Valor. Great courage in the face of danger. Appropriate riding gear strengthens the mind in regard to danger and protects the body when danger is cashed in for carnage. Quality riding gear enables a person to encounter danger with firmness of mind. ADV and Dual Sport riding are inherently dangerous.
Elegance. Grace, refinement, and beauty in movement and appearance. Armor displays preparation, risk management, and acknowledgment of danger but can and should have a look and feel of beauty. ADV and Dual Sport Riding are inherently beautiful.
Gryphon, the Eagle-Lion Hybrid. Taking the best traits from both animals, the Gryphon symbolizes a guardian who protects out of a sense of duty and righteousness rather than selfish greed. The motorcycle clothing company Gryphon seems to have chosen an appropriate name.
Gryphon is a family owned and operated business! Literally a family business run by a husband and wife team, Gary and Jenny, that makes high quality gear at affordable prices. They have used their many years of experience in the motorcycle industry to figure out where to trim the fat but maintain high standards of quality. I have been partnered with them for a year and have been thoroughly impressed with their products, business philosophy, and, well, them. Great people. One of our Clinic riders reached out to me about riding gear earlier this year, specifically about Gryphon. I gave him my impressions of the company and the specific gear that I have actually used. He had questions about some of their other selections and I recommended he reach out to Gryphon directly. This is taken from the email he sent to me after reaching out to them:
"This morning I actually called and left a message at Gryphon, to ask some specific questions about the gear in question. Just over an hour later I got a call from Gary Cuzner, I was floored, I was actually speaking to the owner of the company. He took all kinds of time, answered all my questions. I ended up ordering the Indy pants, Blue Ridge jacket and a pair of Cabot gloves... How cool is that?" That is the dedication of a customer-centric organization, a guardian protecting out of a sense of duty...pretty cool indeed.
Textile vs. Mesh
For the purposes of this article, textile riding gear is generally referring to solid material riding gear that uses closable vents to create air flow. Mesh is referring to riding gear that uses a mixture of textile sections connected by full mesh sections that cannot be closed and are part of the main jacket/pant. I will use two ADV riding gear set-ups and will occasionally mix-and-match them, depending on the season. I generally use textile with venting when it is a bit cooler outside, say October through April-ish. Once it gets a bit warmer I switch to a mesh set-up and carry rain gear. I always overheat if I wear textile during the summer, regardless of the venting. That said, I do ride fairly physically most of the time so I'm working up a sweat regardless!
The Vancouver Textile Jacket and Indy Textile Pants
The Vancouver jacket is one of the best textiles I've had. The outer shell has a great design with many pockets, really good venting, and a removable neck gaiter. The lower back pocket is roomy (bigger than average), and there is a place to put a water bladder in the upper back also. Some of the finer details show Gryphon’s desire to create a great riding experience with items such as easy pull zippers for gloved hands, soft fleece lining in the hand pockets, and a neoprene collar.
The included puffer jacket does not zip onto the outer shell but does have connection points. This helps hold in heat better when it is cold outside but you do have two separate jackets that need to be zipped. The set up is very warm but the puffer is bulky for storage purposes. When I would head out on a ride with the puffer and inevitably get too warm when hitting the off road sections, I would need to plan ahead on storage of the puffer. Gryphon, ever desiring to make the best gear, has already made adjustments to some of the pain points in all of their riding gear as they get more seasons under their belt including thinning down the puffer jacket.
Vancouver feature highlights:
-Waterproof and breathable
-Great drop panel venting in the front and back, plus zippered venting on the shoulders and wrists
-Removable neck gaiter
-Tons of storage space including multiple pockets, a large cargo pocket in the rear, and a water bladder holder
-Multiple adjustment points to tailor the fit
-Removable day puffer jacket included (adding even more pockets!).
The Indy pants are comfortable with a removable thermal liner. Hand and cargo pockets are helpful and the "pre-shaped" & stretch material make them fit very well. The bottom of the legs are a bit snug on larger ADV boots but the zipper will close over my bulky Forma Terra Evo X’s after a little finesse. The front window vents offer air flow flexibility by unzipping one side for less airflow or opening the window completely for full flow. A set of single zipper vents on the back of the leg would help with better air flow but since the top vents are so large it does help. You'll also want to replace the hip pads with something a bit more sturdy if you're hitting the dirt.
Indy feature highlights:
-Waterproof and breathable
-Drop panel venting in the front
-Tailored fit with waist belt, natural form, and properly placed stretch materials
-Removable quilted liner.
The Warrior Mesh Jacket, Tucson Mesh Transition Jacket, and Hi-Flo Mesh Pants
The Warrior is a straight up mesh jacket that worked great in the heat of the summer with a light packable rain jacket for cool mornings or when Mother Nature decided to bring on some showers. With full mesh front and rear panels along with a large mesh panel on the front of the arms it is easy to feel the breeze. The textile along the arms, shoulders, and sides provide some reinforcement if you end up taking a closer look at the ground. The solid padding, including large back coverage, also has a great honeycomb style design to protect but allow plenty of airflow.
Warrior feature highlights:
-High flow mesh to help keep the breeze when I'm working up a sweat
-Subdued color but still contains reflective patches
-Sturdy Kryptonite shell
-Tons of pocket space
-Multiple adjustment points and functional designs to make a custom and comfortable fit.
The Tucson Mesh Transition Jacket is sharp looking with great features and quickly became a favorite. Attempting to bridge the gap between a straight mesh jacket like the Warrior and the vented textile jackets like the Vancouver, Gryphon’s transition jackets have the outer mesh style set up with a removable liner that is both wind and water resistant. The liner zips directly into the shell and the setup also offers internal connection points at the end of the sleeves. The shell also has waterproof zippering on the external pockets. Colored and reflective highlights adorn the jacket and provide a unique design that is eye-catching, which helps when dodging traffic.
Tucson feature highlights:
-Water resistant removable interior thermal liner with full sleeves for wind and rain protection
-Tons of pockets including three external waterproof, two in the liner, and two on the inside of the shell
-600 Denier KRYPTONITE anti-abrasive outer shell
-Comfortable neoprene collar
-6 Point comfort fit adjustment system (hip/bicep/wrist).
The Hi-Flo Mesh Pants get some high flow! Tons of mesh with textile reinforced knees and seat offer protection and air flow. The knee pads are also honeycomb style and their pockets have two different placement possibilities for some adjustability. Straight forward summer riding pants that have held up beautifully during all of my on- and off-road escapades (including some time on the ground!). As in the Indy Textile Pants, you'll want to replace the hip pads if you'll be hitting the dirt.
Hi-Flo feature highlights:
-Nice and meshy to keep out the sweaty
-Multiple adjustment points for a comfortable fit including stretch panels
-Big bottom cuffs to fit larger ADV boots
-Waist adjusters and a double snap above the fly.
Cabot Waterproof Leather Glove & Sahara Vented Textile Glove
The Cabot gloves are great for cooler weather with a Hipora waterproof liner but be aware this makes the gloves fit a little more snug. These short cuff gloves are made from goat leather and are touch screen compatible with knuckle and palm protection. I’ve always been a fan of goat leather gloves and these pre-formed beauties felt like old friends within a few miles on the first ride.
The Sahara’s have been in a steady rotation all year long. A goat leather-polyester blend, these gloves have been extremely comfortable without compromising protection. I immediately loved these gloves. Super sweaty summer riding, these mesh gloves kept my paws happy. Crank up the heated grips for cool mornings or for spring and fall riding. Throw on some handlebar covers with those heated grips and the Sahara’s remain steadfast over winter. Weatherman calling for a chance of cold H2O from the heavens? Pack the Cabot’s and the Sahara’s and twist the throttle.
I am pretty rough with gear, well with pretty much everything! The last two years in particular I have put in many hard miles. I can't think of any ride over this two year period that didn't involve trail riding in some form or fashion. That means I am riding hard, occasionally falling off, always dirty, generally working up a sweat, and constantly having to wash things after each ride. Some of the gear has shown a bit of that wear but that is to be expected after a year with 65 riding days (and counting). Although a bit beaten with hard riding and hard falls, still functional and comfortable.
The Indy Textile pants have taken the most beatings due to my mixing and matching of gear. When the weather is a bit unpredictable and varied, such as spring and autumn here in Upper Appalachia, I will sometimes use textile waterproof pants with adjustable vents paired with a mesh riding jacket and carry a raincoat. With the addition of the Tucson Mesh Transition Jacket it has found a solid rotation with the Hi-Flo Mesh Pants over the summer and also with the Indy pants as the weather has started to turn. The removable liner of the Tucson has held up well to the upper 40’s to 50’s and a few light rainy days. As we progress towards the end of fall and beginning of winter I’ll keep it in the rotation and comment on our social media.
The good folks at Gryphon have been awesome. Awesome partners, awesome gear, and awesome people. They are always looking to think outside the box and are continuously searching for ways to improve upon their current designs or create new ones. After utilizing their gear over the past year I recently gave them some feedback and suggestions. Some things I mentioned they had already been working on or at least taken into account. As a person who also attempts to think outside of the box, I had a few suggestions that I pulled from other athletic ventures I have pursued and continue to enjoy and threw them into a potential motorbiking world use. Will they work? Maybe, maybe not. But the idea is to continue to improve upon our chosen passion, attempt to offer riders something high quality and new, and support the industry. Live like an Eagle-Lion hybrid…
Check out the gear mentioned above as well as the rest of the catalog over at GryphonMoto.com! Jackets, Pants, Gloves, Rain Gear, and other Accessories can all be found on their website. Come out to an Appalachian ADV Event and receive a 15% discount good for anything on the Gryphon website!
Have Fun, Take Chances! But please do it with the appropriate ATGATT!
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