Black boots, metal flake lids, denim caps, chunky rubber, and thick steel rings make for an eclectic read in this week's Gear Guide.
CHIPPEWA 11" BLACK ENGINEER BOOT
Original Chippewa is credited for inventing the Engineer style boot. An engineer boot is all-leather tall stovepipe shaft pull-on boot with buckled leather cinches at the ankle and knee. The Original Chippewa Engineer boot debuted in 1937 as a semi-dress type of boot engineers prefer for field work, or other outdoor workers, whose positions make a neat appearance necessary.
The 1937 "The Original" 17" Engineer was manufactured with Horween W.P. Chromexcel leather, Goodyear Welt Construction with plain toe, and an English riding boot style profile. The outsole was heavy vicolized (oiled) single leather with top grade leather insole and hand pegged steel shank.
The classic 11" Engineer with Logger Heel and exterior counter was first introduced in 1940 and quickly became popular with bikers. The boots' lace-less tall shaft adds maximum protection to foot and shin while on the road. Outlaw biker films of the 1950s made Chippewa Engineer boots a famous motorcycle icon.
The contemporary Chippewa engineer boot is made of black odessa leather, with a Goodyear leather welt. The lining is leather with a Texon insole. The shank triple ribbed steel, the sole being a rugged Vibram high performance rubber. They have Nickel Non Tarnishable Buckles. These are incredibly tough boots, and are fit for purpose. once worn in they’re incredibly comfortable, and if well looked after, will last alot longer than your bike!
For more than 110 years, the Chippewa Shoe Manufacturing Company has been manufacturing top-quality rugged boots and shoes for every purpose. Chippewa products use only premium raw materials and are hand crafted in USA.
To buy in the UK check out Surrey Speed Shop, in the US go to Chippewa’s website.
PRODUCT REVIEW BILTWELL BONANZA OPEN FACED LID
If there is one brand that has become synonymous with the new wave custom scene it is Biltwell. They make no nonsense products that shun the fussily designed and over engineered culture of the mainstream motorcycle industry, offering simple and classically styled products that are modestly priced.
The Bonanza helmet has become the benchmark for open faces. A straightforward design with a slim profile it unashamedly harks back to an era when motorcycling was all about good cheap fun and wind in your face.
The Bonanza is a comfortable lid with a hand-sewn brushed Lycra liner with contrasting diamond-stitched quilted open-cell foam padding lining, and the Injection-molded ABS outer shell with hand-painted finish conforms to DOT standards. It features moisture wicking brushed Lycra panels and open-cell foam padding for breathability and comfort.
It comes in a bewildering array of colours and designs with rubber or chrome accent edging, ranging from stealthy matt black to chunky metal flake green. Whether you’re on an old school bobber, a city brat, a green lane scrambler or a classic cafe racer, there’s one for you. It’s not an expensive lid either, so if you’re working to a tight budget it’s ideal.
I wore my wine red metal flake Bonaza to Wheels & Waves this year, and it was perfect for the long warm weather blasts through the mountains, and buzzing around the bustling streets of Biarittz.
Unlike many other open face lids, it doesn’t rise when traveling at speed and it’s particular shape makes it easier than others to wear glasses with. When not wearing shades I snapped on a red tinted Biltwell bubble visor which worked perfectly.
This a work-horse of a helmet, and a pretty filly at that.
PRODUCT REVIEW BY THE BSMC’S VERY OWN ALI LATIMER - CONTINENTAL TKC80 TWINDURO TYRES
What Conti say:
“The Conti TKC80 Twinduro provides the de-riguer finish to the adventure style motorcycle.”
“The Conti TKC80 Twinduro delivers un rivalled on and off road performance, all season, all weather, in all terrain and every road condition, regardless of continent!”
“Conti TKC80 Twinduro World Conquering Grip, dont go exploring without them.”
What I say:
One of the most important things on a motorcycle are the tyres, they need to do several jobs, they need to suit the bike aesthetically, allow the bike to travel the path chosen and most importantly, they must perform. Many things on the bikes we build and admire are a compromise for the aesthetic, tyres often are too, but I didn’t compromise, I have the TKC80’s on my 1983 Honda XL600R tracker, a fun trail bike that has been given the retro cool makeover, she wears these tyres so well, both on the road and off of it. In fact they impressed me so much that when I designed The Gambler, these tyres were a must and they’re one of very few that give you such an aggressive tread in ‘big bike’ sizes. The tracker wears 120/90/18 up front and 140/80/17 on the rear, but The Gambler ( A 1993 Honda VFR750 Scrambler) wears much bigger boots, 120/70/17 up front and 170/60/17 tearing up the earth behind you!
Now I was a little apprehensive when I first put them on the VFR, I thought they might struggle on the tarmac roads, but I can honestly say that I don’t feel any less confident with these than I do running a set of sport touring tyres, and when I give it a blat around the lanes I know they won’t let me down, I’ve even had the VFR banked over enough for knee down fun, albeit by hanging off the bike quite a bit, down on the farm they come into their own, the driveway and tractor paths are nothing to these boots and I’ve even gone across the fields on them with no drama!
Back to the XL600R though, the other week I ran it in the infamous Dirt Quake event, we experienced every condition, from a sodden circuit that was slippery as hell to a damp and sticky track and finally a dusty hard packed surface, the TKC’s didn’t fail me in any of the conditions, and they weren’t new, I’ve probably done about 1,500 road miles on them, so they’re well bedded in, they kept me upright, gave me amazing traction off the line and aided me to a 3rd place finish in the final show down, I feel the tyres had a big part to play, as I was only beaten by experienced racers!
I don’t expect to getting millions of miles from them like a touring tyre, the aggressive nobblies are a compromise if you looking for longevity, but what they will allow, is a 4,000 mile trip with no restrictions on where you ride, and that’s worth sacrificing an extra few thousand miles in my book!
Check out their sizes, they have quite a range and they must be the most imposing tyres for any street and dirt scrambler build:
PRODUCT REVIEW - IRON AND RESIN DENIM TRUCKERS CAP
The trucker cap is also sometimes known as a "gimme cap" or a "feed cap" because this style of hat originated as a promotional give-away from feed or farming supply companies to farmers and truck drivers. The original feed caps bore company logos on the front foam section of the cap, either printed or as a patch sewn on. These companies typically had a rural clientele, such as the local feed store or John Deer tractors.
Trucker caps are a useful piece of kit for bikers. They’re light, can be clipped to your belt when riding, and whipped off and onto your bonce to tame helmet hair or for the aging grumps among us to conceal the bald patch or receding hairline.
I personally love a truckers cap, they’re practical and look good. What I don’t like about some of them is the poor quality of materials used. Iron & Resin have manufactured a denim five panel cap that is a welcome alternative to the typical foam. It has the quintessential mesh back and snap back. The stitching is a contrasting yellow and it features the Iron & Resin Anchor Piston Flag patch. It’s well made and comfortable, and fits well. It’s worth the premium they charge for it.
Iron & Resin is the brainchild of several friends who, “...after decades of collective experience building successful clothing brands, decided to turn back the clock and start anew.” The result is a small, hand built collection of goods that draws heavily upon the founder’s own lifestyles and experiences riding bikes and surfing.
Forged in a blue collar beach town in California “... In a mass produced, disposable world, Iron & Resin is a product of "one-off" culture. Where men still build, by their own hands, the craft they ride.”
I take my cap off to them!
PRODUCT REVIEW - PRAGMASIS PROTECTOR 19MM CHAIN
‘If only, if only....” the words that keep coming from my mouth this week. If only I had a decent chain then my lovely bike wouldn’t have got nicked. The toe-rags simply snipped through my 12mm Oxford chain with bolt cutters and legged it with my bike.
So I’ve learned my lesson, and I went in search of the toughest of tough chains. I discovered the Pragmasis Protector 19mm. These are off the scale, the bad-boys of all chains. These are made from high-grade European boron steel with specialist heat treatment and finishing in the UK to precise specifications.
The Protector 19mm chain is a long-link design with the following link dimensions : 138 x 63mm outside; 100 x 25mm inside, throughout its length (an elongated end link is not required). It is constructed from 19mm diameter bar and all but the end links are surrounded with a protective fabric sleeve (to protect your bike/other valuables; not to protect the chain!).
Normal stock lengths are 1.0m, 1.2m, 1.5m and 2.0m (with the option of custom-cut lengths from 0.7m up to 4.0m!). They weigh in at a whopping 6.2kg per meter, so are not practical to haul around with you, but ideal if it lives at home or work (where mine was half-inched).
The Protector 19mm has been awarded Sold Secure Motorcycle/Caravan/ATV/Motor Scooter/Bicycle/Commercial Vehicles/Car & Van Gold (through to June 2015) Police Preferred Specification. Sold Secure is an independent British security testing and approvals organisation that awards Gold standard to the highest security products, with Silver and Bronze for lower grade products. Motorcycle Gold is a higher rating than Bicycle Gold; Caravan Gold is a higher rating than Motorcycle Gold.
The Protector 19mm won the RiDE Magazine Best Buy and Recommended awards RiDE Magazine March 2014, Locks & Chains Product Test. RiDE Magazine's product test awarded a prestigious Best Buy for the Protector 19mm chain and Squire SS65CS-XLN lock for "its mix of usability and security", saying "This is a lock set good enough to be issued to the Ministry of Defence." "First stage attacks didn't touch the chain or the lock. Our mechanical attacks did get through eventually but had to make a lot of noise for some time in order to do so."
The protector 19mm under the Police ACPO Secured-by-design scheme. These are the only chains that are genuinely Police-approved.
They’re sold separately or in packages with the Squire SS65CS-XLN lock, which is also a serious piece of kit. Hopefully they’ll do the business and deter the scumbags from trying to thieve my other bikes.