New Riding Gear

tim

A reader suggested a while back that the DriRider Rallycross range of gear was good, and that it had served him well on a trip to the top-end.

The Rallycross range has been refreshed each year since it came out. The original jacket didn’t have a great reputation amongst posters on ADVrider, but by all reports later models improved. I think I’ve managed to try on just about every year’s model now, and the improvements are significant with each year.

The 2008 model was predominantly mesh construction, with a zip-off sleeves and a removable waterproof/thermal liner. It also had a cavity for a hydration bladder in the back. I tried this one, but the combined thermal and waterproof liner was ridiculously warm, and limited the jacket to hot, dry climates, or cold, wet ones, and nothing in between. Also it was just plain uncomfortable to wear. Most of the armour seemed to hit pressure points, and I get the feeling it would have been exhausting to wear for any length of time. Needless to say, the previous models were worse on all points.

The 2009 model (which I’ve bought) looks much like the 2008 jacket, but it has improved dramatically. The liner is now two liners – waterproof and thermal – and either or both of these can be zipped in and out pretty quickly. All of the zips, clips and straps have been upgraded in terms of quality and functionality, and press studs have been replaced with Velcro in just the right places. The main front zip opens from the top and bottom, and the bladder pocket now has a zip-open gusset to make room for the hydration kit. The jacket is heavy, but it’s very comfortable in any configuration, and the combination of liners means it’s easy to tailor for conditions as they change.

I also looked at pants in the same range, but these aren’t mesh, and rely on zippered openings for ventilation. The seem OK, but I took the advice of Mandy and Marco (who shopped with me) and decided to stick with Kevlar-lined jeans instead. Between the jeans, my existing off-road pants, and basic waterproofs, I think I’ll do OK. At their suggestion I’m also going to purchase what can only be likened to bicycle shorts with body armour in them. I’d heard the merits of bike shorts on long trips, but these, with built in hip protection, seem like the way to go.

I also picked up some Rallycross Pro gloves, which are overpriced and useless in the cold or wet, but otherwise very good. They’re effectively dirt-bike gloves, but made of heavier material. I think they’ll be perfect for off-road riding and warmer weather.

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