USWE Ranger 9 Hydration Pack Product Review

 

 

                                             100 Ounces Of Thirst Quenching Goodness. 

                                             100 Ounces Of Thirst Quenching Goodness. 

 

 Southern California’s 2017 summer was somewhat mild in terms of heat until the temperature’s recently soared to around 110 degrees. Lately I’ve been riding a lot of moto (Kris is trying to turn this off-road goober into at least a Ronnie Mac), until I got my hands on the Husky TE250i. I immediately headed into the dry and dusty hills of the high desert in seemingly the hottest month of summer. Kris put me in charge of the USWE Ranger 9 hydration pack, so I was excited to see what it had to offer in terms of storage (I’m kind of a bring everything AND the kitchen sink trail rider) as well as it’s hydration capacity (I’m also kind of a “Hey lets go up that canyon and see if it leads to a dead end” trail rider). 

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I’ve used many hydration packs in my numerous years exploring the California deserts; everything from those goofy crossbar water jugs, an MSR hydration bottle that basically zip tied onto your chest protector, to racing desert Hare and Hounds with a small pack that has a disconnect and fed right into my helmet mouthpiece. Now that I’m a washed up vet rider, I’m all about practicality and functionality, so when I got the Ranger 9 I was happy to see that when they say one size fits all it really does. There are two orientations to put the Velcro chest straps that allow the pack to fit from medium to extra-large. I’m 6’0 170 pounds and with the adjusters snugged up tight, when full, it hugged my body tight but not uncomfortably and had plenty of adjustment to be loosened if desired. The chest strap is simple, straight forward and kept the pack in place throughout multiple trail rides. The main compartment is for the hydration pack which holds 100oz (basically almost 6 normal sized water bottles), and also has a mesh pocket that I used for cliff bars and snacks. The bladder itself is well made, seals well, is easy to fill, and best of all the bite valve is fantastic. It doesn't drip on me while I ride, but it also has good flow and easy to get water out of while riding. 

            Off-Road Tester Michael Allen Loves Sucking On The Hose And Catching Air. 

            Off-Road Tester Michael Allen Loves Sucking On The Hose And Catching Air. 

On the outside of the pack there is a top pocket that is big enough to hold a cell phone, tow strap, or microfiber for you goggles. The third and largest storage pocket has elastic loops to hold a multi tool, tube of quick steel, or screwdriver. There is a label inside the pouch to put important info just incase the pack is left next to the trail (which I have done in the past). Also, in the third pocket is a Velcro pouch where I kept my wallet, it’s towards the bottom of the pack which is where I like to store the heavier items (no I’m not saying I’m rich, just giving a comfort tip). Lastly there is a mesh pocket where I kept my keys, I like to keep them separated from my phone so they don’t scratch it or break the screen in a crash.  Even with all the items I listed, the pack still had a little room to shove a few more snacks in without looking like I was a hunchback. Overall, I’d say that USWE did a great job designing a hydration pack that carries a lot of cargo as well as water. The only thing I wish the Ranger 9 pack had is a clip to hold my keys. Although they were secure in the mesh pocket, there is always that fear of getting back to the truck and realizing your keys fell out of your pack when you opened it up on the trail. With an MSRP of $112.26 the Ranger 9 isn’t cheap, but having used goofy cross bar water jugs, it’s worth the price and I would recommend it to any hardcore day long trail rider. USWE makes a wide range of hydration packs from backpack size to small packs which attach to neck braces, so if you’re looking for a hydration pack to help stay cool, check out all of USWE’s products at uswe-sports.com.  - Michael Allen

2018 FLY Lite Hydrogen Racewear

 The Lite Hydrogen pant and jersey has been one of my favorite sets of gear to wear on any given day for a couple years now. The 2018 Lite Hydrogen pant now features the revolutionary BOA closure system that was once only on the Evolution 2.0 pant. The BOA system offers fast, on-the-fly micro adjustability that provides a truly dialed in fit with the simple turn of a dial, creating a customized fit around your waist. The Lite Hydrogen pant is an athletic, minimalist, stretchy fit that ventilates extremely well on long, hot desert testing days. The Lite hydrogen pant also has a 90% stretch panel construction, leather heat shields (on the knees) and sublimated graphics. The Lite Hydrogen jersey also has an athletic fit to it with laser cut perforations to help dissipate heat, a tales printed collar, an open zero cuff with mesh gussets, a low profile collar, an extended tail and sublimated graphics that are claimed to be fade resistant. I put all of this to the test on many long, hot testing days! 

The Fly Lite Hydrogen colorways are so clean for 2018. #BestDressed 

The Fly Lite Hydrogen colorways are so clean for 2018. #BestDressed 

 

Let me tell you it wasn't easy to keep this gear hidden from the social media world because I was constantly riding in this gear for a while before it was released. Luckily for me I had a lot of confidential testing days that kept the spy photos and “Insta Bangers” out of the equation. I am extremely happy with the new BOA system on the 2018 Lite Hydrogen pant. If there was one thing I didn't like about the 2017 Lite Hydrogen pant is that it was so stretchy that it pulled down (in the rear panel) while accelerating out of corners that left me with an untucked jersey by lap three. I am not into the untucked, let if flap jersey style like Jason Anderson so I was happy to see FLY addressed the waist area issues. With the 2018 pant and the BOA system all I have to do is turn in the reel and tighten, so that my pant is securely locked my waist. If you want to loosen the waist area you pull the BOA reel outwards and it releases the tension on the pant. Let’s face it, most motocross riders have no ass and usually the jersey will come untucked immediately, but not with this BOA system. The pant has held up great against my knee braces and although this is a very light weight pant it has superb durability. The Lite Hyrdrogen pant is not as light as the FOX FlexAir, but has held together better over time. If you are a bigger guy don't fear because FLY sells the Lite Hydrogen pant in sizes 28-38. I have seen a pair of 38’s on my buddy and it doesn't look abnormal at all. When comparing the FlexAir and Lite Hydrogen cuts, the Fly pant is not quite as tight as the FlexAir and doesn't hug against your legs as much. This left me with a little more room for an array of knee braces that I tried over the duration of the test. The colors that Fly came out with in 2018 is so much better than the colors they had in 2017. Bright yet clean colorways are what I prefer and that is exactly what the Lite Hydrogen is. Although I am not sure Fly recommends putting your pant and jersey in the dryer, I have done so on many occasions and the BOA reel sticks works flawlessly.  

 

With the Lite Hydrogen's BOA reel incorporated into the light yet stretchy pant, it remains snugly close to your waist. 

With the Lite Hydrogen's BOA reel incorporated into the light yet stretchy pant, it remains snugly close to your waist. 

The Lite Hydrogen jersey ventilates very well and the open cuff design is one of my favorite aspects of this jersey. Sometimes when you get an open cuff design the jersey will ride up your arms during a moto, but the Lite Hydrogen jersey’s cuff will stay in place and not go all Mike Alessi on you. The athletic cut of the jersey is on the snug side, but again not as tight as a FlexAir jersey. It’s important to note that the Lite Hydrogen is not as tight as the FlexAir for the bigger dudes with some extra weight in the belly region. Don’t fear the spare tire because Fly offers a 2X and I promise you will not look all EMO with a snug fitting jersey. Once you slip the jersey on you can feel how soft it is and will the material not irritate your skin. You will also still have enough stretch for an under protector if you choose to wear one (which I did on occasion). Mrs. Keefer has washed the pant and jersey several times and the colors have not yet faded or dulled out. One downside to the jersey is that the collar is somewhat tight around my neck, so I stretch mine out a little. However, be forewarned if you are like me and stretch your collar out, there is a chance for mud/dirt to get inside your jersey. I am willing to take that risk for a more roomy neck area fit, so the juice is worth the squeeze for me to do that.  

 

Fly Racing has come a long way with their gear fitment and designs over the years. The 2018 Lite Hydrogen pant and jersey is light, takes abuse well and looks bad ass! The pant costs $169.95 and the jersey is $49.95. You can check the complete line of 2018 Fly Racing gear at flyracing.com and if you have any questions, please feel free to email me at kris@keeferinctesting.com. 

Gaerne SG-12 Boots

 

Gaerne SG-12 Product Evaluation

 

The Gaerne SG-12 boots have become one of only three sets of boots I go to grab when I go ride. 

The Gaerne SG-12 boots have become one of only three sets of boots I go to grab when I go ride. 

 

If you listened to the “Keefer Tested” Boot Shootout Podcast you know the SG-12’s scored very high marks. I have been wearing the Gaerne SG-12’s for a while now and they have quickly become one of my favorite boots to put on my feet when lacing up to hit the track. The SG-12’s are Gaerne’s top-of-the line motocross boot as it incorporates a hinged ankle design, large grip guards on the inner calf, a carbon fiber shank in the sole, and a dual durometer Vibram replaceable rubber sole. The boots weigh in just over nine pounds, which is around the same weight as a set of Alpinestars Tech 10's. However, the funny part about that weight is that it feels lighter while riding than what the scales are telling me at home. When lifting my leg up high in corners the boots feel like they are more compact (without pinching) around my ankle than a set of Alpinestars Tech 10's and I don't feel they are as fat or heavy when doing long motos. The sizing runs a size big as I am normally a size 11, but I wear a size 10 in an SG-12 so be aware of the sizing or try some on first. The toe box area is also not as fat as a Tech 10, yet bigger than a Sidi Crossfire boot. The colors that Gaerne offers are some of the most eye popping and cleanest there is.  

The inside of the SG-12's have great traction against the frame on any machine. 

The inside of the SG-12's have great traction against the frame on any machine. 

 

The buckle system is excellent with easy moving buckle straps and three available shin plate settings. I am very picky about buckle systems, but the Gaerne rates at the top of my list with four secure, easy to use replaceable clasps. The only other boot that I have tried that has as good of straps as the SG-12 are the Sidi Crossfire's. The boots have held up very well and I have yet to see a ton of wear as they still clean up nicely with a soft brush and some soap and water (don't judge my cleaning abilities in these photos however, I was tired from a long day at the track). The dual-composite, anti-shock sole provides good feel on the pegs and is holding up great against my razor sharp titanium footpegs. Getting accustomed to the SG-12's took very little time and comfort of the non-bootie design is worthy of an all-day ride. Break in time didn't take that long and I was comfortable after my second ride on the track. 

The soles of the Gaerne SG-12 boots have plenty of cushion on those hard landings. 

The soles of the Gaerne SG-12 boots have plenty of cushion on those hard landings. 

 

Gaerne has created a terrific boot with the SG-12. My favorite features by far are the easy to use (even when muddy) buckles and the rubber grip guard, which is the grippiest I have felt on a hinged boot. The flat, grippy inner profile makes squeezing the bike very simple yet is seamless enough not to catch anything on the side of the machine. I was also impressed by the dual-composite, anti-shock sole, which felt great on long test days where I am pounding lap after lap. Some non-bootie designed boots hurt the bottom of my feet on a long day, but the SG-12 has enough cushion for my pushin. Yes, the Gaerne is not cheap (at $549.95), but when you’re getting a quality boot that is comfortable and has so far held up very well I will gladly spend the money. 

 

The Gaerne SG-12 is going to be continuing to be in my steady rotation of boots and hopefully I will be getting some more colors added to my collection soon. If you want to check out the SG-12’s you can go to www.gaerneusa.com. If you have any questions about this test you can drop me an email at kris@keeferinctesting.com anytime and I will try to respond.

2018 Fly Racing Gear Launch Photo Gallery

Last month we had the pleasure of meeting our friends at Fly Racing at their headquarters in Boise, Idaho to ride in the new 2018 gear. The 2018 Fly Racing gear is available today at your local dealer. You can check it out at flyracing.com at midnight eastern today! Check out a handful of photos from the great time we had up in the great state of Idaho

 

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2018 Thor Product Launch

Wednesday the Thor MX guys and gals revealed their 2018 line up of racewear at a private facility near San Diego. The private facility had huge jumps and a very large outdoor style motocross track for us to play on. The Star Racing Yamaha team, Factory Yamaha's Cooper Webb, off-road stars Destry Abbott, Gary Sutherlin and a whole host of others were trying the new gear out first hand. My brother from another mother Preston Jordan shot some photos of the gear and riders, so we put together a little photo gallery for you all to feast your eyes over. Look for a full test on the new 2018 Thor Racewear soon right here at keeferinctesting.com. Enjoy! 

 

Dylan Ferrandis airing it out for PJ's lens. 

Dylan Ferrandis airing it out for PJ's lens. 

Here is a few from the 2018 lineup. 

Here is a few from the 2018 lineup. 

The Purvines/DA8 Off-Road Racing Team was on hand to throw whips as well. 

The Purvines/DA8 Off-Road Racing Team was on hand to throw whips as well. 

Mitchell Harrison 

Mitchell Harrison 

Colt Nichols

Colt Nichols

I can throw in a butt whip from time to time. 

I can throw in a butt whip from time to time. 

My good friend Gary Sutherlin was going hard to make sure he looked good in front of the moto guys. 

My good friend Gary Sutherlin was going hard to make sure he looked good in front of the moto guys. 

Wil Hahn still can haul ass and throw huge nacs! 

Wil Hahn still can haul ass and throw huge nacs! 

Challen Tennant 

Challen Tennant