Vega Stealth Helmet
Exotic carbon fiber is now a well-established material for building lightweight, but generally very expensive, motorcycle helmets as well as parts and bodywork. Vega has cracked the price barrier with its F117 Stealth Carbon Fiber helmet, which costs a mere $289.99 in black or $299.99 in graphics and tipped our scales at just 50.5 ounces. The F117 meets both DOT and ECE 22.05 standards, has a fully removable and washable plush-pillow liner that is speaker ready and comes with an anti-fog, anti-scratch clear outer shield and an internal drop-down smoke sun shield. The helmet is cozy inside and the three-stage Air-Flo ventilation system works well, though the helmet is noisier than some. Fit and finish are very good, there’s a quick-release chinstrap and both the outer and drop-down shields are easily interchanged with smoke, mirror or amber versions.
Tour Master Venture Air 2.0 Pants
Tour Master offers two versions of its Venture Pants, which have long leg zippers so they can be worn as pants or overpants. The Air 2.0 trousers replace the 600-denier Carbolex outer panels on the standard Ventures with Armor-Link mesh so that they flow a lot of air in hot weather with the liners removed. A two-stage removable waterproof and insulated liner system can be zipped in when the weather cools or turns damp. Ballistic 1680-denier poly panels in the knees and seat provide abrasion resistance, and soft hip armor plus height-adjustable CE knee armor protects from impacts. Stretch panels and adjustment straps help trim up the waistband, and there’s a pair of handwarmer pockets plus reflective panels and piping. Our only gripe with the $189.99 pants is that the nylon inner lining can get caught in the leg zippers and hook-and-loop storm flaps, which complicates zipping them closed.
Star Brite Ultimate Xtreme Clean & Reggae Wash Mitt
We don’t enjoy washing motorcycles, so we appreciate anything that makes the job easier. To clean bikes for photo shoots, we start by spraying them down with Star brite’s Ultimate Xtreme Clean, letting it soak in for 30 seconds and then wiping them down with a wet Microfiber Reggae Wash Mitt. Ultimate Xtreme Clean has special chelating agents that break the bonds that hold road grime, bugs, bird droppings and other gunk onto surfaces, and it’s safe for use on metal, fiberglass, plastic, vinyl, chrome, stainless, leather and rubber. It comes in a 22-ounce spray bottle for $12.99 and a gallon-size refill. We’ve never seen a Rastafarian with stubby blue dreadlocks, but the $10.49 Reggae Wash Mitt’s soft, absorbent microfiber nubs cling to dirt and it can be used wet for washing or dry for dusting.
Spidi R/T Leather Jacket & STR-4 Gloves
Founded in 1977 as a manufacturer of racing gloves, Spidi has grown to become one of Italy’s leading motorcycle apparel companies. Its stylish, state-of-the-art leathers have been worn by top racers, and it makes men’s and women’s leather and textile apparel for all types of riding. Spidi’s R/T Leather Jacket ($699.90, four colors, European sizes 46-58) is made of 1.2mm full-grain cowhide and has a mesh lining with a removable 80g thermal vest liner. Like a lot of European apparel, it has a slim cut, but stretchy Tenax material on the front and around the collar and accordion panels behind the armpits allow plenty of movement. There are small vents on the shoulders and lower back (they don’t flow much air) and there’s CE-approved Forcetech armor at the shoulders and elbows (bring your own back protector).
A nice complement to the R/T are Spidi’s STR-4 gloves ($129.90, four colors, S-3XL), which are made of 0.7mm Hi-Fit cowhide on the back and 0.6mm Hi-Fit goat leather on the palm. They have carbon fiber knuckle protectors, EVA reinforcements on the sides and palm and a full gauntlet with dual closures.
Scottoiler FS 365 Corrosion Inhibitor
Well-established in Europe, Scottoiler FS 365 was formulated in the UK to address the effect of corrosion (much of it through the use of road salt) on motorcycles ridden through European winters. The water-based corrosion inhibitor can be used all year ’round on plastic, metal, engine components, hoses, carbon fiber and anodized surfaces (don’t use it on brake discs or tires), where it leaves a thin layer of protection that can be buffed up to a nice shine. FS 365 works especially well on tough-to-clean spoked wheels and hard-to-reach areas. A 1-liter bottle retails for $15.
Roadgear Adaptive-Tec Gloves
These gloves get their name from the Outlast phase-change liner on the inside that absorbs, stores and releases heat as appropriate for optimal thermal comfort in temperatures from 45-85 degrees. Cowhide outer construction with reinforcements in the padded palm and thumb, plus Dynatec reflective material, insure plenty of abrasion resistance and enhanced visibility at night. The gloves secure over jacket sleeves with a generous gauntlet and dual Velcro cuff and wrist closures. The regular price is $74.90 but they recently went on sale in limited sizes for $35.
Rev’It Jackson Jacket
Rev’It’s new Jackson Jacket will inject more retro style into your game than a hipster beard or a man bun, and you don’t even have to trim it. Waterproof, abrasion-resistant outer shell materials and a removable thermal liner suit the jacket well to wet and cool riding conditions—it has no vents, in fact, and can get hot in warmer weather. Among the four big stash pockets on the front that contribute to its classic British style, one is waterproof, and there’s a zippered pocket in the storm flap and another pocket inside both the shell and toasty liner. Knox Lite CE armor protects the shoulders and elbows, and the jacket is ready for optional CE back armor. Snaps on the cuffs, collar and waist straps adjust the fit, and a drawstring around the bottom seals it up tight. It comes in Black or Green-Black (shown) in sizes S-XYL (3XL) and retails for $359.99.
KTM HQ Adventure Gloves
Designed in-house by KTM for use on bikes such as its 1190 Adventure and 1290 Super Adventure touring models, HQ Adventure gloves ($179.99, sizes M-XXL) have a breathable, windproof, waterproof Sympatex membrane, a 40g Thinsulate thermal lining and a cozy, microfiber interior. Most of the glove is made of a textile blend of polyamide, polyester and elastane, but the hard knuckle protectors and the palm are covered with leather, with padding and a second layer of suede at the heel of the palm. It has a full gauntlet with two adjustable hook-and-loop closures and there’s a visor squeegee on the left index finger. These gloves fit well and have kept our hands warm in moderately cold weather, and we like that they aren’t too bulky. They’re waterproof only up to a point, though; during a long ride in steady rain they eventually soaked through.
Joe Rocket Meteor FX Boots
If you want a comfortable pair of all-season motorcycle boots but don’t want to spend a lot of money, Joe Rocket’s new Meteor FX boots ($119.90, sizes 7-13) are a good choice. Made primarily of split-grain leather (rather than more expensive full-grain or top-grain), the boots have Full-Flex ankle articulation thanks to waterproof textile panels on the front and back, a DryTech waterproof membrane, double stitched construction and internal reinforcements at the ankle, toe and heel. A low-profile toe box makes it easy to operate foot controls and there’s a rubber gearshift protector. Entry is via full-length zipper with an overflap secured by hook-and-loop, there’s 360-degree reflective piping and the non-slip lugged sole is made of durable rubber. Sizing runs small, so we recommend trying them on before buying.
First gear Adventure Mesh Jacket
Go-anywhere, do-anything adventure touring apparel can get downright hot and heavy during the summer riding season. Firstgear’s Adventure Mesh Jacket ($279.95) has the three-quarter length and ample storage that adventure riders want in a shell made of 250-denier ballistic polyester mesh. Abrasion-resistant panels and CE-approved armor provide additional protection for the arms and shoulders, and a perforated foam rubber pad protects the back. There’s stretchy athletic mesh inside the jacket, along with a removable, windproof, water-resistant liner that’s thin enough to stash in the rear tail pocket. Nine exterior pockets (two are water-resistant) and two interior pockets hold lots of loot, and adjustment straps at the waist, arms and wrists dial in the fit. Available in silver/black or hi-viz yellow in a wide range of sizes (S-4XL, M-2XL Tall), this jacket will help keep you cool without putting a big dent in your wallet.
Dainese Tempest D-Dry Pants
Designed for cold, wet weather, Dainese’s Tempest D-Dry Pants ($279.95) have a non-removable, breathable, windproof, waterproof membrane inside a shell of water-resistant Duratex fabric. Adding the removable thermal liner provides extra warmth on really cold days, but opening the thigh vents on warm days doesn’t provide much relief since air doesn’t penetrate the D-Dry liner. One of our favorite features of these pants is the articulated, CE-approved, hard plastic-covered, foam-backed knee and shin armor, which protects the entire front of the leg below the knee when combined with tall motorcycle boots. They have two zippered pockets at the waist, wide zippered gussets at the ankle, a 270-degree zipper to connect to a compatible Dainese jacket and reflective stripes. Available in several colors in a range of regular, short and tall European sizes.
Cortech GX Sport Air 4 Mesh Jacket
Cortech’s new GX Sport Air 4 Mesh Jacket isn’t just for the dog days of summer. The two stages of its Aqua-Therm liner—a 100g polyfill thermal vest and a full-sleeved waterproof liner—can be added individually or together as needed, knocking the edge off cool or damp weather. The outer shell combines 1680-denier polyester with Armor-Link III ballistic mesh panels on the front, back and inside the arms, and there’s removable, CE-approved shoulder/elbow armor and a triple-density, articulated back protector. Retailing for just $224.99, this jacket has a lot of features for the money, including numerous pockets and fit adjustments, a fleece-lined collar, reflective piping and rear logo, and an 8-inch jacket-to-pants zipper. We like the sporty style, fit and weight of this versatile jacket, which comes in multiple colors and sizes (XS-3XL, 4XL and Tall M-XXL in black only).
Alpinestars Apex Dry-Spec Gloves
The perfect three-season riding gloves are as elusive as the unicorn and free beer, yet Alpinestars has come close indeed with its leather and stretch poly-fabric Apex Drystars. The latest version has a little less insulation than before to better suit the gloves to warmer temps and heated grips, but there’s still 100 grams of Thinsulate on the top of each hand and A-stars’ Drystar waterproof lining to keep your hands warm and dry in moderate spring-summer-fall temperatures. For abrasion resistance and comfort, the glove outer is made of poly textile with a leather palm, and there’s a soft velour lining inside. A hard knuckle protector, TPR thumb and palm reinforcement and generous EVA padding further enhance protection. The $89.95 Apex Drystars come in S-3XL sizes, are touchscreen compatible and fasten securely with a wide Velcro cuff closure and adjustable wrist strap.
Aerostitch Helmet & Suit Holder
Helmets and gear piling up around you like unread books? The Aerostich Helmet and Suit Holder mounts to any flat surface and has a half-round cedar hanger for your lid and slots for clothes hanger hooks in the bottom of the aluminum frame. Combine it with the Office Cube Adapter as shown, and it can be easily hung over a wall in your favorite cube farm. The Cube Adapter also adds hooks for keys and things and a flat shelf. It gets your stuff out of the way, and proudly displays that you’re a rider to Dilbert and the gang at the office. Chose classic black or clear-coated aluminum/steel. The wall-mount Helmet Holder goes for $57 and the Cube Adapter for $47. Aerostich also offers an aluminum Suit Hook for office cube walls for $27 (and a discount if you buy all three).