Friday, December 14, 2012

Part 1 - The Gear

This was the fun part - there seem to be so many more options and styles for dirt than there are for street!  I probably, OK - I did, go a little overboard with the gear.  I could have spent quite a bit less than I did, but I ended up buying the items I wanted and liked - and none of it was cost conscious I'll admit. 

I did a bit of online shopping and asking around first to see what brands were out there and which ones were "better" than others.  O'Neil, Fox, Alpinestars seem to be the prevalent and decent/better brands; although I'm sure there are others.  I then went to Cycle Gear to start trying on items for sizing and was planning on ordering what I wanted either from CG or online based on that.   I ended up being able to order everything from Cycle Gear and was able to get pretty much the same or better pricing than I would have on any of the items from online sources.

Here is what I ended up getting and what my thoughts are so far on them:

Alpinestars Tech 3 boots - A* makes great boots, the fit is true to size.  They do not have flexibility like street or track boots, so they're taking some getting used to.  Price was higher than brands like O'Neill.

Alpinestars Stella Bionic 2 jacket/armor - I could have gotten chest and other armor protection in separate pieces, but I've always liked the look of this and have been told that it's a little simpler and nicer to have armor held together by mesh like this.  I couldn't find this in any stores to try on, so I had to guess on size.  I ordered a medium and had a couple of the guys that ride dirt at the CG store take a look at the fit (on me) when it came in.  Their judgment was that it fit fine; however I wasn't entirely convinced.  After having ridden once now with it on, I'm still not convinced and plan on ordering one size up.  I think that it's riding too high overall and that even though it just fits around my arms and chest, because of my height I might need one size larger and then use the straps to cinch it in where needed.  So the jury is still out on this one.  I didn't price out separate armor but I"m going to guess since this is A* it's higher priced than other brands.

Troy Lee Designs pants and jersey - As soon as I saw the Voodoo design in purple and orange, I knew I had to have it!  The pants run true to size; I tried on O'Neil 9/10 pants and the TLD 9/10 pants fit just the same.  I like that the waist has velcro straps to cinch it in.  I had to get a size XL jersey (the largest size they had for women) in order to fit over the armor.  I'm a little disappointed that they don't design the jerseys to fit over armor so that you can order your regular shirt/jacket size.  I normally wear a size medium top and usually a size large street jacket (so the sleeves fit - I have long arms); so I'm wondering if women any larger than I am need to wear men's jerseys for the fit.  The cost of the jersey was comparable, maybe slightly higher, to other brands such as O'Neill and Fox.  The pants were quite a bit more.

Troy Lee Designs gloves - Voodoo to match the pants and jersey :)  Tried on some O'Neill and Fox gloves in the store and found size 10 O'Neill fit perfectly.  The TLD 10 is a slight bit smaller but still wearable.  I did end up getting the O'Neill ones too though (just in case).  It's still a little weird to me that there isn't any real protection to the gloves; guess they're just to protect your hands from scratches and maybe to help soak up sweat?

Troy Lee Designs helmet - I sooo wanted the purple and orange PistonBone design - it was fabulously obnoxious (sparkly purple and bright orange!) but it was last year's model and no one had my size anymore.  So I went with this year's PistonBone in sparkly black/charcoal and bright orange - it's fabulous!  Small seems to be my size in any helmet, so I was pretty confident ordering a small - and it fits (and looks) great!  The helmet was honestly more than I wanted to pay for a dirt bike helmet - but since I could afford it, and it's just so fabulously obnoxious, I couldn't pass it up!

Oakley goggles - I decided to go with sand goggles since the trails at Croom are mostly sugar sand and I'll be wearing contacts when I ride.  They came with clear and smoke lenses along with some tear offs.  The one thing I've noticed so far is that they fogged up when I was stopped for a few minutes breathing hard.  Not sure if any goggles would have done that or if it's because they're sand goggles.

Other Thoughts - So the funniest part about most of my gear is the color - mostly white.  I find it quite funny that I hardly ever wear white on a general basis, but yet I buy white boots and outwear to specifically play in the dirt, lol! 

Something I think I'll have to report on later is the durability of the gear I got.  After one wear I already have a hole in my pants - but then again, if I hadn't pressed my knee up against the exhaust while picking my bike up after wiping out I probably wouldn't have burnt a hole in the pants (ooops!)  So, next thing I need to do is order one size larger A* armor and see how that goes!

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