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Discussion Starter #1
What's up everyone!

My wife and I are complete newbs to riding. The only riding experience we have is when we took and passed our MSF course back in June. After a lot of research and patience I finally decided on the CBR250R ABS.

Since we are new to the sport, we have no gear of our own except for some basic gloves we purchased to use during the MSF course. Do you guys/gals have any suggestions for us in regards to helmets, jackets, gloves, boots, and anything else you can suggest for myself and my wife. It would be greatly appreciated if you can be as specific as possible and also let me know where I can purchase your suggestions.

Hoping my bike will be delivered early next week!

Thank you in advance for all your help!
 

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Ridersdiscount.com, great site, decent prices. Don't spend too much lest you decide your going to be strictly fair weather weekend riders, but do be sure to try on lots of different gear before you buy anything. Comfort and fit is key.
 

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Definitely echo what Top said about buying a helmet. Never buy used. As far as the rest of your gear, I've had great luck with revzilla.com No, I don't work for them. Living in southern California there are plenty of shops to buy gear from but find myself purchasing most of my gear from revzilla.com Heck, theres even a Dainese store about 10 minutes from my house but I still look online first. :)
 

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The best Helmet you can afford... top line AGV or Shoei,
Italian Boots & gloves, and Dianese 2 pce leathers with built in protection.

I might be biased but the road bites hard... and Ive been down it enough times to know.
 

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Mail order

Revzilla is the Wallmart/ Lowes of sport bike clothing. They have everything there is in one place. I am all for supporting my local brick and mortar retail shops but I am also a fan of cutting edge modern design (such as the Honda CBR250R) in all of my hobbies and tend to keep my things forever so in order to get the selection I want, I end up mail ordering much of my stuff.
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If you live with bad weather as I do. You will want good gear or else your days of riding will be limited to having perfect weather coincide with the day that you happen to have off from work. Very few shops or dealerships can afford to lay out the cash to stock any variety of gear. It is too expensive for the amount of sales they can get so they just tend to pick one brand like HJC and Joe Rocket and stick with that. I would call Revzilla. They literally stock everything. And personally road test everything. They are all riders and know what they are talking about. Go for visibility. One of my Saturday bike hang outs is a leather shop that also sells textile touring gear now and it is sad to see the stigma that is still in place with the chopper crowd. For one of them to consider buying a nice, functional textile jacket with some reflective material is a tough decision because they don't want to be "teased". To me, the more safety conscious you are, the better. The more I will feel comfortable riding with you as a friend.
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Jacket... I never ride in a tee shirt and shorts. I like my Tourmaster Flex 2 jacket although it is cut a little too husky for me. The functionality of a three piece is fantastic. If you want to be safe, you will want an amored mesh jacket for 70F and up. Check. With a zip on waterproof/ breathable shell for rain or cooler temps. Check. And a zip in thermal liner which takes the comfort zone down to 30F. Check. If you are skinny, there may be other gear that will fit better but spending on a good jacket is worth it. Make sure it fits so the shoulders don't bind your reach to the bars but the armor doesn't hang too low and also so it is comfortable off of the bike.
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A good pair of waterproof hiking boots such as the Merrell Moab is adequate and more versatile off of the bike than expensive riding boots. These boots have a nifty enough toe to work the shifter well and are surprisingly warm and dry in cold weather. They offer full protection but feel like running sneakers.
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Helmets... There are hundreds. From $50 to $700. I like my fog free pin visor as it absolutely prevents fogging. The flip down sun shade is great too. I commute 6,000 miles a year so I went right to the top with a Schuberth C3. It is very small through the wind, full featured and quiet. The Nolan is a better value if it fits well but they are said to be quite round. Nexx, Arai, Shoei, Bell, Icon, HJC. Too many to name. How far is it for you to go to Philadelphia? Throw down your credit card at Revzilla and buy everything all at once. White for the ladies and white or at least silver for the men. Helmet visibility is the one thing proven to reduce collisions above all other color decisions. I got my helmet as a scratched discount on ebay so got stuck with black and it is noticeably hotter in the sun than my daughters which is white. I added white reflective graphics. I also appreciate a full Hi-Vis theme to be very hi tec cool, modern and responsible although I didn't yet commit to it.
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You will want a comm system if you go out together often. If you are over 300 pounds combined you may want a bigger engine though. A Suzuki SV650 would be the next step up.
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The driver will want a good pair of gloves so you can feel the controls and don't have bunching in the palms which will tire you out. Hand fatigue will be the norm until you get a few thousand miles under your belt even with the best gloves. Mesh for hot days. The Icon pursuit perforated are good everyday hot weather gloves for errands and short trips. They fit like a glove. You can go up from there quite a ways in terms of protection. Again, hundreds to choose from. The new Rev'it Phantom looks like an amazing do it all glove for 75F to 45F and rain. Super expensive though. The new Gore X-Trafit bonded liner should give the ultimate in control for a lined glove and no issues of sticking to a sweaty hand and pulling inside out. I am adding handlebar muffs and grip heaters to my bike which may allow a thin glove like that to be used into the 20'sF where you must quit riding due to ice. The Rev'it Bastions are going back. Too thick and clumsy to the point of being dangerous in traffic and the palm bunches up. Not enough pre curve in the design. Very dissapointing for what is supposed to be a flagship glove. And, still not exceptionally warm. I will try the Held Warm and Dry next. With the muffs and the heaters, They should hopefully be enough for all day touring in cold weather and the liner is also bonded for control. I wore the Bastions over my cuffs but now feel that a textile jacket with velcro cuffs will seal better with a glove that fits inside. I want to avoid the complexity of electric garments if I can although electric pants and socks may be needed for the longest winter rides.
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Wind proof over pants are a must for cold and rain. I have an old pair of Lowe mountaineering pants that are still like new. Might as well get the protection of cycle specific if you are buying new as the mountaineering clothing costs just as much. An occasional, fair weather rider can get by with heavy jeans or canvas Carhart pants to start out with. The Olympia Pro Max 2 with waterproof/ breathability and armor is recommended due to the stretch panels and "Easy Hem" custom fit leg openings.
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Mail ordering everything is frustrating when you can't try it on until you get it. I think I have learned the trick to save countless hours studying the reviews and wasting money over and over again on return shipping fees...Order everything you think you may be interested in, in several different sizes. Keep what you like and return the rest before your credit card cycle comes due. This could even work for international buyers. Save one item that you know you want for a second order to use up your loyalty money. Or, take a trip to Philly!
 

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MC gear is a commodity. I buy from the cheapest source assuming that the "terms" are equal.


Shop relentlessly. I "scored" a Bell RS-1 with a design today at $50 leSS than a solid color version. It wasn't for sale yesterday.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sendler...thank you very much for such a detailed post! I have yet had a chance to read through it and digest it all. I'm in the NE/Midwest, so I am definitely looking for a 4 season jacket. As for a helmet, the local motorsport shop and even my dealer suggested the Scorpion EXO 400 as a good, solid, reliable helmet to start with (DOT and Snell rated). My only hesitation is that the shell is polycarbonate and not kevlar/fiberglass...any input on that?

Thanks again for the elaborate post!

Any female riders here with suggestions for my wife?

Please keep the suggestions coming guys/gals. We can use every bit of advice.

Thank you in advance!
 

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I don't have any experience in the Scorpion EXO 400. My only advice would be to try on several brands and pick the one that fits YOU the best (and your wife for her helmet). Of course budget plays a part in the decision but if you are torn between saving a few bucks or spending more on something that fits better, I'd choose to get the better fitting helmet.

Sendler has some great info in his reply.
 

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Ridersdiscount.com, great site, decent prices. Don't spend too much lest you decide your going to be strictly fair weather weekend riders, but do be sure to try on lots of different gear before you buy anything. Comfort and fit is key.
I'll second Ridersdiscount.com.

Dress for a crash - every time.

From my experience - Cortech gear and bags are very good all around, much better quality than my Fieldsheer jacket (below). For safety, I prefer bright colored gear over black whenever possible. I do think it helps.

I've had a Scorpion EXO700 for about 5 years (Shoei before) and think they make a very good helmet for the price. Maybe a bit loud at times though.

I prefer to wear riding pants with knee cups and padding whenever possible. You will smack your knees if you go down at any speed.

Decent gauntlet gloves are a must IMO, as are some type of riding boot without laces. I'm ready to buy a pair of Cortech Latigo Rain boots from Ridersdiscount, as soon as they come back in stock. Feet and hands gets beat-up quickly in a crash.

Be prepared to be miserably hot most of the time (especially because of the pants) but it just comes with the territory. I love riding in the 60s and 50s - perfect temps with all the gear!

This is how I head-out 90% of the time -



Did someone say SV?


Jay
 

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Just bought one of the Tourmaster Intake Air 2 jackets from CycleGear.

Pros

  • Very good for right now in NC - mornings are in the 40's, afternoons in the 70's. With all three liners in, it's warm even in the 40's, and you can leave the inner liner unzipped for comfort when it's a little warmer. In the afternoon you can strip the inner liners and stow them to have a mesh jacket for staying cool while riding.
  • Visibility in good. Tourmaster makes some high-glo versions, but all of them have relective panels and trim
  • workmanship seems good, but I don't understand Tourmaster's obsession with small zippers - the outermost ones are fine, but the inner liner zippers are wimpy.
  • price is nice - ~$180 or less at most places
Cons:

  • As with any compromise, it's not "perfect". The liners add bulk, and you have to make sure everything is snapped together properly. I tried on a Dianese jacket that was claimed to be just as warm, and it was significantly slimmer (at twice as much, it should have been!)
  • zippers - The inner liner zippers are small as mentioned earlier, and you have to take care to assure that they are fully seated before zipping or they won't stay together.
  • Loose when liners removed. Expected, but I worry about the armor all being in the right place . The jacket does have snaps on the arms that let you tighten it up when you remove the inner layers.
Bottom line is what looks to be a well-made jacket with a lot of versatility for a decent price.

Luke
 

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My solid shell Icon patrol is much warmer than my Olympia 3 season mesh coat. The solid shell coat cuts the wind more and is better at keeping me dry over extended periods or consecutive rides.

The three season mesh coat is pretty much worthless if the zippers break on the liner.
 

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As for a helmet, the local motorsport shop and even my dealer suggested the Scorpion EXO 400 as a good, solid, reliable helmet to start with (DOT and Snell rated). My only hesitation is that the shell is polycarbonate and not kevlar/fiberglass...any input on that?
Make sure that the manufacturing date on the helmet is most current. I read somewhere that helmets, even when not in use have a timeclock of 5 years. I would not want to wear a helmet that is more than 5 years old for safety purposes.:D
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Make sure that the manufacturing date on the helmet is most current. I read somewhere that helmets, even when not in use have a timeclock of 5 years. I would not want to wear a helmet that is more than 5 years old for safety purposes.:D
I read about that too. The local shop had some EXO 400's that were only Snell 2005 rated which was a dead giveaway that they were not the most recent models even without looking at the manufacturing date under the shell. The newer EXO 400's are Snell 2010 rated and my dealer had those on his showroom floor.

Thanks for the reminder!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'll second Ridersdiscount.com.

This is how I head-out 90% of the time -



Did someone say SV?


Jay
Nice SV! I was looking into the SV, but they are super hard to come by and would have been a bit too heavy for our first bike. I really like some of the streetfighter versions that are out there. Some can be really poorly done too.

Thanks for the info!
 

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Nice SV! I was looking into the SV, but they are super hard to come by and would have been a bit too heavy for our first bike. I really like some of the streetfighter versions that are out there. Some can be really poorly done too.

Thanks for the info!
Thanks. You made a good choice for a first bike. The SV is a great all-around bike, but not that great as a first one IMO. A bit too (top) heavy and the FI is pretty touchy on the later versions. I have hit 58 MPG with it, but the CBR will do way better. Honestly, it has more power than I really need, and if I didn't like it so much I'd seriously consider something smaller.

Suzuki stopped producing the "N' (naked - like mine) version a while back, and went to the "Gladius". Not a fan...

There has been some talk on SVRider.com that Suzuki may discontinue the "S" full-fairing version after this year. Hope not, but we'll see.


Jay
 
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