How to buy good ad­ven­ture kit…

BIKE (UK) - - BIKE LIFE - Jonathan Pear­son Off-road Edi­tor

Buy­ing kit is never the eas­i­est thing, and ad­ven­ture kit is es­pe­cially hard to get right. But it’s not im­pos­si­ble if you fol­low a few rules…

AD­VEN­TURE RID­ING KIT must be ca­pa­ble of 800 miles in freez­ing con­di­tions and scram­bling up a moun­tain in 40 de­grees. It is a tough set of cri­te­ria… The huge choice in the ad­ven­ture rid­ing kit mar­ket means big price dif­fer­ences some of it jus­ti­fied, some not. A £1000-plus suit may have fan­tas­tic qual­ity and func­tion but a suit at the lower end of the price scale can per­form just as well, if you adapt it. Money spent wisely on de­cent ar­mour that fits your body, for ex­am­ple, pro­vides bet­ter crash pro­tec­tion, fit and com­fort than stan­dard ar­mour in­side many jack­ets. Ther­mal or heated base lay­ers plus a wind cheater shell in the back pocket makes you more adapt­able in dif­fer­ent con­di­tions. Hel­mets have a tough job deal­ing with the on and off road rid­ing co­nun­drum too. You need pro­tec­tion, but don’t want it too heavy and hot. A peak helps keep sun and roost away, vent­ing is cru­cial while in­ter­change­able vi­sors and gog­gles are a bonus; gog­gles are much bet­ter when you’re rid­ing in dusty con­di­tions. There are de­cent bud­get hel­mets, but un­known brands are a gam­ble. Check the SHARP rat­ing ( for safety re­as­sur­ance then make a judge­ment on build qual­ity and com­fort. Gloves are eas­ily pock­eted so take a light pair with feel for off road then swap to a stur­dier pair on the road. Some gloves are a mix of both camps with soft ma­te­rial for feel on the bars but with ex­te­rior ar­mour and wrist sup­port. The full pro­tec­tion of an MX boot of­fers high lev­els of safety, but they have less feel and are never wa­ter­proof. Tri­als boots sit at the other end of the scale and have lit­tle an­kle ar­mour but bags of feel. Ad­ven­ture boots are a half­way house. The harder it is to walk in the bet­ter the pro­tec­tion.

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