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Why don’t bike shops stock extreme sizes?

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Are you an extreme size – short, tall, skinny or large – but still want to ride a motorcycle? Unfortunately, you are out of luck as few stores stock these extreme sizes.

A former motorcycle gear distributor says it’s purely a commercial decision. It costs money to buy the stock and have it sit in the store on the off-chance that an overly large or small rider will buy it.

He suggests that for large gear, you shop online through American outlets as they cater for the rather large American riders.

It should also be noted that Harley-Davidson stores stock American-made clothing which comes in sizes right up to a massive 5XL, although their boots only go up to American size 13 (12.5 Australian).

If you are looking for smaller sizes, you should try Asian online motorcycle outlets or consider buying children’s sizes from the US and Europe.

The issue has come to light recently after Geelong rider Alastair Bain contacted Motorbike Writer saying he couldn’t find motorcycle boots anywhere for his size 15 feet.

“I have contacted large retailers, Rossi and even bought a pair of Forma size 16  boots online that were about 2 sizes too small,” says the BMW K 100 RS rider.

“I can’t for the life of me find any motorcycle boots that are a genuine 15 and I have been rejected from a returning rider course because I was told I needed to have motorcycle boots.

“I argued that I couldn’t get them and this made it all the more important for me to do the course as I was less protected than other riders.

“My plea fell on deaf ears and I have been unable to enrol in the course and continue to ride, untrained, in steel cap work boots.”

We contacted several distributors who said they did have large boot sizes in stock, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of variety to choose from.

Matthew Dowd of Ficeda says they have a Berik GPX boot in size 15 (part number BK1323BK49) which costs $329.95. However, the largest off-road boot they stock is size 14.

He says stores are reticent to stock extreme sizes “as those sizes just don’t sell, only every blue moon”.

Suus spokesman Stewart MacCiolli says they only stock European-made Stylmartin boots, but they don’t make a size 15.

boots Footpegs pain - extreme
Stylmartin boots

“We hold the smallest and largest sizes available, both male and female,” he says.

“The smallest that we have available is a size 5(E36) and largest is a size 13 (E47).”

McLeod Accessories Brand Manager Andrew Wright says they go up to a size 50 in SIDI which is a US size 14.5, but says only larger stores carry this size.

Men’s Boot Sizing Chart
Australia 5.5 6 6.5 7 7.5 8 8.5 9 9.5 10 10.5 11 11.5 12.5 13.5 14.5 15.5
Europe 38 38.5 39 40 41 42 43 43.5 44 44.5 45 45.5 46 47.5 48.5 49.5 50.5
USA 6 6.5 7 7.5 8 8.5 9 9.5 10 10.5 11 11.5 12 13 14 15 16
cms 24.1 24.6 24.8 25 25.7 25.8 26.7 27 27.3 27.8 28.3 28.6 29 29.4 30.2 30.7 31.1

Several hours later Andrew rang back to say he had found that Mornington Ducati have both size 49 and 50 in the SIDI Vertigo boot in store for our Geelong rider.

Draggin Jeans sales and retail coordinator Rachel Rowley says stores don’t want to hold extreme sizes as they don’t often get requests for them.

“We offer all our stockists the opportunity to order the bigger or smaller sizes on an order and return policy so there is no risk to them in ordering a size in for a customer to try and we overnight ship everything so there is no delay,” she says.

“It’s a really tough call to make for a store and most know their demographic and stock accordingly. In general stores don’t want to have money tied up in stock that they may only get a request for once a year and so our order and return seems to suit them.

“We offer size 6 to size 24 in ladies styles and size 26 to 60 in men’s so we do have something to fit everyone.”Draggin jeans extreme

Ron Angel Wholesale National Manager Grant Sammut says they don’t sell boots anymore, but says XS and XXL clothing sizes are difficult to sell.

“We invariably get stuck with them at the end of every model run, whether it’s helmets or clothing, and for every one you get stuck with, you might as well not have sold the last four that you sold at full price,” he says.

“I’ve had the same XS and XXL helmets on special at below cost for the last few years … still got them.

“Actually, I’ve still got some 13 and 14 boots that I’ve had here since 2012 too. It’s not a good investment.

“Pretty much every motorcycle shop in the country has a specials bin full of XS/XXL products too.motorcycle helmets unece extreme

“With size 15 – that’s way outside a viable thing to stock. I really feel sorry for people that have really large/small needs – but the percentage of the market that needs those sizes is very small, so it’s just isn’t viable to commit too much stock in those sizes as it only takes the smallest variance to become overstock/dead stock and start ruining your profitability in a big way.”

So there may be some extreme sizes out there, but finding them could be difficult.

It all leaves Alastair and others like him very frustrated.

“Surely there must be boots out there for people with big feet? I can jump online and buy casual and dress shoes up to size 17 no problem, but it doesn’t seem anyone is catering to big-footed bike riders,” he says.

“I  have also tried Eu50 boots also which are far too small.  For some reason these tend to be sized smaller than work boots.

“It is frustrating and although I have large feet, there are plenty of people out there with bigger feet, and it seems that as a general population we are getting bigger and bigger.”

The only other answer to extreme sizes is custom gear although it does make it more expensive.

We couldn’t find a cobbler who makes motorcycle boots, but you can try Tiger Angel and Ricondi for tailor-made leather and textile gear.

  1. My partner has size 15 Au feet and discovered that Daytona boots will make them for him! After an aborted attempt with an American company, who could make them but refused to because he was too far away ‘what if they dont fit correctly’? Draggin also provided him with appropriate oversize jeans in a relaxed fit as well – Great service from a great Aussie company, so gear is out there but yes, it can be hard to find. PS I have to opposite problem in finding gear small enough to fit comfortably, so we make quite a pair lol

  2. I have similar issues with trying to find a large enough helmet that fits. Not only do you have to find a size, but a shape. Over recent years it seems the majority of the motorcycle world all have round heads. Long and thin head, you’ve got problems. Got a head like a sock full of spanners and your plum out a luck.

  3. Hi Mark
    This article resonates with me. I have trouble finding normal clothes, let alone riding gear. And it brings up something I have been thinking about for a while. I wish there was a better selection of really big bikes. I currently have a GSX1400 and have been looking for another bike. I look OK on a Triumph Rocket or an Indian Chief (although the seat of the latter is too low). However, on most bikes, I look like a gorilla on a bmx.

  4. The biggest problem with buying online is you can’t try it on first so you don’t know if that size xxx is really just an x or is actually an xxxxxxxxx.
    And it’s not just the really large or small who have trouble finding gear that fits
    I get called big Al because I am larger than most but I’m not so big that I should have so much trouble finding even casual clothes and shoes that fit properly. So I’m as big as most footballers are people my size really that rare? And why when I go to the big men’s section is it stocked with stuff that my grandad would balk at?
    We used to get fractional sizes and you could trust that if something was ordered in it would fit properly not anymore.
    A soulution I’ve seen in movies is a body scanner that gets your sizes and spits out an outfit.
    Not everyone is the same size or the same shape even if they are the same size so providing a try on sample (doesn’t have to be a finished product just something with the same tayloring) should be something manufacturers should do.

  5. Mark

    Thanks for this article, I’m one one of those riders that needs extreme large sizes, and for the most part I’ve been able to find something close to what I needed, but there is very little choice here in OZ, Ive been to the US a couple of times and over there the average suburban bike shop leaves anything here for dead, The two biggest problems I see in every motorcycle gear store or dealer in Australia, the range of stock they sell and the customer service or lack there off. How these people expect to stay in business when they all are trying to sell the same small range of junk to the same people, the average Aussie is getting bigger and heavier all the time, motorcycle gear makers are getting left behind.
    Recently in a cycle gear store in Los Angeles, I walked out with a new pair of boots (better than anything I’ve been able to find on a shelf here, leather gloves, face mask and a hat for $80USD, even after the exchange rate. Try doing that here.

  6. I have found buying on line generally no problem,
    with jackets especially there are measurement charts
    T-shirts are always a bit iffy i have sizes marked from 2xl
    to 6xl that are all the same size. The thing these dealers
    should bear in mind is once they send a customer to buy
    online because they can’t be bothered to stock their size.
    They will probably lose their custom for everything else.
    If they don’t have your motorcycle part in stock and it has
    to come in from america or wherever it is usually just as
    quick and a lot lot cheaper to buy on line

  7. There is also a problem in a lack of conformity about what constitutes any particular size for example, I’m 6’3″ 110+kg and in the winter I wear an Aldi leather jacket that’s a size 2XL (and I wear it with 2 or 3 layers underneath). In the summer I wear a DriRider mesh jacket in size………5XL! and with only one layer underneath AND they both fit EXACTLY the same around my chest. Size variations like that are absolutely ludicrous. I also own shoes that are sizes 11, 12 and 13 and they all fit exactly the same!

  8. Improper fit is a safety issue!
    What’s the point of armour if it’s not in the right place?
    There is also the possibility of what’s called degloving, it’s basically your skin being ripped or twisted off by your clothes, the worse the fit the bigger the risk.
    And not everyone wants everything in black black or black.
    I can understand a bike shop not wanting to overstock on uncommon sizes but I’ve been to so called bike gear warehouses or super stores that have had less choice and fewer sizes that a small mom and pop bike shop.

  9. Being rejected from a training course for not having bike boots is a bit hard to believe!
    What are bike boots? Should have been the question he asked. As the answer would have been, Der I don’t know! As long as you have some ankle protection and a suitable tread and nothing to get caught up like long laces or a steel cap toe then almost any boot is a bike boot.
    No steelcapped boots are not bike boots. Why because the steel cap can interfere with gear changes and they are heavy and can slow down critical reaction times if you don’t mess up because the cap got in the road. The cap can wear skin off the top of your toes after a lot of gear changes. The last thing you want on your feet at the end of a hard days work is a pair of lead weights, joggers would be better.
    So what are bike boots? Any boot that has a good grippy sole some ankle protection and is light with no cap on the toe.

  10. I’m short and fat; couldn’t find any textile pants locally that fit appropriately.
    I ended up contacting the Australian Rukka distributor, measuring various bits of my body about 100 times then sending those measurements off and getting the right-sized Rukka gear. Rukka have a wide range of sizes in both short and tall options as well.

    One thing I notice with brands is that they’re happy to say “oh look, we have lots of sizes; we cater for everyone!”, but that’s a bit useless if you only offer a fixed inner seam length. I expect that if I’m paying towards the upper end of the price bracket that I won’t have to then take clothing to get tailored (can textiles even be tailored? Can jeans with full-length kevlar be tailored? I have no idea).

    1. hi Steve,
      sure we can make a special pair fully lined if that is your preference.
      just need waist and inseam….best to talk with Rachel…03 96460377
      thanks for your inquiry.
      ride safe,

      1. Hi Grant,
        That’s great info; I didn’t realise you offered a tailored/custom service!

  11. Hi Mark,
    When you look at the pictures in the magazines of the models of the clothing, there is the problem.
    Take sports bikes. The outfits are all made for slender males that are also part time swimmers or divers.
    Seeing that over 50% of the first world folk are over weight, how many people have to buy incorrectly fitted clothing just to get the waist size?
    The knee sliders of the wearer end up down the legs rather than the knee and all the other protective parts are non effectively sited. Its’ no fun squeezed into a one piece suite that is too tight to bend in, in summer heat, with the next size up just too long and wide to be wearable for the purpose at hand.
    It may be a commercial decision not to stock over size (meaning fat gut), but the Biking participants who are after sport / touring textile clothing are poorly supported by the Importers in being able to buy suitable clothing, end of story.

  12. I’ve got the same problem in womens riding gear. I am a size 18 & I can’t buy riding gear off the shelf in a store. The largest I’ve found in store was the equivalent to a size 14! Thanks to Girl Rider brand I’ve got a great summer jacket. My leather winter jacket I got custom made. And don’t get me started on the lack of colour options, you can have it in any colour you like as long as its black!

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