ABR Masterclass – Ask Dave: Gear Review

Our resident expert of all things bikes answers your questions

Question:

Hi Dave, I think it’s time I bought a new riding suit, but I’m a bit confused as to what to buy, not so much in terms of the manufacturer but the cost and what I should expect to fork out. There seems to be a huge difference in prices from so many suppliers with cheap suits as little as £80 on internet sites to top of the range offerings that cost in excess of £1,000 from some well-known brands. What should I buy?

Julian Thumb, Stornoway

Answer:

It’s a question many of us have asked ourselves. There are frequent gear reviews in ABR, but not all manufacturers submit their gear for review. Maybe it’s best to set yourself a budget for the spend, and then look at what that will buy you.

The cheaper gear may not be as weatherproof as top of the line stuff, but a cheap suit combined with a set of waterproofs is an effective set up to keep the rain out. Having to pull over to clamber into waterproofs at the side of the road, however, is a royal pain in the jacksy and sometimes too late to keep you dry. Not to mention the fact that waterproofs are very confining on a warm but wet day, getting you all steamy and sweaty.  Cheap adventure suits can also be a problem in hotter climates, it’s pointless having zipped vents that don’t actually let any air get through. You’ll find that the good gear is a whole world better at keeping you cool as well as dry, due to superior design and manufacturing methods.

Trawling internet sites and forums can give an insight into the different makes available from people that have forked out their own cash, and have experience of using the kit in various conditions. Search reviews for the make that catches your eye and glean info from that.

OK, now you’ve done all the research and set a budget it’s time to make the purchase. Buying from the internet is now a favourite way of shopping. But how do you know it will be a good fit? And let’s face it, returning that new suit that you’re excited to wear, but doesn’t quite fit is a nuisance and delays the use.

Going to your local dealer and trying the suit on is a far better way of buying. Now, you may pay a little more from your local shop, but with so many closing or going mail order only it leaves us without that local resources when we need them. Going into a local shop gives you the chance to get a little expert advice from someone who really knows their stuff and understands what you need, and there may come a day when you need that, so getting to know the staff at a local bike dealer can be invaluable. Surely that’s worth the few extra quid?

Just one more point. Before shelling out look in the mirror, if it’s time to lose a few pounds do it before the purchase. If you lose weight after, it becomes an expensive suit that hangs off you like a rag, don’t ask me how I know this.

Something to ask Dave?

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