Thursday, February 19, 2009

Alpinestars SMX Plus Boots

With the downturn in the economy manufacturers have been finding ways to squeeze out as much profit as they can out of existing products, often by charging the same, or more, for less. Buy a bag of chips and you'll pay the same as you did last year, but you get half the amount of chips in the bag. Portions are shrinking, stuff gets made more cheaply but you pay the same or more.

Alpinestars SMX Plus Boots are on item that haven't changed for the worse over the years, though a price adjustment did take place recently pushing them over the $300 mark at $349.95. They are, we feel, one of, if not the, best boot you can own for serious sport and track riding or racing.

The SMX Plus is Alpinestars top selling roadrace boot and for good reason. Great fit, super comfortable and full blown protection. They last and protect for many years and miles of use and provide excellent ankle, toe and shin protection.

The specs read like this: Contoured shin plate protector is injected with high modulus PU for superior impact and abrasion resistance.* U shaped calf protector is impact resistant and protects the ankle and calf area. Additional protection is provided by the top recessed buckle structure.* Interchangeable bi-injected PU toe sliders with snap-in assembly.* Wide and ventilated heel counter extends to the ankles and is combined with a shock absorbing padded insert and self-molding foam ankle protectors.* Replaceable sliders are positioned in the back and external section of the heel to allow the boot to slide and absorb shocks.* Injected PU material extended to the to area.* Large instep flex zone for maximum comfort and flexibility.* Lorica and leather upper.* Sole has been designed for improved feeling between the rider's foot and the pegs of the motorcycle.* Instep speed lacing closure and a unique lateral zipper.* Replaceable ratchet buckle closure on the calf features a hidden strap for security and is integrated with a calf slider.* Synthetic forefoot lining laminated with open cell foam. Highly breathable lining on ankle and leg areas.* Alpinestars anatomical and replaceable countered footbed provides arch support and forefoot pedal feeling.

A great boot. For 2009 Alpinestars has put out some new color options. The WHITE/ RED Vented is the ticket. The best part? They haven't changed a bit, as far as we can tell. Nothing's thinner, smaller, or less in these boots.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Helmets from Icon & Scorpion

Though these two brands may not enjoy being in the same room together, both ICON and Scorpion put out some new helmets for 2009 that will stir the stagnant pot of 2008 and earlier helmets. ICON kicked off their product launch a few weeks ago with a long and gritty behind the scenes online videotizement bounced off their web site that is well worth a watch. Particularly hilarious is the honking chew loogy the guy drops on the scorpion bug in the first few seconds of the desert scene. 

ICON's 2009 graphics are great, especially if you happen to be a Buccaneer. The Jolly Roger waves mightily on the Crossbone helmet and there's a women's Hella Crossbones jacket to match. 

Since November 2008, Scorpion has been trying to keep up with the huge demand of their EXO 700 Neon helmet. Scorpion was literally caught off guard by the huge demand this helmet has enjoyed and this means you just can't get one without waiting for a lengthy back order. It is, without a doubt, the brightest most visible helmet you can own, short of strapping a disco ball to your head and roaming around with that. It should glow in the dark! Wow, there's an idea huh? A glow in the dark helmet, with a glow in the dark jacket to match. 

Even if you don't have a Hayabusa, the Hayabusa Airframe helmet looks cool. Based on the Airframe, it's part of a whole line of Suzuki ICON products available now. 

Our favorite two Scorpion helmets are the Predator and the Chameleon. The Predator graphics are very animalistic and aggressive, while the Chameleon's are dark and subtle. Very cool colors in each of them too. 

In the ICON line-up, the ICON Burn Baby Burn helmet unashamedly capitalizes on the eternal marriage of motorcycles and sex. This Airframe helmet displays a boysterous and bouncy cowgirl with giant tits bull riding a giant screw and really enjoying it. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Kali Protectives MX Helmets

For the past two months Motostrano has been secrety selling a new line of helmets put out by local SF Bay area clan Kali Protectives. Call it "test selling", maybe. The good people at Kali kindly visited our showroom recently to introduce the helmet to us and we were intrigued, evnetually leading us to let the products into our catalog. Actually, our first impression of the helmet was something a lot like "Holy shit! that is light!"

Yet another MX helmet on the market you say? Not really, but yea, a little. But these do stand out, both technically and graphically. Super light weight and feature packed. The EPS liner of the Kali helmets are sprayed into the helmet shell, rather than made outside the shell and glued in as other helmets. This creates a lighter and stronger helmet, more solid. 

The Kali Aatma helmets are very vented and have all the usual higher end features as far as removable liners and so forth. Priced at $299.00.  They say "From the dreams of riders to the scratch pads of aerospace engineers, revolutionary Composite Fusion™ technology is introduced with the Kali AATMA helmet. Weighing in at 1200 grams (*), the AATMA represents one of the lightest, most durable and best fitting motocross helmets imaginable.UNIVERSAL SELLING POINTS Fiberglass Shell with Composite Fusion EPS Liner. Integrated Airflow System. Antibacterial, removable, washable liner. Meets or exceeds AMA, FIM, CCS, Formula-USA racing standards"

The Kali Mantra helmet is a step down and a great value for the buck. They say "Kali MANTRA Helmet is our most elemental helmet, featuring an ABS shell for overall toughness and impact resistance. The MANTRA Helmet is both feature and graphic rich, providing a new reference in head protection.Product Features: • ABS Shell with EPS Liner • Integrated Airflow System • Breakaway visor design • Antibacterial, removable, washable liner • Safety certifications include ECE22.05, DOT (FMVSS 218) • Meets or exceeds AMA, FIM, CCS, Formula-USA racing standards"

Michelin Power One Tire

The new Michelin Power One Tire is available now. This is the tire to replace the all powerful Pilot Power and the word on the street is - it's great.  Michelin has even designed a nifty Power One web site devoted entirely to, what else, the Michelin Power One tire. The web site allows you to plug in various parameters and specifications to then dictate which version of the Power One is right for you. Tell it what you ride, where you ride, how fast you ride, whether you ride in the rain or not and the Michelin man then zaps out a response. 

There's not much tread on this DOT tire. Very slick-ish. Could be good for zzzzupermoto? 

Friday, February 13, 2009

Supermoto On A Budget

The past 12 months have been economically hard on everybody. On a personal level, my bonus down at the mortgage finance company where I work was only $4 million this year so, jeesh, having to sell the Ferrari to pay for the Lambo, not being able to buy that ranch on Maui that I had planned on, and only being able to vacation 3 months out of the year instead of 4, it's been almost unbearable. And yet, human kind's great March of Progress continues on, to what destination, we'll never know.

With budgets strapped and wallets full of lint or "postcards" from the bank, many folks are struggling to get the biggest BANG for the buck when it comes to supermoto these days. For others, like the permanent Mr. Cheap-o, it's a buyer's haven. With that in mind, here's some comments about getting into Supermoto on the cheap.

For starters, there's currently a glut of both new and used bikes on the market with folks needing to sell their used moto inventory to help pay other bills or for things like, breakfast. Some bikes are fully equipped professional rigs and others stripped to the bone skeletons or botched up Frankenbikes with two heads and a twitch. If the hurdle of affording a bike has been in your way before, it's a great time to find a bike on the cheap.

If you've got the cash, circle around your prey like a giant patient vulture. Craigslist and Ebay are obvious places for the Great Bike Hunt, but discriminating buyers will peruse the dark allies of the Classifieds on Supermotojunkie and other boards for that lonely post for the used bike and a garage full of parts that may go with it. Heck, you may even find a second hand wife in there! At the right time, crouch down and move in on your wounded prey like a Puma pouncing on a limping baby deer. Drag your near-dead catch back to camp and spend the rest of the night telling the tale of your hunt to your fellow tribesmen.

And there's tons of used parts out there. When buying used parts, make sure you're really getting a good deal will ya? I hate seeing guys buying used stuff for the same or more than new. If you're going to do that, just by the new stuff! Compare retail and sale prices from vendors like Motostranoand others. Otherwise it's just no fun. Used parts should sell for at least half the new price as a rule and if you're not saving big bucks by buying used, you may as well buy new to take advantage of warranties, fresh parts and the security you get from knowing all your virgin parts are there ready for their first love.

Baby stepping into Supermoto is just fine and nothing to be ashamed of. "Sportsman" supermoto racers are the true grunts, the first responders, of the track and the street. Often with little more than some less knobbyish tires, these guys are a terror and in it for the thrill alone. They're not pretty and don't usually dress much for the part either. You don't want to mess with these guys.

Going Sportsman at the caveman level can mean running some Avon Distanzias or Gripsters and forget the rest. For a few hundred bucks you're on the street or track with some DOTs. Done. Finito. Now let's go have pasta.

Dip your other toe in the water and upgrade your brake disc to the big 320mm. That's right, the big TREE, TWO, OHHHHH. EBC's Supermoto Brake "kit" is an easy gamble and even gifts you some sharp looking bling with the fancy red anodized rotor buttons free of charge. Free is good right? It's a full floater and even shakes a little. They should have called it the EBC Fancy Supermoto Rotor Kit. And since you're doing this on the cheap, make sure to shave less and run this rotor till there's no metal left at all. Use it till you can put a finger through the worn out holes carved from miles of use. For Sportsman riders, the more raggedy looking, the better.

For Sprortsman, that's really all you need. And why go further? Your're doing this supermoto thing just to hang out more with your buddies who are all supermoto red-eyed addicts, unlike you. You, you have control. You know when to say to NO, even if all your bad demons are telling you "YES, MORE".

And when you give in to those voices, you'll need to get wheels. Seventeens. The "streetbike wheels". Yes, Mr. Freebie, you won't be able to stretch 17 inch tires on your MX wheels to do supermoto. Fortunately for you though, various aftermarket companies knew you were coming and have paved a path of savings that let you "go all the way" with supermoto by, for instance, simply spending less time at your favorite strip joint.

One way to do it is to simply cut your MX spokes off with a heavy duty wire cutter and throw the scraps over in the neighbors yard.  There, you've just done what the tree hugging Californians have been begging you to do for years. Next, get shorter spokes and wider rims that measure 17 inches and weave them on to those now naked hubs. It's almost like knitting.

But if the thought of doing that sends a chill down your spine as you look up with sad eyes and fantasize about more days ahead in the dirt, ripping away at the earth's thin crust, there are complete bolt-on-ready wheelsets you can now get for something around eight hundred bucks. Keep your dirt wheels handy. Baby them even. Tighten a spoke or two for once, fondle a nipple, and then spin on some brand new wheels from DNA, Warp 9 or Gleiss, all of which you can get at Motostrano. These wheels work, are typically as good or better than OEM type wheels and keep you rolling on the cheap.

And that's it! Welcome to the Hotel Supermoto. You're in room 669. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

AGV Rossi Celebr-8 Helmet Pre-Ording Now!

The 2009 Spring release of the AGV Valentino Rossi Celebr-8 Helmet has been made official. The helmet will ship some time in April 2009. Motostrano is taking pre-orders on this limited and rare collectible helmet now.

Rossi rode with the "Celebr-8 helmet" after his eighth Moto GP World Championship and has been wearing it during the cold and brutal winter testing months. Available in Black. Very limited helmet. Only 250 will be introduced into the American market. Shipping in AprilCertification DOT/ECE 22-05 Liner Fully removable and washable (including neckroll). Multi-featured fabrics with hygienic treatment for maximum comfort; humidity and sweat absorbing CoolMax for forehead, temples, and at the back of the neck; hyper-breathable material for the top and rear are for effective air-flow; micro-fiber material on the cheekpads to guarantee comfort and coolness Retention System Double D-Ring Shell SSL (Super-Super-Light) Carbon-Kevlar construction. 3 Shell sizes for the perfect fit. Ventilation System IVS (Integrated Ventilation System) with wide channels hollowed directly in the shell for enhanced air-flow into the helmet and improved aerodynamic penetration; 3 intake vents; 5 exhaust vents

AGV Valentino Rossi Celebr-8 Helmet at