The most overlooked pieces of riding gear, in my opinion, are the base layers. We focus so heavily on purchasing the highest quality jacket and pants that we can afford, but forget all about one of the key ingredients to keeping our ride comfortable.
You can have a jacket with 3 vents or 20, but without proper layers underneath, you’re either going to sweat your ass off, cook inside it, or get pretty darn cold. I have personally tried a multitude of base layers from big names like Under Armor, Nike, etc. over countless miles. You would think that since these companies focus on athletes, their products would work for us, right? Wrong. Those tight fitting shirts and underwear might wick away some sweat, but they are not what is truly best for us adventure riders. I did not realize this until I had a chance to test out the KLIM Teton Summer Weight Merino Wool Base Layers. I bet that some of you are thinking, “Wool for heat gear? This guy must be crazy or getting paid to write the article.” Well, crazy depends on who you ask, and I am surely not getting paid to write. All I can say is what I experienced on my recent trip, including how these items performed.
I recently had the pleasure of riding for three straight days in beautiful, sunny California. I was there as the honoree for the Rever Track Your Story Challenge, and explored a variety of terrains with Shawn Thomas from BMW Mottorad and his brother, Lance. I wore the Teton Merino Wool long sleeve shirt and underwear as my base layers. My jacket and pants were the KLIM Badlands Pro, Gen 3.
On the first day, we rode in temperatures ranging from 70-78 degrees. It was great weather, so no complaints. We camped out and the next morning (Day 2), rode into the Mojave Desert. We rode for hundreds of miles in temperatures ranging from 98-115 degrees! At one point, we stopped at Trona Pinnacles to walk around and I left my Badlands jacket on. Obviously, it felt hot but manageable, and I did not seem to be dripping sweat like I normally would be with my normal heat gear on. After returning to the motorcycle and heading back into town, a cool sensation came over my body as the wind entered the jacket and passed through the base layers. This is something that I have previously experienced using my other heat gear, but I am typically drenched in sweat, which is what normally causes the cool sensation. After checking into a hotel and removing my jacket, I was expecting to see my shirt and underwear completely soaked in sweat. To my surprise, the shirt had a very small section of sweat build up near the shoulders, but the chest and back were completely dry! I hung up the set and went to bed.
While preparing myself for Day 3, I was expecting the base layer garments to smell something wicked. I mean, I had literally gone through the desert in the peak of Summer. The base layer garments were dry, and had that “just washed” wool smell, which completely surprised me. I geared up and we pressed on for the day’s adventure. After doing some sweet twisties and amazing off-roading, we ended up just outside of Shaver Lake at Mushroom Rock to camp out for our final night.
The temperature dropped into the mid 40’s, so I ended up sleeping in the base layer garments. The next morning, I joked around with with the Thomas brothers and told them they should sniff my garments, as they still smelled good.
Upon returning home and conducting more research about the materials and their properties, I gained an understanding about how I was able to keep wearing the Merino Wool Base Layers without clearing out a room of people. Traditional heat gear is made out of polyester, which rapidly controls the moisture but stays damp and smelly. In comparison, the wool blend is mixed with a highly effective magical unicorn material. No really, the wool blend is anti-microbial and thus, does not retain odors. The Summer Weight line seems to be the most effective material for a motorcyclist riding in a hotter climate. Another huge bonus to using the Teton collection is that it significantly reduces your need for packed clothes, which saves room for other goodies in your panniers and less weight overall. I am looking forward to the increased cargo space during my future adventures and definitely recommend you check these products out!
Until next time, ride safe and see you out on the road!
Posted in Gear Review & Thoughts and tagged #klim, #klimlife, #motorcycle, #xladv, 2WheelAdv, Motorcycle accessories, motorcycle clothing, wool by admin with .
So, probably one of the most controversial topics I could blog about is motorcycle tires. Coming back from Alaska, I swapped out my K60 Scouts in Montana for Golden Tyre’s just released GT723s to continue some off-road riding in Idaho and Utah before heading home.
Before I ramble on about my experience, I would like to share the below paragraph which was sourced directly from the Golden Tyre website.
“The GT723 was originally designed as a purebred race tire for the most demanding rally stages on the planet. Its perfect balance of grip and road manners have created a confidence inspiring race tire that is now used as the best adventure tire on the planet. Adventure riders throughout the world have found that the exceptional grip and durability has been paired with an unmatched level of longevity not found in traditional race tires. Adventure riding covers a wide variety of terrain and the GT723 has you covered anywhere your adventure leads!”
So does this tire live up to their ad? Well, that’s debatable and is based entirely on your riding needs. I’ve broken this down into three sections: The good, the bad, and the ugly.
The Good (which is actually great) – Off-road riding with this tire on my R1200 GSA was amazing! I tackled a variety of terrains including super slick mud, rocky sections, gravel, hard-pack, and the dreaded sugar sand.
The Bad – On-road capabilities are what you would expect with a full knobby tire. Highway speeds will be reduced initially, but improve after the tires have had a chance to break-in.
The Ugly – Holy heck, these things are scary when they are first mounted! The knobs flex a lot making you second guess yourself.
Right after I left the dealership, I was riding two-up and fully geared. As soon as I began driving, an uncomfortable feeling came over me as I felt very little control over the bike on the road. The tires have full knobs which caused a great deal of flex and difficulty with safely maneuvering the bike due to the amount of weight on it. After checking into the hotel, I removed my panniers and did some solo riding around town on the pavement to get a better feel for them. They improved slightly, which gave me hope.
The following day, my passenger flew home and I continued to Wyoming to visit Yellowstone National Park before hitting Idaho. My highway speeds were initially limited to 65 MPH due to almost experiencing a fishtail feeling in the handlebars, which continued to worsen with more speed. I did not want to chance losing control of the motorcycle on the highway, so continued at a slower pace for roughly 200 miles. I eventually started to notice slightly less feedback on my handlebars and was able to gradually increase my speeds. After traveling for another 400 miles, I was able to open the bike up to 90 MPH without having that feeling of losing control.
I made my way down to Idaho where I met up with the guys at KLIM and stripped my bike of excess weight. We left KLIM HQ and rode off into some great terrain, which put these tires through a series of great off-road riding tests.
It didn’t matter what terrain we encountered: Slipperier than snot mud, rocky single track, or gravel, these tires were excellent. The ride was almost everything I could have hoped for to get an accurate account of exactly what these tires could handle.
After leaving Idaho, I continued to travel on the road to Utah to attend the 2017 BMW MOA Rally. The tires continued to perform better on the road over time, and I experienced a lot less road issues than I had at the beginning. I want to say that my overall mileage with the tires was between 900-1,000 at this point.
I left the MOA Rally and returned home to complete my testing of the tire in some of the most challenging terrain one can find… Florida sugar sand! I figured I would drop the bike a lot so I removed all my panniers, and mirrors in preparation for the inevitable fall(s). I met up with my buddy, Alberto, from Florida Outdoor Adventures, at Croom Motorcycle Park. He assisted me by videoing this experience for your viewing pleasure. Before I embarked on this challenge, I dropped my tire pressure on the front down to 27 PSI and the rear to 30 PSI.
For those that don’t know, Croom is a large fenced-in park for motorcycles, ATVs, and Side-X-Sides.
After the camera gear was setup, I headed off and started my run in the big open sand pit, which looks like something out of Star Wars. It was quite entertaining seeing everyone stop in their tracks to watch me attempt this. It was probably the first time anyone has seen a 600 lb. motorcycle in the park, let alone in the sand pit!
Once in the sand pit, I was 100% focused. I took Big Bertha around, hit some large whoops, practiced starting from a dead stop, and managed to leave with all of my extremities intact, due to a miraculous lack of falling.
Follow the link below to witness the pure amazingness that was Croom:
Who do I recommend these tires for? Someone doing serious off-road riding. These are purposefully built tires for the ultimate off-road challenge. I might go as far as saying that these are the best off-road tires I have ever experienced.
If you’re interested in purchasing these tires, below is the link to their website:
Posted in Gear Review & Thoughts and tagged #goldentyre, #GT723, #klim, #motorcycle, #offroad, #review, #tires, #travel by admin with .
As Mrs. 2wheeladv, I am #blessed with the opportunity to travel the world two-up, and have also had the privilege to start testing out some gear of my own! What better time to do so than on the 2017 Arctic Circle or Bust Tour?
I traveled for a total of 2.5 weeks and spent 12ish days on the back of the Beemer. I took in the breathtaking sights, sounds, and smells of Alaska, The Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, and Montana. It went from freezing cold rain to hotter than the Canadian wildfires, so I had a wide range of experiences.
Rock climbed to the top of a glacier and ticked off a few friends in the meantime? Check.
Rode the Denali Highway in all its dusty glory? Check.
Saw a deer saunter through our campground? Check.
(Deer said, “No pictures, please!”)
Tested out the new Klim TK1200? Double check.
Not gonna lie, it was a bit daunting to test out a new helmet on such a long journey, but it worked out swimmingly with zero regrets.
-Lightweight and did not get caught in the wind (thus, no sore neck). I did not experience wind turbulence as I have with other helmets.
-Great at temp control due to the easy to operate vent adjustments (kept cold air out and cool air flowing during hot days).
-Loved, loved, loved the transition lens (one less screen to have to finagle with and kept my fair skin protected from the sun, as well).
-Chin strap clasp was easy to hook and release in a jiffy, which was much more convenient for me when hopping on and off the bike to see the sights, as compared with the annoying traditional loop and lock strap on the Shoei and most other modular helmets which have cramped my style in the past.
-Quiet helmet when compared to my previous modular helmets.
-Reasonably priced at $599.99, especially considering all of the features that this helmet has to offer.
Cons (which were not really cons, but rather minor, personal preferences):
-Difficult for me to wear my cheap-o earplugs due to the snug fit around the ears/cheekbones when pulling the helmet over my head. It is unclear if the issue would have been improved had I brought along a pair of those fancy, schmancy custom ear plugs like the hubs wears.
-Fogging would have been a major, but fixable, issue in the cold rain if I had been driving (anti fog spray or pin lock would be needed, which I did not bring along on this trip).
Overall, it is a versatile helmet and is also good looking too. 😉
Till next time, ride safe!
Posted in Gear Review & Thoughts and tagged #adventure, #bmwmotorrad, #klim, #klimgear, #klimlife, #klimwoman, #motorcycle, #TK1200, #travel by admin with .
It can be tricky to find great gear, and it is expensive to buy and test out different products only to find that the gear does not work for you. I am hopeful that this review will save you some cash by helping to provide you with valuable insight with an informed rider’s point of view instead of the usual, “this is awesome, buy it” sales pitch.
Here’s my take on it:
I recently acquired the full Kodiak suit and embarked on an 8,200 mile journey, which started in Tacoma, WA. I headed north to Prudhoe Bay, AK, and eventually ended my journey at the 2017 BMW MOA Rally in Salt Lake City, UT.
I was able to test this suit in a wide array of climates ranging from windy and chilly while far north and at high altitudes (30 degrees), to hotter than than the Canadian wildfires (90 degrees or more), as well as straight through the dreaded, nonstop Alaskan RAIN (for 700 miles-ish).
One of the exciting things about taking this suit on the trip was that it was a newly released model, and I had not tested this suit prior to leaving for Alaska. I was betting four weeks of my comfort and protection vastly on KLIM’s reputation for producing quality, high-end motorcycle gear.
I was able to use three layers to control the temperature comfort of the jacket when needed. However, you will need to keep in mind that this is more of a form-fitting jacket so if you’re beefy (which I am not at 6’1” and 175 lbs.), you will be limited on the layers. The pants provided plenty of room for three layers; although, I only needed to use one layer on my trip.
Since the jacket is more form fitting, it cuts down on the extra weight and bagginess. When compared to my Badlands Pro using my very advance weight scale (holding one jacket in each hand), it feels a ton lighter.
The suit lives up to the slogan, “guaranteed to keep you dry.” Several days in a row, I experienced hundreds of miles of relentless rain. Each time I would stop for a break, I would check my under layer for leakage. To my surprise, I was dry each and every time!
The one and only flaw that I noticed with this jacket while riding in the rain was that the cuffs do not open very wide, and thus, I could not tuck my heated gloves inside the jacket which caused them to become wet on the inside.
The protection aspect of the Kodiak was exceptional and what I have come to expect from KLIM’s gear range.
At first, I was a little skeptical of the durability on the leather inserts for the knee area and elbows. In the past, I have traditionally ridden with my Badlands Pro suit which has endured huge amounts of abuse, but has kept on chugging. It turns out that the leather on the Kodiak is pretty darn durable. While on this trip, I had to change my buddy’s tires several times and was worried that the leather would get damaged while working on my knees in the gravel. It held up without any issues. Another first-hand experience of the suit’s durability and injury protection is when I flew off of my R1200 GSA during an off-road, downhill section and landed pretty hard. Of course, this was not on purpose. I joked that I would be filing a police report so I could get my gear replaced, but after washing it, I could not find any damage to my suit (nor to myself, besides perhaps my ego)!
The video from that crash is linked below:
Whether you are city riding or embarking on an epic touring adventure, this is, in my opinion, one of the best suits currently on the market for functionality, fit, and protection. I find the jacket looks great on and off the bike. I can ride to my local Starbucks, jump off the bike and still look good while sipping my iced grande Caramel Macchiato.
As a final thought, if you are in the market for a new suit, first consider your riding style and seek out the gear that best suits it. If you don’t know your riding style, start riding more! As for me and my recent adventure, this suit takes the cake.
Till next time, ride safe!
Posted in Gear Review & Thoughts and tagged #bmwmotorrad, #klim, #motorcycle by admin with .
Below, I have included specifications from KLIM for the Kodiak:
KLIM’s Kodiak: The Touring Survival System
Engineered to bring a more refined fit to the KLIM lineup, the Kodiak collection enters the touring world in a sleek and tailored style built for abuse. Featuring fully armored KLIM Technology to battle the weather, abrasion and travel’s most troublesome obstacles, KLIM’s Kodiak is the high-mileage touring king.
Designed for riders looking for the ultimate in precision fit, Kodiak is built on a base of GORE-TEX® Pro Shell GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY® main body fabric. Integrated perforated leather overlays in high-abrasion zones add functional style while muted corporate branding finishes the rugged and durable look. Functionality is the core of any KLIM product and the Kodiak has more than most. Each piece comes equipped with genuine YKK® zippers, D3O® CE-rated level two armor, intelligent ventilation ports and functional cargo carrying pockets. Each piece also features Black 3M™ Scotchlite™ reflective material.
Kodiak is a name that should be taken seriously. As one of the most remote regions of the American frontier, it has a wild and unforgiving reputation. KLIM built the world’s most functional and aggressively tailored touring apparel to honor this region. After all, in Kodiak, there is no pretending or hiding behind claims. Out there, it’s simply perform or perish. And KLIM is riding on.
•GORE-TEX® PRO SHELL
•GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY®
•PERFORATED LEATHER OVERLAYS ON SHOULDERS AND ELBOWS
• MUTED TONAL BRANDING
•D3O®CE LEVEL 2 ELBOW ARMOR
•D3O®CE LEVEL 2 SHOULDER ARMOR
•D3O®CE LEVEL 2 BACK PAD
•SPACER MESH CHEST PADDING
• 2 EXTERNAL CHEST POCKETS
• 2 EXTERNAL HAND POCKETS
• 2 INTERNAL ZIPPERED POCKETS
• 2 INTERNAL OPEN STASH POCKETS
• 1 EMERGENCY INFO CARD POCKET ON FOREARM
• 1 HIDDEN PASSPORT POCKET IN LINING
• 1 GPS TRACKER POCKET ON CHEST
• 1 WATER RESISTANT NAPOLEAN POCKET
• BLACK 3M™ SCOTCHLITE™ REFLECTIVE MATERIAL
• 2 CHEST VENTS
• 2 SIDE VENTS
• 2 BACK VENTS
• 2 BICEP VENTS
• 2 FOREARM VENTS
• SNAP BACK COLLAR
• ACTION BACK TAILORING
• REMOVABLE INTERNAL KIDNEY BELT
• ADJUSTABLE ARM STRAPS
• JACKET-TO-PANT CONNECTION
• GORE-TEX® PRO SHELL
• GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY®
• PERFORATED LEATHER OVERLAYS
• YKK® ZIPPERS
• MUTED TONAL BRANDING
• D3O® CE LEVEL 2 HIP ARMOR
• D3O® CE LEVEL 2 KNEE ARMOR
• SLIDER SYSTEM TO HOLD D3O® IN PLACE
• PORON® XRD® TAILBONE ARMOR
• 2 CARGO POCKETS
• BLACK 3M™ SCOTCHLITE™ REFLECTIVE MATERIAL
• 2 FRONT THIGH INTAKE VENTS
• 2 BACK THIGH EXHAUST VENTS
• ELASTIC BACK WAISTBAND
• REMOVEABLE KLIM® SUSPENDERS INCLUDED
• JACKET-TO-PANT CONNECTION
KLIM® Technical Riding Gear is a global leader in designing, developing, sourcing and distributing the most advanced powersports apparel for the snowmobile, motorcycle and off-road rider. Utilizing the world’s highest technologies in waterproof, breathable, durable and comfortable materials, like GORE-TEX® products, KLIM® offers gear for the most demanding riders. Driven by the continual feedback and input from dedicated test pilots and passionate customers, KLIM® strives to do one thing above all – improve the riding experience without compromise. For more information, visit www.KLIM.com.
*All images have been provided by KLIM.
Posted in Gear Review & Thoughts and tagged #bmwmoa, #bmwmotorrad, #explore, #klim, #klimgear, #klimlife, #madeforadventure, #makelifearide, #spiritofgs, #xladv by admin with .