Dainese Giro ST Boots Review

Before I begin this review of the Dainese Giro ST boots, let it be said that Dainese make some great gear, of that there is no doubt.  Safety is usually amongst the best available and yet style doesn’t take a back seat.  So one would expect then that I would be writing a glowing review of the Giro ST boots.  And these boots are both safe and stylish. The trouble is, I don’t really see the point of them.

You see, the Dainese Giro ST boots are what would be described as the top offering of Dainese’s sports boot range.  But for an extra $30 or so, you can move up to a track boot (such as the Dainese TR Course), which offers more protection with no real drawbacks.  While walking around the local shopping centre with the track boot may look a bit weird, the Dainese Giro ST is hardly inconspicuous to begin with.

But let’s focus on the Dainese Giro ST first.  It provides plenty of protection around the foot, with plenty of hardened plastic on the toes, ankle and heel.  On the shin, which is very prone to impacts and injuries, there’s further reinforced plastic (or thermoplastic polyurethane).  It’s all wrapped in synthetic leather around the foot, with nylon going up the back of the calf.

A big plus for this boot is feel.  It protects your feet well, but you don’t lose any feeling through the boot – a big plus in my opinion.  There’s nothing worse than wearing big bulky boots that offer no feedback from the bike.  Using the rear brake and shifting feels natural and comfortable.

I also found the ‘break-in’ period with the boots to be minimal.  The initial tightness only lasted for a week before I hardly even noticed them.  While I wouldn’t recommend walking around in them for extended periods, they didn’t hurt for shorter walks to and from my bike.

Egress in and out of the boot is great, with a zip down the back, but additionally, Velcro bellows that allow you to adjust the size of the boot around the calf as required.  This is a great addition and is just another example of Dainese’s attention to detail.

They do look great, too.  They make the Alpinestars SMX-6 boots look cheap and outdated, while the SIDI Cobra’s look ostentatious in comparison.  Dainese always seem to be able make gear that is understated yet extremely stylish.  Just don’t try wearing them to work – they still looks like a motorcycle boot.

So, back to what I said earlier – the fact that I don’t understand the point of this boot.  If you’re on a track, a crash is likely to be high speed but without hitting any stationary objects.  On the road, it’s likely to be lower speed but with greater risk of hitting something.  Either way, you need quality foot protection.  So if it only costs an extra $30 for the TR Course, why not just go for a boot you can quite easily wear both on the street and at the track?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Dainese Giro ST boots.  It’s just that for the cost, I’d rather have more protection from a boot that looks very similar.

Shark Speed-R Review

The Shark Speed-R isn’t exactly new, having been available for over a year now, but seeing as it’s my current lid of choice and I’ve been using it for around nine months, now is as good a time as any to provide a long term review of it.

For those who are unaware, Shark is a French company who have been designing and manufacturing helmets for 25 years.  While they don’t have the profile of Arai or Shoei, they’re probably one of the more innovative helmet companies around at the moment. Check out their astronaut like Vantime‘urban helmet’ or the crossover Vancore.  Now, I’m not saying those helmets are good, or even practical, but at least they’re different.

What is good about most Shark helmets, including the Speed-R Range is the bang for your buck safety.  Every single Shark helmet, bar one, scores 4 or 5 stars under the Sharp Test program.  Compare that to brands like Arai, Schuberth and Shoei, which can sometimes cost twice as much, yet have helmets rated 2 or 3 stars.

While looks are subjective (except in the case of Rob Pattison, he’s damn ugly), I think the Speed-R is a great looking lid.  It’s got a ‘double blade’ spoiler at the back of the helmet which supposedly creates a Venturi effect, allowing air below and above it to limit fogging (marketing speak).  The available helmet graphics are great too – not too gaudy, with options of solid colors or fairly tasteful designs that don’t scream ‘I’m a wanker.’

A must have in a helmet for me a flip down sun visor, which the Speed-R has.  Unusually though, the mechanism to bring the visor up or down is located on the top of the helmet, rather than on the side near the visor hinge.  There’s also two air vents, one on the top and one at the front.  I can’t say I can really tell the difference when these are open or closed, but air flow overall is excellent – the temperature seems to stay fairly cool in the summer months and not too cold in winter, either.  A removable chin curtain is included with the helmet for those colder days which is a nice touch.

Shark Speed R

So far so positive, any negatives?  Yes, a few.  Firstly, it’s not exactly a quiet helmet.  It’s not the loudest I’ve worn, but it’s up there.  Wearing earplugs solves this problem (which you should do regardless of the helmet), but it’s definitely noticeable.  The helmet is fairly aerodynamic, so my theory on the noise is that Shark has included space on the side of the riders head for both a Shark Tooth (Shark’s Bluetooth solution) and eye glasses – that bit of space is an empty pocket of air that allows turbulence to get in, creating noise.

The other issue is actually more annoying.  The visor, when fully shut, is held in place by what I can best describe as a small pin and the only way to reopen the visor is with sheer brute force.  The only leverage you have is a small piece of plastic protruding from the visor, but with gloves on, it’s incredibly difficult to do.  Textile gloves are OK, but with leather or winter glove and it’s near impossible.  Many times I’ve been stopped at traffic lights and look like I’m having a mild seizure attempting to wrestle the thing open.  Over time, it has loosened slightly, but it could be a deal breaker (many customer reviews have also noted this problem).

Overall though, for the price, the Shark Speed-R is an excellent helmet.  It’s comfortable, it’s safe and it looks good – if only it was a bit quieter.

Available from $399 at Motorcycle Superstore.com.

 

 

Ducati Announces World’s First Consumer Motorcycle with Integrated Airbag Jacket System

Ducati has announced that it has teamed up with fellow Italian company, Dainese, to provide an integrated system that will link it’s Multistrada D-Air model to a Dainese designed Ducati jacket with an airbag.

Dainese has been one of the pioneers of airbag jackets, with their technology featuring in MotoGP and other racing series since the late 2000’s. Unlike many other airbag systems for jackets, the D-Air system is wireless. Until now, it was an aftermarket solution, with Dainese fitting the appropriate technology to the bike at selected European locations.

The announcement by Ducati signifies the first time a motorcycle will come fitted standard with the system. It will initially be available in Europe only.

 

 

Press Release:

Borgo Panigale (Bologna), 21 March 2014 – Italy’s iconic motorcycle manufacturer, Ducati, announces the introduction of the Multistrada D-Air® model, featuring a fully integrated, intelligent system of sensors wirelessly connected to Ducati Apparel airbag jackets by Dainese. Marking a ‘world’s first’ in the motorcycle industry and combining the innovative designs from two famous Italian brands, the new Ducati model takes a significant step forward in two-wheel safety. 

Combining the expertise of both Ducati and Dainese, the intelligent passive safety system uses sensors built into the Multistrada’s existing electronics to constantly understand the vehicle’s dynamic situation and deploying only when subjected to a genuine accident scenario. The Multistrada D-Air® system completes the data analysis and airbag deployment inside both the rider and passenger jackets in just 45 milliseconds, considerably reducing the risk of injury upon impact.

Ducati’s premiere of the technology, developed in cooperation with Dainese, further underlines the Italian motorcycle manufacturer’s commitment to enhanced safety, already represented by their Ducati Safety Pack consisting of multi-level ABS and traction control.

More information on the Ducati Multistrada D-Air® will be released on 15 April and the innovative new model will be available in European Ducati Dealerships from May 2014 onwards.

 

Alpinestars Quick Seal Rainsuit Review

Riding a motorcycle = good
Riding a motorcycle in the rain = not good

Getting caught in the rain is one of the worst things about riding a bike. You get wet and cold. And if you’re not wearing good gear, it can feel like needles being thrown at your body when riding on the highway. So it’s always a good idea to stash some sort of waterproof clothing on your bike for such cases. And the Alpinestars Quick Seal Rainsuit does a pretty good job.

Black High-Viz Yellow

To me, an important factor for a motorcycle rain suit is the ability to quickly get it on. There’s not much point in pulling off to the side of the road and getting some waterproof gear on if it takes 5 minutes to fiddle around with it – you’ll be soaking wet by the time you’re done. Thankfully, this product is designed specifically to go over motorcycle gear. I found the pants especially well designed, with large openings at the bottom that can be velcored up. It’s extremely easy to put them on over bulky boots.

Getting them off is a little bit harder, but nothing too dramatic.

The jacket features both a zip and velcro to keep you dry. I felt the collar could have been slightly higher on the back of the neck, but otherwise, it’s quite watertight.

The Alpinestars Quickseal Rainsuit is available in black, orange and high-viz yellow. Given that rain can create some of the worst visibility conditions on the road, I would go with the high-viz yellow. It’s extremely bright and yes, you will look stupid, but you’ll also stand out. Safety over style.

It retails for around $110, not exactly cheap for a raincoat, but keep in mind that it is designed to go over your gear. It also comes with a pouch to put the top and bottom back in.

Furygan AFS 10 Leather Gloves

These are great looking gloves, beautiful even. And they’re French. It’s not just the Italians that can design great looking bike gear.

Furygan is a little known brand outside Western Europe and the UK, but after using these gloves, they don’t deserve to be. The black and white version I’ve been wearing has received many positie comments from people – yes, comments for a pair of gloves.

Furygan AFS 10 Glove Palm

I can’t speak for the long term quality of these gloves at this stage, but they feel like quality. The leather, which comes from a now deceased goat, feels soft and strong and the stiching seems top knotch.

Safety wise, both the ring finger and pinky (little finger) are stiched together, which is a great way to reduce fractures and dislocations in an accident. Being gauntlet gloves, they offer wonderful protection up the forearm and provide enough room to accommodate the end of a leather jackets sleeves to ensure complete coverage of your skin.

Furygan AFS 10 Leather Gloves White

My only two complaints are that in summer, airflow could be slightly better as your hands do end up sweating slightly. Also, while there is padding on the palms, I would prefer it to be slightly large to absorb more force in the event of going down.

There’s few, if any stockists of these gloves outside of Europe, so head to Ebay for a pair or visit our partner store. At $120USD, they’re quite a bargain for a gauntlet glove for the track. Sizing is fairly accurate, though some may find the fingers of the gloves slightly too long