Sometimes I have to stand back just a bit to take a larger view of myself and the motorcycle world around me. When it comes to fashion sense, I think we all deserve a collective laugh and ridicule once in a while.
I am probably not alone when it comes to choices in daily clothes. First, all jeans are considered clean until proven otherwise. If I have one shirt I really like, why would I need anything else? The same goes for shoes and shorts and so on. Clothing brand names are for the most part lost on me. Sure I have some Levis and Carhartt stuff, but mostly for function over form. When I find clothes I like, the last thing in the world I want is for the maker to change the style or design. Perhaps my one conceit is that I will actually go buy more of exactly the same thing if I really like it, because I know it won’t be available when I am ready to replace the one I already have.
1-800 Collect Anyone?
Now if I could only say the same about our motorcycle gear. Is there any one area of style that we take more seriously than our gear? How can all the guys show up to go riding in more or less the same jeans and t-shirt, then put on wildly varying sets of moto gear? Honestly, some of the newest stuff almost looks like a clown costume.
Seriously, to the rest of the non-moto world, it probably all looks like clown costumes. For those of us who dual sport and adventure, we walk around the world in this stuff. I remember going a race down south and meeting a farmer/racer from Alabama. I can’t remember his name, but he was a real character and had ridden the six days. Don Knight gave him a brand new set of Hebo gear to go with his Gas Gas. He drawls out “this is the first time that I ever had a matching motorcycle costume”. The way he said it almost had me rolling on the ground in laughter.
JT Onesie , how come that didn’t catch on. I know Preston Petty would have worn it!
Let’s face it, they really are costumes more or less. Sure there is some function and there certainly are some brands that are more function focused than others. When I look at the starting gate for Supercross each week, I become keenly aware of just how fashion conscious I am. That is to say, I would not be caught dead in most of this season’s hip color combinations. Neon is back already! If I am going to wear neon, I am going to buy some old Extreme brand gear off Ebay and wear it as camp.
In my opinion most of the designs must come from art school dropouts. Who do they want to buy this stuff? Certainly not full grown men. As I cruise through the catalogs of most gear companies, I can find nothing I would wear. Okay, well maybe if they paid me, I guess that is how they get the pros to wear it. But of course no one is going to pay me to do anything anyway. I certainly wouldn’t pay good money to wear most of it. I don’t really want to be on the contribution end of Ryan Villopoto’s European vacation fund anywho.
Racing the Ossa with style
Not only am I fashion aware, but I am a down right snob when it comes to gear. I want my gear to work well and make the right statement. I want it to be somewhat exclusive. I guess I am fortunate to have had that luxury for quite a few years now, wearing some of the best there is or probably ever has been. When I started wearing my current stuff, there were like 4 other riders in the entire country wearing the same. Now it is everywhere and as mainstream as all get out. Don’t get me wrong, it is great stuff. But I am soooo ready for something new, mostly just because. It has just lost the grass roots kind of appeal and is well on the way to purgatory in the corporate vacuum.
Now I realize that I have to laugh at myself again, this time for probably antagonizing one of the biggest groups of moto advertisers. Oh well, just the way it goes some days. Maybe I should have put some sugar in my coffee this morning.
Looking back, there was gear that I really liked in the day. Back before the Moose and MSR brands became pawns for the big distributors. I still have some of the Moose gear I wore in the 2002 ISDE. It is great stuff, they just don’t make it like that anymore. Early Moose and Swedish Sinsalo were the shit!
Hallman racing, long before THOR
One of the things I absolutely love about our little enduro niche of the moto industry is the constant demand and need for innovation. Some of the most successful people I meet have only been in the game a few years. There is no old boy network to keep newcomers stifled. As motoheads, we love to spend our money on new stuff, often just to be different. Let’s face it, little niche brands like Gas Gas, TM, Sherco and Beta only exist because there are enough of us who simply long for something different. The whole world does not need to be orange, or any other single color.
Reminds me of the time, back about 2000 when we were all wearing dark muted colored gear, gray was really popular. Ty Davis showed up at a National Hare and Hound decked out in the new bright orange Moose kit. It looked wild to me. But soon we were all wearing it. Klim became famous for orange. Now that I think of it, I just made my dad retire the 15 year old orange Moose gear he got from me as a hand me down. As I said, that was good stuff.
Okay, back on point, I guess I am just sitting around waiting for the next small time company that wants to get into the moto gear game. Frankly, if I could get my knee braces under my Carhartts, that would suit me fine. Maybe I could get them to make a special style with a few stretch panels and some synthetic fabric and……….