Teknic Chicane Rainsuit
Years ago, a staffer bought a one-piece Teknic rainsuit to protect a new set of leathers in a wet race. It was economical, which suited our staffer's penny-pinching privateer's budget, and it was the only one for sale in the paddock anyway. Remarkably, not only was it completely waterproof, but it also resisted 140-mph turbulence and still looks as good as new after dozens of wearings. All of which bodes well for this nicer-looking Chicane suit. Made of PVC, the Chicane incorporates sealed seams, and the main zipper is well-protected by flaps. S-XXXL. $24.95. (616) 866-3722, www.teknicgear.com
Alpinestars Apex Jacket
Alpinestars' Apex jacket is a high-performance sport-touring garment designed with versatile weather protection in mind. The manufacturer claims its Drystar lining is waterproof and breathable. There's a removable quilted liner for wet- and cold-weather comfort, as well as CE-certified back protection and reflective piping for safety. The Apex is available in black, blue/black and red/black color combinations and comes in sizes XS-XXXL. $269.95. (323) 234-4364, www.alpinestars.com
Spidi Sport Composite H2Out Glove
Spidi calls its Sportcomposite H2Out glove waterproof, and says the liner keeps your hands dry and warm when you're riding in cold, wet conditions. The H2Out also features knuckle padding and a padded palm. Construction is all leather, with additional insulation for warmth. This glove is available in any color you want as long as it's black. Sizes S-XXXL. Suggested price $129.99. (877) 789-4940, www.motonation.com
Dowco Gaurdian Bike Cover
Dowco is based in Wisconsin, where folks know something about foul weather. Its Guardian Weatherall motorcycle cover is made of tough polyester treated for weather resistance, with taped seams making it completely rainproof, according to the manufacturer. Aluminized fabric resists heat from exhausts, etc., while a soft fabric liner should keep your windscreen and paint scratch-free. Vents prevent condensation from building up. An elastic hem ought to ensure a snug fit, and grommets allow you to lock it in place. The Weatherall comes in sizes for most any bike, with sportbike versions selling for $74.99. (800) 558-7755, www.dowco-inc.com
Gaerne ST Dry Boot
Italians might have sunny dispositions, but they ride year-round, rain or shine. For them--and you--Gaerne (say "Gar-NAY") makes the ST Dry touring boot for wet-weather riding. Construction is leather, lined with Gaerne's own Dry Tech membrane, which the maker claims is both waterproof and breathable. While the styling is traditionally low-key, important areas are strengthened with plastic armor. Available in black only. Sizes 6-13. $179.99. (800) 426-0213, www.gaerneusa.com
Kanetsu Electric Vest
To keep hypothermia at bay, you need to keep your torso warm. That's where electrically heated vests come into play. The Aerostich Kanetsu Electric Vest has an outer layer of soft fleece, and a lightweight liner. Between those layers there's a 3.3-amp heating unit that pumps out 45 watts of warmth. It rolls up into one of its own pockets for compact storage. The kit includes a fused, lighted coil cord hookup and a power switch. S-XXXL. $137. (800) 222-1994, www.riderwearhouse.com
We're big fans of the lowly cotton bandana. For years we've tied 'em around our necks and pulled them over our chins to ward off the cool ocean air and noxious airborne detritus encountered whilst riding around L.A.
Now there's a more high-tech alternative called the Buff, a seamless, tubular garment constructed of microfiber fabric that does everything the bandana does and more. The Buff can work as a neck gaitor, balaclava, helmet liner, face mask, headband or bandana, and thanks to its sweat-wicking and breathable high-tech fabric, it keeps you cooler in warm weather and warmer on cold rides than a basic bandana can. And because it's stretchy, it's a lot easier to don, even while wearing a leather jacket or Aerostich suit. Two thicker versions--Polar Buff ($25) and Thermal Pro Buff ($27)--offer even more protection than the basic Original Buff we found so useful. Best yet, the Original Buff is cheap--just $18.50.
Rating: * * * *
Verdict: Versatile wind/weather protection for less than a 20-spot