Not long ago, I was searching through the CMG archives, and for some reason, I came across some comments on my review of the Scott Dual Raid jacket and pants, from way back in 2015. I’d written that the jacket generally served me very well, and noted it was pricey.
“At around $440 for the jacket and $390 for the pants from Canadian retailers, it represents good value,” the story said. “It’s a little cheaper than the really high-end enduro gear, but as far as I can see, it offers the same functionality and durability.“
A reader disagreed, and let me know in the comments section, saying “So, with tax youre pushin $1000 for the outfit? Seriously? Are you friggin insane? Thats 20% of the cost of my CRF!! Goto Walmart and youll walk out atleast $900 richer…and yes, it will hold up just fine.“
Well, I can sympathize with his sticker shock. Even if it’s reasonably priced compared to more expensive options, $830 plus tax is a lot of money to find in the couch cushions. But I disagreed with his opinion then, and I disagree even more now.
Putting the wraps on my 2020 riding season, I noted the Scott Dual Raid Pro was my go-to jacket for riding off-road, same as it was for much of the past several years. I’ve had other jackets in that time span, but when I was going to do something like scouting for the Fundy Adventure Rally, this is the jacket I took. It’s held up great; I replaced a zipper, but I think that cost about $15 at the local tailor, and was money well-spent.
As for the pants, they were destroyed in my 2017 crash, when my DR350 blew its front tire and I slid down gravel topped asphalt at a fairly decent clip. The pants were shredded on the cheese-grater surface, but my legs didn’t have any road rash or burns, no wounds at all (unlike my elbow, which took a beating through the jacket I was wearing, leaving me with a dandy scar). The pants did their job.
Everyone’s entitled to an opinion, whether they be journos or readers, and here’s mine: No $50 bought-at-Walmart pants will let you walk away unscathed from an 80 km/h crash on loose chip seal. For that reason alone, I think quality gear is good value, even if does set you back close to $1,000. That seems less painful than a skin graft.
I’m not saying everyone needs to be ATGATT—sometimes I like to ride in jeans, too. But I’m under no illusions that they’ll protect me the same way in a crash.
But, just like I said in my reply to that comment on the story, I think there’s value in good riding gear far beyond its protective capabilities. A highly underrated perk of good riding gear is that it extends your riding season.
Here in Canada, the joke is that little kids’ Halloween costumes need to fit over a snowsuit. It’s funny, because it’s true. By mid-October, you’re well into single-digit temperatures, and maybe even sub-zero temps at night. Most riders put their bikes away as a result. And while some riders will haul their bikes out of storage early in the spring, going out for an easy ride on a rare sunny day, that winter cold can hang around for weeks in the spring. I remember going home to PEI for a Mother’s Day visit once, and riding my Honda CB650 through snow flurries back to New Brunswick.
Good motorcycle gear won’t clear ice and salt off the roads, but it will definitely keep you warm and dry for longer at each end of the riding season.
It’s something I’ve kind of taken for granted the past few years, as I have decent quality gear. The point hit home again this fall, though, watching my wife’s little brother learn the lesson first-hand. He just started riding a Yamaha XT250, and he’s riding it to work in all sorts of bad weather. Seeing him freeze in a mesh jacket in September, I took pity on him and found him a warmer jacket, liner and gloves. Even though his parents want him to put the Yamaha away, he just keeps soldiering on. He loves his bike, so now he can keep going with more appropriate gear.
That gear might give him an extra month, maybe even more, of riding season. It’s true a thousand bucks’ worth of gear is a significant investment, but if it increases your riding season by 25 or 30 per cent, wouldn’t that alone be worth it? Let’s face it: Our Canadian moto season is so short, that we can use all the help we can get.
Even though we’ve seen a lot of warm weather this fall, the end of riding season is basically here, even for most of the hard-core moto-heads. It looks like we might have a tough winter ahead, thanks to COVID-19, so here’s an idea: Ask yourself what gear would help you get out on the road a little earlier in the spring? Heated gloves? A full-face helmet? And also ask yourself, what kind of quality do you want? Do you want to buy once and cry once, or do you want to spend more on gear that will last for many years? Do you want to look good, or do you want safety?
Winter’s here, and motorcyclists will spend the next few months bummed out, especially with no MMIC shows to visit. But, remember that spring is only a few months away. Now’s the time to get yourself ready, with proper gear to keep you safe and warm.