Motorcycle Owners Club

Honda CG125 but also some universal motorcycle information

Motorcycle Clothing

Waterproof Windproof Breathable Liners

All you have to do to make an item 100% Water and Wind proof is to cover it in solid plastic.
Unfortunately this results in moisture building up on the inside, due to condensation as well as from your skin.
The area your coat covers suffers the most as well as your hands to a certain extent.

Moisture is water, which conducts heat very well. Unlike air which is a good insulator.
In winter, the water will make you dramatically colder.
In summer, the water will stop your body from cooling down.
Since all human beings give off moisture in order to regulate their body temperature.

So a breathable material is desperately needed in all weather conditions.

The way a waterproof, windproof breathable liner works is pretty simple.
Get some plastic film and put loads of holes in it, the holes must be smaller than a drop of water.
But large enough to allow water vapour to travel through it.
Water is turned to vapour due to the heat of the human body.
Since heat likes to rise, the water vapour will be pushed out.

This is what we call breathability, the amount of breathability depends on,
the size of the holes, the amount of holes as well as the temperature difference between the inside and the outside.
The cooler the outside temperature is, the better the breathability.

The more windproof a material is, the more it will protect you from a cold wind.
But in summer the less windproof a material is, the more it will cool you down.

There are many different brands and models of Waterproof Windproof Breathable Liners.
They are used in nearly all types of outdoor clothing.
The most famous, trusted and probably expensive is the GORE-TEX brand.

GORE-TEX has a reputation for having massively better breathability than its competitors,
especially competitors who are much cheaper than them (often people claim it feels like twice the breathability).
They also have a reputation for being 100% waterproof from new and after many years use.

All clothing that carry's the GORE-TEX guaranteed to keep you dry warrantee,
is guaranteed by GORE-TEX and they have checked and approved of all the other materials used in the clothing
as well as the manufacturing process of the clothing.
GORE-TEX demands such a high standard that you can buy any make and model of clothing and know it is of very high quality.
But this guarantee only covers what the item is designed for,
so a walking coat would not be expected to be waterproof on a motorcycle (due to the much higher wind speed).

The much cheaper competitors to GORE-TEX also have a terrible reputation for not being waterproof or staying waterproof.
The first problem seems to be when it is manufactured, it only takes one mistake when sewing the liner in to an item,
to make a small hole in the liner. This small hole results in a massive amount of water getting in over time,
due to the speed of the motorcycle forcing the rain in to it.
This problem depends on the skill of the person sewing as well as what the item is, boots and gloves seem to be the hardest.
Then there is the question about durability, the waterproofing may fail after only a few months use or may last a few years.
Different items will have more wear and tear than others,
so durability is more important, boots and gloves seem to be the worst.

Breathability in a motorcycle coat is incredibly important due to the extreme weather conditions,
due to the speed of the motorcycle, even at 40mph.

In the sections below, you will see I have reviewed a GORE-TEX Coat, Trousers and Gloves.
GORE-TEX may be an expensive product, but as you will see, it will transform your motorcycling enjoyment,
as well as allow you to travel much longer distances at much lower temperatures as well as in hot temperatures.
My advice is if you cannot afford it, save up and buy a GORE-TEX Coat, it is by far the item that benefits the most,
and look out for the sales, they are often heavily discounted from time to time.
If you can stretch to a pair of GORE-TEX gloves, they are the 2nd item that benefits the most from a GORE-TEX liner.

The boots review used a cheap GORE-TEX alternative and as you will read near the end, I ended up with water getting in
and it took a very long time to dry them out (due to the liner backfiring, trapping the water inside the boot).

There are two main types of GORE-TEX liners. The cheapest one is not attached to the outside fabric.
The expensive one is bonded to the outside fabric (on the inside of the item).
The expensive GORE-TEX liner has lots of advantages, but the extra cost is often hard to justify.
Except in a glove, since you need to feel the controls of the bike and in glove form only the cost is not that much higher.

Some of the benefits of the expensive GORE-TEX liner include,
stops water from outside soaking in as far in to the item (so it does not get so heavy and dries quicker),
breathes better and cold wind cannot get as far in to the item etc.

Coat

A 125cc bike is small and very underpowered above 50mph,
this means your biggest enemy is wind resistance, your coat is the biggest wind surface area.

If you have a big bike in the future,
assuming you travel at much higher speeds, wind resistance is still a problem due to your body being blown around.

Different materials have massive differences in wind resistance,
but the shape, cut, bulk and fit of the coat makes a much larger difference.

To see what a massive difference a coats wind resistance can have on you and the bike
as well as why a GORE-TEX lined coat will transform your motorcycling enjoyment throughout the year,
please read my GORE-TEX Coat Review.

For information about leather coats, please read my Leather Coats page.

General advice about coats and wind resistance.
A coat that flaps in the wind is also wind resistance, so get one that's stiff enough and tight enough to flap as little as possible.
Things like wool jumpers etc. might be much smaller and lighter, but their wind resistance is terrible.
Of course back wind or slipstreaming lorries can eliminate this problem.
Just make sure you stay well within your stopping distance!
The coats wind resistance also effects how much you're blown all over the road by side wind.

If you use a textile coat, get one that is of sporty type fit, look at yourself in a mirror with it on and then try a leather coat on.
Look at how big your body looks as well as your arms (arms side on as well for side winds) and your shoulders.
The leather coat type of fit is what you are after; you need to find a textile coat that is as close to it as possible.
You also want a coat without any pockets sticking out.
I also highly recommend the coat has a waterproof, windproof, breathable liner.
As well as a removable thermal liner or enough room to wear a mountain / walking fleece underneath.

A Screen that deflects as much air away from the coat as possible would also be a good idea.

Trousers

Please read my GORE-TEX Trousers Review,
it will show you the benefits and negatives of those types of trousers.

Normal denim jeans with Kevlar in side are the most practical when it's not raining
(put Water Proofs over them when it's raining or starts to get cold).
They are normally sold as motorcycle jeans, the Kevlar is meant to replace leather for protection from road rash if you fall off.
Denim jeans with Kevlar are easy to walk in, breathes and are not hot in summer.

If you do not use motorcycle trousers,
normal thick denim jeans offer some protection (but you're much safer with motorcycle trousers).

Boots

To find out how good a boot can be, as well as what to look out for in a boot and how to use them in the rain,
please read my Motorcycle Boots Review

The ultimate best thing to wear on your feet to control a motorcycle is good quality walking leather shoes.
But they offer, very, very little protection in an accident;
you do not want to even think about the injuries so a boot is the only option.
The reason a leather shoe is so good at controlling a motorcycle
is because it allows you to easily move your ankle up and down to change gear.
You also have good feel between your foot and the gear change lever
and when you get off the bike you can easily walk to your destination.

So the challenge is can you get a boot that is as good,
the answer is no (except it will give you far more protection in an accident).
It's a physical impossibility, but some are much better than others.
It's not always a question of the most expensive is best,
because the manufacturer has to work out what's most important, protection, control or walking.

The first thing to do is try on as many boots as you can.

1. Try walking in the shop with them,
if it's too hard to walk in them for any distance they are useless unless you do not plan to walk far in them.

The following tests can easily be simulated in the shop
by putting your hand on top of your left foot and pushing your foot upwards while your heel is on the floor.

2. How well can you move your left foot up and down to change gear.

3. How much feel is there between your foot and the gear change lever.

4. How much protection do they give in an accident.
All boots will give better protection than shoes.
The stiffer the boot / thicker the padding the better the protection.
A motorcycle boot should (not all do) have much more protection built in to the boot including.
Solid hard round discs that go around the ankles.
Some will also have shinbone protection.
There are many other things that may have been added to a motorcycle boot
to make them better in an accident and more practical for motorcycling.

5. How good are the materials, quality of construction etc.

6. What are they going to be like in the wet and cold?
If the boots do not have any special water proof, windproof, breathable materials inbuilt (like GORE-TEX),
Wind and water can get through stitching, zips and laces easily.
You can of course put Water Proofs over the top.

Gloves

Gloves are a necessity,
if you fall off your instinct is to land with your hands (very damaging and painful even at very low speeds without gloves).
The main requirement is leather to stop road rash, a motorcycle glove normally has additional protection built in to the glove.
Some motorcycle gloves use special textile materials instead of leather that have anti road rash abilities,
do not use a non-motorcycle textile glove.

The type and quality of motorcycle gloves you use
will have a very large effect on how well you can control the throttle, clutch and brake.
A learner is normally less sensitive to the motorcycle controls,
so it's even more important to have a glove that reduces the feel of the controls as little as possible.
An experienced motorcyclist will also want a glove like that to make it easier to control the bike.

For the ultimate control of the throttle, clutch and brake you want no gloves on,
but it is very dangerous if you fall off or anything hits your hands.

The ultimate glove would be the thinnest,
softest leather between your fingers and the controls and good stretch ability on the back of your fingers and knuckles.
On a hot summers day some gloves stick to the back of your hand making it very hard to smoothly operate the clutch
(brake and throttle also suffer).
So stretch ability / ventilation holes and or a material that does not stick to the back of the hand is useful.

But the ultimate glove is only any use in warm weather with no rain.
Most motorcycle riders in the UK have discovered that most of the year the weather is not like that.
The old fashioned answer to this problem was to put an inner glove or liner inside the glove.
The inner glove / liner would serve to reduce wind chill (reduces the cold wind getting though the fabric)
and often have some water proof abilities.
The problem with the inner glove / liner was it slips and slides within the glove
making it very hard to accurately control the bike (especially the throttle).
The more it slips and slides the worse it is as well as how thick it is.
Another common problem was the breathability of the material
(sweaty hands are always a bad idea for trying to use the bike controls inside a glove).

The breathability and waterproof problem has been greatly improved by the invention of GORE-TEX.
The slipping and sliding problem has been fixed by bonding the liner to the glove and is called GORE-TEX X-TRAFIT.
It's an expensive product but so worth the extra money,
because it means you have a windproof, waterproof, breathable lined glove with the feel and control of an unlined glove.
It also means you can use the same glove for most of the year,
in the very coldest winter days in the UK you may need to use a winter glove, please see 3 Finger Winter Glove Review.

When trying on gloves in a shop there are several things to test including.
Try touching your thumb to each finger to see how much feel you have.
Try wrapping your hand around your other hand (to simulate operating the throttle).
Try pretending your operating the clutch to see how easily the glove stretches at the back of your hand / knuckles / fingers.
When you take off the glove see if anything slips and slides within the glove.

For example several years ago, I went in to a store and tried on 4 lined gloves.

X-TRAFIT Leather GORE-TEX
Cost £89.99 (please read the review in the link below to see why it's worth spending such a large amount on a glove).
GORE-TEX X-Trafit Glove Review

Tour LT X-TRAFIT
Very similar to the X-TRAFIT Leather GORE-TEX above but not quite as good (also no visor wipe), Cost £79.99.

ECO GTX II
This has the GORE-TEX liner but it's the old fashioned type = not bonded so it slips and slides, it also has no visor wipe.
Cost £59.99, I only tried one on in the shop, it's miles better than the Blader glove below,
but the X-Trafit gloves above are miles better than it.

Blader
Cost £34.99 and has a Sheltex liner, it's not bonded and so slips and slides (but does have a visor wipe).
Sheltex is a competitor to GORE-TEX but costs less, it also claims to be windproof, waterproof and breathable.
But as soon as I tried it on in the shop after the GORE-TEX gloves above I could tell it's not on the same level,
but what do you expect at that price?
The quality of the materials and stitching etc. are still very good but it's the liner I did not like.
It felt thick (so reduced feel substantially)
it also did not breath anywhere near as good as the GORE-TEX (but I was in a shop that's often far worse than on the bike).
I personally would not wear a glove with a liner like this,
I would do everything possible to afford the X-Trafit or at least the ECO GTX II.
If I really could not afford to get the better gloves, I would look at an unlined glove.

Eye Sight

It is a very good idea to have your eyes tested even if you have never needed spectacles (glasses).
If you have never had an eye test,
it's a very good idea to have one no matter how good you think your eye sight is (it's common to think it's good when it's bad).
If you have never needed spectacles,
you should at least get your eyes tested once between the age of 20 to 25 and also once between 40 to 50.
After the age of 60 you really should get regular eye tests no matter how good your eye sight is
(above 70 years old is very high risk of eye problems).
For expert advice about ages, speak to someone who specialises in eye sight,
the person who does an eye test will be able to advise you the best.

People often do not realise their eye sight is gradually getting worse over the years since their brain adapts.
If your long distance eye sight is affected,
how far you can see will get shorter and shorter gradually over the years often without you realising.
It's also common not to realise your brain slows your vehicle down, does not overtake vehicles unless there is a massive gap,
lorries are very hard at speed, pulling out of a junction or roundabout etc.
I assume you have seen this with 80 year old car drivers,
but it can happen to a 23 year old who never needed spectacles before.
The person who tested my eyes told me that people have a significant drop in eyesight at 20 to 25 years old
and some people need spectacles for the first time.

The eye sight test for obtaining a driving licence in the UK is only a minimum requirement
and your eye sight has to be very bad to fail it.
Having a proper eye sight test at an opticians will be to a much higher standard.

If you wear spectacles when riding,
I recommend you buy some with an anti-reflective coating, you will be able to see much further and better,
night riding is even better. An anti-scratch coating is a good idea unless you keep the visor down most of the time.

Helmet

The best way (will not scratch) to clean the visor is with a spectacle (reading glasses)
or camera cleaning cloth (microfiber) with plenty of water (soak).

The motorcycle helmet is the most important item, it's also the only item that is a legal requirement to be worn in the UK.

A helmet wears out, it does not really age.
The polystyrene absorbs your sweat, as it does it loses its elasticity and hardens.
This makes the fit very loose, like the helmet is one or two sizes larger than when new.
When it gets too bad, you need to buy a new helmet.

The most important thing is to get one that's the best fit, it does not matter if it's a £50 helmet or a £500 helmet,
if it's a bad fit, it will offer very little protection in an accident and will be noisy and uncomfortable.

To find the best fitting helmet, you need to try every make and model at every price point.
Try as many shops as you can find, since they can stock different makes and models.

When you think you have got the best fit, try the same make and model,
one size smaller and one size larger to confirm the correct size.
You then need a trained helmet assistant to check the helmet fit is safe, all shops should have at least one trained person.
They will check that the helmet is not too loose and that it cannot be turned around your head easily or rolled off,
you can check these for yourself but a trained assistant is better.

Since most shops refuse to accept a helmet back once you leave the store unless it's faulty,
you should try it on in the shop for 15 to 20 minutes.
Watch out for pressure on your forehead (excessive pressure over minutes often stops you concentrating or thinking clearly),
or if you get a headache or when you take it off you notice excessive red marks on your forehead, it's too small.
You must leave the helmet on for 15 to 20 minutes for these problems to show up.
A helmet will very slightly, permanently squash to your head and face, but it's only slightly,
so a very slightly uncomfortable tight fit will change to a perfect fit (slightly tight).
A slightly loose fit when new will become very slightly looser.
The tighter the helmet, the safer it is in an accident,
but too tight and it's uncomfortable and can give you a splitting headache (could make you crash).
Never loan your helmet to someone else, since if any part of their head or face is larger than you,
it will permanently squash to that size at any age.

If you have a choice of helmets that are all the same perfect fit.
You might also like a removable liner so you can wash the liner that touches your head all the time,
you may also like a cooling / antibacterial one.
Generally the more expensive helmets have more sound insulation (but they will be noisier if they're a bad fit).

If you live in the UK, fogging / misting up is often a problem in some weather conditions
(see Helmet in Riding in Winter page).

If your hearing is affected by motorcycling,
the normal thing is to wear motorcycle ear plugs to stop you permanently damaging your hearing.
If you have a non flip up helmet,
some shops sell an anti-wind noise fabric that fits underneath and around the bottom of the helmet.

Flip up helmets are popular since you can speak to people easily and show your face (your hearing is still effected),
you can also eat and drink.
But the main reason is if you wear spectacles,
you do not have to remove them while putting the helmet on / off and risk the wind blowing them off the bike.

Motorcycle Helmet reviews can be found at http://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcycle-helmets/motorcycle-helmets.htm

Water Proofs

You can buy motorcycle water proofs, but they often cost more just because they say for motorcycling.

You can buy water proofs for walking, pedal cycling, fishing and other uses that will all work for motorcycling.
The only thing you need to look out for is how well sealed the front zips are, the front seams are also a weak point.
I tried a normal walking waterproof coat and the rain got through the main front zip.
I then tried a normal walking waterproof coat that claimed to be storm proof,
the rain did not get though the main front zip because there was a waterproof flap over the outside of the zip
(waterproof flaps between you and the zip are useless).
All that matters with waterproofs is all zips and seams need to be storm proof where the wind hits you,
the wind tries to force the water in.
The strongest wind will always hit you head on since the bikes moving forwards,
so you do not need storm proof zips behind you.
The only other place you need a good waterproof seal is between you and the seat,
you often end up with a puddle of water to sit in (make sure the seam is good).

You can buy waterproof leather gloves but the leather still gets soaked, the waterproof part is underneath the leather.
You can buy waterproofs that go over your gloves, but you will find controlling the motorcycle more difficult.
The best way to get a waterproof seal is by fitting handlebar muffs
or maybe plastic hand guards (stops the wind forcing the water in), see Hands in Riding in Winter page.

You can buy waterproofs that go over shoes or boots,
some are for motorcycling and others for pedal cycling (even some for walking).
All that matters is the front of your foot is protected and a bit of the sides
(make sure you have enough grip to stop motorcycle falling over).

Lined waterproof coats and trousers are better than unlined ones (not so hot, sticky and less condensation).

Water Proofing Waxes Liquids and Sprays

Even a 100% waterproof breathable coat, trousers, boots and gloves need re waterproofing from time to time.
That's because the waterproof breathable liner is on the inside of the item.

The outside of the item is identical to a non water proof breathable item (e.g. textile or leather).

If the outside of the item becomes soaked with water it becomes heavy,
cold (loses its insulation abilities) and stops the item from breathing.
A waterproof breathable liner actually loses its waterproof abilities and lets in water if it cannot breath,
(it will regain its waterproofing when it can breathe again).

So the first line of defence for any item is to make the outside water resistant.
The best way to test its water resistance, is to put some water on it.
If the water soaks in to it, it needs treatment.
If the water forms drops on top of the item which do not soak in or prefer to drop off when the item is moved,
it does not need treatment yet.

Water Proofing Waxes, Liquids and Sprays are used to make non water proof textile and leather items water resistant.
They are available in motorcycle shops as well as mountain / walking etc. shops.
They do wear off after time and usage, so have to be re applied.
If you have a water proof breathable liner, you need to make sure any wax, liquid or spray
you buy is designed to work with water proof breathable liners (it will say so on its label).

You also need to make sure any wax, liquid or spray will keep your item breathable.
And make sure it is designed to work with your type of clothing, textile, leather, colour etc.
Nikwax is a very common brand name for instants and manufacture loads of different things
to make all sorts of items water resistant.