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Our Member Tested program puts the best gear in the hands of real riders who give real reviews. You'll hear the good, the bad and the ugly about all the gear they have tested. But when it is over, you will know you can buy the best piece of equipment that is durable enough for MOA members. All product reviews must come from an active member (at the time of submission) and should include photos of the product being installed or used in some way. Drop an email to wfleming [at] bmwmoa [dot] org with your idea for a review or your completed review. Thanks!

 

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Colorado Chaps - Made in the U.S.A.

Posted By Gray Buckley #27846, Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Colorado Chaps is one of the best companies you never heard of! When you need custom fit, hand cut chaps suitable for motorcyclists, hunters, construction workers, horseback riders, snowblower operators and anyone else who enjoys working or playing hard while staying clean and dry, then check out ColoradoChaps.com.

You won’t see much advertising in the usual places, but you will see owner/operator Lorna Reed at motorcycle rallies and small town festivals in western Colorado. She first made chaps in 2002 for a few equestrian friends who frequent Colorado's remote forests. Eventually the customers convinced her to spread the joy to motorcyclists.

I met Lorna at the Top o’ the Rockies Rally in Paonia, Colorado. Looking first hand at the variety of fabrics, colors and styles, and then holding a few samples in my hands, made me a customer. After wearing the product for several summers and winters, I became a believer! During several Rocky Mountain blizzards I wore them while driving a snowblower. They stop the wind, fit comfortably over Bermuda shorts or jeans, and are comfortable on the warmest days.

My Colorado Chaps arm gauntlets live in my side bags, ready for any sudden drop in temperature. They are easier to store and to put on than digging around for the extra jacket. You will be surprised how much protection they provide while covering just the forearms behind a pair of gauntlet gloves. Your hand signals will be a LOT MORE VISIBLE to drivers behind and ahead of you. If you are the delicate sort, you may need a fleece-lined pair.

Neither these chaps nor the gauntlets are cookie cutter products. They are assembled in Mesa County, Colorado, near the Colorado River.

Decision Making

When you decide to get a pair of these chaps you will need specific information, and to make some decisions. How long is your inseam? Do you want leather, water-resistant nylon or breathable cotton canvas? What kind and color of nylon do you prefer: Ballistic, 1000D Cordura, Basofil, Kevlar? Do you need knee armor? (It’s the real stuff.) Get fleece lining if you are going to ride in 35 degrees or less. Do you want mesh backs for hot days? Do you ride at night? If so, consider reflectorized striping. What color stripes do you want? What is the circumference of your thigh at the most ample point? There are more choices if you want a classy pair. Once you are wearing the chaps you may forget the flap-covered pockets on the front of each leg because they fit so well. They come standard. The chaps come with a belted stuff sack that fastens to your rear pack or to your handle bars.

“Not for me,” you say?

You may prefer to wear over-pants, the kind that cover your knives, tools, cell phones and everything else you hook to your belt, and to cover your front port hole even when you really have to go. You may prefer to remove your boots to get out of the over-pants. There is no need to remove footgear to exit Colorado Chaps. Your flexible parts stay flexible and your belt gear says accessible and you never have to remove your boots. Every pair of chaps is custom fit, hand cut, and built for you in the USA.

If you don’t like any exterior bulk above your knee and you don’t wear a belt, then consider the half-chaps, especially if you need shin and knee protection. Colorado Chaps guarantees a custom fit on a durable garment that you will enjoy for a long time. You will not find this quality in a factory made, off the rack wearable from overseas.

Lastly, when it comes time to order another pair, or possibly a gift or two (half-chaps, gauntlets?), you can get your questions answered and any problems resolved directly from the person who supervises the production of every order. Send your email with questions or just pick up the phone. I like this gear! Happy Trails!

Contact: info@coloradochaps.com, call 970-464-5803, or write to Colorado Chaps, 3553 G Road Palisade, CO 81526.

Gray Buckley (MOA #27846) lives in Lakewood, Colorado, and rides a 2015 R1200RT. After service as a Maryland State Trooper and as an agent of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, he retired to ride full time. He is allergic to gravel, asphalt, cement, lead and sharp pointed and/or cutting instruments.

 

Tags:  ATGATT  Gear  MemberTested 

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VnM Sport Cooling Compression base layers

Posted By Deb Gasque (#182082), Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The record-breaking extreme heat during the summer of 2016 was intense, to put it mildly, and may have put the brakes on many planned motorcycling trips. Riding is a struggle when our bodies are put to the extremes due to weather. For cold weather riding, there are several gear options on the market to keep us comfortable, but for scorching temperatures, I haven't had much luck finding gear that accommodates the body from neck to ankles and works well - until now.

Aliki Karayan of VnM (pronounced “venom”) Sport started her mission in 2009 to produce high-performance, cooling compression base layers for herself and others in her field of super bike racing. Having no experience in garment manufacturing or design, she took her strong passion to produce hard-working, quality gear and started making phone calls and meeting with people. Aliki persevered through trial and error and finally found a high-performance fabric from Italy and a manufacturing company in North America to make her dream come true. Today, she custom designs her cooling compression base layers for racing teams and has been very successful creating products that are superior in performance.

Debcrop
Deb models the base layers her, showing off her R 1100 RS.

In speaking with Aliki about the possibility of her gear working for riders in the long-distance riding world, she didn’t hesitate at all and sent me a set to try out. Upon receipt of the package, I immediately tried the two-piece base layers on and was thrilled with the comfort and fit. The top loosely fits up around your neck to keep it cool and protect it from chafing from your riding suit. Around the bottom of the base layer top, there is a strip of a rubber-type material on the underside that lies against the skin on your abdomen to keep the gear in place so it doesn't ride up over time. The long sleeves keep your arms cool, as well as block the sun on your wrists for those who, like me, get “racing stripes” where my gloves and riding gear sleeves don’t meet. Additionally, there is compression built into specific areas such as the arms to help with body fatigue. Aliki also added mesh panels in certain areas to heighten the cooling function. The base layer bottom, which fits to the ankle, was equally as comfortable in all areas, including the knees and the crotch where discomfort can really make a good ride bad.

VNMcompressionshirtman   VNMcompressionshirtwoman
Standard VnM base layer shirts, male version on the left and female on the right. Which was probably obvious.

I put the Vnm Sport cooling compression base layers to the test during a two week ride in extreme temperatures last July. Prior to putting on the base layers while preparing for each day’s ride, I wet them in the sink. The high-performance fabric held the moisture and wicked it slowly as I rode, which maximized the cooling effect. On days that the temperatures were horribly extreme, I used the restroom sink on my fuel stops and breaks to rewet the fabric when it dried out. On days when the temperatures were in the 70s and 80s, I found the gear worked well without wetting it. I did notice that when the temperature dipped below 70 in the early mornings and evenings, I needed to put on a layer between the base layers and my summer riding suit, as the cooling effect was a little too chilly for me. As far as maintaining the undergarments while on the road, I washed them in the shower with me and hung them out to dry overnight. The fabric is sturdy and high-quality, and it feels as if it will hold up very well over a long period of time. The basic base layers come standard in black, but Aliki also designs super-fashionable custom gear with color panels and graphics. I highly recommend the VnM Sport cooling compression base layers to our legion of riders, as they really does their job, are extremely comfortable, and are high-quality products for a reasonable price (they retail at $97.99 for each piece and can be purchased at vnmsportgear.com).

VNMshirtman   VNMshirtwoman
Male and female compression shirts. Below, compression pants.

VNMcompressionpantswoman

Tags:  baselayer  Clothing  MemberTested 

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