Post-trip Gear Reviews (2010 Transamerican)
Written by Issa Breibish » Monday, August 2nd, 2010
Well, since the gear was out getting used in the real world and I have friends who are either looking at touring or are touring, I thought it’d be of some use to review the gear I purchased for the trip. To those who don’t care about the nerdy end of things – I apologize in advance. To the rest, I hope you find this useful :)
Rev’it Cayenne Pro, Pants and Jacket
Almost everything about this set-up is great. The outer shell has plenty of venting for the incredibly hot days we faced early on in the trip (104+ degrees) and the rain gear did an admirable job in the wet. The outer shell dried from soaked almost overnight even in high humidity. The comfort liner on the back of the collar is great along with the collar restraint when you don’t need it fully closed. The abrasion-resistant fabric is supple enough so that it’s comfortable to wear and you don’t feel like you’re wearing a cardboard suit. The gear feels better with time and wear.
On the down side it doesn’t come standard with sas-tech back protector which seem a little lame with the quality of everything else. Also, the zippers on the arm vents should close toward the glove so that riders can use them while in motion. The pocket vents on the front should also have larger zip-grips so that you needn’t fuss to find them while riding. It would also be great if the pants had a little more venting for hot days.
Really, it’s a great set up – and I’m 100% happy with the purchase. I’d recommend these to anyone interested in a rugged all-season adventure suit.
I’d give it 9/10
Garmin Zumo 660 GPS
Ya know, the problem with GPS’s in general is the software and the Zumo 660 is really no different. It’s amazing that this thing can be fully submerged, I can use it with gloves and it lets me connect my bluetooth headset and iPhone to it – so I can hear directions and receive calls all without the use of any wires. Awesome! Also, set up with the Touratech and RAM mounting system, the unit is powered by the motorcycle battery and is virtually impossible to steal quickly.
On the down side you still can’t designate a road to follow which means you need to plot lots of waypoints on twisty roads otherwise it spits you out to the nearest freeway. And, in fact, plotting a custom route without the aid of a laptop is an exercise in futility. So, set a route on your computer, upload it and hope you don’t need to change it. Otherwise, just “a to b” the route or risk losing your mind :) Another problem I had/have with the unit is the power button started sticking after a heavy rainfall. The problem with this is that when the GPS unit powers itself back on (after you think you’ve shut it off) there’s a risk of killing the battery. So that’s not ideal.
Still, the unit proved reliable and sent us in *mostly* good directions.
I’d give it 7/10
Bags-connection GS Tank-bag w/ Powered Ring
It sounds like a lot but really it’s a tank-bag that receives power through it’s tank-ring mount. This is a lovely piece of kit I was excited to pick up from Twisted Throttle. I purchased the GS bag which comes with at rain cover & shoulder strap, the powered ring, a map sleeve and various electrical adapters. For this trip the bag was filled with goodies I needed quick access to, and I charged my iPhone while riding with it. It also worked to power a mini-compressor when the tires needed a little extra lift which was pretty cool. All in all, the construction of the bag was excellent and it fit the bike perfectly. Installation was pretty simple – though if you have no appetite to mess with your bike I’d send it to a qualified mechanic.
There are a couple of things you should know if you’re interested in buying this set up. The bag floats above the tank which is great – the *only* thing with that is pressure on the bag may cause the connection to break causing intermittent power to devices. I only seemed to have this problem getting on and off the bike when I leaned way forward. Other than that it was a charm.
[UPDATE]: This issue has been fixed! It turns out that the release clip is the third part of a three-way connection and I hadn’t seated the clip far enough in. A quick adjustment and all is well – I can lift the bag as far as it will go with no break in power.
Also, the fussiest part of the installation was fastening the top-ring to the bag itself. The bolts are *so* short that they barely reach the nut. It’s easier with two people – one pushing as hard as possible on the bolt while the other threads the nut. And don’t over-tighten them – too much overlapping thread will chew up the connector on tank.
I still highly recommend this system. If you’ve ever had a standard tank bag you know how much of a pain in the ass filling up at a station can be. The quick-release system makes it so easy to remove we could stop and fill the bike in no time.
I’d give it 8/10
Shoei Multitec Helmet
What can I say – the Multitec is a great choice for a modular helmet. Sure it’s definitely noisier than my non-modular Arai in high wind but it’s the quietest modular helmet I’ve used. Without strong crosswinds it’s easily one of the quietest helmets I’ve worn. I’ve also seen it’s effectiveness in an accident – Miriam was wearing one when a deer jumped in her lap for a snuggle. That helmet looked terrible but Mir was still a vision :)
Changing the visor is the easiest system I’ve tried to date – much better than my Arai Quantum II. I simply have no complaints.
I’d give it 9/10
Sidi Discovery Rain Boots
Well, these boots are a story of perseverance paying off. In the store they felt great – though I’m used to stiff Sidi boots for track. Compared to those, these boots felt like slippers. But, for the first 5 days they killed my feet. I lost the feeling in my little toe for a week (it’s back now), and blister formed on my achilles day 1 which made it painful to walk until the last 5 days of the trip. During the heatwave the boots made my feet feel like they were on fire. Literally. Some kind of venting system on this boot needs to be developed. Also, since they’re waterproof (and supposedly breathable. Ha!) my feet *stank* at the end of a hot day and soon I had a nice rash cover the topside of my feet.
So you’d think I’d hate these boots, right? Well, somehow, I don’t. You see, along the way the leather stretched and the boot began to feel comfortable. The feeling came back to my little toe and the blister began to heal. The weather cooled and my feel no longer felt like burning embers. And when the rain came (and it came hard) my feet were perfectly dry. My feet still smelled though.
So, the bottom line is it’s a durable boot that needs a good break-in period. It’ll hurt for a bit but it’ll be worth it. They could be better – especially with some venting but this boot works for me.
I’d give them 7/10
Centech AP-1 Fusebox
I could write a detailed review of this but I won’t. If you have multiple electronic items leading to your battery on an adventure bike don’t concern yourself with questioning this purchase. Guaranteed the Centech AP-1 be the *best* $50 you spend on your bike. It’s easy to install, it works like your electrical panel in your house – it’s awesome. In fact, buy it even if you don’t need it – it’s *that* awesome.
I’d give it 10/10
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