Thursday, 24 January 2013

Product Review: Dainese Hilton Jacket + Gator Trousers

Guess I should be writing about these seeing as it's been mentioned in Emma's post that I will do... so here goes!

Dainese Hilton Gortex Jacket
This jacket was going for £329 at the MCN show. They only had one as it is now a discontinued product. I did a bit of searching on the web before purchasing and noticed eBay had it for £299 (but not my size). As the one on the Dainese stand was my size I told the guy I'd buy it if he did it for £300. Reluctantly he agreed! But anyway onto the review...

I  have been wearing this jacket throughout the majority of this winter season. It has a bomber jacket type layer inside, two zips for keeping the wind out, adjustable straps on the waist and neck layers and ample storage space. It also has some reflective areas. I have found this jacket great for keeping the wind out, warm and enough pockets to store keys, wallets and whatever else you want. There are two zip/button combination pockets on the outside and a velcro inside pocket. It takes the normal Dainese back armour too which I transferred from my Dainese leather jacket.

I have a couple of qualms about this jacket. Firstly, Dainese - you really need to sort your zips out! The inside zip is fine, but the one on the outside doesn't connect properly at the bottom and you end up with it coming undone unless you hold it a particular way. I've had problems in the past where Dainese zips have pulled off easily and I've had to replace with key rings. The second is to do with the buttons on the wrist. They are a bit awkward when putting gloves over the top and it takes a bit of fidgeting to get your gloves over properly. If you don't do it properly air appears to get inside quite easily.

Edit: Forgot to mention how waterproof the jacket is. It is actually very waterproof. In all the rain I have ridden in with it I have never got wet. Perfectly dry when I take it off. So it definitely does the job in that department!

MCBlogSpot Rating: 8/10

Dainese Gator Gortex Trousers

The trousers on the other hand fair pretty well. I don't actually have anything negative to say about them. They are waterproof, warm (as warm as things can stay when it gets really cold) and comfortable. They adjust well, have a removable lining inside and you can easily get them over your boots. There are two zips around the bottom of the leg, one to extend the area (like boot cut jeans almost) and the other to open the bottom up. There are also zipped pockets and a rear zipped pocket. The crotch area is another zip and the top is button with a new lock-fastening system. All in all, really good trousers. I am not sure if they have been discontinued, but definitely worth getting if you need a pair. Oh and they zip fine to the Dainese jacket to definitely keep the wind out.

MCBlogSpot Rating: 10/10

Black Forest 2012: Day 6 - Basel, Switzerland - Mosel Valley, Germany

Before I continue writing about the Black Forest trip (it is almost finished, honest!) I just wanted to say well done to Psy for passing his theory test yesterday :). He can now concentrate on the rest of his bike training and hopefully we will have him along on our trip in the summer!

Day 6: Basel, Switzerland - Mosel Valley, Germany - 31/08/2012
Miles: 235 appx.

This was the point where we started heading gradually back towards Calais. We took a different way north, choosing to use the French route rather than the German autobahn. The journey to the Mosel Valley was another fast route, opting to get to our destination as quickly as we could in order to go for a ride around the area. This was the journey we took:

I believe we got to the guest house at around 3 or 4pm. The weather was a bit on and off for most of the ride up there and was pretty wet around the valley. I also noticed the zip on my wallet was broken so asked the owners of the guesthouse if they knew where I could pick up a new one. The nearest town was Bernkastel and it so happened there was a local festival on that weekend. So we settled into our room and headed on out.

We parked up next the river and started walking into the town. As we started walking down the main high street, Emma realised she did her famous "key-in-bike" trick again so we had to go back. Luckily the key was still there so walked away, with relief on our faces, back towards the high street.

Most of the shops in Bernkastel were shut but there was a wallet shop still open. The lady there was very helpful, trying to help me pick out a wallet I liked. I finally decided on one and went to pay. The price of it was €69 - a bit more than I wanted to pay for a wallet! However, as she was so helpful and patient I decided to get it as a birthday present to myself.

Despite the weather, we still decided to go for a ride out as planned. Unfortunately I forgot to add the route I planned for this day onto the sat nav so I asked Emma to "get us lost". Emma likes bendy, backstreet roads and as the area was so beautiful we figured we would find the best views and roads this way. After finding ourselves lost in a few vineyards we eventually got onto some nice roads and views. We only stayed out for about an hour before we headed back to the guest house.

For those interested, the original route that I had planned is here (about 82 miles):

We went out for a quick bite at the local kebabery and brought the food back to the guest house. A friend of Emma's from the SV forum was staying also at the guest house at this time so we stayed up and chatted for a bit before getting a relatively early night ready for our trip back to Belgium the next day. 

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Psy's First Big Bike Lesson

Psy's First Big Bike Lesson
Last Wednesday my housemate took his first ever big bike lesson on a GS 650. He only had an hour booked so they mainly stayed in the training car park with a small half hour ride out onto the rode.

After the lesson he said to me that he found the feel of the bike far different to his 125cc bike he had owned before, but that he found it more comfortable. He needs to sort out his rear brake and clutch control but I am hoping he passes all the tests in time to join us on our Pyrenees trip later this year! 

Today is his theory test, so over the last couple of days he has been revising for that. Recently he has been passing the mock tests so fingers crossed he gets through it today. Once he sorts that out he will  be able to start training for his MOD 1 test followed by his MOD 2 test. You can keep up with Psy's lessons on here as I will give updates where I can. This way it might help some of you understand the new bike laws and how the training may work.

For Psy, he has turned 25 years of age so he is able to do a full unrestricted test. Due to financial reasons, he is currently doing 2 hour lessons every other week like you would usually do with normal car driving lessons. To pass the test he must pass on a bike of at least 600cc and power of 53. The GS 650 is less powerful than the requirements so from next week he will be changing bikes (although what bike we do not know yet). He is training with Karmenz Motorcycle Training in Billing, Northampton as he originally did his CBT with him almost a year ago. Details for Karmenz can be found here:

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Emma's First Blog Entry...

NEC bike show

It’s now the 18th Jan and still no more posts, so I’m giving up on him! This blog is apparently written by me, so I might as well start writing it! Hello I’m Emma.

It’s a little bit late writing this given the NEC Motorcycle live show was at the end of November, but i thought i’d write this anyway, as we did go and get a few things from this. (

The NEC bike show is one of the best know in the UK, and most of the main manufacturers and sellers of bike gear are here. This year Gaz needed a bike jacket and I needed a new helmet and that was about it.

Having finally got to the show (it was a small walk, we had to locate Rob who’d been running round like a small child in a candy shop (he’d arrived at 8:30 so he could make sure he was the first person to the section where you could take a bike out on a test ride). He loves this section, last year it was the R6 and this year was the Ducati Diavel, which apparently is ‘insane’. You do need to take your license with you, but the organisers provide bike gear for you, or you can bring your own.

Having located Rob we started wandering in quite an organised fashion getting distracted at every other stall looking at bits we don’t need and collecting the Carol Nash calendar, until I started trying on bike helmets.  I have a strange shaped head, and a budget of £200. Guess what....


I failed, having ruled out every other brand (like normal) I was back on the Shoei’s. Already having the Shoei Quest, which when new was brilliant, but now my weights changed, it vibrates during use on motorways, having started on the multitech, which although was a lovely idea, wasn’t suited to me, leading on the the Spirit II. However, this retails normally at about £500 and at the show was going for as low as £350, and was far too much over the budget so I left it and we carried on until a Dianese store was spotted.

Both Rob and Gaz believe Dainese are worth the money and while Rob was looking at a £400 leather jacket that he really didn’t need, Gaz went to look and see what they had textile wise to go with the gortex trousers he has. He’ll do a review on them when he’s not doing uni work!

I kept wandering looking for a helmet and ended up finding another Shoei quest II in extra small, which was still waaaay over budget, but at £300 it was far cheaper than everywhere else and like a true girl decided it was such a bargain I had to have it.

Review on Shoei  Spirit II

A nicely fitting helmet, weighing very little (1.45kg) it’s comfortable, light, washable liner, pin lock, and  4 star rating by UK Government SHARP scheme . The only issue is it’s a little noisy on motorways but on the whole it’s not too much of an issue given most of my riding is round town and country roads.

MCBlogSpot Rating: 6/10

Bikers World Daventry

Just to big up the staff at Bikers World in Daventry/Rev ‘It and TCX...

I had a pair of Rev ’It Factor 2 trousers which at less than a year old were leaking at the crotch. For a pair of trousers at less than a year old and costing £144 I wasn’t too impressed that they had been leaking for a few months and realising winter was coming, I contacted Rev ’It and was told to take them to a supplier and they’d be taken back and tested. I’d never been to Bikers World before but without any questions they said they’d send them back and let me know.

A month later I was collecting my new waterproof trousers and fingers crossed these will last.

While I was picking up my new trousers i complained that I’d contacted TCX and that they hadn’t  responded to the fact my boots at, again less than a year old, were leaking (and not due to the leaking trousers), I’d tried to contact Nevis but not had a reply to my 5 emails, but Bikers World again sent them off. A bit later they let me know I could pick up my new boots, which although as I’d opted to get the next model up (which cost an extra £20), I couldn't complain at all. That and both men working there recognised me walking through the door, shouted hello and knew why I was there.

Apparently next time I go I need to buy something? I was getting used to walking into the shop and leaving with free or nearly free things. :D

Factor 2 trouser review (the first pair)

They leaked (not good) and didn’t have enough crotch room to swing my leg over the bike with ease. In future i’m sticking to blokes trousers, they have more room for leg swimming.

MCBlogSpot Rating: 6/10

Waterproof TCX Boots

Other than the fact they started leaking in heavy rain, these boots were brilliant, comfortable to walk in and my feet didn’t over heat or get too cold when riding. The fabric by the heel had started to wear after less than a year of use. I will give a review of my new TCX boots once I get a chance to use them!

MCBlogSpot Rating: 8/10