The great thing about living in the south is that we get to ride our bikes just about 365 days a year. Christmas morning is typically a perfect fishing day with light winds, mild temperatures, and warm sunshine. In other words, our winters are a great time to ride. Sure, summers can be brutal, but since the days are long, riders have the ability to put in a full day of work, eat dinner with the family, walk the dogs, and then hop on the bike for a nice, cool sunset ride. With such varied conditions, it is no wonder that I have a full rack of jackets and pants for riding in everything from 50-degree weather to 95-degree swamp heat! Let’s talk about the best places to buy motorcycle gear in New Orleans and our favorite jackets since the lawyers at MotoJustice have already beat you over the head about ATGATT.
My Top Pick for Winter Motorcycle Gear
When it comes to wintertime jackets and pants, I have found that Revit makes some of the best clothing “systems” available.
The stuff ain’t cheap but you can buy a heavy-duty jacket that comes with all kinds of liners from waterproof zip-in rain liners for wet days, to thick windproof fleece for super cold, dry days. The jackets are slim cut, long in the arms and bodice, and pre-formed for bent elbows. This is the true sign of a motorcycle jacket since it must cover your lower back if you are hunched over on a sportbike, not come up short on the forearms if leaned back on a cruiser, and always promote a comfortable bend at the elbow. The leather jacket I purchased has some ventilation zippers but I don’t consider it a summer jacket. The thick leather, tough stitching, and properly placed body armor clearly will protect you in a crash. But, I consider this a winter jacket since that same leather and armor will roast you at a stoplight during a New Orleans summer.
My Favorite Motorcycle Jacket for Summer
As for summer jackets (which here in New Orleans is a March through November jacket), I live in my Vanson mesh jacket. My Model is discontinued since I bought it in the Paleozoic, but the new VX4 VentMax Mesh Jacket is the same awesome replacement.
It’s like you installed air conditioning on your motorcycle! If you get caught in traffic and start to sweat, once moving, the air flies through the jacket and dries you completely. But be warned! I have been caught out with this jacket on overnight rides where I wake up and there is a bit of chill in the morning. Your teeth will chatter, so toss a hoodie in your saddlebag or backpack if you think you may find some cool weather along your ride. Vanson products are also made in the USA, which is always appealing. I order direct from Vanson despite lucking out many years ago and buying my mesh jacket at the predecessor to Moto Julia (called TTRNO). As stated, it is nice to try stuff on at a local shop to assure fit, and if there are any problems, the shop can help with warranty issues.
Fit is Crucial!
Top Tip: speak with a pro when fitting any motorcycle gear since the stuff is not just supposed to hang on you. The helmet should match the shape of your head to some degree to avoid pinching and the inevitable headache that comes with that (check out my recent blog post on helmet choices and how to get that job done correctly). A jacket won’t perform well if it rolls up while sliding on cement or the pants are so loose that they end up around your ankles if you take a slide. Remember, we all know our favorite pastime has inherent dangers so why not prepare ahead of time so that you are dusting off gravel from your sturdy jacket and not having it irrigated out of your skin by an ER doctor. The same goes for Motorcycle boots; they need to fit right so your feet don’t go to sleep while riding or make shifting gears difficult. Amazon may save you a few bucks but gear that doesn’t fit is useless and does not protect you. Shopping local is your best bet and we’re lucky to have two great motorcycle gear stores in New Orleans.
Best Places to Buy Motorcycle Gear in New Orleans
I typically buy my gear from Moto Julia at the corner of Baronne Street & Julia Street in downtown New Orleans. They are the local Ducati/Triumph/BMW/Vespa dealer and they have a full selection of Revit and other gear in-house. Don’t shy away from the “manufacturer” gear they offer. Each bike section or showroom often has jackets and gear that are offered by that particular motorcycle manufacturer. I have found the Triumph jackets and pants to be very high quality and fit me like a glove. The same for the Ducati gear and, as a guy with three Ducatis, I don’t mind repping the brand. Stop in and see what they offer and their helpful staff can and will help you gear up. I typically go to Moto Julia for the jackets and pants since buying stuff online is a guessing game when it comes to sizing, especially when it comes to helmets and pants.
Another great spot to get motorcycle gear is on Carrollton Avenue in midcity New Orleans at Cycle Gear. It is a national chain with stores in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Lafayette. They offer a nice variety of clothing and helmets too, and you can find stuff there that only a big national chain can get like special edition Valentino Rossi full-face helmets or wildly designed helmets for anyone from children to adults. As always, since they have multiple stores nationwide, whatever you may see on the website or is out of stock can be shipped for free to your local store. Cycle Gear is a great option when trying to lock in on gear that fits right, looks good, and is well priced. Ask for Nick in the New Orleans store, or Krystal at the Lafayette store since they are about the nicest folks you can speak to and they know what they are talking about. Nick has ordered everything from boots and helmets for my kids to hard-to-find dirt bike batteries. It’s one-stop shopping for most riders.
When it comes to choosing which store, it depends on what you are looking for. If you want to shop for aftermarket saddlebags that can fit a Harley and grab a battery for your daughter’s dirt bike, then cycle gear is your best choice. If you have been thinking about getting a set of riding pants and jacket for a long trip and you want the latest in technology and a Triumph or Ducati badge on both to match your new bike, then Moto Julia is the answer. The level of service at both is top-notch so don’t be shy about visiting both of the best places to buy motorcycle gear in New Orleans. You will probably find things you love and can use at both stores and they are only about 5 minutes apart.
I’ll write another blog about boots and pants since those two items require more words than this blog can handle… stay tuned.