motorcycle gear
An American in Monte CarloCycle World

For this week's installment of "Geared Up," I thought we'd do something a little different and turn it into a gear review of the products I wore in last week's first ride review of the new 2017 Ducati Monster 1200. Temperatures were to be in the 50s and 60s and Monaco, home to some of the richest and most fashionable people in world, called for something a little nicer than your typical race replica jacket.

"Geared Up" is a new segment where we pick our favorite or best items for various types of riders or riding situations. Each post will be colored by the post's author, but luckily for you the editors on staff represent a pretty wide variety of tastes and backgrounds. Think you have a better pick for an item we chose? Throw it in the comments below. Is the post not aimed at you or your riding style? Suggest future "Geared Up" series ideas below.

Arai helmet
Arai Signet-X HelmetCourtesy of Arai

I've been a big fan of Arai's new Signet-X helmet since it was released earlier this year. Their revised headshape and plethora of padding options mean I get a comfortable fit. I've currently been wearing a medium, which I wore for this trip, with 15mm bigger cheek pads on both sides, though the guys at Arai think I might have such a signet shaped head that I could bump down to a small.

In the cold Monte Carlo air, I did notice that the Signet let in a significant amount of air, even with all the vents closed. That, and the obnoxious visor locking mechanism that makes the visor a pain to open, are my only griefs with a helmet that otherwise is one of my favorite to wear and favorite to look at.

You can read my full review here.

motorcycle jacket
REV'IT! Dayton JacketCourtesy of REV'IT!

I've always wondered how REV'IT's longer cut jackets actually ride on a bike, and Monaco seemed like the perfect place to test out my European sensibilities. I opted for a large so that the sleeves would be long enough and I'd have enough room in the shoulders and, to my surprise, the chassis of the jacket wasn't actually too obnoxiously big (which happens a lot when you have the body of a light pole).

The jacket has zippers at the sides, and the main zipper runs down to your waist instead of the full length of the coat, both of which help prevent the jacket from impeding movement on the bike. The internal gussets on the sleeves help keep cold air out, and overall the jacket did a great job at keeping me warm. The CE level 1 rated armor is incredibly comfortable, but not nearly as protective as CE level 2 rated stuff found in some jackets, but I appreciate REV'IT's pairing of more comfortable armor with a jacket like this that you could wear off the bike.

Motorcycle gear
I got tired of the zipper punching me in the neckCourtesy of Ducati

The only issue I had with the jacket was with the zipper when zipped all the way up. I found that it rubbed on my Adam's apple, especially at speed, which became painful pretty quickly. With the neck unzipped a bit, the problem disappeared and the jacket didn't let much extra air in, but I'll opt for a scarf when wearing this in cold weather from now on.

backpack
Colfax Design Works Recon PackCourtesy of Colfax Design Works

I have an odd obsession with bags. I love them. I have different bags for different occasions, and none of them are perfect which means I'm always on the hunt for something better. I even got a few months down the line in designing my own motorcycle backpack.

The Colfax Design Works bag isn't a motorcycle specific backpack, but it's quickly become on of my favorite. The version I have is slightly taller than the one on the site now, with an additional pocket below the main compartment that the main compartment does not push down into or impede the use of, even when full. The lap top sleeve is well padded, the top pouch perfect for all your little nick nacks, and this pack feel natural both stuffed to the gills and nearly empty. It's one of the most comfortable I've worn for hours on the bike and it looks fantastic.

The smaller version is up now on their site, and I'm actually consulting on the redesign of the Recon to add some more moto-specific features for the next version (all of which I'm doing completely for free and only because I want the best product to exist, while maintaining my journalistic integrity).

Whether I'm on a plane across the world, on a bike riding into the office, and on a motorcycle trip, or packing things for a weekend away—this is almost always the bag you'll see on my back.

motorcycle gloves
REV'IT Kryptonite GTX GlovesCourtesy of REV'IT!

The REV'IT Kryptonite GTX Gloves looked like the perfect option for braving the winter in the South of France. The short cuff promised to be easy to get on and off, and the Goretex membrane would be great for keeping my hands warm and dry in the possibly wet conditions. These look great, fit well under a jacket (having one with internal gussets is huge to not letting air in) and these looked less bulky than many of the winter glove options we normally turn to.

Unfortunately, the fit of these is all sorts of off for me. I originally ordered a large, but they restricted hand movement and became uncomfortable pretty quickly. When I switched the the extra large, the fingers grew incredibly and I lost all feeling on the bars—so much so that I opted to switch back to my perforated Racer Mickey's for the bulk of the ride.

REV'IT has traditionally made some of my favorite and best fitting gloves, but the fit of these really missed the mark for me.

motorcycle gloves
Racer Gloves USA Mickey GlovesCourtesy of Racer Gloves USA

Racer Gloves USA have quickly become one of my favorite brands of recent years. If you look at the cover for our superbike shootout issue or almost any picture of me on a motorcycle, you'll notice I'm in a pair of Racer gloves. They have the best fit I've experienced and top notch performance features.

The Mickeys are my daily riders. I ride in these more than anything else, and it isn't close. They're a short cuff glove with mild perforation and tons of protection, but that doesn't stop them from being incredibly comfortable. And, as I found myself in a strange country on a bike that didn't exactly inspire confidence, I opted to be cold in them instead of warm in the above REV'IT!'s to improve my control and confidence on the bike.

Buy these, you'll thank me.

motorcycle gear
A good way to start a dayNathon Verdugo
motorcycle jeans
REV'IT! Recon PantsCourtesy of REV'IT!

I really appreciate the motorcycle manufacturers have been trying to produce denim that will keep motorcyclists safe and still be real-life appropriate. The problem is that I still think almost all of them are ugly and fit funny (okay, maybe I'm the one who fits funny). REV'IT is one of the few brands who make a pretty nice fit (remember, I'm tiny and like slim pants), and these Recon jeans look great.

They have plenty of options for those of you who love your standard blue jeans, but I like something a little more interesting, and the big front pockets are a perfect place to keep your wallet and phone easily accessible. Oh, and Bradley crashed in his and they kept him safe. His butt says thanks.

motorcycle boots
Dainese Cooper BootsCourtesy of Dainese

I've had these Cooper boots for a few years now, and I find myself grabbing them for most of the riding I do. They're super comfortable, have rigid inserts in the heels, hard parts in the ankles, and additional leather to protect from shift lever wear. They aren't as protective as real riding boots or shoes, but they're better than your typical leather boots and they look great.

The only downside to them is the silly square leather laces, which come untied sometimes and are an awkward length. I still haven't fully decided between wrapping them around my ankle or just leaving lots of extra lace hanging around. Swap the laces and you have a killer boot.