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Riding Gear

Written by Matthew Fox. Posted in RTW Gear

Jacket - Belstaff XL500

When you're going round the world on a bike that looks as awesome as the CCM SR40, you need to make sure you look as stylish as you can, so you don't detract from the sheer coolness of the bike. We realised early on that we couldn't wear the ''space suits'' that many adventure riders choose, as they would look ridiculous with the classic styling of the CCM, so we looked at what was on offer for classic bike jackets  and ended up choosing the Belstaff XL500 Jacket. This Jacket surprised us as it is the cheapest motorcycle jacket in the Belstaff Pure Motorcycle range, however, it met all the criteria we were looking for: looks cool, is waterproof and lightweight. Above all of these qualities, it also has loads of pockets and the male version of jacket also has vents under the arms for hot sunny days in Baja.

The waterproof layer on this jacket is bonded to the outside of the jacket so it the rain rolls off, many other jackets have their waterproof layer underneath the outer layer leading to water pooling inbetween the two layers and then hydrostatic pressure causing the the water proofing to fail.

Helmet - Nolan N43 Air

We wanted a helmet that did everything, we wanted a full face helmet for riding through congested cities and on high speed roads, where the added protection around our faces is very important. Once of the the beaten track we also wanted an open face helmet that made us approachable to the nomads and farmers that we'll meet in the vast open spaces we will discover on our trip, as a full face helmet blocks view of crucial body language displayed by ones face. 

The helmet we have chosen is the Nolan N43 Air (or N43 Trilogy in the USA). We like this helmet as it has an open face design, but features both a removable chin bar and removable visor. The chin bar meets current safety standards, so we can wear it as a full face helmet where required and as traditional trials style helmet in open country. What we also like about this helmet is the large amount of vents to keep us cool and the internal sun visor for bright sunny days.

In addition to this we have bought a N-Com Communication System with Bluetooth kit 3 we chose this because it is designed to work with the helmet and actually fits into the shell where as many other communication systems stick on to the side of the helmet and previous experience tells us this makes the more susceptible to the rain.

Armour - Forcefield Body Armour

Previous experience has made us realize that for any kind of off road riding you need armour that stays in place as you move around, as armour in a pocket of riding trousers tend to fall below the knee when standing up. we didn't shop around at all for this because we have always used, for other sports as well, and never been let down by Forcefield Performance Gear.

For our arms and torso we both wear the Pro SL1 Combo, This is the Forcefield Pro Shirt with the integral back protector removed and replaced with a sport light level 1 back protector, The added advantage of the SL1 Back protector is the kidney belt that provides support for man handling heavy bikes when you get stuck. The Forcecfield Pro Shirt is made from a wicking material so also acts as a technical base layer wicking away sweat to keep you cool in the heat and providing an extra layer for insulation in the cold.

For the lower limbs we are using a combo of Action Shorts and Limb Tubes making sure that if any part of our body has an impact we're as protected as possible for the most likely areas if impact. Forcefield Technology is brilliant and has protect Matt from many falls when Trail riding and on his previous adventure to Morocco with the lattice structure on the top of the padding any impact is spread of as large an area as possible reducing the overall affect of the impact.

Trousers - Hood Jeans Cargo Trousers

We really wanted trousers that could be both riding and casual so when you get off the bike you can feel comfortable in what you are wearing or go walking with out having to change clothes. We bought Hood Jeans Cargo trousers, they have a poly-cotton outer layer and kevlar in all the places you'd want to find kevlar for motorcycling. They can be bought with Velcro in Knox armour, but we already had our Forcefeild Limb Tubes and felt they were better for our purposes.

The jeans are available in various leg and waist sizes so most males can get one to fit however the cargo trousers are not available in a ladies cut. The team at hood were awesome to us, as they don't do a laidies cut cargo trouser they helped liz out by adapting a gents cut to fit her shape, this did require a trip from Bristol to Norfolk but it got the job done.

Boots - Altberg Hogg All Weather Ultralight

We wanted boots that would bridge the gap between a walking boot and a riding boot, our in the end we settled on the Altberg product. They look like a traditional style military boot but are reinforced around the ankle (not as much as a motorcross boot) but enough for the kind of riding we would be doing. they have a grippy sole and because the ankle isn't a fused plastic cast like a motorcross boot they give freedom to moove about once we're off the bike too.

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Camping Gear

Written by Matthew Fox. Posted in RTW Gear

Tent - North Face Minibus 3

The tent we have chosen for this adventure is the North Face Minibus 3. It's a mixture between a Tunnel and a dome tent, Giving the headroom of a tunnel tent with a semi Geodesic design allow it to be pitched on hard standing with out pegs. The tent can be pitched with out the fly sheet when the weather allows. It has two entrances allowing us to enter the tent with out climbing over the other one.

Sleeping Bag - Snugpak Softie 9 Hawk

Our sleeping bags are from Snugpak Military range at the time of writing this we haven't yet tested these to their limits but recommendations from other adventure Bikers convinced us that for quality and value Snugpak couldn't be beaten. and the other great thing about them is that they are a  British Firm. We were going to buy the Softie Chrysalis 3 but found that the Hawk has similar temperature performance but 200g lighter. With a comfort factor of -5 and a limit of -10 we think this will be perfect for our trip.

Camping Mat - Exped Down Mat

Our camping mats once again were recommended to us by the adventure biking community. We like these because they pack up small and provide very good insulation from the ground when camping in cold weather. I believe that the insulation from the ground is much more important than insulation from the air when camping in cold weather. We definately weren't cold when we saw the first frost of 2012 in camping in the Forest of Dean. Liz says "she is just as comfortable on her mat as she is in her bed"

Camping Stove - MSR Wisperlite

This Multi fuel stove has been tested rigorously during Matt's previous trip to Morocco ad also to heat his tea when working night shifts with out domestic facilities available. It runs on almost all liquid fuels making it really flexible on the road, and if we're out of petrol then maybe we have bigger problems than cooking our dinner. The Wisperlite is the entry level multi-fuel stove from MSR so unfortunately doesn't have a simmer control.