Tag Archives: waterproof

Check your waterproof riding gear

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has announced that a La Nina weather event has begun which means cooler and wetter conditions for most of the east and north of the country this summer.

So now is the time to check your wet riding gear. Don’t simply trust that it will protect you.

I found out the hard way yesterday that my long-trusted rain gear is no longer waterproof.

Instead of taking the heavy duty 100% guaranteed plastic and rubber gear which can get hot and sweaty, I took lighter weight, breathable gear.

This gear has stitched seams which are taped on the inside with a rubbery material.

Pulling the gear on and off over the years dislodges this tape and even pulls it out completely.

I didn’t find out until I rode for about half an hour in moderate rain only to find my pants and jacket underneath were saturated.

The tape had completely come out of the pants and was largely dislodged in the jacket.

So my advice is to check the inside seams of your gear and if the tape is missing or dislodged, throw them out. They are worthless.

That’s a shame, too, as this gear is often more comfortable to wear and is not cheap, either.

In fact, I have found that cheaper rain gear made of plastic may be uncomfortable in the summer, but it will keep you dry.

One of our riders had waterproof boots that were failing, so he ingeniously wrapped them in plastic from Bunnings.

One of our riders augmented his “waterproof” boots wth a roll of plastic from Bunnings!

Waterproof warranty

I’ve checked all my waterproof gear and none offers a lifetime guarantee.

Also, note that “weatherproof”, “water-resistant” and “water-repellent” are not the same as “waterproof”. These terms mean the garment is rarely watertight even in light showers when you are riding.

And check whether it says the gear is 100% watertight. Some may also include an Ingress Protection (IP) rating.

This rating consists of two numbers. The first from 0-6 measures protection from foreign bodies such as dust, while the second from 0-9K measures resistance to water. Click here for more details.

Also note that your supposedly waterproof gear may only be guaranteed to be impervious to water in some areas or just have watertight pockets.

Waterproof warranties are typically the same as the garment which is usually from one year to about three years.

Manufacturers could fit jackets and pants with more robust and heavier waterproof membranes and offer longer warranties.

However, that would impact on comfort, weight and price.

So it’s important to look after your waterproof gear.

Draggin Hydro waterproof jacket and pants
Testing waterproof jacket and pants


One of the main problems with waterproof failures is that you may not notice a fault in your gear when you put it on.

You only find out when you go for a ride and get caught in the rain.

And even the most minor fault, crack or split can suck in moisture when you are riding at highway speeds!

There can be a number of reasons for waterproofing failures:

  • Waterproof leather gear is usually the first to give in because it can age and crack;
  • Boots can develop minuscule cracks in the soles from simply walking around in them;
  • Racing boots with bolt-in toe sliders can become loose as they repeatedly hit the ground, allowing in water;
  • Waterproof pants can develop small tears in the lining or you can dislodge the glued-on taped seams if you pull them on while wearing your boots;
  • Folding waterproof garments can cause them to wear and split at the creases;
  • Carrying waterproof gear on your bike scrunched up on a rack and secured by Occy straps can cause rips and wear;
  • Gore-Tex pants and jackets should last a long time, but the outside layer can get worn from rubbing in areas such as the armpits, crutch and backside;
  • Zippers can become rusted from rain and road grime and even waterproof zippers can become gummed up by dust and bugs; and
  • Machine washing your gear can remove or destroy the watertight capabilities of some materials.

Waterproof care

King Canute found he could not hold back the tide and maintaining waterproof riding gear can be similar.

However there are some things you can do:

  • Boots will last longer if you only wear them on the bike and do limited walking.
  • Regular treatment of leather with shoe polish, special softeners and waxes such as Dubbin may help prolong their waterproof life;
  • Take your boots off before pulling on waterproof overpants;
  • Re-spray your textile gear with waterproof sprays;
  • Store your gear in a cool, dry cupboard;
  • Hang your jackets and pants and never fold them;
  • Always allow wet gear to dry in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight before storing;
  • Carry waterproof gear in a safe place in your backpack or bike luggage, preferably rolled up, not folded;
  • Give zippers an occasional spray with silicon or rub them with an appropriate wax to help the zipper slide smoothly and last longer; and
  • Leather gear requires special attention. Click here for our comprehensive tips on how to look after your leather gear.

Washingwet mud water crossing adventure forget

Riding in the rain or even doing water crossings not only get your gear wet, but also dirty.

So you should periodically wash your gear before storing it away.

When washing your gear, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. They usually stipulate a hand wash or gentle, warm-wash machine cycle.

Long, hot machine washing cycles can limit the waterproofed life of a garment.

Never use fabric softener when washing and most manufacturers warn against tumble drying or ironing.

However, note that some materials, such as Gore-Tex, actually require tumble drying or ironing after washing to restore their waterproof qualities. Watch this instructional video.

User error

Sometimes it’s not the gear that fails, but the rider, says a former product manager Ron Grant.

“The majority of wet claims I believe are mainly due to incorrect usage or fitment,” he once told me.

“You can have the best jacket in the world, but if you don’t get all the closures correctly positioned, ensure your shirt collar or cuffs aren’t exposed (which creates a wicking point for water entry) you will still get wet.

“If you wear gloves over your cuff, water penetrates through the jacket stitching in the chest and arms, runs down between the outer shell and the outside of the waterproof liner (so the rider is still dry) and drains straight into the gloves. This is not a glove issue but a rider fitment issue.

“Likewise with waterproof boots. I see riders buy ‘shorty’ waterproof boots and then complain they get wet feet.

“If you have a look at their rain pants when their feet are on the pegs, the rain pants may ride up just enough to allow water into the boots.”

Ron warns that water will finds its way into that 1% vulnerable area in your whole riding ensemble and spoil your ride.

He says he left for work recently in the pouring rain on his Triumph Tiger 800 fitted with a new, large touring screen to protect him from the elements.

“This new screen creates a bit of a vacuum between the screen and I could see water droplets swirling around in front of me around my throat area,” he says.

“I didn’t really think about this too well, but I had pulled my neck-sock on before fitting my jacket as it’s more comfortable that way.

“The droplets eventually soaked my neck-sock which wicked the water downwards wetting my jumper and shirt. My waterproof jacket didn’t fail, it was the dummy wearing it that failed!”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Touratech unveils waterproof bags

German motorcycle accessory company Touratceh has released a range of waterproof bags that fit inside their range of luggage.

What surprises me is that Touratech tank, tail and saddle bags aren’t already waterproof.

Ok, I can see the advantage in having gear in an easy-to-remove waterproof bag so you can take it into your accommodation without having to remove your luggage.

But it seems an unnecessary expense. Why not just make the luggage waterproof from the start?

Some luggage such as tank bags come with a spacial waterproof cover, but they are. never quite secure enough.

Touratech bags

Touratech’s inner bags cost $110.48 and are made by Ortlieb who produce quality gear for motorcycles and bicycles.

That’s about the same price as you would pay for waterproof bags from an outdoor store such as Kathmandu.

They say they fit their luggage, but it’s a standard size.

You can actually get different sized bags from outdoor stores.

Like those, these feature a roll top that you clamp with a nylon clip to keep them watertight.

In fact, they are so good, they even hold air and you have to push the air out first before rolling them up!

This can make it difficult to get your bag inside your luggage, so these Touratech bags come with a valve to release the air and squash them down to the smallest size.Touratech waterproof bags

They have a volume of up to 22 litres, depending on how much you want to roll the top down.

The say this allows the bag to fit every tank bag or rucksack they make, “without losing valuable storage space”.

Unlike some motorcycle clothing that loses its waterproof capabilities over time, these will remain 100% watertight for ever.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

TCX X-Blend boots really are waterproof

The proof is in the riding so we put a new pair of TCX X-Blend waterproof boots to the ultimate test recently simply by riding in the rain for a couple of days.

Not only did the $299 Romanian-made boots prove to be waterproof, but with some hot and dry weather thrown in, we also found they are breathable.

Waterproof and breathable?

Now we know what you’re thinking: “How can a boot be both waterproof and breathable?”

We asked the same question and Link International TCX brand manager Mark Barnett provided us with the answer: teflon!

It’s a tough synthetic resin made by polymerising tetrafluoroethylene, whatever that is!TCX X-Blend waterproof boots

You would probably know it best as the coating on non-stick pots and pans. It is also used to make seals and bearings.

Most waterproof/breathable riding gear features Gore-Tex which is actually the proprietary name for a version of teflon that has been stretched by a factor of seven times its normal size, Mark says.

“The stretching process induces the teflon to have thousands of miniscule holes per square inch.

“These holes are big enough to allow air and water vapour through but too small to allow water droplets through – hence it’s a breathable while being waterproof fabric.”

The T-Dry lining in a lot of TCX boots is also teflon, but it is not stretched, simply rolled thinly and then perforated by a machine.

Mark admits that it is not possible to even get close to the amount of holes per square inch using the machine method.

TCX X-Blend waterproof boots
Waterproof lining

“So, although the perforations work in the same way, they do not allow the T-Dry Teflon to breath as well as Gore-Tex.”

However, we rode through drenching rain and did not get wet socks. That is, until we rode for a while in the rain without wet-weather pants and the rain dribbled down our pants and into the boots.

Maybe because they breathable, the water that got into the boots quickly dried out when the rain stopped and we kept riding.

Better still, they did not develop a horrible odour even after my mistake in letting water dribble inside.

Comfortable TCX boots

Some of the waterproof boots I’ve tried before have been clunky and thick, not very comfortable and impossible to walk in.

These boots have all the certified protection in the heel, toe and ankle with a non-twist, thick rubber non-slip sole.

Yet they are very comfortable to walk in because they bend between the toes and the bridge of your foot.

That also means they are compliant enough to work the levers and provide plenty of feel while riding.

Aged lookTCX X-Blend waterproof boots

They come in full-grain black or aged brown leather.

The latter really looks trendy. After some wear, they get a nice patina of age, although the black rubber from my gear shifter has rubbed off on the toe wider than the double-leather protector.TCX X-Blend waterproof boots

These boots come up well above the ankle for extra protection and they lace all the way up to get the perfect fit.

That’s handy for me as I once broke my right foot in an off-road bike crash and it has heeled as little bigger than the left foot. Consequently, when I buy boots and shoes to fit the right foot, the left is then loose. Not so with these.

It takes a while to tie them up, but once tied they are a firm fit. A zip down the side would be have been handy for quick removal.

The TCX X-Blen waterproof boots come in sizes EU 39-47  and US 6-12.5.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com