Finally I’ve put together a short summary of the first part of this trip I took in the summer. The second part will come along soon.
Its a real achievement – at last I have some motorcycle gear that fits properly. I think I have been getting skinnier in recent years so I had one more reason to sell my BMW Rally 3 suit, bought in the first flush of excitement at GS ownership but now slightly flappy and ahem… inappropriately branded. I began to think that it had a quasi-military look with its yellow flashes and BMW roundels on the arms. I wouldn’t feel comfortable spending the evening in the pub wearing it as motorcycling magazines are fond of saying – both because of its huge armour and the style just mentioned. It has been a great combo and has seen me through very many miles of riding in hot weather and in cold (Norway snow), well designed and well made – no complaints and a moment of sadness to see it go. But I really wanted to reinvent my riding and something more understated was definitely desired. There’s no shortage of stuff to be purchased of course but always a sucker for branding and endorsements from Youtube riders, I aimed at something made by Klim, though perhaps I should have spent more time researching less popular brands.
Nevertheless, Klim Carlsbad jacket – size Small and the trousers – 30″ waist which are really difficult to find but as a stroke of immense good fortune Adventure bike shop in Suffolk had some returned by a customer who could not squeeze himself into them – result. They fit perfectly and are black, like the jacket. I wore them on the train up to collect my bike and did not feel conspicuous or uncomfortable, just noisy as I walked. Swish swish. I’ve just worn them for the first time on a ride from Cambridge down to London.
Pluses: they are a great weight, have two good cargo type pockets which will be where I put keys, they are the only trousers that I don’t get my toes stuck somewhere invisible trying to get into them so another result. They accommodate big boots really well. The knee and hip armour is not huge.
Not so goods: they have a kind of webbing across the inside of the crotch behind the zipper which I presume helps their waterproofness – but it makes it awkward to wee and not so easy to do discretely in those lay-by standing behind the bike pretending to look at a map moments of urgency. The flaps at the end of the legs have nice zips and press studs in three tightnesses – but they are toward the back of the legs instead of at the side so awkward to reach.
The jacket: Is also good.
Pluses: a good weight – it was 12 degrees c when riding from Cambridge to London in November and my chest was a little cold with all the vents closed so it promises to be good in hot weather on trips to warmer climes; the armour, like the trousers is not huge so will not take up so much room on the floor of my minimalist tent where lying down room is at a premium; lots of pockets both inside and out – on the road developing a muscle memory about where to reach for particular things saves anxiety and energy. And there is a small pocket on the front for an SOS device inviting the purchase of one more piece of kit. Clearly there’s lots of ventilation available – I can’t wait till summer to try.
So, how do you pronounce Klim? I wish it was with a short i – but I think its meant to sound like ‘climb’. which is strange. Their stuff is made in Vietnam (one time enemy of the US) like Mosko Moto’s stuff. All I can say is that they have strong needles in Vietnam. And that they are pretty good at needle work.