I don’t know why they call them “the fairer sex,” as they can be pretty unfair. When I offered Chrissy Rogers an all-expenses two-day paid vacay riding around on (back of) the new Yamaha Star Venture a couple months ago, I sensed some resistance. I sweetened the pot with a casual “maybe we can get you some new boots.” Fish on!
Eventually we settled on an Arya Lady D-Dry jacket, made of stretchy “Mugello fabric,” water-resistant yet breathable, and with adjusters at the chest, hips and waist to accommodate our Fireplug Goddess of Love body. The lining is a silver ion-coated nylon mesh Dainese calls Nanofeel, which kills off nasty bacteria and therefore odor (not that ladies exude any) while it enhances the durability of the fabric.
There’s also a removable Thermal liner we wouldn’t be needing with predicted temps in the Northwest in the 90s and 100s F. With the thermal liner in, this seems like it will be a great three-season jacket you could wear skiing (an activity Dainese also specializes in). There are CE-approved yet unobtrusive armor inserts at the shoulders and elbows, along with a zipper at the hem to link the jacket to Dainese pants.
The verdict: “I loved it because I could unzip the sides at my hips and ride with it looser there. With all the vents open I did not sweat nearly as much in the heat as I expected to. I also like to wear the liner by itself as a stylish puffy jacket on cool nights, it’s got one little pocket for carrying things.”
Next up, Belleville Slim jeans. These are the women’s equivalent to the Bonneville jeans I wrote about two years ago, which are still my favorite article of casual motorcycle riding clothing. Stylish, stone-washed soft and made in Italy, these bump up the safety with internal Kevlar fiber mesh fabric reinforcements on the sides, knees and in the rear end, which is claimed to provide excellent resistance against abrasion and cuts, i.e., the dread road rash. There are also height-adjustable thinnish CE armor pads at the knees, and optional hip pads that no woman would ever opt for (though I wear mine all the time and you can barely tell they’re there).
Ms. Rogers loves these, but advises buy a size bigger than you think you need. After a couple of washes, they fit just right. She hemmed hers; you can do that or roll ’em up to match your sleeve with the pack of Marlboros tucked in it.
Gloves: Your MIG C2 is a hybrid cowhide/mesh short glove designed for hot-weather riding, with level 1 CE certification. There are double layers of leather where there need to be – like outside the pinkies and at the heel of the hand – and nice cool mesh where it’s safe to use that material. Plastic knuckle protectors mean you should watch what you say when making butt jokes.
Great for passengering, even better for piloting, with precurved fingers and grippy suede in the throttle area. Two well-protected thumbs up.
Boots: Ironically, the boot bait I originally dangled was the only area in which we came up short. Actually, we came up wide. Most manufacturers just don’t make wide boots, and the size 41 Bahia Lady D-WPs we wound up ordering were just too damn long when they arrived. It was a sad day. Luckily, there were several hundred pairs of other boots in Ms. Roger’s closet, and her disappointment was more than offset by how much she liked the rest of the Dainese stuff.
All told, or all tolled as the great Paul Dean would write, we wound up at $890.82. That’s quite a chunk, but when you add up the Italian style of the thing, the comfort, the enhanced safety and the quality of Dainese stuff – I’d say it’s a bargain, really.
Next week or when we get around to it: that swell new HJC RPHA MAX modular helmet!