Wednesday, May 20

NASH: COROLLAS, LEATHERS AND LONGEVITY

I’m gonna’ buy another Corolla.
I know, I know. Bike magazine: No talking about cars! But bear with me. Someone like me, whose motorcycles are his toys, but whose occupation sees him driving a car for a hundred-odd kms every day, quickly comes to regard the car as wheelbarrow-with-engine: valued for what you can fit in the back, and for how cheap you can run it – certainly not for any driveability it may have.
Car=transport. Bike=fun. See?
And I’m talking about it here because I got talking to a chap on the weekend who was grumbling about how much he’d paid for his leathers. I had a set (bib-and-brace pants and jacket) made fifteen years ago.
Of course the cheap leather has shrunk a bit around the gut area, but, apart from that all they have needed is the odd zip.
I have used them so much the colour is worn right off the leather in the knees and the arse etc.
At $1000 (and I guess about $3000 now to replace) they’re almost as good a value-for-money as the old Corolla was.
And for all the same reasons that the car is worn out (half a million hard kms), and the colour has worn off the leathers in places (who knows how many kms?), my Spidi riding suit (endless winter trips; countless dousings in mud, hundreds of hours in pissing rain) also needs replacing.
I have been talking/writing about it a bit in the last year or so, because it has impressed me as a damn fine bit of kit.
It has done so much work that the inner fabrics are literally wearing through in places. But, despite this; every one of its zips, velcro sections, flaps and layers is still working as well as the day I bought it – a decade ago. If it was a car, it’d be a tough, reliable Corolla. I can find a new Corolla all by myself; but I’d be interested in any insights other motorcyclists may have on riding gear.
Last year, when I bought the BMW R 1200 GS, I canvassed opinions on insurance, because insuring the Big Beast isn’t cheap; and you need to be sure you are getting what you are paying for.
The results were widely varied, as opinions came in from all sorts of people – including two from legal professionals offering some very interesting insights. But, in summary, the result was clear.
If you can afford to replace the bike yourself – take a punt: get the leanest, cheapest deal you can on insurance.
If you can’t afford to replace it out of your own pocket (like me) – insure it with someone you know will pay; and pay properly, if the day does come. So I’d be interested in input from people who do lots of kms in shitty weather; who buy the best gear they can; and who work it hard:
The Spidi suit I have is a ten-year-old outfit called an ‘Ergo,’ with all the bells and whistles by way of armour and layers.
And I need another one just as good. Must be genuinely waterproof (not just most of the time, or with the exception of the front seam, or except for that damp patch round the groin . . .). Has to have armour which is strong, yet still flexible and comfortable. Has to be comfortable enough to wear all day every day – day after day. Has to have about four big, completely waterproof pockets.
And has to be built like a Corolla (or maybe an old 1200 Bandit) – to carry on doing the job long after shinier, sexier models have passed their use-by and faded away. I’d appreciate any thoughts based on genuine experience.

Get in touch with me if you like, leave a comment below or email: mikenash@xtra.co.nz