So how did the 2011 CMG gear for the year work out? Not bad, though waterproof boots still seem to be somewhat elusive.
ZAC’S GEAR FOR THE YEAR
I tested three pieces of gear long-term for the 2011 season, a Transit riding suit from Aerostich, a pair of Alpinestars Thunder gloves and a pair of Exustar’s Dempster dual-sport boots.
ALPINESTARS THUNDER GLOVES (link to previous)
Editor ‘Arris threw the Alpinestars gloves my way last winter after discovering they wouldn’t fit his gargantuan hands. While he sat around this summer bemoaning his massive mitts, I had the opportunity to use the gloves in just about every condition. ‘Arris had hoped to use them mainly for dual sport duty, but I ran them pretty much exclusively from April through September, and had no major issues to report.
Performance was pretty much what you’d expect from a light mesh glove – they weren’t terribly warm in the cold, or waterproof in the rain, but that’s not Alpinestar’s intention for these gloves.
I found them comfortable for most riding, as long as the weather co-operated – I wouldn’t want to take these on a Numb Bum Ironbutt run, but for most other purposes, I was happy.
I felt the gloves handled the wear and tear of daily use fairly well. The gloves have little tabs at the bottom of the cuffs to help you pull them over your hands, and I tore one of these off while putting the gloves on. But I’m still able to don them with little effort.
Aside from that, the only real noticeable wear was when the gloves started to look a little fuzzy, as the mesh fabric they’re constructed from started to fray a bit, though that certainly didn’t affect function.
I didn’t have the chance to crash test the gloves, thankfully. Overall, I think they served their function well, and have plenty of life left in them.
AEROSTICH TRANSIT LEATHER SUIT (link to previous)
When we got the Transit leather riding suit from Aerostich, company president Andy Goldfine asked us to do the final review on the suit after two years, instead of the usual single riding season. So, that’s the plan – we’ll update you next year.
But for now, we can tell you the suit has been fine so far. On that wet ride back to Saint John from the Shubenacadie CSBK round last summer, the suit did a fantastic job of shedding water, in a daylong downpour that saw cars pulled off the side of the road due to conditions.
I’m hoping for another great season out of this suit this year, with a full report to follow.
DEMPSTER DUAL SPORT BOOTS (link to previous)
The Dempster dual sport boots from Exustar are a different matter entirely. I liked these boots, and they were extremely comfortable, but they didn’t live up to my expectations for one simple reason: They leak.
At the start of the season, the importer warned me the Dempsters weren’t intended for hardcore dual-sport work, and I didn’t put them through a torture test. Most of the riding I used them for was leisurely backroad or highway work, with a bit of light trail riding.
As long as the waterproofing held up, I was extremely happy with these boots. But a few weeks into the summer, the left one started to leak just behind the toe. At first it was only noticeable when I rode through a puddle, but by summer’s end, even a light sprinkle of rain would leave me with soggy footwear.
The right boot eventually started to leak as well; after riding home from the CSBK round at Shubenacadie through solid rain last August, I was soaked soundly through both boots and was very thankful that my Transit suit stayed dry!
That’s not to say the Dempsters don’t serve as decent riding boots – the protection they afforded was more than enough for any dual-sport work I did. They were a little scuffed up by summer’s end, but I wouldn’t consider it abnormal wear and tear for a dual sport boot. Aside from the leaks, I was extremely happy with them.
EDITOR ‘ARRIS’ GEAR
For some reason 2011 proved to be a light year when it came to me getting some gear to test, but here’s what I though of what I got.
Okay, so this was a 2010 test but I kept them on as my main boots for 2011 too and they continued to be comfy and show few signs of wear until … they leaked! No gusher as in Zac’s pair o’ Dempster boots, but alas after one rainstorm I felt the tell tale coolness on my toes that is the first sign of water ingress.
Although it was only a seep and only on one boot, this came as a blow as I had thought that I’d finally found a true pair of waterproof boots. Granted they were not maintained, but that’s part of the ‘Arris test method.
I shall try and apply some boot aftercare/waterproofing products to see if they’ll come back to their former glory but I had hoped that at close to $500 they would be impermeable for a good many years.
ALPINESTARS PROTECTION PACK
A water resistant backpack big enough to hold a full face helmet, laptop and comes with built in back protector? What more could you want?
Well water proof would be nice, but in effect to date it’s been pretty much that although I do take the precaution of still throwing contents into plastic bags, especially the laptop.
And that’s where I find I use this pack the most – to carry my laptop. The Protection Pack has a separate padded and zippered slot for laptops between the main compartment and the removable back protector, which seems to be the safest spot.
Having killed a laptop before due to bike vibrations (okay I was off roading it) I like the idea of keeping it on my back where I can help to isolate it from the hardest knocks. That way it also comes with me whenever I stop for a break.
It also doubles up as a carry-on bag for the plane (which means you get your lid and your laptop in one easy-to-carry bag).
If you fill up the main compartment as well as carry a laptop, then despite the padded waist belt and shaped shoulder straps you will start to feel the strain on your shoulders after a few days, even if you just throw light waterproofs in there as I did for our Labrador Adventure.
To keep the bulk of the bag down when not carrying a helmet, there is a popper to snug the pack in. I don’t know what the cause was on mine but when the first time came to use it, my popper seemed to have been crushed up somehow and wouldn’t work anymore. Bugger.
Inside there’s a main pocket area and three smaller pouches as well as two external pockets (good for ear plugs, etc) and a pouch on the bottom that holds very handy sternum straps and clips so that you can affix the bag to the back of your bike without having to find a cargo net. Nice touch!
All in all this is one of the most useful motorcycle packs I’ve tried and apart for the popper not popping, so far it has survived all the abuse I can heap on it.
MSRP is US$229.92. Dimensions 47 x 12 x 28 cm, with a 27 litre capacity. Available via Parts Canada in most motorcycle outlets. More info here.
SCHUBERTH C3 HELMET (link to previous)
Costa got this to test but I was so impressed I got myself one too. Here’s his thoughts on it, followed by a few of my own:
After spending a season with the Schuberth C3 helmet, I’ve made my final assessment of it: I still love it. I was not big on flip-up helmets, but this one convinced me they are worth the extra bucks.
During my time with the helmet, I’ve added the Schuberth SRC-System communication system (review coming in the future), which negates the C3’s originally light weight.
When the weather turned colder, I re-installed the pinlock anti-fog visor I had removed early in the season. I had originally found the anti-fog visor caused annoying reflections at night, but in October and November its fog-inhibiting properties outweighed the somewhat annoying nighttime reflections.
The only negative aspect of this helmet was that the retracting sun visor (very handy!) collected dust when retracted and I had to be very careful when wiping it clean, or it scratched easily.
As I stated in my original write-up, I still think you’re getting your money’s worth with the C3.
I agree with most of what Costa has said. The C3 is top o’ the line for flip ups – it’s comfy, light and pretty quiet. Not so quiet that I didn’t have to use ear plugs but then only if I was at speed on a divided highway. Short jaunts and trips could be done without, which is pretty good for any helmet, never mind a flip up.
The C3 also comes with great vents –you can actually feel the air come around your head and the flip down sun visor should be standard on all lids in my opinion, though I agree with Costa – it’s hard to clean and not scratch.
Overall, a great lid (and my preference for all except off roading), but then you’d expect that for the $800 price tag.