Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Safety Equipment - How long does it last?

Over the years I have spent a fair amount of money on motorcycle safety gear.  I usually buy the best gear I can afford because at the end of the day when it's all said and done if I can walk away from an accident and live to ride another day then paying for all the gear was money well spent.
The equipment I normally ride in is helmet, gloves, boots, two piece leathers, back protector, neck warmer when needed, rain suit etc. Also have winter riding suit to keep warm but since moving to Sydney I haven't used it due to the year round riding conditions. The cost of this stuff in my case has been easily in the thousands of dollars.

After a recent discussion with my brother who is returning to riding after a 6 year time out due to raising a family he needed to buy new gear as most of his gear was either worn out or in some cases falling apart.

Just how long does this stuff last? Well some of my gear is pretty old but has lasted probably due to purchasing good gear to start with. Looking after it also helps a lot too. What lifespan is everyone else getting from their gear? Leave a comment or a link to your blog, i'd be interested to know and see if others are getting similar numbers.

Just last year I got myself some new SIDI boots and Alpinestar gloves as the old one's had worn out.The old alpinestar boots had lasted about 8-9 years before the soles started falling off them. The previous alpinestars I had before this did exactly the same thing but they only lasted 5 years. Also my brothers alpinestars only lasted about 2 years before the same thing happened. The gloves lasted me for 11 years, not bad for $69 gloves.
I haven't had an update on the boots since the week after I got them, so here's my take on them.
The fit at first was tight, but after a few rides they are now just right nice and comfortable, and I can now change gears ok as they have loosened up a bit and are a bit more flexible. You really can notice the air vents on these boots especially on a hot day. When you stop and sweat in them then get going again you can feel the air being pushed around the side of your foot and around the heal, cooling you down until that sweat evaporates. Nice free cooling.

My shoei helmet is now 7 years old and I just noticed when I was cleaning it after the last ride that the leather around the neck strap was starting to crack due to age. My 2 previous helmets before this were Arai's a doohan replica and a Kenny Robert Jr replica. The first arai lasted about 8 years before I had to throw it away as the inside lining crumbled into dust. I still have the KR Jr one I got it in 1999, but looking at it now and all the leather/plastic parts are falling apart. Time to throw it out as well, it's just been sitting there as a spare if needed(which it hasn't).Might need a new helmet again in the next year or two.

My leather's are now my next major consideration for replacement as they have started to fade and looks like it is starting to get some small cracks in lots of places. Not to mention the crash damage on the back of them from going down the road at Eastern Creek one time. I bought these back in either 1995 or 96 I can't remember exactly which. That means they are 17 years old which is around about a $100 per year of ownership. Seems pretty reasonable to me.
Cracking and fading

Crash Damage

Seems to be that you only get what you pay for and if you pay for good quality gear instead of the cheapest thing you can find then it will last you a good length of time. I'll be looking around for a bit to find some new leathers. I've seen some friends Tiger Angel leathers and they look like it's quality gear, Australian made as well. Probably not cheap but that's not my main concern just as long as it's good quality and will last.


  1. Hmmm....Stole my thunder for my first motorcycle post!
    Yep, quality lasts. It would be a shame to see your "elephant arse" leathers retired, but they have to go at some stage.
    On another note, Kenny Roberts JR? Shit, we are getting old when KR Jr's career has come and gone.....

  2. There always seems to be tons of great stuff on the market to tempt me.

    I change helmets every 5years. My current helmet is a Shoei Multitec.It replaced a Shark RSX. The peripheral vision on the Shoei is great compared with the Shark. I love the Multitec, but they don't score as well in crash tests as Shoei's normal full face lids.

    I have a set of Tiger Angel leathers which were made to measure and it's great to be able to walk into their factory and talk to the bloke who owns the show. They are 3 years old and have no signs of wear. I spent last year's tax return on buying Tiger Angel Gore-tex gear for winter riding. Pants were new old stock bought from a motorcycle shop via ebay.They were too long and TA shortened them mid thigh to keep the protectors in the right spot & re-welded the Gore-Tex, all for $50.

    My AStars boots usually last about 5 years. I've just bought a new pair of Held kangaroo palm gloves via an online shop in the USA. Only worn them once so far but my old Spidi gloves are 100% OK and they are 7 years old. I just felt like a change and the Helds were a present to myself for Xmas.

    I've got a 'gear' section on my blog if anyone's interested.

    Cheers Jules

  3. Mate, I have a wardrobe full of stuff! My partner thinks I am obsessed, still most of it gets warn often. I too had an Arai which after much use the lining was shagged. I brought a Shark which is okay, but seems noisy on the sprint but quieter on the GS. I also brought a Shoei last year which is awesome but I mainly use that when touring. I have a alpine stars pants and jacket made of Gortex, and this is the stuff I mainly use when touring or commuting. I have some revit leathers which I use when day riding on the sprint. I just find the ALpine stuff more comfortable and eliminates the need to stop in case of rain. My last pair of Sidi"s lasted only 4 years, the zip broke but they had been well worn. I have replaced them with another pair and am very happy with them.
    I do seem to be a bit hard on my gear, and try to replace something every 6 months. I have brought cheap stuff before and ended up just reselling it. It is worth spending the dosh and getting good quality maned stuff. Personal preference is important though and works for one won't work for another.

  4. I think longevity in gear depends mainly on quality to start and how you treat it when wearing and storing.

    I bought all new gear last year as I lost a few pounds and the old gear was too big.

    I find I purchase new gear due to my needs changing rather than it wearing out.

  5. I have had gear lasting many years (my dainese boots are on their 8th year of service), and gear disappointing me after one season (my newest purchase, an alpinestar leather jacket looks like your leather after one season of use. And I haven't fallen on it).

    Most of my gear is at the moment 4-5 years old, and still in very good conditions. My main issue is my weight: I am like a pendolum, so I have two sets of almost everything for my fat and my thin periods. I am not even joking. On the plus side I think this will help my gear last longer...as long as I alternate equally between fat and thin!

  6. Interesting, most of you seem to buy good quality gear.

    @Jules - I read your gear section it was a good read. I see you like your TA's. I would like to get a set.

    @Tuscan - my waistline keeps changing too, mostly out as the leathers are stretched tight now.

    @Trobairitz - Nice new boots you have there too. And great stuff losing weight, if only it was as easy as falling of a bike.... er log.