Since I got my motorcycle license 13 years ago, I moved from naked bikes, to sport-touring bikes to adventure bikes. I didn’t cheap-out on gear over time, so some of the gear I got in those early years I still use now. For example, my Rev’it Everest GTX Jacket, a Rev’it leather pants, another Rev’it Jacket (perforated leather), and a pair of BMW leather waterproof touring boots. This gear has been rock solid over the years and I’m sure they will last much longer. Over time I did get more gear to adjust for weather and riding style. E.g. I recently got a new adventure helmet and some adventure boots.
Other then my bikes, a few other things changed as well. (1) I got a family (2) I moved from the cold Netherlands to a warm Mexico, (3) I got older, wiser (depends on who you ask) with less need for speed, and most recently, I had a small motorcycle accident where I broke my leg. This accident is where my curiosity into the Dual Sport gear all started.
In order to explain why the accident peaked my interest in dual sport gear I have to give you some background info. As some of you might know I got a new bike about half a year ago. The KTM 1290 Super Adventure R. A big bore adventure bike, very heavy, but also very off-road capable for such a big bike. The accident happened 2 weeks ago. I went on a camping trip with my friend Jasper. First day we arrived at the camp site, riding only pavement.
The next day we went to check out another camp site about 50km / 30mi away, all off-road. It took us over a loose gravel road going from the top of the mountain we camped on, all the way down to the valley via dozens of twists and hairpins, river crossings and a few muddy puddles. Apart from a flat tire which was easily fixed, and the screaming hot temperatures, all went well.
We arrived at the other camp site and checked it out. Once done, I got on my bike, went through the same muddy puddle I went through just 30 minutes before, when my rear wheel slid sideways and the 250kg / 550lbs bike crushed my leg breaking my tibia and fibula. 5 excruciating hours later, with help of Jasper, an improvised splint and very helpful locals with a 4×4, I made it to a good hospital with an actual x-ray machine and a good orthopedic surgeon.
Tip: Make sure your first aid kit has a blow up leg-splint in it. Mine didn't.
Even though I was wearing adventure boots (Sidi Adventure 2) this was not enough. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a criticism towards the Sidi Adventure boots. If I was wearing my BMW touring boots or my urban motorcycle sneakers, I’m almost certain that I would have bones sticking out of my skin. Luckily that was not the case.
Of course I thought a lot about the accident and talked about it with Jasper, who saw it happening. First thought was that, all in all, it wasn’t that bad. I just broke my leg. No biggie. Happens to a lot of people.
Did you know that leg injuries are amongst the most common injuries in motorcycle riding, especially off-road riding?
Second thought was wether or not I would start riding again. I decided to wait a few days with a decision, as the first day or two in the hospital I was seriously thinking to sell it all and buy a Jeep Wrangler or something like that. But… after two days, the initial scare wore off and sanity kicked in again 🙂.
Thirdly… how could I have prevented this accident? Here is what we came up with:
- Better Tires – In front I had a TKC70, but my back wheel still had the stock Pirelli Scorpion Trail: basically a road tire which does not provide any grip at all in the mud. Even a TKC70 would have a hard time in deep mud. A proper 50/50 tire might have prevented my accident.
- Improve riding skills – My road riding skills are pretty decent, but off-road I still have a lot to learn. I actually had an off-road riding course planned after the camping trip, but alas, that was too late. I believe with better skills I would have approached the muddy puddles with more care and respect (especially knowing that I had a street tire on the back). Probably I would have made it through if I had better skills.
- A smaller, more manageable motorcycle – The KTM 1290 SAR is a beast on- and offroad. I still love this bike and I won’t be selling it any time soon. I invested too much for that. But… my next bike is definitely going to be lighter and less ‘ready to race’. Perhaps a Yamaha Tenere 700 or even a Suzuki DR 650.
- Switch to a rack-less luggage system – I don’t remember the fall exactly and Jasper neither (it went so fast), but, even though I was standing on the pegs, the bike fell on top of my leg. It’s full weight transferred to one of the tubes of the rack. (I didn’t have the soft luggage on at that moment). Perhaps, if I would not have that rack on, my leg would have been fine.
- Go for full-on MX boots – When I bought the Sidi Adventure 2 boots, I had a hard time deciding between the Sidi Crossfire 2/3 and the Adventure 2. In the end I chose the Adventure boots. Now I can’t shake the feeling that my leg probably would have been fine (at least not broken) had I worn Crossfires or something similar.
- Better ventilating gear – That day it was hot, even for Mexico standards in that area. I only had my Rev’it Everest jacket with me because that’s waterproof and it was rainy season. It’s not exactly a summer jacket though. So, due to the slow off-road speeds I was overheating and getting tired fast (probably also a factor in the accident). I didn’t take off my jacket because I didn’t want to ride around unprotected.
Dual Sport vs Adventure Riding
So, with all this in mind, and time to spare since I can’t walk for the next 6 weeks, I started browsing, reading and YouTube-ing. Pretty quickly I decided that I was going to change my gear and protection, moving it towards a more dual sport oriented direction. Before I get into what the differences in gear actually are, let’s first make sure we all understand the differences between adventure and dual sport riding, and adventure and dual sport bikes. Whole articles have been written about this (here’s a good one on ADV Pulse), but basically it boils down to this:
Adventure is road riding with the occasional, not too technical, off-road stretch (think gravel, fire roads). Adventure bikes are typically powerful (>70hp), have 2 or more cylinders and are heavy (over 200kg / 440 lbs).
Dual sport riding is mostly off-road, with some road in it to get to those off-road stretches. Dual sport motorcycles are typically less powerful (50hp or less), have only one cylinder and are lighter (around 150kg or less, depending on the engine capacity).
Of course, this is a generalization, there are many exceptions to this. There are people who treat an adventure bike like a dual sport and also lots of people who use a dual sport to adventure the world. But, not everyone is Chris Birch or rtwPaul. And obviously there is a huge overlapping area between these two riding styles and types of bikes.
Dual Sport vs Adventure Gear
Now let’s get to the gear. The typical adventure gear is the gear we are all most used to. It’s like my gear mentioned above and, apart from style differences, it’s also the gear that is worn by most road riders, from tourers, cruisers, scramblers to naked riders alike. A jacket with integrated armor, good abrasion protection (should you do a slider on pavement), and preferably usable during 2 or 3 seasons, maybe even waterproof and breathable (e.g. GoreTex). Pants, same story, armor integrated, abrasion protection, usable during 2 or 3 seasons. Foot protection varies from army boots to stiff leather boots which are still comfortable to walk in. This gear is easy to put on and comfortable on the road, but can quickly get warm at lower (off-road) speeds. You won’t see a lot of dual sport riders dressed like that.
With dual sport being mostly off-road, it typically takes a lot of energy, is at lower speeds and obviously doesn’t take place on road-rash-causing pavement. Body heat and sweat, generated by the hard work, needs to be wicked away by good ventilation. Also, abrasion protection is less important in the dirt, while impact protection is more important (think rocks, roots, trees that you can fall onto and bump into). So, dual sport riders take a different approach. They split their gear into layers: an armor layer close and snug to the body preventing protectors from moving to the wrong places, and one or more top layers to protect against the elements. This gives them better protection and a lot more flexibility to adjust to temperature and weather changes during a ride. E.g. if it gets too hot they can choose to ride in the armor layer with a jersey only. Since the top layer (e.g. a jacket) doesn’t have protectors in it, they can take it off and fold it up small to carry on the bike.
Dual Sport Gear Components
In stead of me explaining the components, let me link an excellent video below. This is Eric Lange from RideADV. He makes his living by guiding motorcycle adventure tours all over the world. In this video he explains what gear he relies on and why. Notice that this is all dual sport gear, while Eric rides adventure bikes and the title of the video is ADV Moto Gear. Goes to show how interchangeable this terminology is actually used.
My New Gear Setup
As I already mentioned at the beginning of this article, I never cheaped-out on gear, and over the years I have gathered quite a decent gear collection. The good thing about switching to ‘dual sport’ gear is that a lot of my existing gear is still usable. Here’s what my new gear setup looks like!
- Top left we have the body armor vest I bought. It’s the Leatt Body Protector 3DF AirFit Hybrid. Why did I choose this one? Because it’s relatively low profile, breaths well, but still has CE Level 2 back and chest protectors.
- Below that we have the Leatt Impact Shorts 3DF 4.0
- Below that we have the Fox Racing Titan Pro knee guards. I really wanted to get knee braces, but a good pair of those is 500+ USD, while this is only 100 USD. If you’re wondering, here is a great video explaining the difference between knee guards and knee braces. In the future, if finances allow it, I’ll probably get knee braces, but for now, these will have to do.
- Top right we have our upper body top layers. These are the jackets I already own. I will simply remove the protectors from it. With that, I get a very versatile top layer I can choose from, depending on temperature and weather. Only thing still missing is a jersey, which I’m planning to get in the near future.
- Below that we have the pants. I already owned the leather riding pants and riding jeans. Like with the jackets I’ll remove the hip and knee protection from them. I also had a textile pants, but that one was cut to pieces when I arrived at the hospital. As a replacement I ordered the Klim Mojave pants. These are very well ventilating pants, that still offer a decent amount of abrasion protection for on the road.
- As for feet and lower leg protection, I already own three pair of boots/shoes. The Sidi Adventure 2 boots, the BMW touring boots and the Motorcycle sneakers. (I’ll probably never wear those sneakers again given my accident.) In the future, if finances allow it, I want to invest in a decent pair of actual motocross boots, like the Sidi Crossfires or Alpinestars Tech 10.
I also want to get an airbag vest (got my eyes on the Helite E-Turtle). But these things are also crazy expensive and impossible to get in Mexico at this moment.
So there you have it. My new gear setup resulting from my recent little accident. Motorcycling can be an expensive hobby, especially when it comes to safety. Safety is hard to argue against, but everyone has to decide for themselves how much they want to invest in protection. This will depend on what kind of riding you do and the budget you are willing to spend.
One thing I didn’t mention yet is the downside to this layered approach. It takes a lot longer to gear up for a ride. A quick dash to the supermarket or corner store won’t be quick anymore if you want to fully gear up. This is something I have yet to experience, but I think I’ll get used to it.
Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you have some feedback, tips or tricks for others. I read every comment and perhaps it will help other riders too.
Thanks & Cheers,
For road riding, I have changed to the Knox layering system. So far I’ve only purchased the base layer (protection) as, like you, I removed the armour from all my other gear and were them overinstead.
I have been looking at doing more trails so this article was very timely and informative.
I also looked at Knox. Very nice as well. In the end I went for the leatt. Planning to wear that for on- and off-road use. It’s probably less comfortable than the Knox though.
Sharing your experience will probably save many of us the same, or similar mishaps. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoy your blog/insights and adventures. Thanks
Thanks Rodney. Appreciate it!
All true, better gear will protect you better. But, as pointed out, it becomes an increasingly bigger hassle to get ready to ride. When I started riding it was a just a jacket, gloves and helmet. Nowadays there’s so much to put on it can make it not worthwhile to bother to ride. Why? Has the ground got harder?
Of course not, but we are suffering increasing pressure to wrap ourselves in cotton wool (other protection is available 🙂 in order to protect our frail bodies from any of life’s gotchas. It’s not just biking. This is happening in all walks of life and younger generations are simply becoming more risk averse (leading to fewer taking up motorcycling), but I digress.
Thing is, we have to make a choice between risk of injury in an accident and ‘fun’ of riding a bike and we each strike a balance that best suits us. I am not prepared to protect myself to the full extent that is possible nowadays (e.g. airbag suits etc) as that would destroy the fun and joy I get from riding bikes. I accept that if the unfortunate happens, I could be injured more than if I had been wearing additional protection. As I said, it’s a balance and we all have to make our individual choice. Either that, or give up riding bikes and that’s not an option.
Totally get where you are coming from Ken. I too dislike gearing all up for a ride. For me it used to depend on the length of the ride though. Before the accident I wasn’t an ATGATT (all the gear all the time) guy. For a quick afternoon 30 minute ride I would simply put on a jacket helmet and gloves and go (regular jeans and shoes). For full day or multi day trips I would gear up fully though. I’m not sure yet if/how this will change after my recovery. I’ll probably gear up more even for the shorter rides, resulting in me doing less of those shorter rides. Time will tell. In the end it’s like you say, everyone has to make that decision for themselves.
You are spot on about equipment…and it is all the hype over it. Been riding for over 50 years, and recall when it was brain bucket, gloves, jeans and work boots. And the ground is no harder than ever. And whatever you own is outdated next year. Reminds me of downhill skiing, when I took my skis in for adjustment and was told they would not adjust the bindings because they were older and therefore unsafe. I asked what had changed in skiing…the bindings were safe and top of the line 5 years before? The guy just looked at me like I was crazy.
@Ken fully agree.
Gear can protect to some extent depending on force of impact. If impact is high enough our ‘mushy sack of fluid & bones’ (aka body) will suffer underneath even the best armor, regardless.
Scientific Motorcycle research has proven this many times (German 2 Google Translate):
@Guido therefore I believe your 2nd (i.e. experience+training) and last (i.e. fresh body and focused mind) Reflection points are in the end what really safes our riding days with least chance of mayhem.
If most riding safety ‘sits between your ears’ with an always increased ‘calculated’ risk (riding = living = risk taking):
Yet since our ego’s, testosterone and adrenaline-addictions are too often the root-cause for many riding accidents…
Therefore UNDERestimating your own riding skills, being a tad conservative (80% rule) to free up room for some level of (rider-) error, the unpredictable ‘unknown’ and successful execution of a plan B, which brings most -who ride with such mindset- home safe.
Guido, a very good article! There is so much hype out there regarding equipment that it is amazing a normal person can sort through it all. I had a very similar accident on my Africa Twin on the MABDR…without the broken leg! I was in deep cobble on a forest road, and my AT did a 180 on me before I could do a thing. It was partially laying on me in a ditch and my partner had to help me get it up. I have the Honda panniers and top box and was fully loaded. Sidi Adventure boots and REAX mesh pants with armor. I was running Heidenau front and rear tires. I doubt any amount of training would have prepared me for that, (though I have had trials and enduro training) since it happened so fast and there was zero time to react. I had to pick up the bike again later the same day when the back wheel kicked out from loose gravel on a large flat rock. I have decided that for any extensive off road riding, I will use my G650GS…a very capable but much lighter bike. I am not convinced that soft luggage would help, since a lot of that requires a hard frame mount…and I have had Mosko bags, Jesse and Caribou panniers, and the Honda plastic.
You were lucky you didn’t get hurt too bad that day I guess. Such a big bike on top of you can’t be good. It was the same with me. It happened so fast… before I knew it I was on the ground.
What I meant to say was that a complete rackless system (like the mosco reckless 80 revolver) would have been better. No racks required.
I currently have soft luggage, but the kind that requires a rack, and I agree that the racks themselves can (and probably did in my case) cause injury.
Good thinking. Hope you’re well soon.
I ride all roads with the very occasional gravel. Four seasons in North Florida with a very hot humid summer. Darien pants for up to three seasons and Klim Mojave for summer and part of fall/spring. New kit is a perforated leather jacket, Arai dual sport helmet and TCX trials boots. I also have a Bonn armored shirt a Klim Jersey for the very hottest of days. An Olympia mesh jacket with a rain wind breaker under layer. The windbreaker is used as an under layer elsewhere. A full rain suit from Olympia rounds this out. My TCX Jupiter short boots are now backup foot ware.
I have no style interest what so ever so I mix and match as needed. ADV helmet with road race jacket, off-road pants and trials boots? Check! As a military pilot gear up was not a thing as mission ready is the priority, so ATGatt rules. Most motorcycle accidents happen within 2 miles of home.
Brother – why dont you get an Aerostich? Nuff said. And cheaper than all that stuff.
I Understand why you say this, and Aerostich is quality gear for sure. But for me, a one piece suite sort of defeats the purpose. One of the most important reasons I’m switching to the new setup is to be able to adjust my gear DURING A RIDE or during a multi day trip. That way I can easily adjust when the weather changes, or, more importantly when the kind of riding changes from road (easy) to off-road (hard work, sweating) or vice versa. Taking off or putting on a one piece suite at the side of the road is not really practical from that perspective. With my new setup I mostly can leave pants as is, only take off or put on my jacket.
I hope you’ll be ok soon. Nice and detailed article 👌🏻
I would love to have a KTM SA R but because of my height it’s a challenging bike, so I went for a Super Duke GT 🤷🏼♂️😄 and stick to tarmac and a little bit of gravel sometimes 😆. It’s just one of the few Super Dukes here in Argentina. I like your App so I subscribed for the Beta 3 version of Scenic. If there’s anything I can do to help you with the app development let me know (spanish translations of something i.e.). RIDE SAFE ✊🏻👊🏻✊🏻🏍💨
Thanks for an honest and informative article Guido. I’m glad that you ‘only’ suffered a broken leg.
I don’t expect to find myself doing serious off-road riding. My riding is all road trips, and usually with a pillion on board. But as someone who has never researched all the available gear I found this a very good read.
I learned to ride when ‘serious’ protection was a leather jacket and jeans with a layer of smooth material sewn inside them. Things have changed a lot between then and now!
Thank you for sharing your experience. Sharing your lessons learned were honest, insightful and ones that I will take to heart. I too had a similar experience in May 2021. I have been not been riding for a few years. BDR sparked my interest. With MONTHS to prepare, I purchased a KTM 390 adventure. (stock tires). Bought what I thought was decent gear. Trained daily and watched a lot of YouTube videos. With two experienced riders, we set out on the AZBDR section one. A rocky uphill section and poor technique provided to be above my experience level. The rear tire slide out. I fell. I was on my back, my left foot was twisted and my fibula fractured. I was wearing Alpinestar Tech3 boots. The doctor said my injury was similar to a ski accident. A severe twist that snap the bone. I consider myself Lucky!
So what did I learn? Your article nailed it. I really did not know how to classify the KTM 390 Adventure bike. Is it an adventure or dual sport? When I trained MYSELF, do I ride it like an adventure bike or dual sport? I rode out of the desert. The BDR can get very remote. At times I would walk/limp up a hill and let one of the experienced riders take my bike up to a better patch of ground. He rode a BMW R1250GS. He made an insightful comment when he rode my bike. He said, your bike is to “light and squirrelly” to ride! The rocky terrain was not a challenge for him on the BMW.
Final thought. I am not criticizing you work. You mentioned Adventure is road riding with the occasional, not too technical off-road stretch. I truly believed that until I rode AZBDR section 1. My MONTHS of prep did not prepare me for that level of difficulty…only experience would. I wish I was better informed. However, the information is out there. Experience is no replacement for YouTube.
Have a look at the REV’IT! Expedition boots!
I looked at them. It was more or less a decision between the Sidi Adventure 2, Sidi Crossfire, and the Expeditions. In the end I decided for the Adventures because of price. Bad decision in hindsight? Maybe. Who knows these would have saved me a broken leg.
Now, after the accident, maybe I’ll take another look at them. But honestly, I think I’m willing to give up waterproof-ness and walking comfort for more safety and breathability, so I’ll probably go for max protection in the form of an MX boots (combined with GoreTex socks for the wet days)
1) No one has the same exact skill, experience, decision making process for the situation presented on that given day. That’s why in dirtbike racing, all forms, there ends up being a guy in first place and a guy in last place with many riding the same or similar machine required for that race. So why do we think because guy (A) handles ‘said’ bike in a given situation beautifully that if guy (B) gets the same bike will have the same result?
2) Most riders, at least a fairly large percentage, that ride off-road (street riding conditions are variable, but much less so, frankly part of the draw to Adventure riding, the variad challenges) will end up at a point facing a portion of that trail that will challenge their skills. Even more typcially, a rider with greater skill will seek a greater challenge. So for any off-road minded rider it would seem logical to plan for the likely crash.
3) And when I say likely CRASH even the best of the best crash. Watch Graham Garvis videos. Yes, many are the “task accomplished” sometimes very remarkably. But, look through all his videos and you’ll see the ones where he didn’t get it right! Are you better than Graham Garvis and going to get it right every time???
4) So we if we ride off-road on our ADV bike it is very likely, some time, somewhere, going to hit the ground. What bike do you want to be on and what gear do you want to have on when it DOES happen. If you don’t get seriously hurt it was just a combination of factors that kept you out of the worst of harms way with a fair dose of LUCK thrown in.
I jumped right onto a large ADV bike because I had previous light enduro/mx experience. I’ve ended up downsizing, a couple of times now, as I’ve determined where I want to ride and because after a few of crashes on the larger bikes. I will challenge any of you the following; Put on your gear and have a buddy hold your bike over you. You lay down on the ground beside it, on your side, flat on the ground, and have your buddy throw the bike down on you! I mean throw it to represent at least some force of impact your going to get in a sudden crash. Just truly give this a thought. Is it a bit frightening? Because even Graham ends up with his bike on him occasionally. Are you better than him? What bike do you want to be on the ground looking up at? What gear do you want softening the blow from that bike? And what situation for YOU, your experience, your skill and abilities, do you want to have yourself in with the those thoughts in mind? Yes, above was mentioned about personal risk acceptance. Absolutely! But, if you are on a bike, facing a given situation, and you are saying, “I just hope I don’t crash because I am likely to get hurt?” You might want to rethink the factors around the situation you’ve put yourself in. Because some time that crash is going to happen unless you hardly ever throw a leg over that ADV bike to begin with.
P.S. A small bike with inadequate capability, as manufactured, does not necessarily guarantee a better outcome than a larger bike that is more capable by design. Per above comment of KTM 390. You can take a Honda Rebel off-road. Does that mean you are less likely to crash than had you been on a KTM 1290 Super Adventure loaded down with a 200 lbs of accessories? Probably not! At a minumum, for the “average” rider, the bike must designed to appropriately handle the terrain you are asking it to do.
Good to get your insights Robert. Seems you have a lot more off-road experience than me. Especially thinking about your buddy dropping your bike on you had me thinking. So, basically, what you are saying is that all your gear decisions, bike decisions and terrain (where you ride) decisions should be made under the assumption that you ARE going to fall. And if not comfortable with that, turn around. Correct?
Guido, heal well and heal fast. Great article and completely appropriate for me. Been riding Honda Gold Wings for 33 years. Crash guards, aka case guards nowadays, have always saved my legs from breaks. Two years ago I started riding different bikes. A 2016 Honda NC700XD for a year, then bought a 2020 Africa Twin Adventure Sport ES DCT. I have 8200 miles on the Africa Twin. I have road it mostly on black top, a little on hard pack forest roads, and some gravel. I learned to ride on gravel roads when I was a kid. I have never put a lot of money in gear until the last year. I figure I don’t bounce as well as I used to. I have been broadsided by a car that was traveling 65 mph when he hit me, I’ve been blown down at 70 mph and gone down in traffic at slower speeds. I have caved in the back of numerous Bell helmets, but the one common item to all my accidents and crashes have been that I walked away seemingly unscathed. I have even rode away from most. I am older, watch riding videos and read articles like yours. I might even be a little wiser now that my hair is gray. One conclusion I have come to is that I have been one incredibly lucky or blessed individual. I have been purchasing more and better riding gear and I appreciate what you have taken the time to type and I love your Scenic app! I also appreciate all your readers that have expressed their riding gear and experiences. I prefer to learn from others mistakes, these days, rather than making them all myself. Thanks guys.
I wish you a speedy recovery from your accident. I’m glad you decided to continue riding your motorbike and not trade it all in for a jeep. “Shit happens” always fits and when riding a motorbike you can only be happy if it goes well in the end or heals in any case. My son also had a small accident yesterday (after reading your article), luckily nothing happened, except for a dent in the tank and damage to the paintwork. But here, too, the very good Dainese equipment kept everything out. It’s also great that you made an article out of it and gave tips on the equipment. I myself have been riding motorbikes continuously for 38 years, know the question of the right equipment very well and also have different ones depending on the application. A good leather jacket and trousers with protectors for the BMW S1000R as well as more comfortable ones with protectors for the BMW R80G/S. But again the problem is that the R80G/S is good for riding over gravel but not for real terrain, mud. For this I still lack a third, BMW G450X would actually be good 😉 So I can only agree with you, not only the equipment but also the bike itself has to fit the application. I can only smile when I see the BMW advertisements where you ride through mud and water with R1250 GS Adventure – here the professional is at work or the shots are posed. No normal rider should believe that this is good. Mud = light bike or heavy bike in mud = very careful. It’s always a compromise, because who can have the right bike for every use and always have the right stuff.
So keep on getting better so that you can ride again soon. Keep testing the Scenic App on every tour, let you know if I notice anything.
Best regards Matthias
Thanks Matthias. And good to hear that your son didn’t get hurt!
If you buy full-MX-Boots, your knee-protectors are too long and will stick inside the boots. I guess…
I’am from the school of wearing all the gear all the time. As most year round adventure riders, I have a collection of riding gear. From hot to cold and wet weather. Unfortunately some of my more severe injuries after fall have been on a small 250cc dual-sport bike in Baja. Even with MX boots, a low speed fall did a lot of foot damage. Another relatively low speed fall, broke 2-3 ribs. At the time, I was even wearing the Forcefiled EX-K Adventure Harness. So, I learned that despite all the gear, it doesn’t provide 100% absolute protection.
As your very excellent article underscores, safety is not only a comprehensive approach, but a proactive approach. You have to not only consider the gear for specific type of riding, but how the bike is equipped for specific terrain. All factors have to considered. Such as: Do you have the proper visor and Pinloc. Do you have the proper repair kit. Do you have the proper communication gear. Do you have the property emergency first aid kit. Do you have the proper emergency communication device. Have you checked the road conditions and weather in advance.
I now carry a first air kit and wear a backpack which includes a hydration bladder. I keep a ace bandage in my kit. I also strap a Garmin Delorme InReach sat device on my backpack. The Kriega pack I wear also provides additional back protection.
We are learning that riding with 30-40 lbs. of gear in hot weather can really diminish your cognitive capability. Dehydration can also diminish judgment. All of these physiological factors can come into play when deciding to call it a day or continue down a difficult trail.
I guess my point is , we must take a wholistic approach. We must recognize our riding skill set, gear, planning, physical conditioning, and bike preparation. All in advance. I fell this will greatly reduce chance of having a fall and how to best avoid injuries in first place.
I spoke to one of my recent gear reps at the recent ADVMoto Magazine event in Virginia. The gear technology is rapidly changing. We are now seeing more airbag technology being offered to not only road racer, but both off-road racers and now adventure riders. These new suits have algorithms which will provide nanosecond deployment. The will be lighter and field repairable. Hopefully someday the gear will be lighter, more breathable, safer, and available to riders in all segments.
Thanks for sharing excellent article Guido.
Thanks for your excellent insights Kam. Wholistic approach. I like that!!!
Guido, you may have saved me a bunch of misery or worse! I read your post with interest to the degree that I upgraded my equipment to include Alpine Start v2 tech armor, leatt C-frame leg braces, and Sidi Crossfire 3 boots. Just last week I was riding on a fire road with a steep drop on one side when the edge of the road gave out from recent California fires sending me and my R1250GSA tumbling down a very steep embankment. The bike landed on me, my chest plate, and slid off my side, and continued to roll down my legs, landing just down hill. For a few seconds I couldn’t breathe and thought that was the end.
After getting out of the hospital with a lacerated liver I looked over my gear. The braces had a deep gouge in the metal swivel just at the knee and the other pant leg had a rip in the leather of the mosko pants that covered the Sidi boots. My legs had a few bruises from the knee braces and my ankle had a small mark but were otherwise untouched. No armor is perfect but I can tell you if I hadn’t upgraded things could have ended in tragedy. The bike was a complete loss as the engine did not fair well running upside down (something with the cam chain went awry). You did a solid with just this one article. I am very grateful for the fact that you related your own painful episode.
So happy to hear you are OK. It’s one of my biggest fears to fall of the side of a cliff with the motorcycle… and you did just that. 😳.
Obviously I wish this didn’t happen to you, but since it did, I’m happy my article helped a bit and made you upgrade your gear.
Thank you so much for sharing this here as well. In the end I hope that all our joined shared experiences may prevent serious injuries and worse for others.
All the best and good luck and strength with your recovery.
My leg is almost 100% again. I think next week I can go for the first short ride in the neighborhood 🙂