof liner is not vented. But it has kept me dry and warm on my daily commute (about 65 miles round trip). I decided to wear my Tourmaster Venture pants on a longer ride this last weekend, they leaked quickly. Even on a short commute into work, they leaked a little. Similar weather in the H2O pants have been dry. I have yet to try them on a long extended ride in the rain (100+ miles).

    Quality - it's OK. But it seems to be on par with my Tourmaster stuff. The zippers are my biggest complaint. They do catch on the material, as others have pointed out. But I haven't had any structural failures.

    Comfort - the pants are more comfortable than my Tourmaster Venture pants. The kneepads fit me, which seems to be an issue for many folks. The knee pads in Tourmaster pants have a fabric liner that folds over and irritates my knees. The Bilt ones are solid, so for me, they are more comfortable. The jacket is comfortable.

    Venting - The H2O stuff does not appear to be 4 season stuff, but 3 season stuff. This is due to the waterproof liner that sits between the shell and the jacket liner. I don't like that funny vent systems for the front. The way you are supposed to roll it up, just doesn't work well. The wind has caused that flap to come loose and blow in the wind.

    In comparison to my Tourmaster stuff, it seems pretty equivalent in quality. I have some older (8 to 10 years old) First Gear stuff. That appears to be better quality. (Kenya Jacket and Hypertext pants). The First Gear stuff for me was waterproof and has only recently started to leak. Reason I started looking at other gear. Even with it being as old as it is, it is still much better in the waterproof department than the Tourmaster stuff, which just over a year old.

    I'll keep wearing it. It seems to work for me. I do like the 5 year warranty.

    CG Salesperson - He didn't hound me. He was pretty honest when he said some Bilt stuff isn't that good, but some of their lines have gotten better. He said the Explorer stuff was their better stuff. He seemed pretty straight forward when I talked with him.
    #55
  16. G19Tony

    G19Tony Been here awhile

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    I have the Explorer Air jacket and pants, and I think they are doing alright. I took them both into the sewing place at the AFB in my town and the ladies remove the old velcro, and sew in longer strips, to make the jacket and pant cuffs a little more adjustable. :clap
    #56
  17. BigChris99

    BigChris99 Been here awhile

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    I'll throw my .02 in. I bought a BILT Explorer helmet last weekend on sale for 99.00. Hi-Viz yellow, drop down visor. I like it. Commuted back and forth to work on my KLR with it. It was fine. I don't see myself has gear snob. I have all kinds and brands. FirstGear, Tourmaster, Aerostich, Scorpion, HJC,Olympia,Teknic etc. I went to my local Cycle Gear with an open mind about the helmet. I was pleasantly surprised by the fit and features of the Explorer, so I bought it. It was priced better than the AFX and/or the Fly Trekker. Is it an Arai or even a Shoei, of course not. I don't have those helmets in my budget. See the above reference to the KLR...:D I expect it will work fine for me. Like someone said, everyone is different.
    #57
  18. 150ron

    150ron Long timer

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    I had the Bilt Waterproof Hurricane boots, after about 4+ months of using them, i noticed that one boot was completely waterproof, but the other one, i would sometimes get a bit of wetness by the toe area,

    So CG exchanged them for me, i went with the new Explorer boots instead, did not have to pay anything, even exchange, no hassle too.
    #58
  19. bamagator

    bamagator Adventurer

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    Thx for sharing on this. Interesting insight. I visited a CG store site for the first time today to pick up some MX clothes on sale to do dirt trails this summer and I checked out the explorer deal gear as it did catch my eye.

    They do have some great deals of stuff, it is a good store, but I'll pass on their textiles and helmets prob.

    Meh. I like my Joe Rocket textile, and I will likely just add their ADV style jacket to my gear. Agree with many, the bilt gear just looked and felt low entry level. I am ok with buying something's in that category, but not $400 worth of it and with what I believe will be short lived shelf life.
    #59
  20. G19Tony

    G19Tony Been here awhile

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    If you were able to suss that out so easily, investors will too. Lot's of gear snobs out there. It's a reasonable store, that sells reasonable stuff. I have some Klim pants and they are nice, but if I couldn't have got them on sale, I wouldn't have bought them. I've seen complaints about Aerostich too. Meh. It works for me and a lot of other people. Thanks for your insight. I'm sure that's the goal of most small companies. To get big enough to be bought out. Good luck to them. There are already too few motorcycle shop out there. In my town, aside from CG and a couple of independents, which I support, the only other shops around are Powersports Superstores. That's another business where the people are low paid, don't know the product, arm twist the customer to make a sale, and then add so many extra fees, it raises the price of a bike $1500 or more. I went to Utah for my last bike, and got it out the door for list. I agree, it's a sad state of American business.

    My complaint is everything is made for someone 6' tall and 165. I wish that were me, but sadly, it's not. I have to make due with what I can find.
    #60