Protective gear is essential part of riding. It gives you protection against environment. In case of accident you might be able to continue without bigger harm. If something breaks from the bike, I can (most probably) fix it, but if I break something from myself, then my trip comes to a stop and it will also hurt like hell…
Helmet: After the accident in Java, Indonesia I decided to buy a new helmet ( old X3 took heavy hit), Arai Tour-X4. I have been really happy with Arai helmet during this trip so selecting a new helmet was really easy. I will use Arai Tour-X3. Arai has really good reputation for building top quality helmets. I have been using their previous model Tour-X2 helmet for few years now and been really satisfied for it. I selected white color because it stays quite cool in direct sunlight.
Boots: I have had several Alpinestars boots and have really liked them. These boots were a bit different from a shape, so they did not fit so nicely as previous boots from them. Let´s see if Alpinestar boots are better quality compared to Sidi (Alpinestars have 2 years warranty!)
Update: Alpinestars Toucan boots lasted 12 months. After this seams were completely failed (on top of the boot and inner side so that my toes were actually visible!). I looked for new boots, but decided to stick with Toucans, this time I ordered brand new model (different kind of buckles). Long story short: New Toucans lasted only two months (my Alaska trip)! After this screw from one buckle came off (threads failed) and I already started to see failures in seams!!! Luckily I get new pair under warranty from Alpinestars, so these will be fourth boots on this trip! Sidi Adventure Gore-tex boots. These boots are not as stiff as other enduro boots, but still provide good protection and they are also waterproof. Let´s see how comfortable they are when weather gets really hot or I need to walk longer distances…
Update:These boots will get really noisy, I mean so noisy that people will turn around and look at you even in India! Quality is not in acceptable level. After 6 months usage, seam from both boots failed. Sent few emails to Sidi, but never got any answer. Maybe in a more “normal” usage they will last longer, but for me no Sidi Adventure boots anymore.
Knee guards: After lot of searching and testing of different knee protectors, I decided to get Ortema XPert-knee protectors. They are really well made, protect my knee from overbending and twisting and also they fit relatively well under the riding suit.
Upper body protection: After the accident in Indonesia it was time for me to replace my well served protection jacket. I kept looking and trying different brands, but none of them really felt good (I was not able to find correct size bionic jacket).
I visited Ortema in Stuttgart and they had Ortho-Max jacket. This jacket felt good and they also custom made a chest plate to me! I will post more info after I have used this for some time. Been using Alpinestars Bionic 2 protection jacket and now I do not dare to ride without it. Good thing with this protection jacket is that in hot climate, I can just throw shirt on top of it and still be protected.
Update:I have been happy with Alpinestars Bionic jacket, it also protected me in the accident in Indonesia, but now it is time to replace it.
Gloves: Always wear gloves! Your hand will touch the ground first when you go down (at some point everyone will face this fact), so it is really important to protect them against road rash. I will carry 2 pair of gloves, one waterproof set for cooler climate and another set for hot climate.
Update: I have now fifth set of summer gloves in use during this trip. BMW gloves worn completely through after six months of use. First set of Alpinestars gloves were damaged in my accident. Second set of Alpinestars were excellent, perfect, tight fit and they just lasted and lasted. Only problem was that during the rain my hands turned totally black… White Klim gloves did not loose any colour, but quality was bad, they worn out after central and half of south America, too fast for their premium price. Now I am using black Revit gloves, hopefully these will not loose colour…