‘A custom-fit for your calves’
Sidi ST Gore £314.99
Tested by Liam Marsden Time tested Two months/1300 miles
What’s good? I always have trouble finding boots that fit well, because I have laughably thin calves. These Sidis are the only boots I’ve found so far that are secure around my calves, and they fit my feet almost perfectly, too. The buckles at the top of the boots are adjustable so whether I’m wearing the boots over leathers or against my bare calves I can adjust them to get a nice tight fit. The GoreTex membrane has so far kept my feet dry, and allowed them to breathe. Despite temperatures now dropping below zero, I’ve also been able to get away with wearing thin socks and my feet haven’t been too cold. The external support brace, which is there to stop lateral movement in the event of a crash, allows good movement back and forth making walking easy and comfortable.
What’s not? While I’ve no doubt the ankle brace will help in a crash, it’s a little bulky, which often means it gets stuck on the footpeg when I try and flick the sidestand down. The boots have switchable vents, but I rode in temperatures below freezing with just one vent open and I didn’t notice a difference — though that could be down to the amount of weather protection on my Kawasaki 1400GTR.
Alpinestars Nucleon KR-CIR
chest protector £44.99
Tester Michael Neeves Time used Nine months/5000 miles
What’s good? Ten years ago I crashed at Snetterton and bumped up a ribbed kerb then slid backwards on my front. The chest protector I was wearing at the time took the brunt of the impact. After that, if I ride without a chest protector I feel as vulnerable as I do when I’m not wearing a back protector. This new Alpinestars chest protector is made from a rubbery plastic that moulds to my body shape once it gets warm so it’s very comfortable, and it’s well-vented so I don’t overheat in the summer either. And just like that chest protector did 10 years ago, this one has already saved me in a big,
tumbling track crash — all for just 45 quid.
What’s not? The chest protector doesn’t have much bend until it’s warmed-up, so it’s uncomfortable to wear for the first couple of minutes. Contact www.alpinestars.com Quality rating ★★★★★ Value rating ★★★★★
Oxford Warm Dry top (£29.99)
and trousers (£29.99)
Tester James Archibald Time tested Two months/2800 miles
What’s good? I’ve always used cheap, basic layers bought from a hiking shop to keep me warm on my weekly commute from Peterborough to Devon, and thought I could get away with using them indefinitely. But these thermal layers from Oxford have turned that idea on its head. They were a revelation, keeping my core and legs warm and making rides through the cold more bearable and more importantly safer as my concentration stays sharper for longer. They have highlighted the importance of layering properly and I wouldn’t be without them now. On occasion, when combined with the thermal layer in my jacket, I can get too warm but that’s definitely not a bad thing as I can simply change my top and continue riding in comfort.
What’s not? They’re simple and functional and do their job perfectly. I can’t fault them. Contact www.oxfordproducts.com Quality rating ★★★★★ Value rating ★★★★★
Ducati Scrambler gloves £45
Tester Simon Brown Time tested Three months/2500 miles
What’s good? Products with desirable names attached often cost more than they are really worth – so these shortie gloves bearing both the ‘Ducati’ and ‘Scrambler’ brands are a refreshing change. I tried several different types of shortie glove over the last year and these, which are made for Ducati by Spidi, were my favourite. There’s decent Velcro adjustment on the closure, so they fasten securely and there is extra material on the palm and side of the hand. Plus, there are perforations to allow some air through on the sort of warm days gloves like this are reserved for. The leather was good and supple right from the start, too, and they have worn well.
What’s not? By their very nature, short gloves can’t offer the same level of crash protection as full-length items. In fact, there’s a complete absence of the carbon/plastic knuckle and wrist armour seen on many modern gloves. They’re not the sort of gear you’d pick for spirited riding or long-distance motorway jaunts.
Contact www.scrambler ducati.com
Quality rating ★★★★★
Value rating ★★★★★ MONTHS
THE RIVAL TCX RS-2 Evo
BUCKLES Huge range of adjustment means they can fit any
£299.99 There is no direct rival for the Sidis as no-one else makes a highspec waterproof race boot in this price bracket. The closest boots are these TCXS with a similar spec
but no waterproof membrane.
GORE-TEX Has kept the rain (and snow) at bay while still letting my feet breathe Clasps mean boots can be adjusted to fit closely for wide or slim calves
VENTS Slightly complicated and finicky to get on. Vents don’t seem to be very effective
So far they’ve proved ineffective, this could be due to the bike’s weather