I am a huge believer in getting quality gear on before I hit first gear on the bike. There has been some discussion on gear here and last week I added up the cost of my gear and it's over USD $ 600.00. I don't wear all of it at the same time, different gear for different needs but last night I saved more than all my gear combined. On my way home from VTE last night a Mercedes SUV swerved into me and made contact with my left hand guard. It was a collision at about 40 kmph and I shattered the mirror on the bike and on the SUV and set a good crease in his door behind the mirror. The impact was taken well by the guard and prevented my hand from being smashed, protected my clutch lever and mount as well as spread the impact out better. Had I not had them, I'd sure I would have gone down and the traffic behind me would have squished me more. Hard Rally Guards have in the past saved me from scrapes with jungle brush as well as smashed a few car mirrors while doing suicide slalom runs in BKK traffic. USD $ 60 - value - unlimited. Gear First then First Gear. I have ridden quite a bit around Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam and am always shaken to see people riding without good helmets, in shorts, flip flops and shirts that tear easily instead of being skin protectors. If you are coming to Laos and in need of gear, there's little to buy here but if you need, I'll loan some things out. Email me.