The latest Gear Guide sees the launch of the long awaited open face helmet from the 78 Motor Company, tough good looking Kevlar canvas jeans from Tobacco, a tailored armoured jacket from Ruste, a stunning repurposed lamp from Motorcircus, and welcome relief from swamp-arse from Below The Belt.

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78 MOTOR COMPANY SUPERLUXE R/T HELMET In true shed-builder style, Anthony Jackson has been locked away for nearly three years beavering feverishly - designing, engineering and building his passion project - the Superlux R/T open faced lid. He's a one-man band with no financial backing beyond his own hard earned readies, but somehow Anthony has managed to create a lid that shames the corporate manufactures and holds its own against the high-end niche brands. We've seen samples at the Bike Shed shows for a couple of years, but it's only now he's happy with the design, secured the highest safety certifications and been able to produce the helmets in a sufficient quantity, that he's willing to release the Superluxe R/T to his eagerly waiting punters. But I have to say, it's been worth the wait.

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The Superluxe R/T is a hand crafted low volume luxury helmet that combines contemporary carbon fibre technology with retro styling. The Superluxe recalls the classic lines of the late 1970’s era jet helmet with a small shell and close fit with choices of authentic rubber trims. Each helmet is hand finished in a limited series of just 100 per colour taken from original 1970’s automotive paint palettes, each hand sprayed with a UV finish.

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Every SL helmet features extensive detailing from embossed ‘gun metal’ metal ware, silk-screened artwork to the signature chrome badge (the first series in Morris red resin). The nappa leather and suede interior is stitched and finished by hand, featuring an integrated carry handle under each ear pad. Every SL comes complete with its very own slim line SL peak visor. A carbon fibre peak visor optional at extra cost.

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The Superluxe interior is extremely comfortable, lined with the finest Nappa lambskin with super-soft moleskin suede. After two years of research and development 78 Motor Co. have shaped and formed a new low weight EPS inner shell with focus on shape and fit. The dual density foam and Lambskin head/neck cushion with 360 degree padding "clamp yet caress" the head with extra long webbing straps and padding to avoid snagging on stubble and beards. Each ear pad can be removed and replaced. With an overall weight from just 780 grams, the Superluxe is incredibly light and ultra strong.

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The Superluxe is autoclave formed from the latest carbon fibre composite with additional carbon fibre reinforcement. "A unique combination of fibres provides the low weight and strength of carbon fibre with the preferred crash behaviour of much heavier fibreglass." The denser EPS has been designed to absorb energy quickly whilst being low weight. For a safe and secure fit tensile ‘stainless steel’ double ‘D’ rings are fitted alongside heavy-duty aviation grade straps and webbing. Automotive alloy anchor points are mounted to the shell for additional strength.

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Despite the low weight the Superluxe is not flimsy or flexible gaining full ECE R2205 approval.  78 helmets are formed, assembled, painted and finished by hand in very low volumes with each being a true limited edition in sumptuous colours. The tones available are Phantom Black – (Embassy Black Rolls Royce); Aston White – (Aston Martin 1970s); Zanzibar Blue – (BMC/British Leyland) – SL Series 100; Blood Orange – (Porsche 1970s); and my favourite 100 Dove Grey – (BMC/Triumph 1970s). A long time coming, the Superluxe is a terrific addition to the open face helmet line up, claiming its stake at the luxury end of the market www.78motorco.com

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PRODUCT REVIEW - TOBACCO MOTORWEAR KEVLAR LINED JEANS So, I've tried out a few pairs of Kevlar lined jeans over the last couple of years, and they've ranged from pretty poor to really quite good. So when I took delivery of my Tobaccos I was curious to see what more these had to offer. I certainly wasn't disappointed.

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First off, I got them in canvas rather than denim, just for a change really. The heavy tan cotton is handsome, tough and durable, but comfortable from the outset. But comfort aside, the most striking factor is how well these fit. These are a classic Levi 511 style slim tapered cut, and fit perfectly. The Kevlar lining is soft and thin, so it doesn't bunch up and feel like you're wearing your mum's tights underneath like some Kevlar jeans do. These feel like a normal pair of jeans, and can be worn all day, even in warm weather.

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They don't come with pockets for armour, which some people may not like, but it means you don't have the extra bulk in the knees and hips that other Kevlar jeans do. I particularly like these because they are equally comfortable on and off the bike. They are a well designed pair of jeans, period.

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We first featured Tobacco Motorwear Company as a Kickstarter project last year, and they're now in full production. The jeans come in indigo and black selvedge denim, and sand canvas. They certainly haven't skimped on materials. Their canvas and denim are raw, hefty and unwashed. These will stretch and mould to your physique through wear and will get better with age. The fabric will soften and fade with wear. The Kevlar is extremely durable, abrasion, heat and puncture resistant. These jeans are tough and ready to work. They come in odd and even waist sizes and various lengths, and are made in the USA. The classic five pocket design comes with minimal detailing, with a red and gold wave stitch on the pocket.

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The founder of Tobacco, Dave Ackerman asks that '...you put them on and beat the hell out of them. Your Tobaccos are made to get better so get on a bike and go for a ride!"

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Recently customer Andrew Wieralla wrote to Dave, "So I was out last week, on a sunny day riding my chopper. Riding in style wearing some blue Tobacco jeans. My front brake locks up and I go sliding across that warm blacktop. The only thought I had was, 'at least I'm wearing my Tobacco jeans.' I just wanted to say thank you for making such an awesome product and literally saving my ass. The jeans are also no worse for wear. I'll never ride without them."

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I'm loving my Tobaccos, and I'm getting the indigo denim version next. tobaccomotorwear.com

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PRODUCT REVIEW - RUSTE PROTECTIVE TAILORING A few weeks ago we featured Ruste, the company that offers a tailoring service for jackets and trousers, lining your favourite garments with Kevlar and creating pockets for protective armour. They claim: "Our expert tailors sew protective material into your jeans and jacket without changing the way they look. They will be comfortable, safe, and no one will even know that you’re wearing motorcycle gear."

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I was tempted, so sent them my Woolrich/West America heavy canvas jacket. I love to wear it on my bike, but am aware it's not Kevlar lined or armoured, so I worried how it would hold up in an off. So I sent it to Ruste, curious to how they would deal with it.

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They have a very easy and straightforward handling process. You place your order online, DHL call and arrange a pickup, you pack you garment, the package is collected and shipped to their tailors, and then returned to your home address. They quote a two week turnaround time from when they receive your garment, but mine got back to me much quicker. When the jacket came back, it fitted perfectly, with the armour in the correct places and the lining fitted accurately. The quality of the workmanship is extremely high, the jacket looking and feeling like it was lined at manufacture and not retro-fitted. It hasn't altered the shape or fit of the jacket, and the D30 armour is snug and discrete.

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The lining material is Coolmax, which helps keep you dry, cool and comfortable. Coolmax is a performance fabric that has been used in athletic clothes for many years. Coolmax pulls moisture away from your skin and helps the air to circulate.

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Ruste use authentic DuPont™ Stretch Kevlar®, which is lightweight, flexible, and incredibly strong. The Kevlar covers the most vulnerable places in your body, while leaving space to keep the clothes flexible and comfortable even on long rides.

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This is a useful and efficient service that has transformed a good jacket into a great jacket, one which will protect me well if I come in contact with the gravel. http://www.rusteprotection.com/

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MOTORCIRCUS - GOLDFINGER LAMP A few months back we featured Chris and the guys at Motorcircus, who fabricate one-off lamps and lights from vintage motorcycle and car parts under the banner Spot Vintage. Here are some images of their latest creation:

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"This lamp is an homage to Ian Fleming, Sean Connery and Gert Fröbe. So I named this spot Goldfinger."

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The headlight is from the 60s and was finished in gold metalic paint. The stand is made from a BMW R100RS ransmission shaft and a polished and oiled chunk of walnut. The switch is also real vintage (dead-stock), and the joint allows turning the headlight in every direction because of the ball magnet. This unique beauty can be used on a desk, sideboard or shelves.

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These lamps don't run cheap, but the craftsmanship is exquisite and the use of high end components put their cheaper competitors to shame. These are lovingly crafted and incredibly labour intensive. Check out Goldfinger and their other creations at www.spot-vintage.de or www.motor-circus.com

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BELOW THE BELT So, Swamp Arse. Anyone who has spent any time in the saddle has experienced the ignobility of a sweaty groin and butt chaffing. Uncomfortable and not a good look, some would say the affliction is a necessary evil of riding a bike. Maybe, until now. Below The Belt Grooming have released a unique range of skincare products dedicated to refreshing your balls and crack. "Often neglected in daily maintenance, a good regime can only enhance everyday life and ease the journey." My thoughts exactly.

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There are three products in the range: "Fresh & Dry Balls": Use this gel down below to ensure you stay dry and comfortable. Its absorbed quickly to leave a dusting of talc in all the right places. It is not perfumed and uses only essential oils. "Waterless Shower": If you are going out straight from work, going for a long ride, hoping to get lucky later, or just a lazy bastard, this product will cleanse, helping to kill bacteria and odour. There’s no need for a shower, it's instantly absorbed.

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"Sports Lubricant":If you road-race, motocross, grass track, traffic light grand prix, or do any sport where you work up a bit of sweat, this smooth, non-drag product will prevent chafing or unnecessary discomfort. Perfect. Thanks to Below The Belt, Swamp Arse is a thing of the past. (Note: We mercifully omitted the product application demonstration images)
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