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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all! Pretty new to the forum and new to riding Cruiserbikes. In the distant past I had an old Sportster for a month or so and a Superglide Sport that one of my friends tossed down the road for me after a while and then went back to sport bikes and Big Traillie Dual Sport Adventure bikes until one of those tossed ME down the road. And that was, pretty much that for a couple seasons. Like any sort of bad relationship, after a while you start o forget about the bad things and long to feel those good parts again. I wasn't sure if I was afraid to ride any more or if I was afraid to ride a bike that I needed a stepladder to get on. I was toying with the idea of getting something with a low center of gravity and not too much power, like a Triumph T-100 or Thruxton. But then my damned dog got involved.

My dog, like most, needs to be walked on a semi-regular basis. I try to keep him happy. On one of these walks I noticed that one of my neighbors had rolled out an old Jap Crap Cruiser bike onto his front lawn with a "For Sale" sign on it. I saw this bike three times a day,

every

single

day

The price got crossed out and make down. I stopped to take a closer look at it. A Yamaha 1100 Silverado in red and black. Humm… not my dream bike but….. descent shape. Not too beat up o be embarrassed to be seen on it, not so pristine that I'm afraid of what my learning curve might do to it and definitely low center of gravity.

The price got crossed out and marked down. I knocked on the door, made the guy a totally unreasonable offer. He accepted. Damn. I bought a bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Now, I have always been and ATGATT kind of a guy. It saved my bacon when I crashed out the Big Trailie. And so I was when I started tooling around on the V-Star. Full faced, full fingered, full ballistic every thing. Except for a perforated leather cruiser jacket with armor in it that I randomly had in the closet and that I would wear sometimes instead of the ballistic nylon when it was wicked hot out.

I did a lot of riding on that bike last summer. It really helped me get my confidence back even to the point that I started taking that Big Traillie out for rides again.The first time I got on that thing I was blown away at how much more power and speed that bike had than the V-Star. Having a modern, liquid cooled, 996cc engine and contemporary breaking equipment just leads to a sportier ride. Its faster to go and turn and stop and in every other way than the V-Star. and that's when my gear problem started to creep in.

It started with my lid. After my get-off a few years ago my Arai was a ruin. I got a new one but I might have overcompensated a little and got one that was super-duper snug on my noggin. I would struggle into that thing and try to cram my glasses in on the sides and even bent a pair all up string to snug them in. PITA for running to the store but I still had that half-hemet that I was issued when I had the HD. I tried it. I Liked it. That big 'ol barn-door windshield on the front of the bike provided plenty of protection so my eyes didn't water and the lid didn't get blown off my head or choke me. It was fine. Of course, that started my slide down the slippery slope and sometimes…. sometimes…. I'll even be out in a T-Shirt and jeans and that little half helmet tooling around.

BUT
ONLY
ON THE
V-STAR​

When I take that Big Trallie out, things just happen MUCH faster. Acceleration, deceleration, turning, even cruising speed: all much faster than on the cruiserbike. I feel the need for ATGATT on that thing, not so much on the V-Star. On that one it's very much a game-time decision based on weather conditions, destination and other factors. Yes, i know that you are supposed to dress for the crash and not the ride, but after twenty years or so of riding, I don't feel that I am as likely to get into a crash on this thing as I am on a "regular" bike.

I know that this is always a hot topic and people have very strong feelings about it one way or the other. I'm not even sure what kind of a response I'm looking for. I have found that, unlike riders of some other brands of Cruiserbikes, Star riders tend to be more mature, thoughtful and practical about their riding decisions and choices.What choices do you guys make and why? Sometimes I feel silly dressed up like a Power Ranger on a bike the has the 0-60 time of an F-350 and some times I hear that floor-board scraping it's way through a turn and am acutely aware that my "Loud Pipes Save Lives" t-shirt has some what less abrasion resistance than a Aoerostitch.
 

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In my opinion it doesn't matter what type of bike you ride, where you ride, if you are 2 miles from home or several hundred, a crash can happen and can seriously injure or kill you at any moment. Best advise I can give you is wear what's comfy and what makes you feel comfortable as well. For me when the weather is above 70 I'm in jeans and a tee shirt. Only helmet I own is a 1/2. When it gets cold I thrown on my textile jacket and chaps. I wear those only for warmth though. Others out there choose to wear full armor every time and if that's what you like then go for it. It's all strictly personal preference.
I know I'm better protected with the gear on but when the temps are in the 90s+ I would not ride if I had to wear an armored jacket.
 

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"A man's got to know his limitations".........I wear a full face or a 3/4 helmet, textile jacket in summer and leather in winter, I wear Kevlar lined jeans with armor in the knees and hips, and I wear boots when I ride, in cooler weather I wear lined chaps. I generally wear gloves as well. I'm kinda attached to my skin....I've had too many work and farm related injuries to be willing to risk preventable/reducible injuries when riding a motorcycle. I'm tough enough to handle bring hot, at least it is temporary.

Whether somebody else wears gear when they ride is their business. It is their skin.
 

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I'm a safety fanatic. Therefore, I wear full gear all the time, no exception. Full face modular helmet, mesh jacket with insert panels, gloves, long pants and over the ankle boots. Of course I don't do much in town so, not much stop and go, so even when it's over 90 degrees, I'm decked out.

Do what's best for you. Augie
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm a safety fanatic. Therefore, I wear full gear all the time, no exception. Full face modular helmet, mesh jacket with insert panels, gloves, long pants and over the ankle boots. Of course I don't do much in town so, not much stop and go, so even when it's over 90 degrees, I'm decked out.

Do what's best for you. Augie
But the flip-face of flip face helmets can and do snap off/up in a crash. Not always, but sometimes. Also, the netting in a mesh jacket basically just holds the pads in place and does very little in the way of abrasion resistance (which might be exactly what you are re looking for , IDK) and "long pants" are not he same as textile or even leather "riding" pants. Chinos are long pants. So, even as a self confessed "fanatic" you are making concessions and compromises to comfort and convenience. I, myself, am toying with the idea of a modular or 3/4 helmet but even those would be bulky and inconvenient (cruising) or offer compromised protection (Adventuring) so right now, they aren't for me.
 

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I appreciated your novel!
I'm still something of a newbie compared to a lot of folks on this forum; I bought my V Star 650 about 16 months ago, but do have some 14,000 miles under the tires in that time. But I also have a lot of bicycle riding behind me. Indeed, my worst injuries have all happened on bicycles, including two nights in a hospital after losing some teeth and tearing up my face after running off the road and knocking a chunk out of my helmet. The point is, my thoughts are not born of a naive, bulletproof mindset.

I figure there is risk in nearly every decision make, and we all make risk assessments, consciously or otherwise. Even staying in bed of a morning has risk: I imagine more people die in their own bed than anywhere else!

When I first started riding the V Star, I wore a full-face helmet and gloves every time, and a jacket most of the time. I now ride around town mainly without a helmet or gloves. Of course, I live in a small town, with light traffic, and only two streets have speed limits above 25mph. I ALWAYS wear a helmet, gloves, and jacket on the highway.

Now, I know most accidents happen within 2 miles of home. That's simply because most trips are short distance trips. In reality, there is probably no real difference in risk in a given stretch of road whether it's 2 miles or 200 miles from home. But busy 2 way roads will always have more risk than quite roads, or limited access highways (e.g., freeways).

Helmets save lives. No dispute. But it's not as simple as that. 15 or so years ago I read an article on bicycle helmets, that referenced an Australian study of emergency room visits following bicycle accidents. Those wearing helmets had a slightly lower incidence of head injuries, but a fairly large increase in neck injuries. When I went over the handlebars on my bicycle, x-rays showed some damage to my cervical spine. More recently, another study found that bicycle helmets resulted in decreased abrasions etc, but increased concussions. So wearing a helmet on a bicycle involves a tradeoff of risks.

But bicycles don't go as fast as a motorcycle! No, but I can get up to 25ish on a bicycle, so around town that risk is comparable. And, I'm sure I am more vulnerable on my bicycle without a helmet than on my V Star without a helmet.

So, wisely or otherwise, I figure riding is a tradeoff of risks, benefits, etc. I've concluded riding around town unprotected is a reasonable risk in exchange for the convenience, pleasure, etc.

But that's my rationale. Others will differ.
 

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Hey there Noreaster. I too enjoyed your story and have to agree that it comes down to personal risk assessment. I think we all know that we "should" dress for the crash but comfort usually wins out over that. I believe that it's the riding style, and location that dictates more than anything else. As long as you feel comfortable.
 

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My comments in red:

But the flip-face of flip face helmets can and do snap off/up in a crash. Not always, but sometimes. So it is better than than a 3/4 because, as you said it doesn't snap up/off every time.Also, the netting in a mesh jacket basically just holds the pads in place and does very little in the way of abrasion resistance I dropped my 650 and slid about 15 feet on the blacktop and you cannot tell that the jacket had ever been in contact with the road.(which might be exactly what you are re looking for , IDK) and "long pants" are not he same as textile or even leather "riding" pants. No you are correct but, the heavy denim I wear beats the heck out of bare skin on the road. In my slide I mentioned earlier, it didn't wear a hole in the knees where I slid.Chinos are long pants. So, even as a self confessed "fanatic" you are making concessions and compromises to comfort and convenience. I'm a safety fanatic compared to many, to others I'm not. Maybe a poor choice of words. I, myself, am toying with the idea of a modular or 3/4 helmet but even those would be bulky and inconvenient (cruising) or offer compromised protection (Adventuring) so right now, they aren't for me.
You also wrote:

"I know that this is always a hot topic and people have very strong feelings about it one way or the other. I'm not even sure what kind of a response I'm looking for."

I'm not sure what you were looking for either. As I said, "Do what's best for you." Augie :)
 

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So a slower, cruiser style bike is safer and justifies less gear? IDK.....go get a running start and do a Pete Rose slide on asphalt in fashion jeans and a t shirt. Hurt? Yeah, I think so.

That's what I think about when I'm tempted to not wear my kevlar jeans or textile jacket when it's hot. Or if I just a short trip. But I still risk it sometimes.

I think as long as you understand the risks, wear what you want. I have a friend who rides in shorts and a turtle shell lid. He knows he's prob effed if he goes down but that's his choice.
 

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I don't have the kevlar jeans 'cuz my wife doesn't know they exist. I don't wear the jacket when it's over 90 - 95. I always have long pants, gloves, and a 3/4 helmet. I have a full face for cold weather riding, but I really hate it.
So yes, to each there own and don't come home crying (or whatever it was that my mother used to say).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
RLC59: that's a LOT of miles. Some interesting statistics too.

Augie: your actual experience certainly trumps what i have "heard" about mesh jackets. My Brand Name ballistic pants were not unscathed after my get off. Can I ask what BRAND your mesh jacket is? Perhaps that made a difference in your results.

Chazz: no. A crash at 40mph is a crash at 40mph weather it's on a cruiser, sport bike, dual sport or pedal bike. I am fairly confident in my ability to keep track of what other people are doing. In my experience my biggest threat to myself is me and MY motions develop and deploy at a much slower pace on the V-Star.
 

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I always wear my full face modular helmet but everything else is optional depending on my destination. Around town riding I just wear the helmet and that's it. If I'm getting on the interstate then I'll wear my riding boots, armored mesh jacket, gloves, helmet, and a pair of regular jeans. I don't own any Kevlar jeans yet.
 

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In Houston today it was 103 with 53% humidity and my daily 28 mile one way commute took me 85 minutes riding my Vstar 1100. Everyone has thier own thought as to the right gear. In the heat like this I wear mesh jacket, mesh pants, 3/4 helmet, over ankle boots, mesh gloves and cooling towel around neck. Seems like a lot but I feel comfortable and within reason stay cool. I actually get hotter cutting my grass. So my riding gear works for me. Most of us are independent as we ride, so what ever is good for you works. I choose to protect my skin.
 

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i make concessions when it comes to heat. i refuse to wear a jacket once the temp hits 70. and for Austin, that's about 2/3 of the year. i used to wear gloves and jacket year round and you just absolutely melt in the summer heat here. besides, the piece of equipment that does the most to keep you alive in a crash is a helmet. not many fatalities due to lack of 'correct' shoes, pants, jacket, or gloves. those types of gear seem to mainly protect you against road rash versus life-threatening injuries. even the best jackets don't have armor in the front where all your vital organs are. so if i'm going to be so miserable on my bike with full gear, it's more appealing to me to either leave the bike at home, or the gear.

maybe if i only rode 'recreationally' i'd have a different mindset. but just wearing a helmet is more gear than most riders have on lately. there's been an influx in riders around town lately and the good majority of them are naked up top. say what you will about people who don't wear full gear, but i will never understand why someone can't be bothered with at least a helmet, the most significant piece of equipment to keep you alive in a crash.
 

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An open weave mesh jacket provides protection from direct sun while providing excellent air circulation. I have worn mine at the MSF safety classes in the sun in an open parking lot when it was too hot to go without it. It was surprising how much cooler it was with the jacket. Augie
 

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It's your life, do what you want. Me? In the summer I where an armored perforated jacket which lets a lot of breeze through, A full face helmet, leather boots, jeans and cut resistant gloves. In the winter, a leather jacket, leather gloves, same helmet, boots and jeans. I would wear this gear no matter which type of street bike I rode. I do not understand how riding a different type of street bike would justify less gear, a crash is just as dangerous on a cruiser as a big traillie. I do confess that I fall short on the kevlar pants, I own a pair but do not wear them all the time.

I do not have a problem with the perforated jacket in the summer. I live in south Louisiana, it has hit 100deg numerous times this year with high humidity, I have ridden several times in these temps and the jacket has not made it hotter unless I am stopped. The jacket keeps the sun off and allows the wind to pass through.

Anyway, it is your life.

LoupGarou
 

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I guess I'll add my 2 cents in here. When I first started riding ...it was all about being "cool".... Now, that I got some time in (about 50 yrs). It's all about SAFETY.. My wife and I both suit up for any ride, any season. But, over the years what really strikes my is....., when I see a kid on crouch rocket with a helmet strapped on to the rear fender.. That fender doesn't need any protection at all.....LOL To each his own...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I guess I'll add my 2 cents in here. When I first started riding ...it was all about being "cool".... Now, that I got some time in (about 50 yrs). It's all about SAFETY.. My wife and I both suit up for any ride, any season. But, over the years what really strikes my is....., when I see a kid on crouch rocket with a helmet strapped on to the rear fender.. That fender doesn't need any protection at all.....LOL To each his own...
That's to show his girlfriends parents so he can prove that she's "safe" with him.
 
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