Motorcycle News - Road tested: Gear from Urban Helmets, Pando and Saint
Urban Helmets BigBore helmet
The basics: Retro full-face design; removable visor; DOT approved; $189.95
We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to retro helmets, with plenty of options at both the high and low ends of the affordability scale. Urban Helmets’ BigBore full face helmet won’t cost you an arm and a leg—but its premium look suggests a much higher price tag.
The general vibe is classic race helmet, with a narrow eye port and a high jaw. It’s close to Biltwell Inc.’s popular Gringo, but with more curves, and with a couple of extra details.
Out the box, the BigBore looks and feels great. The gloss black finish I opted for is downright classy, with a slick chrome trim along the eye port and bottom. It’s finished off with nifty details like an Urban Helmets logo up top, and faux leather trim just below it and at the back.
A few flaws reveal themselves under really close scrutiny though. The chrome trim on my helmet isn’t perfectly straight in at least one section, a bit of plastic on the mouth vent hasn’t been trimmed properly, and the small dot-shaped vents up top don’t sit 100 percent flush. (And they’re just for show, since they don’t actually seem to let any air in.)
With that high chin bar though, anyone with a longer face is going to have their chin either flush with, or sticking out, the bottom. That’s me, but it’s really down to your personal head shape. (I have the exact same problem with the Biltwell Gringo.)
Here’s the rub: it’s impossible to get the visor on and off with one hand, and when it’s off, there’s no decent place to put it. It seems natural to push it up like a regular visor, but after just one ride of doing that, the ‘vents’ will scratch the daylights out of it. And at any sort of speed, the wind starts picking it up. What’s more, I regularly have to re-align the rubber trim on the visor itself, which has a habit of popping off.
That aside, when you weigh the BigBore’s attractiveness and general comfort against its relatively low price, it’s worth considering. [Buy]
The basics: single-layer, military-style riding jacket; Knox CE-approved shoulder and elbow armor; EUR379.
Based in Lithuania, Pando Moto’s forté is designing extremely stylish gear. But does their gear actually function well too? I donned their new M65 jacket to find out.
As its name implies, the M65 is inspired by the classic military field coat—but with a few moto-specific features. It’s a traditionally longer, four-pocket design, made from 16 oz canvas woven with Dyneema (an ultra-strong fiber that adds abrasion resistance).
It’s really well made too, with some really slick details in the mix. The collar and cuffs are lined with a plush, corduroy-like fabric, and both the collar closure and velcro cuff adjusters are made from really heavy duty nylon.
Branding is virtually non-existent, and the small inner pocket and velcro strip above the breast pocket (for attaching your name to) are both nice touches. Minimalism reigns supreme; there’s just one layer to the M65, with no built-in or removable liner.
Given the styling, I was expecting the M65 to be an oversized affair, like a camo parka. But it’s cut a lot slimmer than it looks. I’m what you would call ‘cuddly,’ so I picked an XXL based on Pando’s size chart. It fits, but it’s a tight squeeze; if Pando made an XXXL, I’d get that instead.
Despite the sizing, the M65 was supremely comfortable in the shoulder area. That’s because Pando have included a feature we see way too little of: bi-swing panels. (They’re basically gusseted shoulder blade sections, with elastic bits hidden inside the jacket to increase mobility.) They’ve also added adjustment tabs at the sides to cinch the jacket down.
But even as it stands, the M65 might just become my go-to for ‘tweener seasons—both on and off the bike. Provided I lay off the pies, of course. [Buy]
The basics: single-layer Dyneema chassis, CE-approved knee and hip armor, AU$350.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve been a long-time fan of Saint’s riding jeans. It’s true, they’re a bit on the pricey side—but their mix of style, comfort and protection is tough to beat.
The Model 2 is an upgrade on the Model 1 that I reviewed some time ago. It’s a subtle overhaul, but the differences are notable. The Model 2 still uses the same material; cotton woven with UHMWPE (basically, Dyneema).
The cut is best described as a relaxed straight fit, similar to a good pair of work pants. I prefer slim, tapered jeans, but we all have different tastes—and the wider cut makes the Model 2s easier to slip over bulky boots.
The Model 2 ships with CE level 1 knee armor, and level 2 hip armor. To keep things comfy, Saint have added accordion panels above the knees, and at the back, above the pockets. It’s a slightly different layout to the Model 1, but it cuts a much cleaner silhouette.
As for the hip pads, the pouches for those are made from the same hardy fabric as the regular pockets, which seems like a strange approach. A softer fabric in both areas would make a huge difference.
Admittedly, I’ve never been a huge fan of armored riding pants—even if they are safer. So having a pair on hand that can almost pass for regular denims in both look and feel, is a bonus. [Buy]
Images by Devin Paisley.
via Bike EXIF http://www.bikeexif.com
May 12, 2018 at 12:05PM