During lockdown I made a promise to myself that I'd ride more when restrictions ended. Self-employment, plus racing, plus being a parent and spouse gobble up a load of time. But mainly the work. There is always something to do when you run your own small business, but I've stuck to the promise and have been on regular trail and woods riding days on my 2017 Yamaha WR250F (bought from Mr DTRA, Anthony Brown).
I really enjoy seeing what people choose for their The Right Stuff kit for the regular in Sideburn, so I thought I'd lay out what I've been wearing for winter rides. Gary Inman
1. Kriega R25 Nearly 20 years old. It's been all over the world. It really is the best kit of riding kit I've ever owned. It's bigger than I need for these days out, but once it's on my back I don't even notice it. Kriega.com.
2. Icon Field Armor jacket Icon don't seem to make this hard plastic, body armour jacket any longer, which is a shame, because it's comfortable, adjustable, and very protective. The replacement seems to be a compression style top with softer D30 armour, that, I have to admit, looks a lot more wearable, and has the benefit of being a snugger fit. I haven't had a problem with this though. Check out other options in their range at rideincon.com
3. Barbour International jacket I have fabric and GoreTex jackets, but I like the look and feel of this classic waxed International, a 85-year-old design. It's less constrictive that many modern 'adventure' jacket, it's light. The four big pockets are handy. I rewaxed it recently, to make sure the relatively thin material doesn't dry out and wear through. The layer of new wax has made it sticky, and it's difficult to clean, but I still like it. barbour.com
4. Icon Airflite helmet - with peak
This is a relatively inexpensive, polycarbonate helmet, compared to the ones I used to wear, and lower down the range than the composite Icon Airframe Pro I wear for racing, but I really like it. It originally came a roadbike helmet, with a very distinctive visor, that I once wore for nearly 36 hours non-stop on a tour of all four capitals of the UK, for a Bike mag feature. Then Icon released the optional MX style peak. Just remove the visor/shield, and clip the peak in its place. Two-minute job.
The helmet is so comfortable, and I really appreciate the removable and machine-washable lining, because I do huff and puff and get sweaty when the going gets tough. See the Airflite range at rideicon.com
5. Fox x Langlitz Leathers See See Trousers
These trousers are so good that I didn't even want to start wearing them, because I didn't want to imagine the day I wore them out. I know... Fox made this See See design a few years ago, using leather for certain panels from the famous Portland, OR, institution, Langlitz Leathers. See See threw everything at the design: leather, checkers, See See letters on the butt, their trademark smiley face and the original Foxhead logo. They are a cut above any MX trousers I've ever seen. Ignore that, they are five cuts above anything I've ever seen. Oh, and they're sold out. seeseemotorcycles.com
6. Banana guard
I love a banana. I don't want a bruised one.
7. 100% Barstow x Deus Ex Machina goggles
Barstow is 100%'s road/retro goggle, and they've made a ton of collabs with Sideburn friends including Deus, Death Spray, Ornamental Conifer, Dimitri Coste, See See, Bonzorro and more. I find the lenses are a little tricky to change, because you have to really make sure the lens is seating into the small 'pips' that locate and hold them. A small niggle, really. www.100percent.com/collections/barstow
8. Sealskinz socks
Waterproof socks. Trail riding is very much a winter/year-round thing for me, and the terrain I slog through is often very wet. The socks have been 100% waterproof. I only realise how wet my boots got on a ride when I take them off and water is pooled in them, but my feet are warm and dry. The socks are big and baggy, so it could be a problem if you have tight boots, otherwise, they're a must. sealskinz.com
9. Knox armoured shorts
I've had these for at least 15 years, and they've protected me in plenty of crashes. The waist elastic has gone, but I'll have a local sewing repair shop replaced it, because the rest of the shorts are ok (despite a hole from a tarmac crash) The shorts have articulated armour in each leg, that covers the thigh and hips, and the separate cocycx armour pad. The armour is all removable to allow the shorts to be washed. The current version of these shorts are called the Knox Defender. planet-knox.com
10. TCX Pro 2.1 boots
I have worn TCX speedway boots while dirt track racing for over ten years, and was happy to trust their MX boots when I needed some proper protection for my first Morocco trip. The boots are covered in plastic protection and guards, and are heavy, so I assumed they were going to be uncomfortable and unyielding, but, perhaps thanks to the soft inner bootee design, that they share with the Speedway boots, they are very comfortable, despite not having a lot of flexibility. The buckles are hard to unbuckle with my cold, weak fingers. They're currently available at really good prices if you looks online. tcxboots.com
11. Fox Knee/Shin Guards
Cheap knee protection. Fortunately, my knees are in pretty good shape, perhaps thanks to an inability/fear of jumping bikes, meaning I haven't worn them out, like so many of my friends seem to have with theirs. That means I don't need fancy knee braces, and these hard plastic guards do the trick. The current version of these is called the Titan. foxracing.com
I'm not tight, but I don't like wasting money, so I usually take my own sandwiches. Look after the pennies, etc.
13. Dice Knucklehead Long-Sleeve
Dice magazine was, and remains, a massive inspiration for Sideburn. And they make a lot of cool T-shirts. This is my go-to under armour layer. Yes, I probably should wear a technical base layer, to 'wick' the moisture away, but I don't. dicemagazine.com
14. Dainese Gloves
Another item I've had so long that the manufacturer doesn't make them any more, which shows a couple of things - I'm not a blagger who acquires new stuff all the time, just because I can, and also that this stuff lasts. These are fabric off-road gloves with additional palm padding and soft rubber protection on the knuckles. Dainese don't seem to make anything similar at the moment. Dainese.com
Not pictured, but always worn: Holy Freedom Neck Tubular. Soft, lovely. Stops neck chafing. holyfreedom.com
2017 Yamaha WR250F
I had a Husqvarna FE501 before this, but it was too powerful for the kind of riding I ended up doing. It would suit Californian desert riding better than West Yorkshire woodland single track. I assumed, when I bought the Huskie, that the 'throttle goes both ways', and the extra power wouldn't be a problem, I just wouldn't have to use all the power. I soon discovered even the tiniest of throttle openings, when I was tired, off-balance, struggling, were enough to cause big problems. The 250 is so capable, and powerful enough for the kind of riding I'm doing. Nearly everyone I ride with has a 250, and most are much more experienced at this kind of riding than me.
That's a Kriega US-5 Drypack on the rear fender, and a Kriega front Haul Loop around the forks. kriega.com
Photo: Lucia Aucott
If you like this kind of thing, kit laid out and written about, we have a two-page regular in every magazine with riders of all different levels showing us their kit. Here's a list of the riders/racers we've featured so far, and the issue they were in.
25 Hubert Bastie
26 David Death Spray Gwyther
27 Cameron Brewer
28 Andy Jerkyl - Sideburn Sahara kit
29 Tori 'See See' George
30 Jeffrey Carver
32 James 'Leftie' Smith
33 Daniel La Urbana - Sideburn Himalayan kit
34 John Harrison
35 Joy Lewis
36 Todd Marella
37 Don 'Donzilla' Miller
38 Paul Hartman
39 Cory Texter
40 Joe Pape
41 Brandon Robinson
42 Lucia 5Special
43 Adam Brinkworth
44 Harrison Mark
45 James Rispoli
46 Kazuo Fukuda/ Buddy Custom
47 Dallas Daniels
Sideburn x Indian digital Special - Dimitri Coste