Blur Optics B-50 Goggle Product Review

 

I’m always excited to try new products when it comes to testing, especially when it’s a product that some people laugh at or may write off before even trying it. When I first heard I’d be testing a goggle that had a magnetic lens I too had some questions, but after several rides I have the answers to your questions that you may be asking to yourself. The B-50 is Blur’s highest price point goggle with an MSRP of $89.99, which admittedly seems like a lot since Blur has been more known for selling a lower price point, budget goggle. However, don’t judge a book by its cover; the B-50 has become my go to goggle in my assortment of goggle choices. 

Tiny yet powerful magnets hold the lens in place. Yes, it's strong. 

Tiny yet powerful magnets hold the lens in place. Yes, it's strong. 

Starting with the frame, the B-50 gives you a fairly large field of vision since it doesn’t need to have a tall frame for the lens to sit in. The vents on the top and bottom of the goggle breathe very well, and even though I had some no fog cloth on hand, it never caused any fogging issues, even on colder days, doing longer moto’s or trail rides. The foam fit my normal sized nose nicely, sealed to my face well, and fit great inside of 6-D helmet that I wear most of the time. We did also fit the goggle inside of a Shoei VFX-EVO, Arai VX-Pro4, Fox V4, Bell Moto 9 and Suomy with no fitment issues. Admittedly I’m a bit of a sweater and when the goggles were new the foam didn’t absorb my heavy sweating very well. I had a few drips fall into my eyes at the beginning of the test, but for reasons unknown to me the more I rode with the goggles, the better the foam seemed to break in and soaked up my perspiration adequately. One of the many upsides of the B-50 is since the lens pulls right off, I was able to wash my goggles with the rest of my gear, and re-use the same lens after washing without much fuss. The adjustable strap is nothing fancy, but does the job well and always stays in place with the silicone grippers. 

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Let’s get to the part that everyone wants to know, does the lens fall out easily? No, I never had a lens come off unintentionally. I’ve had some small crashes (not head bangers), been roosted by Keefer lap after lap (when he’s lapping me), and taken many bushes to the goggles and have yet to have any issues. As far as I’m concerned, if you have a lens pop off, you have other issues……like how you’re getting back to the truck or how much your hospital bill is going to be. Not your goggle lens. Does it seal to the frame? Yes, the magnets are very strong, and the lip of the frame has not let anymore dust into the goggle than any other goggle on the market that I have tested. Does the lens rip off when you pull a tear-off? No, I’ve gone through traditional tear-offs as well as the laminated packs, and the lens never budged. Since the lens is so large, they all come with a mud flap at the top (that is out of the viewing area), to put the tear offs under so nothing gets between your tear-offs and lens. One downside is Blur does not offer a roll-off style system yet, so all you east coast mud-boggers may want to take that into consideration before making the purchase. 

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Not shocking, the lenses are hands down easier to change than any other goggle on the market, it really is that simple, just pull on the tab, and they come off from the bottom right corner. Being that they are so easy to change the B-50 makes the need to have 3 sets of goggles (one with each style lens) null and void. For example, you're going on a long trail ride and start the day off with a smoke or tinted lens and then the sun start dipping behind the mountains. Most of us off-road guys have been there right? Instead of having to take your goggles off (in order to see) to get back to the truck simply take an extra clear lens with you (in your fanny pack) and pop it in! Boom! Clear vision and goggles on all the way back to the pits! Lenses are obviously more expensive than standard lenses at $29.99 each, but unlike other high end goggle manufacturers, whose lens prices vary from $25.00 for clear, to $95.00 for special lenses, the B-50 lenses are all the same price. So if you have to be the “cool” guy and have the name brand popular goggles that’s fine. However if you’re open minded and want to try a really cool, innovative product, I highly recommend you give the Blur B-50 goggles a try. From easy lens changes to an easily washable frame, Blur seems to be trying to add more of a high end google to their line up and to me it’s not only a great idea, but a great goggle to wear as well. You can go to bluroptics.com to check out the complete line up that they have to offer. -Michael Allen  

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If you have any questions about this test please feel free to email me at michael@keeferinctesting.com

Shoei VFX-EVO Product Review

 

It’s been nine years since Shoei came out with a new/updated off-road helmet! Nine years! Shoei’s new VFX-EVO is their latest DOT and Snell approved off-road helmet that pays tribute to its VFX-W predecessor while updating some styling and incorporating a rotational-impact-protection system that Shoei calls "Motion Energy Distribution System" (M.E.D.S.). Other helmet companies have implemented a similar system, known as "Multi-directional Impact Protection System" (MIPS), so it’s interesting to see helmet technology moving in this direction, though each helmet manufacturer has its own way of marketing it.

 

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This is Shoei’s first helmet to feature this technology. The design uses a new two-piece EPS liner that reportedly doesn’t negatively affect overall weight, fit, or the impact absorption capability of the helmet. A fixed outer layer and an inner layer are anchored together by a center column that swings in the event of an impact, crushing surrounding perimeter columns to absorb energy. Shoei claims the system offers a 15 percent reduction in rotational forces to the brain. Plush materials are used in the lower areas of the cheek pads and, as with several full-face models, this helmet features E.Q.R.S (Emergency Quick Release System) pull tabs to easily and safely remove the helmet from the head of an injured rider. 

 

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When comparing the EVO helmet with the VFX-W you can feel the weight difference when putting the helmet on your head. The EVO feels slightly lighter and the shell of the EVO seems to have slightly more flex near the chin bar than the VFX-W. To me this a good thing as the older VFX-W shell is one of the hardest of all off-road shell types. A little flex is good in a helmet as you want it to absorb big impacts. If you push on your personal helmet, you can see it will have some flex. This is normal and that doesn't necessarily mean the helmet is less protective. The inside liner and cheek pads have much more of a comfortable feel and the coarse feeling cheek pads of the VFX-W is now gone. The Shoei VFX-EVO has more of a pillow/plush feeling against my cheeks (almost Arai VX-Pro4 like). Although I don’t sweat a lot, the EVO’s liner wicks away sweat more than the VFX-W liner. When testing the EVO and VFX-W back to back you can tell there is much less moisture in the EVO compared to the VFX-W. The eye port is the same size as the VFX-W, but the ventilation of the helmet is much better with sixteen intake and exhaust ports throughout the helmet. The mouthpiece has increased airflow and is the first thing you’ll notice (that is improved) when riding with the EVO. 

 

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The overall shape is close to the VFX-W, but with added lines throughout the helmet. Shell-integrated goggle channel forms a perfect goggle retention system that will not leave you with that goon style “Ronnie Mac” goggle strap. When you put the EVO on you will notice it does hang down low at the rear of the helmet, which can leave some neckbrace wearing riders with less movement of the head. Even though I do not wear a neckbrace I know some of you may wear one so I tried a few on. I tried on an Alpinestars, Leatt and Atlas and noticed the EVO has less rotational movement with the neckbraces on than a Bell or an Arai. If you are not a neck brace type of rider than you will not notice any of this. 

 

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After wearing the Shoei VFX-EVO for some time, I have come to the conclusion that it’s one of the most comfortable helmets available on the market today. I can’t speak much for the safety features first hand as I haven't tested that yet, but I am confident in Shoei’s new proprietary M.E.D.S. technology just like I am the MIPS or ODS technology. There are few helmets that I trust on my head and the Shoei VFX-EVO is one of those helmets. The Zinger TC-2 shown has an MSRP of $719.00, but an all white or black EVO is $539.00. The EVO is available now at your local dealer or you can check out the full line over at shoei-helmets.com.

If you have any questions about this test please feel free to contact me at kris@keeferinctesting.com 

2017 Favorites

 

The holiday season is upon us and 2017 is almost a thing of the past. When I am at the track I often get asked what are some of my favorite things I have tested and used for 2017? Although this is tough to narrow down because I have tested so many great things throughout the year, I wanted to compile a list of some of the most memorable bikes, parts, gear and accessories that I either wanted to keep in my garage or I would purchase myself. Here is part one in no particular order. 

 

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2017 KTM 450SX-F Factory Edition: I liked it so much that I got heat from Matthes on if I was going to turn full orange brigade. I chose to race the 2017 KTM 450SX-F Factory Edition at Loretta’s and became a fan of its smooth roll on engine character, an air fork I could live with and a chassis that loves hard pack square edge tracks. Although I struggled at Loretta’s, I learned a lot about the bike and what its advantages and disadvantages were. It was reliable (for the most part) and I enjoyed my time on it on thoroughly. One of the top three bikes for me in 2017. 

 

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2017 Yamaha YZ450F: You knew this was coming. No, it’s not the sharpest handling 450 machine out on the market, nor is it the lightest of them, but the Yamaha is stable, has an incredible engine (that is exciting) and suspension comfort every other manufacturer should try and emulate. Did I mention it was reliable? Yes, that too! 

 

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Arai VX-Pro4: One of the most comfortable helmets you can put on your head. The inside of an Arai VX-Pro4 is like wrapping a soft, cozy pillow around your brain bucket. The round shape of the shell fits my head well and I appreciate some of the colorways Arai offers. The Arai VX-Pro4 has been around a while, but they have updated the helmet and gave us long nose riders more room near the chin bar now which is a welcomed site. The helmet has ventilation you can open or close and an eye port big enough for wide peripheral goggles.  

 

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FAAST Company Spoke Torque Wrench: The most important tool I have in my track toolbox is this Faast Company spoke torque wrench. This spoke torque wrench comes pre-set at 48 inch pounds, but can be adjusted to  your specification anywhere from 10-100 inch pounds, select your own torque or use Faast Company’s recommendation for your application. Simply tighten the spoke until you hear and feel a click, and you know the spoke is adjusted to the correct amount of tension providing you an even pull over your whole wheel for exceptional strength. Dumb ass proof! Just the way I like it! 

 

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Oakley Airbrake Goggles: Expensive, but there is no other goggle that is as comfortable on your face as the Oakley Airbrake. Most average consumers would not want to purchase a $160.00 rigid frame goggle and I understand that. I am simply putting the Oakley Airbrake goggles in here because they are the goggle I look to when I get geared up. A wide peripheral goggle with a lens changing system that literally takes 10 seconds, foam that is not only plush but soaks up sweat well and laminated tear offs that do not distort your vision when you stack 14 or more on!  

 

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CTi Knee Braces: After all these years riding a dirt bike and I finally got a pair of CTi knee braces this year. CTi knee braces are custom fitted to your legs and are second to none in quality. The carbon frames are super lightweight when putting them on and the rotating knee cup system is smooth and never gets hung up inside your pants. They mold onto your legs and almost feel like they are not on at times. When it comes to protection of the knees, these braces set the standard for others to follow. 

 

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Works Connection Elite Clutch Perch/Lever: You want a buttery smooth feeling clutch pull? You have come to right place. The Works Connection Elite Clutch Perch/Lever has been around for years, but never gets old when you put one on your machine. Whether you have a brand new 2018 or you got your old 2004 two-stroke sitting in the garage, the WC Elite Perch/Lever makes your clutch pull feel like new. The adjustment wheel is big enough that you can adjust on the fly and the detent pressure is set to just the right amount of pressure to make it easy to spin in the air. 

 

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Alpinestars Tech 10: I ride with a lot of different brands of boots, but the Tech 10 has been a staple for me and my size 10 feet for quite sometime. The Tech 10 boots are very comfortable on hard landings and have an incredible soft feeling sole. The shock absorbing quality of these boots are second to none and as I get older I appreciate this more. My ankles and feet have never been sore after a long day of riding and the Tech 10 boots have me feeling secure and locked in on the bike. The Tech 10’s weigh in at roughly 10 pounds and while they are not the lightest boot on the market, the protection I do feel on the track is so good I am willing to overlook the heavier feeling I get at times. As you can see these are a fairly worn pair of Tech 10s, but they are still in the rotation and keep my feet happy on long test days. 

 

 

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VPT4E: Looking for a good pump replacement fuel? The VP T4E is great for all early and late model four-stroke motorcycles. The newly blended T4 fuel, which now is called T4E gives you better throttle response and more pulling power from bottom to mid range. It’s not going to transform your machine to an instant fire breather, it just gives a little extra crispness and is more consistent of a fuel than your standard pump gas. 

 

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Garmin Forerunner 910XT: If you don’t have a manfriend or a hot chic with large ta-tas to write times on a pitboard for you while you are doing motos the Garmin Forerunner 910XT is the next best thing. The GPS enabled watch can record your lap times with its auto lap feature, take your heartrate, speed, how many calories you burned and much more. This is one thing I don’t leave home without when I go to the track to burn laps. I can log all of my data from my watch to my laptop at home with just a simple USB cable. If you're looking for a do it all moto/cycling watch the 910XT is the best that I have found. Check out Amazon for the best deal on these suckers!

 

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Asterisk ZeroG Pant: You're a knee brace guy and your knee braces slip down over a long day of riding Asterisk has the fine for you. The Asterisk Zero G pant is a base layer compression pant that encompasses the knee brace to help keep the brace in place against your leg. The extra long length of the pant can fold back up and over the brace, traps the brace and a Velcro enclosure (located at thigh area) holds it all together. The Zero G pant is designed to make it simpler for all of us to slide the pant over the knee brace, as well as allowing the brace to move with your legs without restraint on the bike.

 

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Fox FlexAir Pant And Jersey: The new second generation FlexAir  pant has a new chassis that includes a new knee design that removes some material for a more aerodynamic, streamlined fit. There is an updated two-piece rigid waistband and closure system along with the removal of the pant liner to try and decrease ounces and unwanted heat for the summer. The updated 2.0 FlexAir jersey has a new bonded cuff along with a TRUDRI fabric blend to keep weight down and breathability up. For 2017 this was one of my favorite gear sets to wear on any given day. The fit was great and the ventilation of the gear was second to none. Not to mention all of the LE colorways Fox came out with in 2017 was insane! Come on Fox lets see some bad ass LE colors for 2018! 

 

 

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Pro Taper Fuzion Handlebars: Are you a crossbar kind of rider? If you're looking to go from a 7/8 handlebar to a 1 1/8 size the Fuzion is a great option. The flex locking system allows riders to choose between a stiffer, more controlled handlebar feel or a softer more shock absorbing feel depending on terrain and rider preference. Changing the bar from “Locked” to “Unlocked” takes only seconds by simply turning a knob. The Fuzion utilizes Pro Taper’s exclusive aluminum alloy, 4mm wall design for lightweight, strength and comes in six different bar bends. If I am going the crossbar route, this Pro Taper handlebar is a less rigid choice. 

 

Scott Prospect Product Review 

 

Scott USA has been in the motorsport goggle industry for just over 40 years and last year they introduced their newest goggle, “The Prospect”. A complete redesign from their top tier goggle “The Hustle”, the Prospect has been in development for nearly two years. Some of the standout features of the Prospect is a polycarbonate lens that is 1mm thick (versus 0.8mm thick like most other competitors lenses), the Scott lens locking system that consists of four locking pins that secure the lens to the frame of the goggle for safety (instead of feeding the lens into a groove and securing it with tabs), a wider frame, an updated two position outrigger system that can rotate to fit a wide range of helmet sizes, a No Sweat 3.2 foam, and a wider strap for better grip to the helmet.

 

                       A wide peripheral is one of the highlights of the Prospect goggle. 

                       A wide peripheral is one of the highlights of the Prospect goggle. 

I am kind of a pain in the ass when it comes to comfort with goggles and the Prospect goggle is one of only a few that I like. The No Sweat 3.2 foam against my face feels plush and soaks up enough of my sweat that it doesn’t drip inside the goggle on very hot days in the desert. There was no need to purchase any maxi pads products to add to the top of the goggle’s foam as it soaked up sweat adequately. The field of vision is very similar to the Oakley Airbrake as the Prospect goggle is as wide as its competitor. I have come to get accustomed to the peripheral vision I get with Oakley Airbrakes and the Prospect gives me a wide field of vision similar to that. It is however not so wide that it doesn’t fit in a wide variety of helmets. I went through several helmets while wearing the goggles off and on for over a year (Shoei, Arai, 6D, Fly, Bell, Fox, Vemar) and the Prospect sealed to my face well in all of them. I did notice that the goggle does drop low on the nose, which took me some time to get used to. Compared to the other larger/wider framed goggles the Prospect will ride down almost to the edge of my nose and I have a large nose. Adjusting it to your face is key and I found the best way to get it to ride a little higher up on my nose was to get the goggle strap extra tight and to remove the nose guard that the Prospect comes with. Doing this would allow the goggle to ride a little higher on my face and give me less pressure on the wider part of my nose. It didn’t affect the way it sealed to my face after doing so, but it did take a little longer than usual to find a way to position it correctly. So if you feel like the Prospect is riding a little low on your nose, try tightening the goggle strap a little more than usual. 

 

                            A nice plush face foam soaks up an adequate amount of human salt. 

                            A nice plush face foam soaks up an adequate amount of human salt. 

Changing lenses out on the Prospect is fairly painless. You can switch lenses out by popping two locking pins out on top of the frame and two at the bottom. Once those are popped out, the lens comes out easily and I was able to stick another lens in under two minutes! I wore the Prospect at a couple races where I didn’t get the greatest of starts and the four-post tear off design takes a little more of a tug to rip them off. However the way the tear offs lay and fold onto themselves makes it easy NOT to pull more than one at a time. With some other tear off designs there is not enough excess tear off (at the end) to find and pull (while riding), so you end up pulling two or three at a time. With the Scott Prospect tear off design it gives you enough tail that you can feel it easily with gloves and rip only one tear off.   

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When it comes to wearing what I want on certain days I seem to gravitate towards Oakley Airbrakes. I am sure you have heard Matthes give me shit on this constantly right? Yes, I know Airbrakes are expensive and I don’t think I could afford having four sets (if I had to purchase them myself) of those just laying around for me to wear. With the Scott Prospect goggle’s pricing (around $80.00 vs. a $160.00 Airbrake) I could actually afford a few pairs. I would also be getting the same wide peripheral vision and almost the same comfort. I say “almost” because of the low nose area with the Scott’s. The Airbrake’s frame fit better to my face (bridge of nose area sets higher up on my nose) and has zero issues with riding low on my nose like the Prospect’s. However, the Airbrake’s have been known to fog up on me on colder days. On cooler test days I haven't had a fogging issue with the Prospect goggle. The lens on the Prospect is more resilient to getting scratched, as the Airbrake goggle lens scratches super easy if you don’t keep tear offs on the lens at all times. I could wipe the Prospect lens with my glove while riding and it wouldn’t get nearly as scratched as the Airbrake lens. The winner of swapping lenses still goes to the Airbrake, but the Prospect is less painless and quicker than most of the other goggles that are out on the market (The Blur B50 magnetic goggle is the champion on lens swaps). 

 

The outriggers on the Prospect aren't so big that it interferes with goggle placement to the face.

The outriggers on the Prospect aren't so big that it interferes with goggle placement to the face.

For around $80.00 I would consider this a very good goggle for the price. The field of vision, the comfort of the foam against my face, ease of finding the end of the tear off to pull efficiently, and the sheer convenience of replacing lenses make it a great buy. Setting up the goggle to fit up to your face might take you a couple rides to get comfy, but once you do you will agree that this is the best goggle Scott USA has made yet.

Fox 180 Boot Review 

 

The 180 boot is Fox’s brand new offering for 2018. The 180 boot comes in at a lower price point than the Instinct and has a couple new features we haven't seen yet from a mid line boot. Completely redesigned and built off of one of my favorite boots to wear, the Instinct, the 180 boot aims at getting the rider a precise performance fit at a lower cost. Some of the features of the 180 boot is a floating cuff system that aims to provide lateral support & fluid linear movement while locking out before the hyperextension of ankle, aTPU shin plate, calf guard, heel cap & full toe coverage, an exclusive silicone closure system on shin plate allows the shin to flex with the motion of the boot, a rubber medial and burn guard provides excellent grip, a rubber outsole with internal steel shank, two Instinct style lower buckles for a secure zero heel lift fit and a break in period that aims to give the rider instant step-in comfort. The Fox 180 boot comes in four different colorways and a MSRP of $249.95.  

 

           The Fox 180 Boots comes in four different colorways to match your ensemble. 

           The Fox 180 Boots comes in four different colorways to match your ensemble. 

The floating cuff system allows the boot to move naturally while riding on the bike, but also locking out to prevent hyperextension.The closure system is also designed for support and rider movement with 3 closures: two lower Instinct buckles to lock-in your fit, plus Fox’s exclusive silicone strap at the calf, the boots are designed to fit ultra-snug while providing flexibility where you need it. To get the boots on, set the two lower buckles using the set-it-and-forget-it memory settings, and pull the top closed with the silicone strap. The silicone strap has four size settings for a precise fit just in case you have calves like Gary Sutherlin (that is big, just know this). When it comes to coverage, the 180 boot has plastic plates at the shin, calf, heel and toe box. The rubber medial and burn guards are there to provide maximum grip and long-lasting durability.

 

The top silicone strap of the 180 has four different settings (for wide range of calve sizes) that lets the rider easily choose how snug he wants the boot to be.  

The top silicone strap of the 180 has four different settings (for wide range of calve sizes) that lets the rider easily choose how snug he wants the boot to be.  

So what does all this mean in the real world of riding? Well…On some mid level pricepoint boots at times the feeling that I come away with is that I don’t get the protection I am looking for when riding. The boot is either so stiff I can’t feel the shifter and brake pedal or they break down so quick I feel like I am wearing a pair of Vans when I land from a jump. I was leery about the silicone strap system when I heard about it from Fox, but I can say with confidence that it’s a very good system. Once my foot was in my size 11 boots and both buckles and silicone strap were secure, it stayed that way over the course of every ride I took them on. It's wide enough for my foot and does not create any hot spots while I ride. 180 boot is true to size and fits similar to the Instinct. In fact I feel like I can get a snugger fit with the 180 boots than I can with the Instincts. The bottom buckles can seize up after some use so make sure to have some WD-40 on hand to give them the spritz every now and again. As far as the top strap, just know this. I am on board with the silicone strap people! Don’t be surprised to see more of this on other boots as well in the future. It's easy to take on and off, never gets seized up, will not get clogged with mud and gives me a snug enough fit around my shin plate (which I like). However, the one draw back is that if you are in the heat of battle and someone runs it in on you and hits your boot, it could be more susceptible to un-latching itself. This didn't happen to me when my buddies thought it was funny to play take out one day, but I can possibly see this happening in some extreme cases. The break in period is a little longer than the Instinct, but not so bad that you can’t feel the brake pedal or shifter on the very first outing. The Instincts are good to go out of the box, so it’s tough to hold a candle to those. 

 

The burn guards have tons of grip that leaves the rider with a positive feel against the machine. 

The burn guards have tons of grip that leaves the rider with a positive feel against the machine. 

Once riding I felt the Duratac rubber sole had tons of traction and found it very easy to get locked down in on your pegs. The sole is “very grabby and sticky”, but it does take some getting used to. The sole is on thicker side on the 180, but once you ride in them a couple days you will begin to get used to it. After spending a lot of time landing hard off jumps, my ankles were in one piece and not sore the next day. Like I said earlier, when going down in pricepoint on some boots you can lose protection, but with the 180 boots that never happened. The toe box feels feels bigger than the Instincts, but I never really noticed it while riding. The inside rubber burn guards have great traction against aluminum and steel frames and gave me a positive feel while gripping the bike. The 180 boots are slightly heavier than the Instincts at almost 10 pounds per pair, but that doesn't correlate when you ride in them. They feel light and the only negative that I could find is the lack of ventilation. The 180s are on the warm side when the temperature outside rises. My feet were all sorts of sweaty after the first moto of the day, but once cooler temps prevailed in Southern California, the boots provided my feet the warmth that they were looking for. Wearing thin socks on a hot day helps combat some of the heat that I was feeling with the 180s. The good news is that they don't stink to high heaven after a few rides like the old Instincts used to. What about durability you ask? The Fox 180 boots have been great in that department as well. So far, the Duratac rubber sole is holding up with only minor teeth marks. The silicone strap and buckles haven't been a nightmare and are still intact. Fox provides an extra buckle inside the box of every 180 boot, so that is very cool, just in case you need them. The downside is that Fox doesn't have a replaceable sole you can go out and purchase for yourself. You can however send your boots back into Fox and they can replace the sole for you. Just make sure to send them back before they get too damaged or else they will not be able to re-furbish them for you.  

 

The Duratac rubber sole has great traction on the pegs and also has great shock resistance for your ankles. 

The Duratac rubber sole has great traction on the pegs and also has great shock resistance for your ankles. 

So at $249.95 are these worth purchasing? The answer is a resounding yes! For about half the cost of Instinct’s you are getting a very comfortable and durable boot. Yes, the Instinct’s are slightly lighter, a little more comfortable in the footbed area, takes less time to break in, but are much more expensive. For the average blue collar working type of rider the Fox 180 boots are a great buy. I even gravitate to these over the Instincts at times when I go to grab a pair of boots off the shelf in the garage for a day of testing. To me that says something! 

FXR Racing Clutch Prime Pant And Jersey Review

 

 

 

 

 

Somewhat new to the American motocross market is the Canadian-based snowmobile gear company FXR Racing. FXR has been pushing the motocross market very heavy by sponsoring numerous privateers and now in 2018 they just announced JGR Suzuki’s Jimmy DeCotis to their team of riders. Their entry level priced line of motocross gear called “The Clutch Prime” and has seen its fair share of usage on my body over the past few months. The Clutch pant is constructed of 600D Polyester, a double layer knee system that features an inner material with heat and abrasion resistant leather outer panels, pre-shaped knees to accommodate room for all types of braces, and a soft-stretch span at the crotch and back leg areas for added mobility. There are also knit stretch inserts above the knee areas for extra mobility as well as full front closure system. The Clutch jersey features lightweight mesh polyester, moisture-wicking material to repel sweat, a V-neck shaped collar and tapered cuffs for unrestricted mobility, a longer length drop-tail hem to keep jersey tucked in, and fade-free sublimation prints.

 

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Putting on the pant I immediately noticed a more athletic cut thigh area that is tighter around the legs, but also stretchy enough so it doesn’t feel too restrictive while riding. The crotch area of the Clutch pant is not quite as snug and has a little more room to breathe before the pant tapers down into the more athletic cut thigh. The knee area is roomy enough to accommodate the few knee braces that I tried (which were Asterisk, CTi, EVS RS-9 and Mobius). Sizing is true for my 32-inch waist and the ventilation of the pant, although not as good as some other pants that I have worn, is still adequate on warmer days. The leather knee area has some signs of wear from the hinges of the knee braces, but with over four months of riding time on the pant, no holes have shown up to greet me. The closure system stays intact and the pant stays in place even with extra grippy seat covers. The colors on the pant have stayed vibrant and not a hint of fading has been seen.

 

The Clutch jersey, although very comfortable when worn, feels a little heavy and somewhat baggy in the arms compared to the pant. The material is soft to the skin, but can be a little warm on hot summer days. It does, however, wick away sweat fairly well once you are riding. The polyester of the jersey is stretchy, but like I mentioned above is not as form fitting as the pant. It seems the Clutch jersey’s cut is a little more on the “comfort” side through the arms and torso area, which can flap around while riding. Me being on the slimmer side, I would rather see the jersey’s arm length and arm area tighten up just a little more to match the pant’s more athletic cut. For you bigger boys out there this might be a good fit however. The tapered cuff on the arm however is a nice touch and it also stretches somewhat, so that I can pull them up to get some added airflow to my arms during longer motos. For all you metrosexual riders the V-neck shaped collar is a one of my favorite aspects of the jersey. Less restriction is felt around my neck area when moving around on the bike. This collar doesn’t leave me with a rash like some other rounded cut collars (which are typically much tighter). Just like the pant, the bright colors stay true and the jersey has yet to fade after many rides.

 

                                                               Male model status. 

                                                               Male model status. 

I have been very pleased with FXR’s lower price point/entry level Clutch pant and jersey. However, the downside is at $120.00 for the pant and $45.00 for the jersey, the cost is slightly on the steep side for an entry level price point. The upside is the FXR gear has held up to my durability standards, which is not always easy to do. Yo can go to fxrracing.com to view the full line of  2018 MX gear and order now.

 

Any questions about this gear feel free to reach out to me at kris@keeferinctesting.com

Arai VX-Pro4 Helmet Review

 

 

 

I have been wearing the VX-Pro4 has been in my helmet test rotation for over a year now. The overall look and function of the Pro4 is similar to the older model, but with a few new features that further refine Arai’s helmet fitment, which more of a round shape. There are several cool new colorways that pop up from time to time and I personally like bright helmets, so this particular color is my favorite. 

 

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Starting with the basics of the Arai lid, the visor is long and wide enough to provide better protection from your buddies roost. The visor comes with a black sticker on the underside to reduce glare and has large air vents for an ample amount of cooling. Rather than Arai drilling more or larger holes in the shell, the venting pieces on the top and back of the helmet have been designed to be more efficient at moving air through the helmet. On the older Arai’s I had a problem with the front of the helmet being to close to my big nose, but Arai has since moved the grill and mouth vents to the front of the bar, creating more space in front of my face. The cheek pad design hinges out of the way when taking on or off the helmet, yet is supportive and secure while riding. As with all Arai helmets, the Pro4 features a multi-density foam that Arai claims, in conjunction with the helmet’s stiff shell, provides better protection in a wide variety of crashes.

 

When I first slipped on the medium sized helmet, I noticed how much material was making contact with my head. The cheek pads are long and tall and extend well past the bottom edge of the shell which I love. Combined with the padding around the rear of the helmet, the VX-Pro4 has a very “round head”’ feel, unlike other helmets that can feel more ‘on top of the head. I have a round shaped head so this type of shell makes it one of the most comfortable lids to have on my head. The pillow like feel of the liner is by far my favorite and if there is a standard for comfort the Arai VX-Pro4 helmets are it for me. The ERS (Emergency Release System) cheek pads have a snug feel to it and wraps around my cheeks with a snugger fit, but if you do have a fat face than Arai offers optional cheek pads to snap in. This is a great option for you guys that don’t like cheek pads touching your cheeks as much. At $749.95 this is one of the higher priced helmets, but the comfort you get from the Arai is well with the price marker. 

 

Ventilation is not the VX-Pro4’s strong point compared to some other models like the 6D or even a Bell Moto 8. I like said earlier it is “ok” but in the hot summer months of California I was sweating more with the Arai than others. Arai’s primary goal of having the strongest shell makes for very few vent holes. The lack of ventilation is pronounced by the amount of very comfortable foam lining. The relief zones for your ears are pretty small and I felt more material in that area than with other helmets (hence the comfort). This makes the Arai a very quiet helmet inside while riding compared to a louder 6D, but the 6D breathes better for me. The goggle port is on the small side and to accommodate larger goggles like my favorite pair of Oakley Airbrake’s or goggles with nose guards, it’s tough to get them situated inside the port creating a good seal. I removed the rubber nose protector immediately on the VX-Pro4 to get extra room for goggles. 

 

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Don’t be scared to throw the liner in the washing machine as the liner can withstand the abuse of the washer just don’t throw it in the dryer ok? Let the liner air dry and you will be just fine. With the VX-Pro4, there is a balancing act with safety and comfort. After watching a bigger man  stand on the empty shell of a Pro4 without it flexing much at all, I got a good taste of how strong and hard this shell is (similar to a SHOEI VFX-W). Plus, with Arai’s triple density foam and breakaway visor and vent pieces, I have little doubt that the helmet will perform very well in a high speed crash. However, since it isn’t the lightest or most ventilated helmet on the market, you have to decide for yourself where you fall in the wide spectrum of helmet comfort and performance. I personally love the comfort so it’s one of my top three helmets to ride with. 

 

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You can check them out at araiamericas.com and see all the designs they have available. If you have any questions feel free to email me at kris@keeferinctesting.com.

Fox Racing 360 Viza Pant and Jersey

 

360 Viza: $174.95 (jersey), $59.95 (pant)

 

The Fox Racing 360 line of racewear is the flagship set of gear that is currently worn by many factory motocross riders in the sport today. Fox designed the 2018 360 line of gear to be super flexible when the rider is in the attack position and using different types of fabric that wick away moisture better. The pants utilize TruMotion 4-way stretch fabric for a wide range of motion, while 600D polyester protects high abrasion areas. This strategic fabric placement delivers a combination of mobility and durability. Fox’s Rider Attack Position (RAP) construction is used for a precise fit, so it can put you in the best position to be comfortable. Finally, laser cut perforations and vents channel air through the pants for superior breathability. The 360 jersey also has a moisture wicking polyester fabric, a larger hole polyester mesh back panel for enhanced airflow, minimal athletic precision fit cuff and an athletic fit collar for increased comfort up near the neck. 

 

               No this isn't a Tinder profile pic. It's helmet head and a bad ass set of gear. 

               No this isn't a Tinder profile pic. It's helmet head and a bad ass set of gear. 

Immediately, when you see the Fox 360 Viza line it screams “Best Dressed” right? If you’re team “Lit Kit” you can stay and continue to read, but don’t get too comfortable. If loud isn’t your thing, other more traditional colorways our available in the 360 line with the same features as the Viza line. The pant fits well, goes over many types of knee braces and the waist is true to size. While the waist seems true to size I also noticed that the 360 pant still has more of an “athletic cut” feel below the waist (which I like). The pant is tighter around the thigh and knee area (again, which I prefer), but if you have bigger than average legs the pant might be on the snug side in those areas. However, don’t fret as the pant is stretchy enough to not cut off your circulation and moves with your lower extremities very well. Yes, even if you’re a size 38, just ask my test rider Kelly Gelhaus. You will just have to get used to the more revealing fit if you're old school. Trust me, I'm 40 years old and come from the baggy gear era and I am just fine with the snugger fit of the 360 pant! My knee braces never get caught up or snag on the inside of the pant and feels seamless against my body. Even though the pant is on the slimmer side moving around on the bike didn’t feel constricted while I rode. There were tons of flexibility at the knee and I noticed more give when I swung my leg over the bike in the groin area than other pants that I have tried lately. The life of the pant has been superb and although it has seen its fair share of crashes, has held up well. The leather knee panels are still soft and pliable and even the abuse of the recently "knee brace shootout" have not created that much wear. The pant comes in sizes 28 all the way up to 38. 

 

Slipping on the 360 Viza jersey gives you a minimalistic feel. Its lightweight and breathability gives you a cool feeling when the temperature rises. The cuffs elastic keeps them from restricting the forearms but are tight enough to not let the jersey slide up on you when you’re riding. Like the Fox 360 pant, the jersey is made for slimmer riders. If you have broad shoulders or carry a beer belly you might want to try a size larger than your traditional sizing. The tail of the jersey stays tucked inside the pant (sorry Jason Anderson), but I do wish the jersey had a little padding on the elbows for some protection from lighter type crashes. The Viza jersey comes in a range of sizes from small to XXL. 

 

For the price of the Fox 360 line of gear it is amongst some of the most comfortable and long lasting gear that I have tried to date. I am coming to prefer this 360 gear to the FlexAir, especially in the cooler months of testing that lie ahead of me. If you are looking for a pant with durability, flare, a slim feel without being restrictive the Fox 360 Viza gear is a top choice, especially when I go to the gear closet and decide on what to wear. Don't laugh! This actually happens, ask Mrs. Keefer. She thinks something is wrong with me. :)  

 

Alpinestars Tech 10 Review

 

The Alpinestars Tech 10 has been around the motocross and off-road world for a long time. If you listened to my “Boot Review” podcast you know this is one of my favorite pair of boots to wear. The Tech 10 boot has received continuous R&D development updates over the years, but has remained unchanged for the last couple. The TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) blade on the Tech 10 is said to prevent frontal hyperextension and offer greater flex control, while the medial-facing panel improves structural stability. The TPU calf protector plate utilizes a rear blade system to protect the heel and features a hyperextension guard. Its TPU shin plate uses a dual closure system with an internal microfiber flap, and the buckle-closure system is self-aligning and replaceable. The Alpinestars Tech 10 comes in full sizes only, no half sizes. I wear a size 10.5 shoe and a size 11 Tech 10 fits me well. The attention to safety and comfort extends to the inner booty as well as the torsion bars help control ankle rotation. The dual Velcro enclosure ensures a secure fit on the foot and prevents dirt from getting inside the bootie.

 

These Alpinestars Tech 10's have seen some serious track time. 

These Alpinestars Tech 10's have seen some serious track time. 

Once my foot slipped into the Tech 10 it felt snug enough in all the right places. It does take a little time to break in these boots (more than a SG-12 or Sidi), but once broke in (about an hour or so of riding time) I felt like I could bend my ankle, feel the shifter and brake pedal just fine. The toe box is fatter and could take some time to get used to if you’re coming from another boot; yet it can make shifting a little easier with the fatter toe box area. The high impact, bridged aluminum buckle system is easy to adjust and can actually close shut even when muddy. However, when they are muddy they are tough to grab a hold of and unbuckle. To get them unbuckled quicker, get a flat blade screw driver to dig some of the mud out of the buckle area to release. Riders with bigger calves may have some difficulty getting the middle buckle to reach its perch even with the strap in its outermost position. (I would suggest if you can’t get the middle strap fitment correct, order a top strap, which is longer). My calves are on the skinny side, but the strap was almost at its full-extended length so take note of this. 

 

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The Tech 10 boots are very comfortable on hard landings and have an incredible soft feeling sole. The shock absorbing quality of these boots are second to none. My ankles and feet have never been sore after a long day of riding. The Tech 10 boots have me feeling secure and locked in on the bike. The Tech 10 boots weigh in at roughly 10 pounds and while they are not the lightest boot on the market, the protection I do feel on the track is so good I am willing to overlook the heavier feeling I get at times. This usually only occurs at the end of long motos or when it is super muddy. One other standout of the Tech 10 is that if you don’t ride on the balls of your feet—like you should—the sole will feel a little awkward because it is shaped to almost make you ride on the balls of your feet. I don’t know if Alpinestars designed the sole to help the rider in this aspect, but I like that this boot helps proper rider technique! When standing on the pegs it feels as if the front and rear of the sole is raised, and this makes you ride in that sweet spot (the balls of your feet). It took sometime to get used to this feeling when I first started riding in these boots, but now it’s second nature to me and forces me to ride like we all should. The rubber like material on the side of the boots are very grippy and offer tremendous grip against steel and aluminum frames. The Tech 10 boots offers a seamless feel on the bike and will not catch or snag on any part of the machine. After several months of use I did find that the central dual compound soles are a little soft for super sharp footpegs, but almost gets the same amount of wear as other top brand boots on the market. The central insert of the boot can be replaced yourself or if you want Alpinestars to do the work for you, they can replace the complete full sole for you if you send them in.  

 

                                  25 Engine hours on these soles and still pretty good. 

                                  25 Engine hours on these soles and still pretty good. 

The colors that Alpinestars offer are some of the most eye popping and can go with any type of gear that you might be wearing. #BESTDRESSED The cost of the boots will set you back $599.95 and come in sizes 7-14. You can check out the complete line of boots at alpinestars.com

 

 

 

Bell Moto 9 “ET3” Replica Helmet Product Review

 

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I get asked a lot about helmets and which one is the best to purchase. I always answer with “that’s a tough question to ask”, because there are so many variables when it comes to finding the correct helmet for you. It’s not always so black and white when it comes to testing helmets. Putting the helmet on and seeing if it is comfortable to your head shape is step one, making sure you have the correct sizing is another important aspect of getting the correct helmet, your determined price-point and not to mention what technology (the helmet comes with) that makes you feel safe is another. There is just so much to think about when getting a new helmet. I have more of a round shaped noggin and some helmets just don’t fit my head shape that well, but when I got the chance to test the Bell Moto 9, I was excited as I haven't really got to put that much time inside of one. Until now!  

 

                                                  Eli Tomac Bell Moto 9 Replica 

                                                  Eli Tomac Bell Moto 9 Replica 

The Eli Tomac replica Bell Moto 9 is an awesome looking helmet (especially if you’re a ET3 fan) and weighs in at 3.1 pounds. Bell uses a “TriMatrix” Composite Shell that is a blend of three materials: carbon fiber, Kevlar and fiberglass. I am crazy about visor adjustment and this visor is the easiest visor to adjust I have her used. There’s no screw under the middle of the visor as this design only uses mounting screws on each side, and those are metal “QuickFlip” fasteners that require no tools. Simply flip out the tab, loosen by hand, adjust the visor up or down and tighten again. Boom! However, I think the best feature about the Bell Moto 9 is the Magnefusion Emergency Release System (MERS). This is another way of saying that it uses magnets instead of snaps, and it’s like finding gold! It’s that good! The cheek pads are held in place by several magnets, just like they would be with traditional snaps. From a safety standpoint, these are capable of being removed while the helmet is still on the rider’s head in case of a serious head injury. Many injuries happen, or are made worse, after a crash when some goof ball tries to take the helmet off. Once the cheek pads are off, the helmet can be removed without putting any unnecessary force on the neck and spine. The MERS system is designed to work specifically in conjunction with the Eject Helmet Removal System. There is a foam insert in the top of the helmet which can be removed to make room for the Eject system that every rider must have in a professional AMA/FIM sanctioned event. The Bell Moto 9 is ECE, Snell M2015 and DOT approved. 

 

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 Now for me I am not a huge fan of the “M” claw, but I do think it’s cool that Bell has a helmet that the normal weekend warrior can purchase to look like Eli. That being said it was tough for me to win any “Best Dressed” awards when I was at the track wearing it, but I was happy with the comfort of the Moto 9. There were no major pressure points that the Moto 9 caused to my head and the liner was plenty soft (although not the softest material I have tried) against my freshly shaved summer time hair do. I do like the cheek pads to push a little against my face for a snug feeling fit and the Bell Moto 9 did just that. I also thought the chin strap and cheek pad magnets held up well against the over abusive test that I gave them. I sat in the back of my truck between motos on several test days and just played with the magnets (snapping them on and off). The strength of the magnet remained strong and didn't get worse over time as held its integrity. Ventilation in these summer months is key for me and the venting on the Moto 9 is one of its strong points. The chinbar has a stainless mesh mouthpiece and vents along the side. Two intakes are tucked under the visor and the top of the eyeport is lined with openings. The rear of the helmet has nine exhaust ports: one directly on top, four on the upper rear, above the goggle strap, two at the base and another pair along the bottom edge. It’s tough to actually feel airflow in most helmets, but with the Bell it was easy to feel a breeze while riding. The weight is on the heavy side while riding and I could feel my neck get slightly more fatigued than with some of the other lighter helmets on the market. However, I will not complain about that too much if it has the protection to back up the weight. I feel like there is a fine line with having a helmet that is “too light” and that leaves me with a sensation of having less protection while I ride. I also like that the nose area of the helmet isn't that close to my large nose and it also doesn't have a mud guard that comes into my face too much. At $400.00 for a replica helmet I would say that is slightly better than other helmet manufacturers out there today. With the reputation that Bell has with safety, I have a good piece of mind knowing that I am wearing a quality helmet, that will give me as much protection necessary when or if I do take a header. I wonder if Josh Hill will hook me up with some type of Monster Energy contract if I wear this at some local races? If I am testing a 2018 Kawasaki you know that I am going to be wearing this helmet! You can go to bellhelmets.com to purchase and check them out for yourself.  

 

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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