Riding light – riding gear

GOING LIGHT

The KTM 500 EXC project has a parallel mission of minimal luggage. After all, shedding of 30 kg of bike doesn’t make any sense, if everything else remains the same. Not only is it a question of mass, but also volume and where it’s packed. I’m doing my best to keep everything I can below the seat level, and ride without a tail bag. I’ve managed to trim down the total luggage to about 18 kg, including the luggage setup, all photographic equipment, tools and enough spare parts for three months on the trail, but excluding worn riding gear. But that’s another story.

MODULAR VS. INTEGRATED

I prefer a modular setup, instead of riding in an integrated suit. However it does present a challenge for the minimalist, as over a half of the gear will most likely sit in the luggage for long periods of time. Namely the rain gear, mid layer and extra gloves. Riding in an integrated GoreTex suit, such as the Klim Badlands, negates the necessity for rain gear so there is less to pack. But the extra protection of the modular setup and the fact that there is nothing better than riding in full MX attire on hot days makes me stick to my guns.

EXPERIMENTING

The Klim Dakar In-The-Boot Pants are my favorite piece of riding gear. Paired with the Dakar Jersey, a neck warmer and the Adventure Gloves is pretty much my standard outfit on warm and sunny days. I’ve experimented with a couple of setups during the last two seasons. In 2014, I rode Eastern Dirt 14 in the Traverse Jacket and GoreTex over-shell pants, which are a bomb proof setup. Last year in 2015, during The Crimson Trail, I opted for riding in the Dakar Jacket and used a Stow-Away Jacket as a rain shell along with the aforementioned GoreTex over-shell pants. It was a very nice setup, but due to the extreme heat of Southern Europe, the extra gear spent most of the ride in my luggage.

PERFECTING

This year Klim released the Forecast Jacket and Forecast pants. I must admit that I’m really excited about them, as they seem to perfect the setup of my minimalist mission. The jacket is a simple GoreTex shell, just like the Stow-Away, but the hood is gone and there is only a single chest pocket. It packs small, into its integrated stow pocket and weighs around 600 g. The pants are equally nice and simple, and have a bottom zipper from the cuff up to the knee for donning them with boots on. They have an elastic band at the cuffs, which I prefer over snaps as they can get clogged up with crud and are hard to close with cold hands. The pack size of the pants is compact with an integrated stow pocket and a weight of around 580 g. The Forecast set pretty much ticks all the necessary boxes for me, and a great improvement is that they’re my size. With the Traverse, which I love, I had to go one size up to fit my arms in the sleeves with a pressure suit, resulting in a rather baggy fit at the torso. The Forecast Jacket fits nicely over my pressure suit at size L with no limitation in range of motion. I’m really excited to see how the Forecasts hold up on the trails!

Another new item on my gear list is a pair of Klim Summit gloves. They are lighter than the Elements that I’ve used in the past and pack way smaller. The Summits are basically a shell, and are designed to be used with liners. However, I couldn’t fit any liners comfortably inside my standard XL size pair as the finger of the glove seemed rather narrow and long for my bear claw. However for summer riding they are fine as without liners, and I will probably continue experimenting with base layer type glove liners.

And finally, my beloved Adventure Glove has been redesigned into the GoreTex Adventure Glove Short. I do 90% of riding in the Adventure Gloves and prefer not to have a membrane in it, so I opted for the Dakar Pro Glove which is very close to the original Adventure Glove.

 

 

THE EVOLUTION OF MASS

The table below illustrates the evolution of the mass of the riding gear. Please note that it only includes fabrics, and not items such as armor, helmet or MX boots, as they are always worn and have remained unchanged for the most part.

The worn mass hasn’t changed much in my quest to lighten the luggage, and I find it somewhat irrelevant anyway, as it’s unsprung mass. However there has been a significant drop in packed mass which affects the handling of the bike.

Of course it’s not about mass alone, but also volume. Riding gear is bulky and takes a lot of space, requiring larger i.e. heavier luggage.

So I’m very happy with the current gear setup, which enables me to have a rackless saddle bag setup weighing just over a kilogram. But more about that later. The main objective now is to get out and ride in the new gear!

 

 

2014

Klim Dakar ITB pants 34, 1190 g
Klim Dakar jersey L, 274 g
Klim Element gloves XL, 366 g
Klim Gore text shell pants 34, 764 g
Klim Mojave gloves XL, 66 g
Klim Neck warmer, 50 g
Klim Traverse Jacket XL, 1266 g
Mid layer fleece, 450 g

2015

Klim Adventure gloves XL, 122 g
Klim Dakar ITB pants 34, 1190 g
Klim Dakar jacket L, 1432 g
Klim Dakar jersey L, 274 g
Klim Deluxe suspenders, 146 g
Klim Element gloves XL, 366 g
Klim Gore text shell pants 34, 764 g
Klim Mojave gloves XL, 66 g
Klim Neck warmer, 50 g
Klim Stow-away jacket XL, 604 g
Mid layer fleece, 450 g

2016

Klim Adventure gloves XL, 122 g
Klim Dakar ITB pants 34, 1190 g
Klim Dakar jersey L, 274 g
Klim Forecast jacket L, 606 g
Klim Forecast pants L, 582 g
Klim Neck warmer, 50 g
Klim Summit Gloves XL, 222 g
Mid layer fleece, 450 g

Worn minimum weight: 1580 g

Carried maximum weight: 2846 g

Total mass: 4426 g

Worn minimum weight: 1636 g

Carried maximum weight: 3828 g

Total mass: 5464 g

Worn minimum weight: 1636 g

Carried maximum weight: 1860 g

Total mass: 3496 g