Three weeks after my first three days on my Suzuki Burgman 650 maxi-scooter, I've still got plenty of smiles on my two-wheeled motoring face.
With plenty of warm and dry weather here in western Oregon (pretty typical for June-September), I've been riding as often as possible. A big part of my scootering enjoyment, aside from the hugely lovable Burgman, has been my choice of riding gear.
I want to be safe on my scooter. I also want to be comfortable. And, naturally, stylish. I feel like I'm batting three for three with the gear I bought prior to picking up the Burgman.
This was a personal decision -- every motorcyclist/scooterer has a unique vibe they want to present to the world, and themselves -- but maybe my choices will be of interest to those facing a similar gear selection decision.
From head to toe, I'm outfited in...
(1) Arai Corsair-V full face helmet. These are absurdly expensive. But I got $200 in gear purchase credit when I bought the scooter, and a 10% discount on Cycle Country purchases because I also bought a maintenance contract (Burgman service reportedly is spendy).
And it turned out that this was by far the most comfortable helmet I tried on. I'd ordered a Shoei flip-face helmet. However, after wearing it around the house for just ten minutes, my forehead had a red-spotted pressure point.
I took the Shoei back, and tried on a bunch of other helmets. Didn't feel good in any of them. Then the sales guy reached up to a top shelf, took down a helmet, and said, "Here, try this." I did.
And replied, "Wow, this feels great. First helmet that had even pressure all around my head." (My powerful brain apparently presses out my forehead, because most helmets constricted me front to back.)
Then I asked the price. And said even louder, "Wow!"
The salesman told me, "That's why I show people the Arai last." Meaning, when you can't find a helmet that fits, and the Arai does, you're more willing to fork out the big bucks.
Anyway, I've been happy with the Corsair-V. Great vision, lightweight, nice ventilation, never too hot or too cool, doesn't fog up. It's a Japanese technological marvel, like my scooter.
When I took my Team Oregon motorcycle safety training class last month, at the first session the instructor picked up a snazzy looking jacket and said, "This is what I wear."
Cool, I thought -- the exact Olympia Moto Sports gear that I'd recently purchased. Even the same neon yellow/pewter color scheme. I like the looks of both the jacket and pants, plus how they feel. Good armor protection that isn't too obtrusive.
When I picked up my scooter, the temperature was in the low 60s. Today, I was riding in the low 90s. The jacket and pants are comfortable in pretty much every condition, what with the venting possibilities and the insulated waterproof liners that can be zipped in (I've removed them for summer, obviously).
(4) Icon Pursuit gloves. I like the curved shape to the gloves, and the knuckle protection. They're soft and comfortable. Probably I'll need cool weather gloves eventually, but for now these Icons are fine.
(5) Klim Transition boots. Cycle Country had just started carrying these Goretex boots, which look like hiking shoes (and might well be). They aren't the traditional black leather boots, and I'm glad about that. I'm willing to trade some ankle protection for a scooterish vibe.
Plus, the yellow laces and highlights on the boots match my jacket's neon yellow almost perfectly. Sweet. The Harley guys in their black leather who sit outside of Starbucks won't think much of my boot and other gear choices, of course. As if I care.
Frequently, though, I'll leave on the over pants if I'm going into a coffee house, to my Tai Chi class, into a store, or such. The pants look good, and speak this is a biker dude to those in the riding gear know.
However, sometimes I take the pants off when I park the scooter-- hoping that I've remembered to leave my shorts on before I left the house. The Airglide 2 pants have velcro fasteners at the bottom plus a zipper that runs most of the way up the leg.
I can either step out of the pants while leaving my boots on, or take the boots off and remove the pants without fussing with the velcro and zippers.
Recently I went to a waterfront festival dressed like this, except I brought along some sandals in the back pack that I almost always carry on a scooter ride (usually under the seat, taking it with me when I stop).
I took off the boots, put on the sandals, and carried the boots with me in the back pack -- since they wouldn't fit under the seat along with all the other gear.
System worked fine. Much better than having to lock a helmet and jacket to a motorcycle, or carry your gear with you -- as I see some motorcyclists doing.