BUY TIGHT. BUY ONCE.
We spend an enormous amount of time with customers in the shop trying to make sure that we get the sizing on jackets, boots, gloves, helmets and so on just right.
In most cases, our advice is to buy as snug as you can, provided of course that there's no pain involved.
And that's because most items are going to give over time, and sometimes quite quickly. In truth, the rule applies more to leather items than textile ones, although most jeans will also stretch and loosen up.
Technical textile jackets and trousers tend not to increase in size significantly in the short term, but they will soften and loosen up making them easier and more comfortable to wear after a few months.
But going as tight as you can is particularly important with leather jackets, and gloves, and to an extent boots too. In early July, we spent some time with a customer agonising over the size of a beautiful leather jacket. We felt the 50 size was trim, but best in the long run. However, the gentleman decided to take the 52.
Three weeks later, he came back into the shop with the jacket literally hanging off him. Luckily, it all ended well, as his somewhat larger brother wanted his jacket, thus allowing our customer to take the smaller size.
Helmets, of course, are tricky. Again we want snug, but obviously we don't want a helmet to be so tight that it is putting pressure on the skull, as this is a recipe for a headache.
But with reasonable use, any helmet is going to become looser. The soft comfort pads will become compressed, and even the eps layer that gives the helmet its protective qualities, will shrink as your sweat and perspiration erode it.
The same goes for boots, especially good quality leather boots. Wear them, and they will ease up and mould to your feet. One problem, we have found, is that when people come in to see us, they inevitably compare the item they want to buy with the one they currently own.
But if you've been wearing your helmet, gloves, jacket, boots and so on for four or five years, or even longer, then the brand new piece you want to replace it with is clearly not going to, initially, feel anywhere near as comfortable.
A gentleman I was serving recently thought his new Rukka suit was a bit stiff. I explained to him that Rukka is always like this. "Well my current Rukka suit isn't", he responded. I asked him how old it was. It transpired that he'd had it for some 16 years! No wonder his new suit felt a little alien.
So our advice remains that you should go tight. Unfortunately, going home, and wearing your gear around the house is probably not going to be a great indicator of how comfortable your new purchase is going to be.
You actually need to get out on the bike. Riding at seventy in the cold, in the heat or in the rain will put gear under the kind of pressure you just cannot replicate in the living room in front of the TV.
Give it a few weeks and you'll notice the difference. Give it a year and you'll definitely thank us •