Adventure Motorcycle Gear: MO Staff Picks
Beating the heat: What we wore on our adventure tour. From light-duty to heavy-duty, we cover the spectrum of ADV riding gear.
Adventure riding has no bounds. With a properly outfitted ADV bike, you can ride just about anywhere and everywhere so long as weather conditions and more importantly your riding ability allow for it. Speaking of weather conditions, you can find yourself riding in any number of them, and there are various gear options out there that will not only perform way better than your average dungarees and jacket, but will provide enhanced protection in the event of a mishap, too.
For our recent Adventure Tour, we were faced with heat more than anything else, with temperatures averaging over 100 degrees during the day. The funny thing about weather (unless you find some sort of shelter) is that there’s no escaping it, especially on a motorcycle, which is already hot on its own. So, it’s up to you to determine how you’ll fight the elements to keep comfortable, and it all comes down to what you’re wearing or carrying on your person. Here’s what us MOrons chose to bring on our adventure ride up to the Eastern Sierra.
Alpinestars Supertech M10 Helmet – $579.95 (solids) $649.95 (graphics)
I’m an off-road guy. In the dirt is where I really get my thrills, and it’s also the type of gear I prefer to wear whenever I’m adventure riding, especially when off-roading is on the menu. This reason, paired with 100+ degree weather, is why I chose my Alpinestars Supertech M10 helmet. The M10 is Alpinestars’ first helmet and its primary objective (aside from offering the latest and greatest protection) is to be as light as possible and to provide a ton of ventilation. At 1,260 grams, or about 2.78 lbs, the M10 is my lightest helmet, and with the amount of air the helmet flows, I felt like I was wearing an open-face helmet the whole time.
Scott Prospect Goggles – $89.95
Since the Supertech M10 is an off-road (but still DOT and ECE certified) helmet, there is no integrated shield or visor for your eyes like an ADV specific helmet, so goggles are a must. I chose to wear my Scott Prospect goggles well, because I think they look good, (and because I had no other choice), but also because their lenses are easily changeable. During the day I used a nice tinted lens to help block out the sun, and when it got dark I simply swapped the tinted lens out for a clear one – an easy process that takes less than a minute. Or you can carry two pairs of goggles if space isn’t an issue.
For more info on these goggles and how to purchase, head over here.
Thor MX Terrain Jacket, Jersey and Pants – $179.95, $54.95 and $129.95
The beauty of adventure-specific gear is how technical and versatile it can be for endless riding conditions, but with all the various layers and protection, it can also get a little cumbersome, especially when it’s hot out. This is why I chose to wear Thor MX’s new 2019 Terrain line of off-road gear. It’s not ADV-specific, and definitely doesn’t provide the same amount of protection and abrasion resistance as adventure touring gear, but it’s super lightweight, breathes really well and offers great ventilation. It’s definitely tougher and more rugged than typical off-road gear (much more so than MX gear, which we would definitely not recommend wearing on the road), and it has a number of nice, built-in features to make it all-day comfortable.
The Terrain kit comes with a jacket, jersey and pants. The jacket is great because it has sleeves that zip off to wear as a vest, five outer pockets, one inner, and four zippered ventilation vents – two in the front and two in the back. The pants also have two big zippered pockets in front and two zippered vents. They come in both in-the-boot and over-the-boot versions, but I prefer the look and performance more of an in-the-boot pant. The jersey is made with a moisture-wicking polyester fabric with added abrasion-tolerant material on the sleeves and shoulders. It also has vented side panels. Overall, I was super impressed by how the Thor MX Terrain gear performed. Look for a full review later this week.
For more information and how to order, follow this link.
Gaerne SG12 Boots – $529.99 – $549.99
I love these boots and wear them just about anytime dirt is in the equation. They’re my go-to for any type of dual-sport or ADV-type riding. I also wear them sometimes while riding motocross, but have found I prefer my Alpinestars Tech 10s more for that. The Gaerne SG12s are all-day comfortable, have no inner booty like the Tech 10s, and have the easiest latching mechanism I’ve used for quick on and offs. Five stars, highly recommend!
For more info from Gaerne and how to get yourself a pair, click here.
Thor MX Rebound Gloves – $34.95
Again, more of an MX / off-road glove, the Rebound glove is nice and light, and breathes very well. It does, however, have a double wrapped thumb and a perforated Clarino palm with double overlays for abrasion resistance and durability.
More info here.
KLIM Nac Pak Backpack – $99.99
This backpack has been an off-road/dual-sport favorite for riders for years, and I now know why. The Nac Pak has motorcycle-specific built-in features regular backpacks or hydration packs don’t, and they make all the difference. The shoulder straps integrate a sternum connection point that disperse weight better, there are incredibly well thought out and functioning pockets, a removable water-resistant tool pack, hydration pack compatibility, a goggle pocket and chamois, emergency whistle, and a molded/vented back panel. And that’s just to name a few of the bag’s features.
For more info and how to purchase, follow this link here.
KLIM F5 Koroyd Helmet – $649.99
KLIM’s new F5 with added Koroyd technology seemed like the perfect off-road helmet for our test. I typically run pretty warm at all times so a well-ventilated helmet is a must, especially when working with (or crashing) a 500+ pound motorcycle off-road. The addition of Koroyd technology in the already solid F5 platform gives the helmet better airflow and allows for better impact absorption. The inclusion of the Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) gives another layer of protection from rotational impacts. Boiled down, that makes the F5 Koroyd a lightweight off-road helmet packed with features that ventilates well even at a standstill, and employs multiple different types of tech to keep your head safe. Why wouldn’t I choose the F5 Koroyd?
Learn more here.
100% Acurri Goggles – $45 – $60
After receiving both the Acurri and Racecraft+ goggles from 100% recently for testing, I was looking forward to using one of them during our ADV shootout, and since I had opted to use an off-road helmet during our test, I had no choice. Because we do what we do, looking good or at least matching to an extent is important (I think…) so I chose to use the black and white Acurri rather than the red/white Racecraft+. In retrospect, I believe the Racecraft+ would have been a better option due to the simple fact that they have a removable nose guard. Between the lack of nose protection on my helmet and goggles, I caught a couple of bugs and pebbles in and or around my nose.
Check them out here.
KLIM Badlands Pro Jacket & Pants – $999.99 & $699.99
I think it’s fairly common knowledge in the ADV scene that KLIM makes some of the most bomb-proof and technical on/off-road gear on the market. When the new Badlands Pro was announced at last year’s International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, I immediately began discussing the potential of testing the new kit with the KLIM rep as soon as the presentation wrapped up. A few months later when the jacket and pant were available, KLIM sent it out to me. Two big KLIM boxes arrived on my porch the day before the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports launch. After using the Badlands Pro in Prescott, Arizona during that event, I was looking forward to putting it through its paces on a longer ride, and the ADV shootout seemed like the best time.
Learn more here.
TCX Comp EVO Boots – $379.99
My old(er) TCX Comp EVOs came into play after taking a hard hit to my heel while wearing the Sidi Crossfire 3s during a trail ride the day before we left for our shootout. The Crossfire 3s have a glaring unprotected area on the heel that left me with a tender, swollen and bruised ankle that I didn’t want to risk injuring further. A real bummer since they are so comfortable right out of the box and work well on the dirtbike. My TCX Comp EVOs however, offer plenty of protection all around, including the heels, and have hundreds if not a thousand off-road miles on them. The prospect of dropping an adventure bike with its bone-crushing weight on my already tender ankle made me reach for the most protective off-road boots I had.
TCX has since developed a new boot called the Comp EVO 2. While they still make the original Comp EVO, I’ve been told the American distributor does not carry them. Check out the Comp EVO 2 here.
REV’IT! Sand 3 Gloves – $109.99
The perfect blend of street protection and dirt dexterity. The Sand 3 is a relatively lightweight leather and textile glove that uses flexible rubber on the knuckle, fingers, and palm for impact protection. It’s one of the most comfortable gloves I own and has definitely been a go-to since the heat of the summer set in.
Peep them shits here.
Kriega R15 Backpack – $119.99
I picked up the Kriega R15 after using the R25 for everything from 400 mile dual-sport rides to carrying books to college. The backpack stood up to abuse over the years including a lowside. When I was looking to pick up a smaller pack for use on dual-sport rides or carrying GoPro mounts on press launches, I immediately started looking at Kriega’s lineup. I liked the durability and simplicity. The chest mounted harness closure is one of my favorite features. Kriega designs their packs to take the weight off of your shoulders and disperse it across the chest. The R15 is designed to carry a water bladder and has a large pocket as well as two smaller zipper pockets. Perfect. A simple pack that will carry more than enough for a multi-day off-road ride and is made out of the same material I’ve already tested over time. A solid choice for sure.
Learn more here.
Scorpion EXO-AT950 Helmet – $289.95
Like most of the MO staff, I’m a sucker for modular helmets for their versatility and practicality. Scorpion’s EXO-AT950 takes the concept of modular to heart. Shaped ostensibly as a pseudo-adventure helmet with its long chin bar and huge eye port, not only does the chin bar flip open (which was a huge plus on this trip as it made sucking down water in my hydration pack super easy), but the beak is also removable. Alternatively, you can also lose the visor and wear goggles instead if your ride is headed off paved roads. It’s also got a flip-down sun visor and sweat-wicking internal pads, too. My only gripe is the sizing runs a little small, so keep that in mind. Adventure-touring bikes can do a little bit of everything – so can the EXO-AT950.
More information here.
Alpinestars Andes VII Jacket ($269.95) and Pants ($229.95)
The most popular of Alpinestars’ Tech-Touring line, the Andes VII collection was my choice for this ride for a simple reason: it is the only current touring gear I have. Oh, and I also dig the Military Green color. That said, the poly-fabric construction of the jacket and pants feels sturdy and robust, and the myriad of deep pockets on the jacket was definitely appreciated. Both top and bottom have direct ventilation channels, but nothing will make you feel cool when it’s triple digits outside. Having sampled Alpinestars’ Drystar waterproof membrane in the past I know it works well, but when it’s 100-plus degrees in SoCal, keeping water away is the last thing on the mind. More of a three-weather touring kit (the removable thermal liners for jacket and pant are both fairly thick), summer riding through the desert like we did isn’t the best use of the combo.
Alpinestars Belize Drystar Boot – $249.95
Wanting to find the middle ground between a comfortable touring boot and one that could also handle some simple off-road duty, the Belize Drystar boot was just the boot I was looking for. Its lower cut made it more practical when off the bike, but its myriad of features like the flex blade system, self-aligning buckles, and vulcanized rubber soles make it comfortable on the bike, too. My gripe about the boots is a confusing sizing, which made these boots feel more than a half size too big. Better than too small, I guess.
Check them out here.
Alpinestars GP Air Glove – $129.95
With the weather forecast showing triple digits for much of our ride, the glove choice was simple: something with a short cuff, mesh panels, and protection where it’s needed. The Alpinestars GP Air glove checks off all those boxes. This shorty glove features mesh paneling for great breathability, as well as goat skin leather for instant comfort and abrasion protection. Carbon knuckle armor also keeps the hand safe.
Check out all the deets on here.
Shoei Hornet X2 Helmet – $715.99
I wanted an adventure helmet for our adventure ride, and the Shoei Hornet X2 fit the bill perfectly. The oval shape of the helmet fits my head perfectly, and the venting helps to keep me cool in triple-digit weather. Unlike some helmets, the peak offers plenty of shade for the eyeballs while not interacting with the wind blast at highway speeds. The large eye port enables the use of goggles, though I opted for the flip-down tinted visor instead. We reviewed the Hornet X2 when it came out in 2015, but look for a new review of the helmet soon.
You can buy $715.99 the Shoei Hornet X2 in the Navigate TC-3 color way here.
Spidi 4Season H2Out Suit – $1,049.90
I chose the Spidi Spidi 4Season H2Out suit simply because it is the best touring suit I’ve ever owned. I’ve used it in both my Iron Butt ride and my extended tour on the Honda Gold Wing Tour. The suit’s layered design makes it versatile enough to work in desert heat and winter cold – rain or shine. Although I didn’t need the waterproof or insulating layers on this ride, they are nice to have available. The venting flows a good amount of air, which was important for the 104° portion of our ride. At the end of the first day’s riding for this shootout, I was so comfortable in the pants that I didn’t take them off to set up camp. You can read my full review of the suit to learn more.
Buy the 4Season H2Out here for $1,049.90.
Harley Motorclothes Men’s Cooling Vest – $60
After a single use of this evaporative cooling vest, I was sold on its cooling ability. Simply soak it in water for a couple of minutes and the super-thirsty HyperKewl (Oh, how I hate the tacky name) fabric expands noticeably. After wringing out the excess water, simply put the vest on and let the evaporation do its job. During our trip to the high desert at 104°, I could stand up into the air flow at 80 mph and feel the temperature on my core drop in a few seconds. Yes, I was still breathing that super-heated air, but my core kept the rest of my body much more comfortable than the rest of my compatriots who didn’t heed my advice to buy one before the trip. I don’t know how well it would work in the more humid environment of the Southeast, but here in the arid Southwestern U.S. this has become an essential piece of my summer riding gear.
Order your $60 Motorclothes Men’s Cooling Vest directly from Harley here.
Troy Lee Designs Apex Gloves – Limited Stock Left
I chose my well-used Troy Lee Apex Gloves because they are a shorty design and breathe really well. You can read my review here.
Troy Lee Designs Apex Gloves are now only available in size small at a discounted $35 price directly from the manufacturer, here.
TCX Baja Gore-Tex Boots – $359.99
Since the vast majority of my riding is street-based, I didn’t own any boots that would likely protect me from the forces of a dirt crash. I ordered a set of TCX’s Baja Gore-Tex boots, which seemed to be the perfect balance between touring comfort and off-road protection. The full-grain leather upper features an adjustable closure to accommodate different calf sizes, and the aluminum buckles are micro adjustable for comfortable but snug fit. The Gore-Tex liner will keep the boot dry in rain, but this ride was more focused on its breathability, which was on par with other boots of similar construction. The boots offered support while standing on the pegs for extended periods yet remained comfortable when walking. Look for a full review soon.
Buy the TCX Baja Gore-Tex Boots here.
Technical Fabric Under Layers
Being able to wick moisture away from parts of the body that don’t get much air flow when wearing riding gear is important for remaining comfortable. I used a variety of underwear and t-shirts constructed from technical fabric on the adventure tour. Although these were items designed for running, they were quite helpful on the bike, too. Consider technical fabric for under all of your motorcycle gear in hot weather.
AGV AX-8 DS EVO GT Helmet – Originally $419.95 now $199.99
An adventure ride calls for an adventure helmet, and Sean wore his AGV AX-8. The upper visor is easily removable via four screws, which makes long stints of highway travel more comfortable. There’s no need to fight turbulent air. Just pop the visor off and you’ve basically got yourself a street helmet. Once you get back in the dirt, the visor provides added shade for your eyes and protection against roost, branches, etc. Constructed from carbon, Kevlar and fiberglass, the AX-8 is also very lightweight.
Sean’s particular model is no longer in production, but you can find closeouts on Revzilla here for over 50% off. Or head over to AGV for their latest version here.
Fox Legion Jacket and Pants – Originally $199.95 and $229.95 but now $149.96 and $172.46
Sean took the lighter weight, better breathing route and wore the Fox Legion Off-Road gear set. This gear is definitely directed more at dual-sport and dirtbike riding, but given the 100+ degree temperatures, it would do just the trick. The Legion gear uses higher abrasion resistant fabric on the front, shoulders and outside arms to protect from overhanging branches, brush and other obstructions you’re likely to find riding off-road. It also has internal elbow pockets for additional armor. The back portion of the jacket uses stretchy Cordura fabric for comfort and increased range of motion. For cooling, the Legion jacket has six zippered vents, with two on the chest, two on the arms and two on your back.
The Legion off-road pants are similar in construction to the Legion jacket, using higher abrasion resistant fabrics compared to traditional off-road or MX pants. They also feature double-layered knee sections and triple stitching in critical areas. For ventilation, the Legion off-road pants have two large zippers on the front that flow a ton of air, especially when standing up.
Fox is currently phasing out the current Legion off-road line to make room for a new and improved one which should land sometime this fall, so you can get this gear at a nice discount right from Fox by following this link here.
Alpinestars Tech 10 Boots – $599.95
Tech 10s are the benchmark boot in motocross racing, offering the highest levels of protection a rider could ask for. Are they overkill for adventure riding? Some may say yes, and others no, but Sean wore them because riding 500+ pound ADV motorcycles off-road can be difficult (as Ryan not-so-gracefully demonstrated for us). You don’t want all that weight trapping your leg underneath it, but wearing a boot like the Tech 10 can seriously mitigate any potential damage to your legs or feet if something like that does happen.
Alpinestars has a number of different color ways to match any gear setup or bike. For more information and how to order, head here.
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