More on leathers…

Last night was the first night that I’ve actually slept well without once coughing my lungs out. I’ve been sick for an entire week now with a really bad head cold. Thankfully, the worst is over, although I did manage to pass on the virus to my manager as well.

I think my leathers conundrum has finally been solved. Vansons leather pants would have cost me at least $650 less armor, and a one piece would have been close to $1400. If I were a serious racer, I might have considered it, but it just seems overkill. Besides, if I really were a serious racer, I’d probably go the extra mile and spend $2000 on a Spidi kangaroo skin suit – so much ligher and more abrasion resistant than cowhide leathers. Plus Vanson are notorious for not delivering on time. Even the BMW guy said that if I were to put through an order, it would be the last order they would take because they were planning to stop dealing with Vanson entirely. He told me to expect a 3 month wait (something had warned me about), and there’s no way I’m going to wait that long.

Next up I called Barnacle Bill to get his prices, and ended up speaking to Barnacle Bill himself. :) He seemed like the loveliest guy with that charming Southern accent that I’m such a sucker for, and I really wanted to go through him. He also guaranteed that he would have them ready in 8 weeks. I told him that I would go home and look up the designs and think about whether I just wanted pants made or a one-piece. I really, really just wanted to order with him because little one-man operations like his are so rare to find and seem so much more human and endearing than gear churned out by some factory.

As luck would have it though, I happened to wander back to Renton Motorcycles a couple of weeks ago and found a pair of Alpinestar Stella track pants that fit okay. They were a bit loose around the waist, and the knee armor was positioned such that it was just an inch below my knee, rather than covering my entire knee. The knee puck too was so low, that a racing boot would not fit over the pant leg. I bought the pants anyway “just in case”. I figured I’d see what Vanson said and decide what I wanted to do.

I rememberd an acquaintance of mine from Eastside Motosports mentioned that her husband had had his leathers altered by a tailor who worked very close to where I live – guy by the name of Eugene. I got his contact info and called him this morning and he said that he did indeed do racing leathers. His shop was open from 9-5 but he offered to work late if I couldn’t make it during that time (how many times have you ever had that experience?). I rushed out of work at 5, got home, picked up the pants and went to see him. He turns out to be this really nice Russian guy (original name Yevgeny :P) who said that he could cut the pants at the knees and raise the lower halves so that they fit like they were supposed to. It’s going to cost me $150 but I figure it’ll be worth it, as the overall cost of the pants will still be way lower than what customs would have cost. Plus Alpinestars is a good enough brand and the leather is good quality.

I need to go find a jacket and bring it back to him next Monday so that he can set up the zipper so that the jacket and pants zip together correctly. Fortunately, I have a wide choice to pick from. On my shortlist are the matching Alpinestars Stella Dyno jacket, Teknic Violator or the Dainese Trax jacket. I’m leaning toward the Teknic jacket because it seems reasonably priced, has good specs and is decent looking.

I’m eventually also needing to get some boots. My Oxstars are just fine for commuting and touring but they don’t have any ankle protection. It’s a little confusing though because there are so many different types out there. I’m thinking about the Sidis obviously, but they make so many different types of boots!

Oh and finally I should mention that I finally feel comfortable on the SV and am LOVING riding it. I rode it for a couple of hours yesterday around Lake Sammamish and thought I would burst with happiness! It handles so wonderfully and my cornering and braking and throttle control has improved dramatically. Lying sick in bed and reading Sport Riding Techniques really helped, it seems! :P There is so much more to riding a sportbike than I had even dreamed possible. :) I finally feel like the bike doesn’t own me.

Sometime soon when I sit down and calculate exactly how much money is going into this little hobby of mine,  I think I am going to silently curse Liz for creating this monster, what with all her links to Femmoto and Mike Sullivan’s school and making me watch Faster. :P

I love them! I love how the palms are so thin that you can feel your bike. I love how it is so well armored for a glove. And I love the little squeegee that you can use to wipe the rain off of your visor! It really works! ;)