Maybe you're stressed-out from work, or the chaos of the financial meltdown has got you down in the dumps. Whatever your ailment, some extended time in the saddle is sure to clear your mind. Whether you decide to ride across town or around the globe, this month's Gear spread is aimed at making your journey safer, more comfortable and more enjoyable.
Firstgear Rainier Jacket
Warning: The Rainier jacket may give you feature overload. With its waterproof shell, Kevlar-reinforced panels, 10 pockets, numerous vents, myriad reflective panels, three-layer laminate liner (that serves as a stand-alone jacket), integrated rain hood, two-year crash-protection policy and $399.95 price tag, the Rainier is undeniably impressive. But the most outstanding feature is the jacket's d3o elbow and shoulder armor. This revolutionary rate-sensitive material remains soft and flexible until struck, and then instantly hardens to deflect and disperse impact energy. The d3o armor is also extremely low-profile and integrates seamlessly into the jacket, so neither style nor function is compromised.
Alpinestars Scout Boot
The Scout is a tall, all-season boot that's equally suitable for dual-sport riding or transcontinental touring. Slip your hooves in, snap the burly aluminum buckles closed, and hit the road knowing your lower extremities are encased in tough, waterproof, full-grain leather. The $279.95 Scout boasts internal armor at the heel, toe and shin for complete impact protection, while a padded, mesh-lined foot bed keeps your tootsies dry and comfortable. The big-lug sole is stitched directly to the carcass for rigidity, work boot-style.
Edelweiss 30th Anniversary Tour
Sign that Extended LOA form and cash in what's left of your 401K, because Edelweiss is about to take you on one hell of a ride! For their 30th anniversary, the Austrian company is planning an epic 248-day, 40,000-mile trek around the world. Spend no fewer than four weeks on each of Earth's five continents, experiencing the best that this world has to offer. Cross the Sahara and the Outback, Asia and the Andes. Beginning on November 14, 2010, this is a BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike) tour, but the $100,000 entry fee includes everything else. You only live once...
Aerostich Compact Tire Repair Kit
Never let a flat tire ruin your ride! Aerostich's $67 Compact Tire Repair Kit is the most complete and packable kit available. It includes all the tools, patches and glue needed to fix nearly any roadside flat, and weighs only 1.2 pounds. Don't bother with compressed-gas cartridges; the nifty little pouch includes an electric compressor, so if you've got juice in your battery, you can pump to the appropriate pressure in no time. The nylon storage pouch measures just 7x3x5.25 inches and easily fits in a tank bag, pannier or under your seat.
Leatherman Super Tool 300
Nobody should be without a competent multi-tool, and nothing comes close to the versatility of the Leatherman Super Tool 300. Redesigned for 2010, the new ST300 has more than a decade of customer feedback and engineering expertise behind every feature. Equipped with bigger, beefier pliers, stronger, sharper wire cutters, as well as the usual serrated and straight knife blades, saw, bottle opener, screwdrivers and file, it's an undeniably indispensable accessory for any rider. It's available in regular stainless steel for $84 or with a sleek black-oxide treatment for $97. Both models come with a 25-year warranty.
Bungeed baggage not your thing? Coocase top cases are a safe, secure and sturdy luggage solution in a stylish, user-friendly design. Whether you choose the $199 commuter-capacity V28 Vivo or the cavernous $299 S48 Astra, all Coocases come with the same fantastic features. A remote-operated lock, motion-activated alarm, integrated LED brake lights and an easy-to-install base plate set them above the rest. The nitrogen-injected top and bottom lids are lightweight and strong, and a waterproof seal insures your cargo stays dry. Not happy with the look? Colored panels and lenses are available to suit your style.
Joe Rocket Survivor Suit
Frigid rain and blistering heat are no concern if you're zipped up in Joe Rocket's Survivor one-piece suit. The waterproof Rock Tex 600-denier chassis and sealed zippers keep the rain out, and the innovative Big Air vent-which extends from collar to thigh-lets in cooling air when the mercury rises. CE-approved armor and double-thick material in all the right places ensure ample impact and abrasion protection. Incorporating numerous cargo pockets, a removable insulated liner and an adjustable fit, the Survivor suit is worthy of the name, and is available in men's sizes S thru 2XL for $499.99.
Zone Long-Ride Shorts
There isn't a single athlete out there that's still wearing cotton underwear, so why would you? Cotton retains moisture, and that's a bad thing when you're sitting in the saddle all day. As the name suggests, the Zone Long-Ride shorts are designed to keep you comfortable and dry on those extended hauls. Made from a soft, breathable, anti-bacterial, moisture-wicking material, the shorts feature a Coolmax butt-pad that's specifically designed to help distribute and relieve pressure and reduce fatigue. Available in cuts for men and women, they're better-suited to motorcyclists than bicycling shorts, and at $44.95 are cheaper, too.
SolFX Faces Shields
There isn't much room for an extra face shield on a bike that's loaded up with a spare tire, a 5-gallon jerry can and camping equipment. With Tech Transitions' SolFX shield, there's no need to pack or fumble with multiple shields. The shield's advanced photo-chromatic coating responds to changing light conditions, providing you with the perfect level of tint. The visor is virtually clear in low light and at night, yet automatically darkens to a dark-smoke tint in bright light. It's durable enough for the world traveler, and is available for all major helmet brands with prices ranging from $99 to $149.