Touring on Naked Bikes

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Graemsay, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    I'm setting my new Benelli Leoncino up for touring, and I can already tell I'm going to be SO much happier with it than I ever was with my SCR950. :)

    Charles.
  2. Castorp

    Castorp Adventurer

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    For those of you touring on naked bikes in very high heat/humidity, do you prefer jackets/pants with lots of mesh to get as much airflow as possible even though airflow is so high on a naked to begin with? Or do you prefer to have zippered vents that you can close when it gets extremely hot to prevent so much hot air from entering the jacket/pants at speed?

    I realize this question is debated a lot in general gear discussions, but I'd love to know what people who do a lot of touring on naked bikes say.

    This question connects to my earlier post on this thread about my troubles with flappy, billowing gear while touring on a naked bike. I'm looking to replace my flappy leather jacket (as some of you have suggested) and get some new pants too, and I'm wrestling with the zippered vents vs mesh question.
  3. rd400racer

    rd400racer Long timer

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    Back in 81 when I had my 750F, touring gear consisted of a jean jacket:D Don't get me wrong, I own all kinds of fancy Klim gear now...but back in the day I did 10's of thousands of miles wearing jeans and Chuck Taylors. Hey, we didn't know any better!
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  4. Mobiker

    Mobiker Long timer Supporter

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    It gets hot and humid here in Missouri. I want airflow. No question about it. YMMV. Back in the day, before mesh, we wore T-shirts in the summer because leather was unbearable. If you're going to be touring all day long, as opposed to a couple-three hour ride, you have to be careful to stay hydrated. When its hot and humid and you sweat, the airflow evaporates the sweat and you sweat more. I used to work outside on occasion and its incredibly easy to not drink enough fluids on hot windy days. You create your own wind on a bike.
    So....for me I want the breeze, but stop at least every hour or two and drink some water. More than you think you want.
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  5. bross

    bross Where we riding to? Supporter

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    Cooling vests. Game changers. Just like our heated vests for when it's cooler. Just soak them in a sink or roadside creek / lake etc. and they keep you cool for hours. We were on a motorcycle tour in Vietnam / Laos and one of the riders was getting seriously over heated even though he was drinking plenty of water. I hadn't needed my cooling vest that day so offered it to him and within about 20 minutes he had cooled down and said that if he hadn't had that cooling vest on he probably would have had to stop riding, especially for the last hour which was stop and go in 100+ degree heat getting through a busy city. He jumped off his when we finally pulled into our stop for the night looking fresh and happy, not how he looked at our lunch stop, exhausted and not doing well. Buy them at a work wear house type store and they're quite a bit cheaper than at a motorcycle shop, they are used by road workers etc. who have to stand all day long in the blazing sun over hot asphalt, but they work way better when riding due to the air flow.
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  6. Castorp

    Castorp Adventurer

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    thank you both! So I guess a cooling vest with mesh would cool more dramatically? And a cooling vest with a jacket with zippered vents might cool less but over a longer period?

    I usually ride in a mesh jacket in the heat. And when it's really hot I wear a thick cotton t shirt and a thick neck gaiter or shemagh and I soak these down at every stop--and it cools me nicely down for 30 minutes. But after that point I'm being heated up by hot wind. I can tell because when I stop for gas again, I actually feel COOLER standing there in the middle of a blazing parking lot than I did when going seventy on the highway. That's why I was wondering about the argument for sealing off vents during extreme heat--especially on naked bikes. I will definitely look into the cooling vests though. Anyone know of a good cooling neck gaiter? The shemagh works well if it get it just right, but I have to be careful with it.
  7. CajunRider

    CajunRider Been here awhile

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    Keep in mind that convection also plays a roll when wearing a mesh jacket.
    If you're riding in 105 degree heat, the air flow will actually ADD heat to your body, no matter what the humidity is.

    I find wearing mesh for anything over 90-95 degrees becomes an issue after an hour or so. The cooling effect of sweat evaporation is quickly negated by convection heat, AND you dehydrate rather quickly.
    If I'm expecting a multiple hour ride in 95+ heat with high(ish) humidity, I'll switch back to leather (without any insulation, of course).
    Wear 100% cotton (or some type of cooling vest) to allow for water/sweat evaporation at a controlled rate while the leather keeps convection at a minimum. Drink LOTS of fluids when you stop for gas.
    sturgeon likes this.
  8. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    With the Roadster and many bikes before it, I prefer a “naked” motorcycle, which defines Motorcycling itself IMO. If the time comes I can’t endure that, I’ll get a Miata or another Fiat Spider 2000.
  9. Castorp

    Castorp Adventurer

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    Thank you. This brings up another question I have: what kind of leathers are you all using for touring on naked bikes?
  10. CajunRider

    CajunRider Been here awhile

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    I have a regular leather jacket (Triumph) with padding in the elbows, shoulders, and back plus a removable (zipper) insulated vest for cold days.
    I also have a set of leather chaps (no idea of brand, purchased during off season in Sturgis) with removable (buttons) insulation for cold days.

    The leather stuff ain't cheap, but it will last a decade if taken care of. My current jacket is just over 10 years old... but it's about time for a new one.

    Years back, a car pulled out in front of me... I hit the seam between fender well and door, then went over the hood.
    Leather jacket saved the skin on my shoulders during subsequent impact with the pavement... jacket was pretty torn up, but no broken skin on upper torso.
    Unfortunately, I wasn't wearing chaps (just jeans)... I lost a chunk of skin off my knee. Thankfully, the bulk of the impact and slide was upper body where the jacket took the damage.
    That jacket was retired... along with the helmet, boots, and gloves I had on.

    For fair weather days, I do have a mesh jacket... That gets use for short trips in temps between 75 & 90 F. All other days are leather days.
  11. bross

    bross Where we riding to? Supporter

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    In case you wondered about leather:
    "LEATHERS
    In studies of ‘survivability’ of various garment materials to a 50 MPH ride on asphalt, for example, denim lasted no more than four feet before wearing through. Kevlar, on the other hand, lasted eighteen feet. But standard motorcycle quality (about three times heavier than fashion jacket material) lasted eighty-six feet. That’s more than 20 times as effective as your jeans in protecting your hide."
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  12. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Smoove, Smoove like velvet.

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    Perforated in the summer.....flows more air than ALL of my textile.....not going to keep you dry though (not that I care in 90 degree heat)
    waterproof in winter
  13. motorat

    motorat Is it raining

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    I had a '84 700S Nighthawk that I put over 20k miles on wearing a leather jacket with no armor, jeans and the upscale leather converse hi-tops.
    Helmet was optional but I wore it.

    My how times have changed. The boots I wear now cost more than all the gear I used back in the 80's.
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  14. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    I've gone back and forth on leather vs. textile on my road bikes. If you're just on the street, I think a sweet spot is a lighter duty leather jacket, and a perforated version if your climate dictates it.

    I'm down to two jackets for my street bike - a perforated leather one, and a textile one that's partly mesh (not a full mesh jacket). I textile jacket has a waterproof liner for when the weather is foul, but that's infrequent here - it mostly gets used for cooler temps. I use the same liner in the leather jacket as well.

    I don't put much stock in slide tests for heavy duty leather for the street. Yeah, more is better, but it's unlikely you're going to slide that far uninterrupted. Long before the leather gives out, you're going to slide off the pavement or into something else if you're on public roads. So for me, high quality textiles are good enough for the road. But I choose leather because I think it looks better :D
  15. Castorp

    Castorp Adventurer

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    Thanks to you all for the responses. I'm still not doing a very good job of narrowing down gear choices. I make orders, try stuff on, decide against it, send it back. or I make a mistake as I mentioned earlier in this thread by buying a flappy, billowing leather jacket, and I'm stuck with it until I can sell it at a loss.


    Right now I am considering:

    a textile and mesh jacket and pants with either a removable waterproof liner or a good rain suit to protect me when it gets wet or cold. Problems: with this I'm either all airflow or all sealed, no in-between. And the other problem is finding a nice fitting rain suit that won't flap around: a major challenge for me.

    Choice two is a one of these laminate backed suits with lots of zipper vents that seem to be all the rage. Because I'm usually going 60- to 80 mph--I do very little urban or dirt roads--the venting might be okay even in hot weather, and I could close off vents to keep very cold or very hot air out. Problem: a lot of people say these suits are just too hot for hot weather. (Is this true even on a naked bike at speed?) And I don't know that the closing off the vents thing will work for me in super hot weather.

    Choice three is to try leather again--but be much more careful. After a bad experience with a flappy leather jacket (wearing it was like being whipped for 500 miles) I would make sure the next leather jacket fits VERY snug. EVERYWHERE. Which makes me wonder if zipper vents will work very well with such a snug jacket. Which makes me think this is why perforated leather or leather with mesh panels is such a thing. In any case, I would again need the rain suit--and as I said above, I've had problems finding a good non flappy rain suit that actually keeps the water out.

    And the last option I consider is some kind of textile suit with lots of zipper vents but with a removable waterproof liner. I tried an Olympia touring jacket but the fit just wasn't right, and I'm actually looking at the Motoport cordura stuff but the website is book-length and I'm struggling to figure things out there.

    So, I'm reading and thinking about what you guys are saying, and I'm trying on gear, but for me anyway, finding the right gear for naked bike touring is turning out to be quite a challenge.
  16. bross

    bross Where we riding to? Supporter

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  17. Castorp

    Castorp Adventurer

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    Hey, I think of those too. But I ride in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, for the most part. I'm sure a stich would be great for the mountain cold, but I wonder about those super hot and humid days of Florida summer.
  18. CharlesLathe

    CharlesLathe Been here awhile

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    I am a big fan of the Aerostich Roadcrafter and have one with 97,000+ miles on it, but I went back to leathers a couple of years ago. This time they are Vanson.

    When I am moving either the leathers or the Roadcrafter leave me less fatigued in the heat. Stopped, they are hot, but just standing in the middle of the road in swim trunks when it's 100° F would be hot. I always say that a helmet and leathers/riding suit keep me warmer when it's cold, cooler when it's hot, and I don't get hurt when I fall off. The last statement is more nuanced then the first two.
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  19. bross

    bross Where we riding to? Supporter

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    All I can suggest then is to ride early in the morning and later in the day. On one trip coming home into the Okanagan we hit 100+ degrees at lunch and both my wife and I were feeling the heat, this was before we had discovered cooling vests. We bought a sandwich and a couple big bottles of water and proceeded to have a nice nap under a big ol tree in the town park for a couple hours. Felt much better and the heat of the day had dissipated and we had a very enjoyable couple hour ride home. If it's hot and humid, and you're exposed on a bike, it's going to be hot and humid, as the previous poster stated. Pick your battles.
  20. Castorp

    Castorp Adventurer

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    Thank you. I have been looking at the vanson's site too. The main appeal to me is that they seem to make leather jackets to measure. Have you found a good rainsuit to use with your leathers? Why did you decide to go back to leather after such a good experience with the stich?