Gear rating, you be the judge - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 17 Old 09-10-2006, 04:03 AM Thread Starter
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Question Gear rating, you be the judge

The 'My Offer to You' post and another about Joe Rocket UFO jackets got me thinking about this.

It's obvious from race tracks, reviews, and prices that there are at least two tiers of gear quality. For most riders, stuff made by JR or First Gear and others is probably adequate and affordable. But since the question has been posed, and I've checked out that gorgeous Spidi Seven jacket (thanks for that link ragdoll), I'm wondering how people rank the most popular gear that's out there:
  1. Joe Rocket
  2. Spidi
  3. Vanson
  4. Aerostich
  5. Fieldsheer
  6. Hein Gericke
  7. Alpinestars
  8. Teknic
  9. First Gear
  10. Tourmaster/Cortech
  11. Icon
  12. Dainese

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post #2 of 17 Old 09-10-2006, 07:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken View Post
The 'My Offer to You' post and another about Joe Rocket UFO jackets got me thinking about this.

It's obvious from race tracks, reviews, and prices that there are at least two tiers of gear quality. For most riders, stuff made by JR or First Gear and others is probably adequate and affordable. But since the question has been posed, and I've checked out that gorgeous Spidi Seven jacket (thanks for that link ragdoll), I'm wondering how people rank the most popular gear that's out there:
  1. Joe Rocket
  2. Spidi
  3. Vanson
  4. Aerostich
  5. Fieldsheer
  6. Hein Gericke
  7. Alpinestars
  8. Teknic
  9. First Gear
  10. Tourmaster/Cortech
  11. Icon
  12. Dainese
Is the question, "the most popular". Or, would it be your opinion on the best value, the best quality, etc.

When doing a audit or survey, I always try to ask at least two questions to gain at least two responses that can be graphed or weighted. You can always ask three and provide a 3-D chart. For example here. Maybe ask, "what does compareable suits from each mfg cost and what level of protection does that particular item provide." There are some smaller custom shops that provide excellent product and great service. Based on your question, here is my input. Again, only an opinion.

- Vanson (great custom stuff, takes forever to break-in)
- Dainese (no experience, to big for there off the rack stuff)
- Spidi (only know it on reputation)
- Alpinestars (same as above)
- Hein Gericke - First Gear (Same mfg., IMO, best bang for the buck)
- Teknic (no experience, just hear say)
- Joe Rocket (have only had a mess jacket from them and it held up well under a 50 ft. low-side slide)
- Fieldsheer (no experience)
- Icon (received a pair of the gladiator type gloves for Christmas a few years ago. Over priced bling)

IMHO, these are in a different catagory. But, Aerostich is still excellent. Convenient also for slipping on over "work clothes" and everyday use.
- Aerostich
- Tourmaster/Cortech

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post #3 of 17 Old 09-10-2006, 07:26 AM Thread Starter
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Really not looking for anything real formal or statistically significant. I'm a bit out of touch with the safety/quality/durability reputation of the gear from these manufacturers. Pricing is easy to reseasch. Real world feedback based on experience is not as easy to come by. Thanks for the input!

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post #4 of 17 Old 09-10-2006, 08:56 AM
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I own a Dainese suit and a Dainese Jacket, so I'm a little biased. Fit and finish is above and beyond much else that I have tried on. Comfort is far better than most too. As you may know, Dainese suits run tight, because that's how real suits are... but there is no pinching or chaffing, very comfortable... they put a lot of thought into their stuff. It goes into their jackets too, My jacket is extremely comfortable. I had a Nicky Hayden JR jacket to start:



Really wasn't that bad as far as fit goes, but it was hot and the floating armor was always a battle to keep in place in the shoulders. The stitching looked like it would come apart if I tripped and fell. I knew a guy with the exact same jacket, he ragdolled his bike and the jacket pretty much disintegrated.

I have tried on Spidi suits but not jackets. The look and feel of them makes it obvious that they are well made from quality material.

I know that Turn_1's brother had pretty common Teknic jacket that he crashed lik 19 times and it held up surprisingly well. Ha.

Vanson stuff is too plain looking for my taste and the leather is like 3 inches thick(that's why they take forever to break in), not my choice.

Icon is BLING BLING yo!

I heard that Veloce is top notch too.

No opinion on the others.

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post #5 of 17 Old 09-10-2006, 02:04 PM
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I don't know about quality but AGV has some nice jackets at a good price. I myself have a fildsheer mesh jacket. looks good and seems well built. The armour is well placed does not move around..
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post #6 of 17 Old 09-10-2006, 03:21 PM
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You forgot Veloce on your top ten list.

My personal experience has been w/ a JR two piece, and a fieldsheer two piece. Out of the two, the Fieldsheer was head and shoulders above the Joe Rocket in fit, finish, and perofrmance. The only experience I have with the others is Astars gloves and boots. top notch IMHO.

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post #7 of 17 Old 09-10-2006, 05:09 PM
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Hi Ken -

Here is my feedback on your choices. I don't know what the budget is, so I won't base it on that.

[*]Joe Rocket - Good enough. Milled Leather, not Drum Dyes, it would fall into the middle of the spectrum of leather grades. Poor panel stitching - not good for multiple accidents. Good enough for moderate canyon riding, some track work, but again - one spill and you might have to buy a new one. Dubios reputation for rider safety.

[*]Spidi - Supposedly, one of the partners of Dainese formed this company. Quality is excellent, leather is top notch. A bit expensive for some, and the latest design are not too inspired.

[*]Vanson - Great custom house. A bit pricey, and thickness of leather is not the greater for movement. Takes forever to break in as well.

[*]Aerostich - Good, good suits. Good quality, good for nake bike riding or criuser stuff. Been around a while and know what they are doing. Make GREAT over clothes suits too.

[*]Fieldsheer - Good quality suits and a fair price. Underated a lot of time. Use good leather, and are safe. Sometimes boring designs, but recent 05 and 06 suits are really good.

[*]Hein Gericke - Rate as fair to good. Good for single piece gear like jacket and pants. German made, so quality is top notch. Not the same leather grade as a Spidi or Alpinestar.

[*]Alpinestars - Good quality suits when you are in the $800 Plus range. Use good supple leather, and are actually not manufactured in Italy, but China and Asia.

[*]Teknic - On par with Joe Rocket. Mainly Milled Leather, not top grade. Stitching tends to come loose on impact. It is not because they are made in the Phillipines, but the components will not compare to a Spidi.

[*]First Gear - Again, and old house with good gear. Great for casual riding or straight up / naked bike or sports touring. Designs are understated, not what you would usually see on a Sports rider.

[*]Tourmaster/Cortech - Similar thoughts to First Gear.

[*]Icon - Bling, bling and that is their thing. Not stuff to crash in on the track or canyons. Great for the wanna be seen street rider or stunter. Again, made in Asia, but they use lower end components. Check out their helmets and you will see.

[*]Dainese - Top Dog of all the Off The Rack suits / gear. Top notch. They have the best patented sewing of suits. If you can break the stitching on a Dainese in a crash, you are probably dead or maimed.


Veloce - Will be on par with Spidi. Using top grain Naked Leather. With patented protection in the designs. Designed primarily for the canyon rider or racer who wants the optimum in comfort and safety.


Hope this helps.

Mike

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post #8 of 17 Old 09-10-2006, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Mike, and everyone who has replied. The 'Stich is great for superslab 1K days on the ST, but not the best application for naked riding IMO. I'm not doing track days right now. So I'm riding with a Hein Gericke leather jacket (circa 1998) and pants for good rides and a JR Meteor 5 with Firstgear HT textile (500 denier) pants for shorter rides. Looks like I could do better. Looks like I could do worse.

I prefer the 'understated' designs - clean is good. I'm way too old for the power ranger stylee! The HG is almost ready to be put to pasture and you've given me some good pointers when I do some shopping this Winter. Thanks!

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post #9 of 17 Old 09-10-2006, 08:48 PM
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Thoughts from my gear quiver,,

Dainese, massive style and quality but V-expensive. Crashes well.
Hein Gericke, really good quality and well thought out but dull.
Icon, feels scary light to wear but after 2 years of commuting use no wear, bad seams, loose stitching.

Wild cards not on your list.
Nankai, fit style, well thought our all amazing. Hard to find hear and of course figuring out your size can be tough as it's sized for Japan.
Clover, newest suit feels very much like the Dainese/Spidi type of gear.

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post #10 of 17 Old 10-17-2006, 01:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken View Post
The 'Stich is great for superslab 1K days on the ST, but not the best application for naked riding IMO.
So which Aerostich do you own? Do you mean wearing nothing under the suit? No, I wouldn't do that either.

For any street riding the Aerostich is unsurpassed. Pure sport riding, dual purpose, touring, commuting, you name it.
What makes Aerostich so great is the combination of design, quality, and fit. For textile gear nothing else offers the ease of use, cordura with Gore-Tex, made to order fit right in the USA.
I visit the factory (actually a very small shop on the shore of Lake Superior) every year. It's always a lot of fun and you get 10% off purchases made there.

Textiles- Aerostich is number one. I've tried on this Joe Rocket stuff as well as Cortech and Alpinestars and I just laughed.

Leathers- I like Dainese but right now I own a Spidi one piece RS Pro. It's a nice suit plus you can get super deals at the dealership. I think I got mine for $550. It listed for $1000.

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post #11 of 17 Old 10-17-2006, 08:34 AM Thread Starter
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Agreed that the 'Stich is great stuff. But the Roadcrafter isn't always convenient for quick rides, or riding in weather above 85. So I'm looking to update my leather gear with something newer and more protective. Currently checking out Vanson, KOBE, Dainese, and Fox Creek. Have all Winter to research and make a purchase though...thanks for the feedback!

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post #12 of 17 Old 10-17-2006, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken View Post
Agreed that the 'Stich is great stuff. But the Roadcrafter isn't always convenient for quick rides, or riding in weather above 85. So I'm looking to update my leather gear with something newer and more protective. Currently checking out Vanson, KOBE, Dainese, and Fox Creek. Have all Winter to research and make a purchase though...thanks for the feedback!
I hate to bash on any other manufacturer, but PLEASE - be wary of the KOBE. If you are considering Vanson and Dainese, KOBE does not belong in that class/category. I am sorry, I hate to say negative things about another person's work, but I also would not saying something to a site member.

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post #13 of 17 Old 10-17-2006, 09:01 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for chiming in on this WIM. The Fox Creek V1.8 could probably be called a replica of the Vanson, but offers up the same or better specs and look for $100 less. The Kobe Dragon jacket is the same type of jacket as Vanson (aparently) with more features for half the money as well, with a little more race-inspired looks perhaps. Both offer thicker leather and more ventilation, and similar adjustment to the Vanson. Neither has that gloss finish, but I'm not a big fan of that either.

The Kobe specs and price surprised me, it's another fairly obscure name, so finding a bunch of reputation testimonials is hard, but again, from the looks and the specs, it looks like a very worthy piece for the price. If you have some specifics on Kobe quality (or lack thereof), I'd love to hear about it. Again, not certain on the stitching and whether it's ideal all over or appropriate throughout, but it looks promising and seems to offer a lot of value and features for the price, including some double layers on the outside of the structure, CE-approved armor, thick leather, and quality zips. I've heard good things about MarMo's customer service.

The use of stetch material is a little more down the arms than what I usually find in something custom fit, but not as much as many for the easy route to fit in the arms at the expense of protection. The more stretch material, the more chance of the garment shifting, possibly losing impact protection, and the stretch stuff taking some abrasion it can't handle as well. The Kobe doesn't appear to be a major violator there only exending it in about a 2-inch stip jsut past the elbow, but the Vanson and Fox Creek don't use any at all. The Vanson appears tighter in the arms all the way down as shown, but how it fits you is what is important.

The one thing the Vanson is lacking is good impact protectors standard. fFor that kind of money, I would expect it to be delivering more than other similar options if you have to provide impact protectors.

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post #14 of 17 Old 10-17-2006, 10:43 AM
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Do you guys get RiDE magazine in the US? Its a good mag and the kit reviews are done by journos and regular riders so you don't get any bribery/favouritism. In one study a £300 Spidi suit whooped an £800 Alpinestars suit, so price ain't always the best guarantee of quality.

I've been to Sialkot (Pakistan) where leather industry is massive and they make a load of the kit that is shipped to US & Europe. Problem is that quality & sizing can vary and the factories themselves often supply to more than one brand. On one trip I managed to pick up a suit that (had it hads the logos on)would sell for £800 - but I paid $68, picked up another one on a later trip and it fell apart after a 40mph get off (can't always rely on consistency).

post #15 of 17 Old 10-17-2006, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken View Post
Agreed that the 'Stich is great stuff. But the Roadcrafter isn't always convenient for quick rides, or riding in weather above 85.
I'm not trying to harp on you here but the Roadcrafter is super convenient. That's kinda what it's designed for.
I can get in and out of a one piece or two piece in a matter of seconds. If you don't like the Roadcrafter pants then do what I did and buy Darien pants and a Roadcrafter jacket. The Darien pants are cut like jeans and you don't have to take them off when you stop somewhere like a one piece.
Also, you could just wear the jacket around town I guess. Darien or Roadcrafter.

As far as the heat the Aerostich is vented pretty well. I'm okay until it's around 90 but everybody's different. Another advantage over leather is that when you're traveling and it pours you just keep riding.

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post #16 of 17 Old 10-17-2006, 11:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebrakes View Post
Do you guys get RiDE magazine in the US? On one trip I managed to pick up a suit that (had it hads the logos on)would sell for £800 - but I paid $68,
I subscribe to PB. They don't really test anything anymore. Including motorcycles. I guess it's more lifstyle. I still like it though.

That's funny about the suit. My buddy went to China last year with a drawing for a leather jacket. It took a couple hours to get whatever you wanted made and it cost $30. Copyrights? What copyrights?

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post #17 of 17 Old 10-19-2006, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken View Post
Thanks for chiming in on this WIM.

The Kobe specs and price surprised me, it's another fairly obscure name, so finding a bunch of reputation testimonials is hard, but again, from the looks and the specs, it looks like a very worthy piece for the price. If you have some specifics on Kobe quality (or lack thereof), I'd love to hear about it.
I encountered the KOBE leather before I even though about getting into this kind of business and I met their US distributor. My buddy's shop actually carried the line. I did not like the stitching and the fact that all their graphic designs on the suits were cut-out and stitching with single stitching. It was actually alarming to me. Also, there was little or no lining on the inside. The leather was also sub-par as far as I was concerned. Again - my opinion and mine alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebrakes View Post
Do you guys get RiDE magazine in the US? Its a good mag and the kit reviews are done by journos and regular riders so you don't get any bribery/favouritism. In one study a £300 Spidi suit whooped an £800 Alpinestars suit, so price ain't always the best guarantee of quality.
Agreed - Price isn't the biggest indicator of what makes a good suit. But where did they find a $300 SPIDI suit ?!?! The makers of SPIDI originated from Dainese - so they make excellent suits. I am not surprised a SPIDI spanked an Alpinestars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebrakes View Post
I've been to Sialkot (Pakistan) where leather industry is massive and they make a load of the kit that is shipped to US & Europe. Problem is that quality & sizing can vary and the factories themselves often supply to more than one brand. On one trip I managed to pick up a suit that (had it hads the logos on)would sell for £800 - but I paid $68, picked up another one on a later trip and it fell apart after a 40mph get off (can't always rely on consistency).
Agreed, consistency can be an issue, but that is where you the label / brand has to maintain optimum quality control. As far as price goes, you have to start taking into consideration a number of factors: Leather grade, features, quantities already ordered, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RxRC View Post
....
That's funny about the suit. My buddy went to China last year with a drawing for a leather jacket. It took a couple hours to get whatever you wanted made and it cost $30. Copyrights? What copyrights?
The funny thing about China is that they are better on consistency when it comes to panels and stitching, but their mantra is make it cheaper. Thus the price. I have already been approached by Chinese businesses to make the brand - but they scared me with all their cost cutting ideas. They were actually upset that we wanted to use Premium Naked Leather. By the way, Alpinestars makes their suits in China.

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