Used And Abused

Used And Abused

Since I’m on the bike more than working on some factory floor these days, I prefer a more comfortable boot than something I have to spend months breaking in. I was in the market for some riding footwear and was looking for something waterproof, yet not clunky and stumbled upon Chrome’s 415 Workboots. Outside, the Storm 415 is constructed of oiled, full-grain leather. On the inside of the boot resides a four-layer breathable waterproof internal membrane with a full seam taped construction. This membrane is similar to Gore-Tex and keeps the feet dry when it’s wet out. After a few days of riding with the boots, I can say that they feel like I have been wearing them for months and I really liked the footbeds, which are comfortable, contoured, impact-resistant, and 100-percent vulcanized. The sole has a tough, yet gummy skid-resistant contact rubber that sticks to both the pegs and the tarmac well. I’m not going to lie to you when I tell you that these boots are seemingly the best of both worlds providing the steadiness and security of a riding boot, with the comfort and flexibility of a sneaker.

The Gringo is Biltwell’s first foray in the full-face market. The look of the helmet harks back to a time before CAD-designed vents and scoops, Superbike rainbow graphics, and fog-proof Pinlock visors, but don’t think for one minute that this brain bucket isn’t packed with technology. This DOT-approved helmet is constructed with an injection-molded ABS outer shell, a shock-absorbing EPS inner shell, and a hand-stitched liner with open-cell foam and comfy Lycra construction. Being an equal opportunity company, Biltwell has sizes XS through XXL in a myriad of colors so anyone can rock the Gringo with nary an issue. I took a several-hundred-mile ride with the Gringo and I really found the fit to be good with the aid of a secure D-ring–fastened chinstrap and good head geometry for our roundish-shaped Anglo-American heads. I loved the no-nonsense style and classic good looks of this helmet, which is more on point with what a chopper guy wants in a full face with not a lot of BS. Sure, there are no vents on this lid, but I found the helmet to be cooler than most of this ilk due to the high-tech helmet lining. Besides, nobody said looking cool was ever actually cool.

When the box from Speed and Strength showed up I was pleasantly surprised once I pulled this jacket from it. It felt heavy enough for a riding jacket with distressed-looking premium cowhide leather, but as we all know the real love or hate starts when the jacket is put on and ridden. Initially for the first few miles on the bike the fit was good and I liked the mandarin collar, but what was really nice was that the sleeves articulated well with the hide-away gussets at the back of the jacket. Whether I was riding a bike with tall apes or wide beach bars, it still felt good. The look of the jacket is pretty nice, but I could do without the skulls/flames/lightning bolts/etc. on the logo patches, but that is just me. Although I did like the security of the removable vault C.E.-approved shoulder, elbow, and spine protectors, I ditched them for comfort’s sake. Other standout features of this jacket are the removable insulated vest liner and the stealth reflective trim.

What if I told you that for $50 and about five minutes’ time you can do a very good job of saving your own life and not look like a dork while doing so?

Well, hang up your fluorescent orange vest and neon yellow helmet and get yourself one of Custom Dynamics’ Magic Strobe brake light enhancers. This little black box offers 10 user-selectable flash and strobe patterns, so all of those texting teenagers and other morons monkeying around while driving can snap to attention when they see the light show this thing throws out. Yes, loud lights do save lives.

The Magic Strobe also has thermal and over-current protection, an 84-watt max power rating, and will work with LED or incandescent bulbs. Sure, I can talk about this awesome upgrade ’til I’m blue in the face, but I think you should log onto the interweb and watch what this thing can do at: www.customdynamics.com/motorcycle_brake_light_flasher.htm.