MOTO GEAR SHOPS – LONDON – (including the famous BIKE SHED)
August 2019 – I took a quick trip from Thailand to London, taking in a few of the most popular motorcycle gear shops, in the hope of finding some specific ladies gear options whilst there. (This write-up focuses mainly on ladies gear)
I did figure that the UK would be more cool weather gear focused, rather than hot weather gear, but was still hoping to see a nice range of options.
I went to a few different stores, checking out the ranges and also what the general vibe was like for a solo female shopper. I have a few additional comments at the end of this report, but for now I will focus on the main points of three well-known shops that I visited.
Shop 1: The Bike Shed.
The Bike Shed is an iconic motorcycle venue in Shoreditch, London. This venue provides a lot for riders, including a cafe and restaurant, ample off-road (sheltered) parking, as well as a quality gear shop. There is a retro vibe and theme (and a cool barber shop for the gents). The Bike Shed tends to stock the higher-end range of motorcycle clothing, with a bit of a retro-trendy vibe. Everything is nicely laid out and visually appealing. The staff were friendly and helpful but also left me to have a quiet look around, which I liked.
I had emailed the Bike Shed prior to flying over to check if they had in stock the items I was looking for, and recieved a prompt and helpful response. As expected though, the specific lady rider gear section is still a small proportion compared to the rest of the store.
I particularly wanted to check out motogirl leggings (a ladies riding pant that is extremely popular amongst lady riders in the UK) and to take a look at the Knox gear options, particularly their action shirt and micro-lock armour range.
After I inspected the Motogirl leggings and tried them on, I realised sadly that they were a total no-go for tropical climate riding. A few of my female friends in Thailand have also been curious about these leggings, but I would say they are no good at all for riding here. Well-made, but just far to thick and hot for wearing in Thailand heat. They also felt heavy, like I was wearing a large duvet blanket wrapped around my lower half. If I lived in a cooler climate I would most likely get them. A little disappointing for me, as I had high expectations, but I just didnt realise quite how thick and heavy they would turn out to be.
There were several other jean/pant options but again, nothing really ideal for Thailand.
I tried on several pairs and although not the best choice for Thailand heat, I fell hard for a cool pair of armoured wax trousers that I just couldn’t resist getting. Lightweight with lots of stretch and Kevlar lining. Absolutely fabulous jeans!
Additionally I bought a t-shirt from The Bike Shed, which was totally an impulse buy and I really shouldn’t have, but I have no real regrets about it. The t-shirt is included in my full gear video at the end of this write up. As for the Knox Action Shirt, it really was too flimsy to be a viable protection option, but Knox in general is a fantastic brand.
I snuck a “motogirlthailand” sticker on the shop board, trying not to cover over any of the other stickers already on there. ^^
SHOP 2: URBAN RIDER
Urban Rider is a small, high-end quality gear shop (The Bike Shed stocks many of their products). I visited their small store on the New Kings Road in Fulham. The store was quite a bit smaller than I thought it would be though, given their online stock, and sadly not much in the way of ladies specific riding gear.
I took a quick look around and the end I purchased some armour as there was nothing else in the store that I felt would be a good addition to my Thailand gear. I came away with a Knox back protector and some Rokker hip protectors (which I slightly regret buying as they don’t feel quite as comfortable as I initially thought they would).
Infinity motorcycles is a more budget-friendly store, which has several outlets. I visited their Great Portland Street store, which is a two level shop. The upper level has mainly helmets and accessories and clothing is in the lower level. (I also used to live in this area prior to moving to Thailand 13 years ago, so was a little strange to be back there and brought back memories)
They had a decent enough range of women’s gear, with all the main popular brands available (motogirl leggings, etc). The prices were friendlier than The Bike Shed and Urban Rider, but not as many high-end cool items. They also didn’t stock any Knox armour, as I decided I wanted to check out the shoulder and elbow Knox range. Which was a pity, as I didn’t have time to go back to The Bike Shed or Urban Rider due to other commitments, (although I would have loved to have gone back!).
In the end I bought just a couple of small Rok straps, as I specifically needed some smaller straps for my tool bags attached to my bike. I am happy with the Rok straps. These straps are as good as straps get!
There were a couple of guys working at the Infinity store and they were friendly and helpful. I gave a motogirlthailand sticker to one of the guys, but I suspect it might have gone in the bin..haha. Not sure.
In truth the UK is just not the best country for suitable gear options for Thailand. Most of the gear is tailored towards a colder climate, so there were many warm, waterproof and insulated clothing items. (I imagine Australia having more hot weather gear options, but unsure if they have a decent range for women or not.) The helmet and boot ranges and accessories were great though, and much better prices than in Thailand.
Women rider specific gear, although still limited in options, is certainly improving, and stretchy gear options (such as the motogirl leggings) means the clothes adapt well to our monthly fluctuating body weight. >.<
A quick note about correspondence prior to flying to London. I was VERY impressed by how helpful The Bike Shed was. Thank you. The helpfulness was really appreciated by me. Huge thumbs up!
All the items I bought in London are in the following video.
I would say I have no regrets about any of the purchases except that the tshirt was an indulgence when I should have saved the pennies, and the Rokker hip armour is possibly not the one I should have gone with. All in all though, I am happy with the items chosen, even if my bank balance isn’t!
…a small addition to end this write-up. When I returned back to Thailand I was lucky to have a package sent up to me, containing a Inuteq cooling vest. The company who will be selling these in Thailand contacted me some weeks back, asking if I would be interested in product testing their vests, which will be launched here soon. Of course I said yes! I will be testing this product and the new Kusari jeans soon. This cooling vest is going to be a game changer in these tropical climates. Watch this space..!
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Safe travels! 😀