Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Gear Review - Icon Pursuit Glove and Fly Trekker Helmet

As this blog continues to grow I feel it's helpful to send out some feedback on some of the gear I'm using, and customizations I'm doing on the bike. Hey, if I can ramble on about why a route may or may not be a good one I can say the same about my gear too, right?


I spent a lot of time going over the KLR last winter, and getting it ready for a solid summer. Somewhere during that time I also decided it was time to invest in a new helmet. The open-faced motocross helmet I used to ride with was an awesome idea at some point I'm sure, but I wanted something more versatile, yet closed faced. I should also mention I'm up against two main issues when it comes to new helmets:
1. I have zero budget (in the negative sense)
2. My head is fucking huge.




Enter the Fly Trekker helmet. It met my basic requirements (read above) and is thankfully quite comfortable in regards to both. It's an affordable helmet, so those with thin wallets can pick one up without too much impact on the groceries. It also comes in a XL and XXL in case you lay down on a California King Sized pillow every night (this guy).


I'm stoked on the options for aftermarket visors, though the clear is certainly worth hanging onto for the winter months when the Northwest is dark nearly all day. The visor above is a bit too dark of a tint for night riding. Other pluses are that that optical correction of the visor is good and doesn't seem to have any visual "warping". It maintains it's comfort per dollar points on longer rides as I haven't been plagued by headaches after a year of use. The Top visor is very helpful for blocking the sun coming out of blind corners in the canyons, and is ported well enough to not catch the wind an snap your neck when you're checking your blind spots. Airflow is pretty good during the summer months too and keeps my head nice and cool.

Downsides? It doesn't de-fog for shit. Someone in Fly made a serious mistake in not routing part of the front vent across the inside of the visor or at least giving it a half-click to prop it open just a hair. Luckily a solution to this problem is readily available! Just wedge a small twig under the visor whenever it's raining, cold, foggy, or you're riding slow. Simple. Of course if you're worried about that twig pointing at your eyeball and thinking of how catastrophic it would be to wreck at that moment because you can't see through your fogged lens, might I recommend a small rubber clip instead (I found a perfect one at the local bicycle shop meant for protecting the frame from cable housing rub).

To be clear though, I like the helmet and have made do with my rubber clip. Perhaps this is something they've since fixed, or maybe that's what throwing a few more dollars towards a more expensive helmet gets you. For the money it's not a bad way to go.

Which leads me to a definite win: The Pursuit Glove by Icon. Again, being a budget-minded rider, I needed a new riding glove that could take me through most of the season in comfort. I'll be damned if they're not stylish too.

This glove is well vented and its pre-articulated form keeps it from pinching on longer rides. I appreciate Icon's attention to pressure points on the grips and keeping the glove thin where it counts and padded were necessary.  The soft armor across the knuckles keeps the glove flexible and doesn't snag on you zippers when you're fishing in your pockets for your tire pressure gauge. It fits like a glove that's meant to have several hundred consecutive miles put on it should fit.

Stylistically the glove does really well. It had a good cut that looks at home on any type of bike. The perforated leather looks good beyond its function, and the seams are stitched tastefully. I even catch myself thinking how good the chrome accent looks when I'm riding. Sure, that seems trivial, but let's chalk it up to "perceived value". There are lots of much nicer/fancier gloves out there for more money (many made by Icon) but it's nice to know that they paid this close of attention to the detailing on even their less expensive model. In other words it makes us poorer folk feel appreciated too.

The downside to this glove isn't really... See, I want to ride this glove year round. Like SO bad. But it's a summer glove. Obviously. I've made a few sub-freezing morning rides into work with it, and it was just too cold (again, obviously). But if this glove could magically transform into a winter glove it'd easily be the only glove I'd ever need. And no, I'm not relocating to warmer locales instead.

Good work, Icon. Way to do Portland proud.

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