BMW S1000RR to Morocco - Kit Review

A review of the kit I wore for my 3200 mile trip to Morocco and back in a a week. From snowy London to the baking hot Moroccan border

BMW S1000RR to Morocco

When choosing my gear for the BMW S1000RR trip to Morocco, I had quite a lot to consider. It was snowing in the UK, hammering it down with rain across France and Spain and blisteringly hot in Morocco. And with 500 miles a day to cover - at speed on a superbike - my options were pretty limited. I went for the Alpinestars 365 GTX leather jacket and trousers, S-MX R Gore-Tex boots and 365 Gore-Tex gloves.I wanted the protection of leather but the weatherproofing of Gore-Tex. Here's how I got on...

Alpinestars 365 GTX gloves £159.95

Alpinestars 365 GTX gloves review

As you'll know if you've ridden through any sort of bad weather - the first thing that plays on your mind, is cold hands. And it doesn't matter how good your gloves are, or what they're made of: if you have to ride through a day of rain, they're going to end up wet. Who wants to put on a pair of wet gloves the next day? Not me. So that's why I chose to take two sets of gloves. I chose the Alpinestars 365 GTX gloves and a set of lightweight Alpinestars Radiant Drystar gloves.

The 365 GTX are thin like sports gloves, but they feature an additional layer of Gore-Tex to keep the rain out. They are much less supple than sports leather gloves at first, but they offer the same weather protection as bulkier textile gloves.

They're comfortable and very good at keeping the rain out, but they're notwhere near as warm as textile gloves, especially textile gloves with a thermal layer like Thinsulate. I wore these gloves on the legs of the journey where the temperature was above freezing. They dealt with the rain, no problems and in the humid heat of Southern Spain, they felt much the same as a set of leather sports gloves.

Mu only gripe was the little finger on the oves which was too short for my little finger, so it felt slightly cramped and even though the gloves become much more supple as I clocked up the miles, the serious amount of stitching around the little finger area meant it couldn't give like the rest of the glove.

If I was riding in all weathers, but not in freezing conditions, I'd recommend a set of 365 GTX gloves. If you want gloves to cater for sub-zero conditions, see the next page.

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Alpinestars 365 GTX leather jacket - £949.95

Alpinestars 365 GTX leather jacket review

With thick leather and built in armour, the 365 GTX jacket and trousers offered the protection of my leather 1-piece suit, but they feature a myriad of differences that make them so worthwhile compared to pure racing leathers.

The cut is much more forgiving, without being baggy like some textile clothing can be. The fact that the 365 features a Gore-Tex membrane throughout is a huge bonus - not so much when it was snowing in the UK, where to be honest, it was seriously cold - but during a day's ride through Spain, 12 hours in total, where for seven hours I rode through gales and sideways rain, the Gore-Tex lining kept the water out. Not a drop got in. Nothing's more miserable than riding through heavy rain. Well actually there is; riding through heavy rain and getting soaked.

The jacket zips into the trousers with a three-quarter length zip. It was ideal for the European toll setup; with an easily accessible breast pocket with a red zipper that's easy to locate when you're togged up. It's frustrating when you're at a toll scrabbling around for your ticket and money.

What I'd like to see on future evolutions of the 365 is a detachable high collar, perhaps made of Neoprene. Sure, you could argue that a neck tube would cut out wind, but when you're covering decent distances or riding all day, something more substantial than a Buff would be welcome to keep the chilly and annoying wind out from around your neck.

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Alpinestars 365 GTX leather trousers - £849.95

Alpinestars 365 GTX leather trousers review

The 365 GTX trousers have a decent cut - not too baggy that they flap around but not too tight to become uncomfortable. All I needed was the regular stops every 150 miles to fill up the S1000RR and stretch off. In a prone position, crouched down behind the S1000RR's screen, the 365 was forgiving and supple, comfortable yet you still felt reassured that you weren't sacrificing safety for comfort.

The trousers feature some nice touches; reflective piping across the rear for added visibility, a healthy amount of stretch panel between the thighs aided comfort and the pockets are deep and come with waterproof zips. The zips at the base of the trousers open right up to the top of your shin, so it's really easy to slip your boots on, do them up, then zip the trousers back down over the top of the boots for added security.

Unfortunately I crashed wearing this gear when I got back to the UK. It was low speed, around 30 mph, but there only damage to the kit is a small scuff on the shoulder and knee. My Arai lid was wrecked and I snapped my shoulder blade clean in half, despite wearing a back protector that covered the area.

To give you an indication of how much I rate the 365 GTX trousers and jacket; I really looked forward to riding the S1000RR in the rain on my 3200 mile trip, partly down to the BMW's traction control and rain mode making progress simple but also down to the fact that I knew I wouldn't have to worry about getting wet, I could just concentrate on the road ahead.

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Alpinestars Radiant Drystar gloves - £39.95

Alpinestars Radiant Drystar Gloves review

As you'll know if you've ridden through any sort of bad weather - the first thing that plays on your mind, is cold hands. And it doesn't matter how good your gloves are, or what they're made of: if you have to ride through a day of rain, they're going to end up wet. Who wants to put on a pair of wet gloves the next day? Not me. So that's why I chose to take two sets of gloves. I chose the Alpinestars 365 GTX gloves and a set of lightweight Alpinestars Radiant Drystar gloves.

The Radiant Drystar gloves are good value for money at £39.95. They're made from textile not leather and feature a Thinsulate lining. They can be squashed up tiny in your rucksack.

I'm so glad, and pretty flukey to have chosen these gloves. I'd worn them on a previous test and knew I needed a second set, so grabbed them. But I wasn't to know how good they were in freezing conditions.

Riding from London to Folkestone, then Calais to Paris, the temperature was showing minus two degrees. Yes, my fingers were cold, but, they were just above that level of cold that makes you focus on nothing but your fingers and makes clocking uo the miles hellishly demanding.

In heavy rain they withstood a couple of hours of exposure, but they weren'y as good as the Alpinestars 365 GTX gloves in these conditions.

Despite being textile, they're not bulky, you don't feel disconnected from the bars. They don't feature any armour and, unfortunately, when I returned from the trip, I came off the S1000RR wearing these in London at around 30mph. The gloves held up, but I did lose the skin off my knuckles. Mind you, I also broke my shoulder blade and completely destroyed my Arai lid too.

Highly recommended gloves for taking on tough conditions.

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Alpinestars S-MX R GTX boots - £ 249.95

Alpinestars S-MX R GTX boots review

In my younger years, I did many long stints on the bike through the driving rain with water running down my legs, trickling into my boots and gathering in a pool and sloshing around my socks. Just what you want on a long trip. Or not!

I opted for Alpinestars' S-MX R GTX boots as I didn't want an all-out touring boot that sacrificed feel on the S1000RR, but I wasn't prepared to endure the above scenario with a pair of summer boots. So the S-MX R GTX are essentially sports boots, with a Gore-Tex lining.

Put simply, they didn't let a drop of water in the whole trip, which I wasn't expecting. But, as is normally the way with boots of the all-weather variety, you end up in a pool of your own foot sweat at the end of a long day's riding. That didn't happen either.

They're superbly comfortable, even for my average of 500 miles a day for 7 days. They're sturdy, yet forgiving enough to walk around in. Easy to slip on in the morning and simple to adjust and securely fit with the ratchet around the calf area.

Even in the baking heat of Sourthern Spain, these boots were perfect. Infact, I'm going to wear them as year-long boots, as with my previous experience of Alpinestars boots, they get better with a bit of abuse and bedding in. These are starting to bed in, but another 3000 miles ought to do it.

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Arai RX-7 Corsair helmet review

Arai RX-7 Corsair helmet review - from £325

This lid was Arai's top of the range helmet when I got it two years ago. It's all very well writing about the day to day features of a helmet, but the real value in any helmet test is in reviewing it after you've crashed in it.

When I set off on the trip to Morocco, I had actually had a light spill wearing this lid, only a week after I got it, on track at Brands, where I took a rear tyre to the back of the lid as I entered the gravel trap on (off) a KTM RC8. The lid was fine and to be honest, the knock wasn't enough to give me a decent opinion of theCorsair's crash protection.

In day to day use it's by far the most comfortable helmet I've ever worn. No question. Nothing comes close. Friends of mine who also wear Arais at the lower end of their price scale are amazed at the fit and feel of the Corsair. Putting it on is like nuzzling your head between a large pair of breasts. Although not quite as enjoyable.

I always wear earplugs with this Corsair. I find most lids noisym but this lid noiser than most. Still, nothing a 50p pair of earplugs doesn't fix.

On my 3000-mile trip to Morocco and back, I couldn't fault the Corsair, it was all-day comfortable, it's simple to change visors in changing conditions and felt snug and secure.

Shortly after arriving back in the UK, I came off the S1000RR and fell badly. The Corsair has suffered 360-degrees of impact, including a severe looking deep scar across the top of a lid, caused by, we think, the S1000RR's spinning brake disc. I suffered serious concussion, but it was a nasty collision. The shell didn't crack, the visor did come off, snapping one sidepod in the process. I'm happy with the way it held up to the multiple impacts during the time I was skidding unconcious to a halt.

I've had this lid for two years now and when it was new they retailed at around £499.99 but now they're available online from as little as £325, making it extremely good value for money.

I guess the sign of whether I rate this lid is whether I'd have another one and the answer is yes, I would.