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Everyone’s doing it. So why not me. A lot of the gift lists I see are really bad. Here’s a good list of stuff you can get for the motorcycle rider in your life. Maybe even me.

1. Something to make the buns more comfortable on long rides. 

This inexpensive bead rider knock-off kept my backside happy on some long rides this year. Need another one for the second bike I bought.

This inexpensive bead rider knock-off kept my backside happy on some long rides this year. Need another one for the second bike I bought.

There are a lot of different varieties of things you can throw on a motorcycle seat to extend saddle time and delay monkey butt. Inflatable, gel-filled, lambskin. You can even get an entire new custom seat to try and crack this problem. I’ve tried a number of them, and the one I find works best is a simple wooden bead seat cover from Whitehorse Gear.  The best thing about this particular seat cover is it is simple to install and will fit on just about every bike. For $25 it’s affordable and the biker in your life will definitely appreciate it. Whitehorse Gear even throws in a free kickstand support with every purchase. I have the beaded cover for my V-Strom, but haven’t picked up a second one yet for the Triumph America that I acquired in August.

2. Branded motorcycle gear. 

Your biker will always appreciate something that helps them advertise the make of their bike, regardless of the brand they ride. For example, I practically have a lifetime supply of Triumph tee shirts, jackets, and sweat shirts. But the newly-opened online Triumph store has a nice selection of other Triumph-branded gear that my kids could get me if they weren’t sure what I’d like for Christmas (hint, hint). Like the Triumph mug or pen or even this mouse pad.

In addition, even though I bought a Suzuki V-Strom at the beginning of the year, I don’t have any Suzuki-branded merch, so that would be nice.

3. GoPro.

My GoPro HD Hero is downright ancient, nerdy, and loser-ish already. Just like my Apple iPhone 3.

My GoPro HD Hero is downright ancient, nerdy, and loser-ish already. Just like my Apple iPhone 3.

At $300 this is on the “pricey” end of the gift spectrum, but just about every biker wants one of these doohickeys. GoPro is based in Silly Con Valley, right down the road from Apple, so they know how to market and they know how to sell. Accordingly, they do a nice job of adding features and functionality every year, and about a month after I bought my first GoPro they were onto version 2 and now they’ve just announced version 3 (just in time for Christmas!!) So even if you’re biker already has a GoPro, they need a new one because the old one is just so last month.

There are lots of accessories for the GoPro, too, so if you don’t have $300 to drop there are a few that would be on any motorcyclist’s wish list if they already have a GoPro, such as the tripod mount, the wall charger, the LCD backpack (I’ve always found it extremely frustrating that I can’t see what I’m filming while I’m filming or even THAT I’m filming with the GoPro. This caused me to lose some of the best footage I ever thought I was getting on a ride this fall) and extra batteries (GoPros have notoriously low battery life – at least in my experience.)

4. Heated handgrips.

I don’t have these on my bike. If I was to put heated handgrips on one of my bikes, it would be the V-Strom, which I ride most often and frequently in the early morning chill on my commute to work. There are a couple of aftermarket kits but the Oxford Grips seem to get good reviews from bikers and they’re easy to install and under $100. They are available on a number of gear sites such as Twisted Throttle.

Another alternative along these lines would be the BarkBusters handguards. They don’t heat the grips but they do protect the hands from the wind.

5. Cruise Control.

The Kaoko throttle lock system is a nice cost-effective aftermarket upgrade to just about any bike.

6. A six-pack from the “sure I can dream” category.

  1. A new bike. If I had my druthers, a 2013 Triumph Street Triple R is the one I’d like to add to my stable.
  2. A new used bike. It doesn’t even have to be new, a good quality used bike will float their boat just as well. There is a beautiful Bandit 1250 with low miles available at a dealership near me. If you want your biker to love you forever, get him (or her) a new bike.
  3. A full complement of Gerbings heated gear. Heated gear will extend the riding season by a month in either direction, and it will come in handy on really long tours. The whole enchilada of Gerbings will set you back about a grand.
  4. Icon 1000 Elsinore boots. I think these are some of the coolest looking motorcycle boots out there. I’d like a pair in each color, please. Size 10.5.
  5. A leather track suit. Budget about a grand for these. I did my first track day last summer, and would like to do more. And since you’re getting me a trackable bike in 1 or 2 above, I’m going to need this. I’m a size 46.
  6. Manayunk Triumph. If I could have any job in the world, it would be owner of this dealership. So since this is from the ‘dream’ category in an alternate universe where my significant other is a millionaire (heck, billionaire) sugar momma, I might as well think big and put this on the list.

OK so this started out with the intention to make a really useful and helpful list of things that my readers (or their significant others) could put on their Christmas shopping list, and ended up getting rather silly with me crossing one of the biggest items off my bucket list (to work in the motorcycle industry and perhaps own a dealership.) But hey, this is the season for dreaming, so deal with it!

Happy holidays to all.

This weekend I fulfilled one of my motorcycle-related New Years resolutions. I invested in the gear I needed to go ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time.) I took a trip to the Revzilla store in Philadelphia on Saturday and left with armored riding pants and jacket, gloves, and boots.

All The Gear.

My goal was to find a jacket and pants that covered as many possible combinations of temperature and weather as possible. I was willing to pay up for this versatility. Its clearly hard to find one do-everything jack-of-all-trades motorcycle outfit but when all was said and done I got pretty close.

I tried to buy this stuff online but it was just too confusing. Some of the products are offered in Euro sizes and others in American sizes. Even with the helpful videos on the Revzilla website it was hard to figure which items would work for me. And some stuff runs big, others small so it was hard to know what would fit me.

I had also tried to buy this stuff in a bricks-and-mortar store but there was just not enough selection available to make an informed decision. Two of the biggest motorcycle dealers near me have zero motorcycling pants in stock and only a few jackets. Driving the hour to the Revzilla store in South Philly was a good use of time.

Tito at the Philly Revzilla store was extremely helpful and invested a lot of time with me to make the sale.

First of all, a big shout out to my salesperson Tito. He literally spent two hours with me, educating me on my options and the pros and cons of each item. Once I made my selections he tried a number of different sizes of each item until I found the perfect fit. I ended up with:

The Olympia AST 2 Jacket. This is a 3/4 length adventure jacket with armor everywhere you’d want it, lots of pockets, a removable liner, and flow-through vents. It’s nice looking and seemingly has the versatility I want. While its billed as a 4-season jacket I think 90 degree summer days might be a bit much, but I still have a lightweight armored Triumph jacket for those days.

Olympia Airglide 3 Pants. These pants have a removable liner and can be worn as overpants. Or they can be worn alone or with shorts underneath in various combinations of with liner/without liner. So they’re pretty darn flexible. I wore them to work this morning over my corduroys without the liners and I was plenty warm. The temp was abut 40 degrees at the time.

One thing that surprised me a lot is that there are very few waterproof pants. The waterproof qualities are by and large built into the liner. This is complicated. Let’s say its a summer day and I’m using the Airglides as overpants. Now it starts to rain. I have to pull over, take off the Airglides , put in the liners, and put the whole shebang back on. I’m still not sure how this will work. And mind you I have to do this on the side of the road, braced against the bike, while rain is pouring down and tractor trailers are zooming by 80 miles per hour. So it may be that I just continue to use my rain pants and if it starts raining, throw them over the Airglides. I’ll update this later when I’ve experienced this a couple of times and make some conclusions about how to handle rain.

Alpinestars Ridge boots. This was a simple decision because they were the least expensive pair in the store (I paid more than I intended for the Olympia stuff) and they were decent looking, could be worn at work if necessary, and were waterproof (a mandatory feature since I wear my boots on week-long motorcycle camping trips on which at least one rain day is a guarantee.) I really wanted to check out the new Icon 1000 Elsinore boots which look badass but they aren’t in stock yet.

REV’IT! Dirt Gloves. I already have a good pair of waterproof Olympia gloves so I went with a set of vented armored gloves. These were comfortable and relatively inexpensive. This was the biggest shock of the day: that SOME GLOVES ARE AS EXPENSIVE AS PANTS!!!! But I guess when you think about how important it is to protect your hands – and the fact that the hands are probably one of the first body parts to make contact in a crash – it makes sense.

On Sunday I went for my first ATGATT ride with  my friend Amanda.  It is going to take some getting used to. All of the items are bulkier than the leather jacket and chaps I used to wear when riding. But I felt extremely safe. I was warm too on a chilly day in the 40s as we rode from 11:00 AM to about 5:00 PM.

And after all, my main motivation for converting to ATGATT was seeing a fellow rider walk away from a crash unscathed last summer because he was wearing the right gear. I hopefully will never have to experience this first hand but with all of those crazy cagers out there talking on their cell phones and texting, you can never be too safe.

Especially for first time riders, I would recommend making a real investment in safe gear and making a commitment to wearing it. I’m late to the party on this front and I’ve been lucky.