Hey, we know when the mercury rises, many free-spirited riders cool off nature’s way — bare-skinned. No lectures here, but as motorcycle journalists it’s our inherent duty to flash the safety badge. Admittedly, as we cruise toward the dog days, we’ve noticed that a lot of the ventilated apparel on the market equipped with appropriate safety features looks like something you’d find on-stage at a Britney Spears concert — hardly the machismo for keeping cool. But since “bad to the bone” can be quite literal when playing it loose, we thought it might be groovy to find cool motorcycle riding gear for hot weather that leans a little more toward Steve McQueen than Flash Gordon.
Joe Rocket let us check out a new 2007 design from their Power-Trip line. Depending on choice, Power-Trip products can appear toned down or beefed up from item to item. The men’s Intercooled jacket leans toward a classic racing jacket style-wise (very classy), but feels like you’re wearing a T-shirt at full throttle on a muggy day. The jacket adds form to function with combined perforated leather and mesh, a removable waterproof liner, full upper body padding and multi-adjusting snaps to anchor any loose bits. On the down side, it had a rough metal zipper that had to be wrestled up, and it was showing some loose stitching after only a few wears. We’re chalking up the defects to prototype kinks that will be worked out in production.
While most weather can be tamed, few things can turn a summer ride sour quicker than hot feet. Though advancements in racing boot technology yield models that feature equal measures of ventilation, functionality, support and protection, it’s somewhat difficult to find these qualities in a pair of boots that don’t look like they appeared in Tron. MotoNation kicked us over a sleek, handsome pair of Pegaso Vented boots from the Set Up line. In our opinion, these boots are flat-out stellar, with a mute black finish that almost fits better with a 750-Four than a new CBR1000RR. Other than a discrete, functional reflector on back, they are all get-up without the go-go, and they feature a tough sole, hard toe, plated heel and reinforced leather in high-stress zones. Best of all, with strategic vent panels and a fully vented cotton/poly blend lining, they breathe!
Ten Pieces of Cool Gear: Less Flash, More Class
Price and availability confirmed at time of publication. Subject to change, please visit the product website for the latest prices and availability.
1. A good full-face helmet offers supreme protection, but when it’s really hot out, it’s not always the most comfortable option. HJC offers a variety of open face helmets, and one of our faves is the CL-33. It’s DOT approved with a polycarbonate shell, adjustable forehead ventilation, a brushed nylon interior and an integrated quick-change shield system. Price: $94.99 (for metallics and matte colors) or $99.99 (solids). More info: Helmet House
2. Even a well-vented helmet won’t completely prevent your head from sweating when it’s 110°F outside, but you can keep your head dry and your helmet fresh by wearing a Ultra-Tour Helmet Liner from Roadgear. The Coolmax liner wicks away moisture, and the nylon shell keeps your helmet clean. Available in red or black. Price: $15.95.
3. Looking for something safe but not as hot as leathers? The Intercooled jacket from Power Trip we described above combines perforated drum-dyed leather and Polymide mesh with a removable waterproof liner, protectors in the shoulders and elbows, a removable spine pad and more. Also available in black/black. Price: $199.99.
4. Roadgear AirTek pants feature flow-thru mesh that allows rapid air-cooling, removable energy-absorbing foam in the knees and hip area and pockets galore. With a look and feel much like a mesh version of a pair of relaxed-fit cargo jeans, they’re a great summer alternative to leather chaps. Price: $109.90.
5. As mentioned above, Pegaso Vented boots by Set Up feature a synthetic leather upper with breathable vent panels, an extra leather layer in the shifter area, internal toe protection, injection-molded thermoplastic heel cups and Davos soles made with an exclusive Set Up formulated compound. Price: $129.99. More info: MotoNation
6. Allowing your hands to breath, these Tour Master Summer Elite vented gloves feature a goatskin top with a drum-dyed leather palm. A goatskin throttle guard and palm patch utilizes Tour Master’s “Shock Stopping” padding to help minimize vibration, while a Velcro-backed leather closure flap insures a secure and comfortable fit. Price: $34.99. More info: Helmet House
7. Based on technology developed for professional athletes, the performance fabric that makes up this CoolRider T-shirt provides accelerated wicking action that makes the shirt perfect to wear under your flow-through jacket in hot weather to keep you cool. It’s available in a variety of colors and sizes for men and women. Price: $34.95. More info: Cruiserworks
8. Also available from Cruiserworks, Coolmax socks keep feet dry and happy, thanks to “space-age” material that wicks moisture away from feet like a sponge. Available in a variety of sizes, colors and styles, they come in packages of two pair. Price: $14.95-$16.95. More info: Cruiserworks
9. A good sheepskin saddle pad provides cushioning, cooling and air circulation. When it’s sticky hot, you’ll sit cooler; when it’s freezing, sheepskin is warm and comfy. And between extremes it’s always luxurious. Aerostich’s exclusive, non-skid 3/16in PVC foam mesh base keeps the pad from creeping around on your saddle, even in aggressive riding, and each pad comes with eight bungee attachment points, two lengths of adjustable bungee, and four no-scratch nylon hooks for installation. Price: $67.00 (Rectangle, 11in x 14.5in, or Tapered, 13in x 18in) or $62.00 (Small Rectangle, 9in x 11in). More info: Aerostich
10. Who needs a cold, wet neck? You do, especially if it’s really hot out. The Evap-O-Danna is made from a soft, synthetic fabric that can soak up and hold more water than ordinary cloths. Soak it in water and let evaporation do its stuff. The Competition model is twice as thick for longer cooling in desert-like conditions and can also hold ice between its double layers. Price: $8.00 (Standard), $12.00 (Competition). More info: AeroStich
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