Evan’s Recommended Gear

Evan Rally
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I’ll never forget the ride that changed everything for me.

It was a crisp spring morning, the kind where the air smells like freshly fallen rain and newly sprouting grass. I was on a short ride, going to see a bike I wanted to buy.

As I took a turn, the perfect disaster appeared before my eyes: the lane was soaked with water from a truck carrying ice, and another car came fast over the bridge behind me. As I sped up to avoid being rear ended, I lost control.

As is typical riding in Thailand, I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts yet thankfully donned a full face helmet. That helmet likely saved my life, but the shirt was not enough to save my collar bone.

It was a stark wake up call to how fast conditions can change, and how important riding gear is when it matters.

On this page, I want to share with you the gear that I trust to keep me safe. From helmets that offer the best in safety and comfort, to gloves that provide the perfect grip, every piece of gear I recommend has been road-tested and rider-approved.

Where I Ride

Before I get in to what I recommend, it’s important to understand where I ride. I spend much of my time in the tropical climates of Southeast Asia, where temperatures rarely dip below 60 F / 15 C and regularly sit at 95 F / 35 C. Hence why shorts and flip flops are the common gear out here; shirt optional. However, I’ve found ways of adapting and can ride comfortably here without compromising safety.

Smiling because they don’t know I’m wearing CE AAA rated gear under this.

I love to travel and ride wherever I go, so I’m no stranger to cold either. I have some recommendations from my own experiences riding in Japan and the USA to cover colder climates.

I also ride offroad, so I’ll give a few recommendations for enduro boots I’ve come to love.

Let’s get in to it.

My Helmet

I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time trying on lids and frustrating salespeople by rarely buying. But what can I say; I found the one that I absolutely love.

That’s the Shoei RF-SR.

My Shoei RF-SR at home on the mirror of my CRF.

Why do I love this lid so much? To me, it’s the best value motorcycle helmet on the market. Shoei managed to make a Snell-certified helmet with comfortable liner, good ventilation, solid build quality, and wide visor around the $400 mark. All the other helmets I’ve tried that feel as nice as the RF-SR are at least twice the price, so I’ve stuck with this Shoei.

I’ve put in serious miles with this helmet – likely over 30,000 miles / 50,000 kilometers. I’ve probably spent 1,000 hours with my head in this helmet. I’ve never had to replace the visor or the pads – they still fit snug.

I’m always shocked by how solid this helmet feels even in comparison to helmets twice its price. If I’m paying $700+ for a helmet, I don’t want to feel a single flimsy bit on that shell. Yet I find this all the time!

Not on the RF-SR. Everything feels sturdy, from the visor mechanism to the chinstrap to the shell itself.

Shoei RF-SR Helmet (Snell approved)
$479.99 $399.99
Pros:
  • Quiet
  • Sturdy
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Affordable 💵
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05/30/2024 02:44 pm GMT

My Headsets

I’ve always been a tech geek, but I struggled to understand the appeal of Bluetooth helmets and Bluetooth headsets. That is until I made the jump and bought a Cardo Spirit.

Using this on a ride with my dad I started to understand why people are so defensive about their Senas and Cardos. These little devices, especially when riding in a group, make a ride so much easier and more fun. Instead of waving your hands like a lunatic you can just speak normally as you ride. Instead of managing directions, and music, and waving your hands all while trying to keep your two dabs of rubber in line… you can just ride, and let the device sort it all out.

I recently upgraded from the Spirit to the Cardo PackTalk Custom, and it has been well worth the extra dough. Not only can I chat in large groups now via Mesh, the Custom has an unbelievable battery life: I use it daily yet charge it probably twice a month.

The Custom offers a nice balance between features (it supports Mesh intercom with groups of 15) and affordability, being half the price of the Cardo PackTalk Edge which has essentially the same features. The downside of the Custom is if you need to connect to another rider over Bluetooth, you’ll have to pay a (low) subscription fee to do so. I usually ride solo or in a big group of only Cardo riders, so this doesn’t bother me.

Budget
Best
  • Affordable
  • Waterproof
  • Music, Intercom, GPS
  • 15+ rider intercom over Mesh
  • 10+ hour battery life
  • Half the price of similar units
  • Connects to phone for music, GPS
  • Max 2 Intercom Participants
  • Upgrade required for Bluetooth intercom (only when connecting to old units or Senas)
4.4
5.0
$177.66$143.96
$269.95$199.99
Budget
  • Affordable
  • Waterproof
  • Music, Intercom, GPS
  • Max 2 Intercom Participants
4.4
$177.66$143.96
Best
  • 15+ rider intercom over Mesh
  • 10+ hour battery life
  • Half the price of similar units
  • Connects to phone for music, GPS
  • Upgrade required for Bluetooth intercom (only when connecting to old units or Senas)
5.0
$269.95$199.99
06/22/2024 06:43 pm GMT

Riding Suit

Before I get in to separate jackets and pants, I have to make a quick aside about a whole new way to think about motorcycle gear: wear it underneath normal clothes.

Especially in 100 F sweltering Southeast Asian summers, the lighter the better. Full race leathers might provide that CE AAA level protection, but they also provide a heavy dose of heatstroke.

I finally cracked the code recently when a friend generously gave me a set of Bowtex Elite shirt and pants. Meant to be worn underneath normal clothes, they feature integrated CE armor at all the usual spots (even chest) and are made of tough (yet breathable) Dyneema fabric that make this garment CE AAA rated. That means you can slide at highway speeds and they won’t tear through.

I’ve also worn these underneath a thin dirtbiking jersey and pants combo; they flow incredibly well even in the stifling heat and humidity of Southeast Asian weather.

Another similar option comes from PandoMoto – I have these on order.

For limited time, get 15% off when ordering direct from Pando Moto with our code road15. This deal beats Revzilla, Amazon and everyone else. Excludes gift cards and products on sale.

COMMANDO UH Armored Base Layer from Pando Moto

CE AAA rated means this underlayer can withstand a slide on asphalt at highway speeds. And all under whatever jacket you want to wear on top.

Pros:
  • Material 15x stronger than steel
  • Wear over a t-shirt, under a jacket
  • Mesh all around for airflow
  • CE Level 2 armor at elbows, shoulders
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Jackets

Jackets is a multifaceted topic… I’ve had many over the years, and only found a few I truly love. The Sedici Marco Mesh 2 was decent enough – especially for its bargain price – but a little too light for colder climates and a little too heavy for heat and humidity.

My girlfriend got lucky. She picked up a Rev’it Eclipse 2 and it fits her form perfectly. It’s a solid jacket at an even better price. It flows air well for hot and humid summers, but with a layer of long underwear underneath and/or a jacket over, it’s great for colder climates. For the ladies in your life, I can’t think of a better choice.

REV'IT! Eclipse 2 Women's Jacket
Pros:
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Fitted look
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The best option I’ve found for my own jacket, regardless of climate, is honestly the under layers like Bowtex and Pando Moto’s Skin line. That allows me to layer whatever I want on top.

Skin UH 03 Armored Base Layer from Pando Moto
4.6

A base layer with the protection of a motorcycle jacket. Easily layer on top whatever you want for style, comfort, and functionality on all kinds of rides.

Pros:
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to layer
  • CE AA Rated
Cons:
  • Needs to be layered
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As for what I wear on top, I have one piece of gear I love.

That is the Rab microlight jacket. It has been my mainstay for any weather below 50 F for eight years. I absolutely love this jacket: it’s the warmest jacket I’ve ever owned, it doesn’t leak at the waist, neck or wrists, it’s super light, and it packs down to the size of a football. I’ve been packing and unpacking this jacket, throwing it through snow and rain, and leaving it in a hot closet for eight years now and it still functions flawlessly.

I’ve also worn it on the bike for warmth many times, and it cuts through wind like a hot knife through butter. I can’t sing enough praises for this jacket. It’s the best money can buy (and it’s not that expensive).

RAB Men's Microlight Alpine Down Jacket for Hiking, Climbing, & Skiing
$295.00
Pros:
  • Completely insulates out wind
  • Incredibly warm
  • Packs down to a football
  • Ultra light
  • Durable: down doesn't shift or wear out
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05/30/2024 02:53 pm GMT

Pants

Pants are another area I default to the Pando Moto Skin and Bowtex Elite. Unless it’s the dead of summer, and I can wear these all day under a pair of jeans and not even notice them. Yet they’re CE AAA rated – able to withstand a slide at highway speeds.

Bikers Leggings for Motorcycle Riders by Pando Moto

The best money can buy, with all the style you can add on top. CE AAA rated - the same level as leather track suits.

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I also wore a pair of Street and Steel Oakland jeans on my tour across the USA in 2022, and found them durable though a bit heavy and uncomfortable at the knee. I’ll swap some D3O ghost armor in to those eventually.

I have to give the Street & Steel Oakland jeans plenty of points for style – nobody knew I was wearing protective motorcycling jeans on my trip.

Boots

I have to come clean that boots is something I underappreciated early on in my riding career. I bought some decent Forma adventure boots that I thought would be good for enduro riding and a bit of hiking (as is common with off-road in Southeast Asia), only to find they do not protect much more than a sneaker and are clearly much harder to hike in.

Eventually I shelled out for some real riding boots: one for street, and one for offroad. Here’s what I ended up with and why I love them.

Road Boots: TCX RO4D WP Boots

These boots are, simply put, perfect. I can’t find an aspect of them I don’t like, and I’ve worn them for entire multi-day trips before.

Take my recent trip to Japan. I wore them through hot sunny days and cold rainy nights; my feet were comfortable and dry in all conditions. I wore them for well over 10,000 steps per day, multiple days in a row, sometimes hiking. I was just as comfortable as if I’d worn my Merrell hiking shoes.

They’re easy to lace up and easy to pop off at the end of the day. They’re sturdy and protective yet pliable and comfortable around my feet and ankles. They slot right in to the controls, and I feel like I have a better sense for the gear lever and brakes than I ever had with different sneakers and boots before.

They’re waterproof, comfortable, grippy, and good looking. Can’t recommend these enough.

TCX R04D WP Boots
Pros:
  • Comfortable all day (10k+ steps)
  • Waterproof
  • Good feel for controls
  • Affordable
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Enduro Boots: Alpinestars Tech 7

These boots are just night and day from the other enduro boots I’ve tried.

First wear, before the carnage.

They’re incredibly sturdy, yet my feet feel light and mobile on the bike. The soles grip dirt and my pegs for dear life, and the snaps are easy to operate even when covered in mud. Definitely the most comfortable boots I’ve worn on a dirt bike.

Alpinestars Tech 7 Enduro Boots

The best of the enduro, offroad, and adventure boot category. Incredible protection and ample stiffness while still allow you to move quickly and easily on the bike.

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Gloves

I only have a pair for warm weather, and they’re the Alpinestars SMX-1 Air V2 gloves. They’re pliable and well-fitting to the hand, and not hot given all the mesh throughout. I’ve had these for over two years now and they’re still holding up well; which I can’t say for other gloves I’ve had in the past.

Alpinestars Men's SMX-1 Air v2 Motorcycle Riding Gloves
$69.95
Pros:
  • Fitted, not bulky
  • Cool in hot weather
  • Comfortable all day
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05/30/2024 03:14 pm GMT

Accessories

Finally we get to accessories. There are two non-gear accessories that I swear by as a rider. I’ve put both through their paces and have found the build quality and durability top notch.

The first are RAM Mounts.

These hyper-versatile mounts were recommended to me by a mechanic friend who frequently drives across Baja in his jacked up 4×4 camper-SUV. When I balked at the cost he said the toughness was second to none. These will hold on to a camera, phone, or whatever else you’re mounting through the vibration of a motorcycle engine and bumps in the road.

RAM Mounts Store

RAM mounts are built tough to mount anything from a phone to a GoPro to a laptop on any bar or windshield of your vehicle. They're extremely durable, configurable, and modular to allow mixing and matching of components for any situation.

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And doesn’t your $1,000 phone or $500 Insta360 deserve better than that $10 knockoff mount sitting in your Amazon cart right now?

I bought a handful of RAM mounts for my USA cross country trip in 2022, and I’ve loved them ever since for mounting phones and cameras.

The other accessory I love is the Quadlock phone mount.

The only other mount I trust my devices to other than RAM is Quadlock.

Quadlock’s phone mount is super simple to use, even with a single gloved hand. Yet it grips my phone securely, even through rough road conditions. The vibration damper available from Quadlock is a great addition as well – I’ve seen phone cameras ruined by the high frequency vibrations of a motorcycle engine.

Don’t put your phone in a cheap mount: even if it holds on tight, it’s going to pass all those vibrations to the delicate components of your phone.

Get a Quadlock kit and thank me later.

Quadlock Store

The best phone mount on the market.

Pros:
  • Easy one hand operation
  • Vibration damper protects phone
  • Holds on tight
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That’s it for the gear I recommend – for now. I’ll update this page when I start using something new that I love.

If you want help planning your motorcycle tour, get in touch with my team at It’s Better On The Road or join one of the tours I built over at Ride of Passage.

I hope to see you out there. Keep it twisted!