I woke to perfect weather for a couple experiments. Rain and heavy showers. I recently acquired my new First Gear Kilimanjaro 4.0 jacket and I wanted to see how it performed in the rain. My third rear tire is down to the wear bars and I wanted to check traction on wet roads with less than ideal tread. The temperature was in the low 70’s so I removed the liner before pulling the jacket over my new, red, Top Secret Scooter Club Rally t-shirt. I rode up the street in a driving rain and I knew that by the time I returned home I would know for sure how reliable this new coat would be. I also was wearing my Tourmaster Overpants and Wolverine Leather boots. While the pants are supposed to be waterproof I know by previous experience that they leak through the seat after an hour or so in a hard rain. Nothing serious when the weather is warm but perhaps problematic if the temperature was 35.
The first thing I noticed was I could feel the rain pounding my skin. My old sailing foul weather gear was thick and worn over my armored coat insulating me from any physical sensation of the raindrops. But without the liner the rain stung a bit until I got used to it. I never went faster than 50 but I bet it would be hard to take at a sustained speed of 60 or more. Thank god for scooters. After two hours or riding in sustained rain the First Gear jacket kept me dry and warm. The only wet spot was wear my shirt was tucked down into the pants.
When I shed the overpants my jeans were soaked through the butt and down to my knees. At first I shrugged it off as the leaky seat. When I was hanging the pants up to dry I realized the top zippers were open and water was probably pouring into the openings. Oh well…
I hung up the jacket to dry and it felt odd. The right outside pocket was full of water—about 16 ounces. I left that flap open and water shed by the jacket flowed right into the pocket. The pocket liner is waterproof! The lesson for this is to make sure the gear is properly rigged. Good rule for sailing. Same applies to riding.
I noticed no problems with the tire either in traction or it’s ability to push through water without hydroplaning even with the reduced tread. I really like the grip and feel of the Pirelli SL38 tires but I want more mileage. The annual safety inspection is due in September so I will have a Continental Zippy 1 tire mounted on the rear this time. Hopefully I can get an extra thousand miles out of one.
Only saw two riders on the road, or at the Sheetz store pumps more precisely. Two Harley riders with significant others on the back. They were part of a poker run though turn out was bad. This is probably the hardest rain I have been in and the Vespa was a champ. I slowed considerably on the twisty roads and ran the high beam to help others see me. The bright yellow jacket really does leap out of the grayness.