With winter just around the corner, Kiwi company Roadog has launched a new line of thermal layers specifically designed for motorcycle riders.
I came across it when I was in New Zealand riding around the bottom of the South Island in single-digit temperatures.
One of the Kiwi journos was wearing one and he swore by it. In fact, he wore only the long-sleeve Roadog shirt under a one-layer leather jacket on a new Harley-Davidson Road King Special with no windscreen and was still warm.
Meanwhile, I wore a t-shirt, two thick jumpers and a thick Harley leather jacket on and I was riding behind a Road King windscreen yet I was freezing.
Ok, a Kiwi rider may be more used to the cold than a Queenslander, but it seems to show that the shirt actually works.
Mind you, the men’s and women’s tops are expensive at more than $300. But what price a warm body on a cold riding day!
Actually pricing is quite complex. They say $303.48–$312.17, depending on size. That’s in NZ$ and includes 15% GST. However, if you order in Australia, they will cost about $A300, even though you won’t pay the GST. That’s because you have to factor in the favourable exchange rate and postage.
The material was invented by Glenn Rodgers and includes a combination of modern wind-cheating fabrics with the warmth of good, old Kiwi Merino wool.
“My business partner David Walsh and myself have been riding for many years, throughout the seasons, but winter rides were frustrating because of the thick, knitted jerseys I needed to wear to keep warm,” says Glenn.
“The only clothing available was bulky and cumbersome and I would hunch my shoulders forward to create an air gap across my chest to create an insulating cap.”
This practical, artificial solution was the spark that ignited Glenn’s quest for a better riding shirt.
He needed one that was warm, not too bulky and windproof, especially on the front.
Glenn teamed with his mother and experienced seamstress Lorraine to produce several prototypes.
Together with business partner David they settled on Hydrotex windproof material to keep out the wind chill.
However, after a cold overnight ride home from a Bruce Springsteen concert, Glenn decided on extra insulation.
“I made a decision to add a layer for insulation but it proved to be challenging to find material that would be self-supporting and not start sagging at the bottom, once you put it in the wash,” he says.
They finally settled on American Thinsulate as a thin insulating layer between the Merino and Hydrotex.
The shirt also has a super soft double-merino snood or neck sock cleverly incorporated into the design.
The Kiwi company plans to launch into the North American and European markets in coming months.