Thursday, October 06, 2011

Riding Gear

I bought some replacement gloves recently. One pair is the Olympia Sports Monsoon Gloves for riding in the rain and another pair of Olympia Sports gloves that are vented for riding when it's hot.

I'm not particularly pleased with either pair. The fit of the Monsoon gloves felt good at the store, but now I realize the thumb on one is longer than the other. I bought those to replace a cheap pair of Tourmaster vented gloves I bought on Ebay - which I really like but were getting holes in them.

The lining of the Olympia Sports Monsoon gloves has a weird plastic feel that doesn't breathe and it is not sewn to the glove so when you pull your hand out the lining tends to come out of the glove, so it's hard to put the glove on again. The length of the glove is wrong too - they are a little too long to go under your jacket - but not long enough, or wide enough, to go over.

The vented gloves have bumps and lumps inside from the way they are constructed. I also saw a pair of gloves in Harbor Freight that were sold as mechanic's gloves that look very similar for 1/3 the price.

When you spend a lot of time on a bike, or ride in different weather conditions - hot/cool/cold/wet you need the right gear, so you are concentrating on riding and enjoying the ride.  Little things are important. Anyone who rides on two wheels knows that a piece of clothing that feels good when you are standing/sitting around can become a big distraction while riding if you end up getting wet, blisters, chaffing, too hot or cold.

Conclusion - I won't be buying Olympia Sports riding gear in the future. They may make some great stuff but I'm not going to take the chance.

I have some Firstgear pants, jacket and gloves that are great. Same for the Tour Master rain pants I have and the Harley Davidson jacket and boots. They aren't motorcycle specific, but the Frye leather boots I have work very well. They are comfortable leather, good protection and can be relatively waterproof with application of Sno-Seal.

I've almost worn out a pair of generic elk skin gloves that I wear a pair of gel cold weather REI bicycle gloves under - those have worked well. I have some deer skin gloves I bought at the Farmer's Coop with Seirus glove liners from REI that are nice and comfy too.


One little (or maybe not so little in the big picture) thing that bothers me about the nice Harley jacket I have is that it was not made in America. I was surprised to find that on the tag...but maybe it's too much to think leather jackets, or much of any clothing, will be made in the U.S.A. I think Frye boots are made in the U.S.A. but I don't know for sure - their website makes it seem like they would be. 

The deer skin gloves I got at the Farmer's Coop have a big American flag and U.S.A. on the tag - which I was happy about when I bought them. Turning the tag over, it turns out the gloves are made in China - the deer came from America.

Beartooth Highway by Jack Crossen
Beartooth Highway, a photo by Jack Crossen on Flickr.