Kit

New kit – Alpinestars Mach 1 Supertech R

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MotoGP ‘Top Gun’ Maverick Viñales has taken to the Factory Yamaha like a duck to water – topping pre-season testing and claiming dominant wins in Qatar and Argentina.

It’s no secret that we at Lincolnshire Biker are big fans of the Alpinestars Supertech R boots, and the Italian company has just released a limited edition Viñales replica.

The Mach 1, which Viñales wore at the Jerez race, is CE certified and features all the same technical innovations as the iconic Supertech R – including a redesigned compound rubber sole, an ergonomically profiled shin plate and a redesigned front flex area.

Available in Viñales’ trademark grey, red, and black colour scheme, these boots have the aesthetics to match their impressive performance.

Price £TBC
www.alpinestars.com

Tested – Arai RX-7V

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This is my second RX-7V and I have nothing but praise for it.

This is my sole lid, and it’s the exact same helmet that you see top racers such as Pedrosa, Crutchlow, Vinales and Rea wearing each weekend.

I love this helmet and with good reason too – it’s truly all-day comfortable, and the non-itch lining does a good job of keeping my scalp dry and sweat free. Its performed faultlessly on a recent three-day trackday at Jerez and the brilliant combination of powerful and effective visor vents and Pinlock means you’ll never suffer with misting, and the retractable chin spoiler is a neat, well-thought out touch.

This lid features Arai’s new visor change mechanism, which is far easier to master than the old system, and I know this lid will look after me in the worst case scenario – I threw my GP down the road when I came off at speed and slid some 110m down the road, smacking my head hard in three different places. The shell took a proper battering but everything worked as it should and I didn’t get so much as a headache. This new lid features a new, smoother outer shell, a longer diffuser, a new, bigger visor tab and a new interior.

The new outer shell is a result of Arai’s philosophy that a smoother shell offers the best protection through its enhanced ‘glancing off’ properties – the theory is that a smoother shape spreads the impact load across the whole helmet and thus helps reduce the amount of energy transferred to a rider’s brain in a spill. The shell itself is 30g lighter than the outgoing model, thanks a mainly to the new resins used, and there is now 3mm extra space around the rider’s mouth and chin.

This focus on ‘glancing off’ has seen the RX-7’s visor pivot lowered by 24mm to allow Arai to keep the shell of the RX-7V completely smooth above the test line of the Snell standard, further improving impact performance.

The new helmet also sports a prominent visor tab, which Arai has carried over from its F1 programme. The system is much chunkier than its predecessor, which makes it easier to use with gloved fingers.

Arai’s slogan is ‘there is a difference’ and they’re right. This is very much a top of the range lid, and it’s worth every penny of its hefty price tag.

Racer’s Kit – double TT winner Ivan Lintin shares his kit wisdom

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Roads ace Ivan Lintin, 31, from Bardney in Lincolnshire, has bikes running through his blood.

He cut his teeth competing in speedway and sand racing before switching to the British Supermoto Championship at 19. It was a baptism of fire, and in his first season the young Lintin broke his collarbone three times.

After a period of recovery, 2006 saw Lintin turn his attention to circuit racing, and he won his first race after just two races, eventually finishing second in one championship, and third in another.

The following season saw him win his first pure road race championship – the Irish 250cc – 400cc support class – and that led to him signing for a factory supported team, RC Express Racing, where he competes on the national and international road racing circuit.

He won his first TT in 2015, the lightweight race, and won the same race a year later. He also won the NW200 Supertwins race, setting a new lap record for the class at 109.304mph in the process.

He suffered a brutal off at Oliver’s Mount last July, losing part of his ring finger in the process, so he knows what works, and just as importantly, what doesn’t. Here he shares his kit wisdom, to ensure you get the best you can afford.

HELMET: “For the coming season I will be using the new AGV Carbon Pista – it is the flagship model of AGV (see New Kit section) and comes with a built-in hydration system.

“During the 2016 season I used two different helmets during different parts of the season – the AGV Corsa and the AGV Pista. The difference is basically the venting and the weight, with the Pista being the lighter of the two thanks to its carbon shell. Racing in any TT race takes it out of you, but your neck takes a right buffeting with you head basically being ripped off your shoulders at 190mph all the time. Them few grams of weight helps combat that a little.

“If you buy a new helmet from an official dealer they will normally offer you a fitting service where you try on different sizes, and they’ll adjust the internal padding to get the perfect fit – this will make the whole experience of riding your road bike or race bike that much better, allowing you to focus on the road.”

LEATHERS: “Until the 2015 season I used off-the-peg RST suits, all of which were crashed in and survived the season racing without any repairs or issues – it just proves how good their base level race suits are.

“I now wear made-to-measure factory suits and my suits for next season are the RST kangaroo – they’re lighter than cow hide and more supple. They fit like a glove and once you have them bedded in they’re all-day comfy.

“Last season I had a massive crash at the end of the back straight at Oliver’s Mount at 160mph, sliding more than 250 yards on the tarmac. The leathers stayed intact, and the only injury I suffered was a graze on my hip and elbow which was more heat burn than anything else.

“Leathers are something that you don’t always see people wearing on the road, and I know if the worst was to happen I would want to be wearing a set. Try different sizes and models on and find something that fits nicely both on and off the bike. Don’t be afraid if they’re a little tight when you buy them new –leathers bed in a lot, sometimes up to 10%. A little trick I have used to expand a specific part of the suit (mine was an issue around my knees at the TT) is to put a motorcycle inner tube into the problem area, blow it up and leave overnight. You will be surprised how much space can be made doing that.”

GLOVES: “Safety is paramount, but comfort is important too. In pure road racing good knuckle protection is vital. When you’re in the pack at the NW200 or Ulster GP, you’re basically getting shot blasted with stones. If one of them hits your knuckle without carbon or metal protection you certainly know about it.

“I have worn RST Track Tech Evo and Pro series gloves for longer than I can remember, they offer everything I require. They’re comfy when there bedded in and offer that vital knuckle protection. They also have the little finger sewn to the ring finger so in the event of a crash your little finger doesn’t get torn about as much.

“Going into the 2017 season I will have a special glove made with a shortened ring finger following the off at Scarborough, which resulted in it being amputated.”

BOOTS: “Boots are another piece of safety equipment some road riders overlook – your ankles won’t last long sliding along the tarmac at 60mph, so boots are as important for road riders as they are for racers.

“In the racing world I always look for a very rigid boot to stop the twisting that would brake your ankle in a crash. When I started out I wore Daytona boots as they were the most rigid, but now the other manufactures have caught up and I use the RST Pro Series boot. It allows free movement for gear changes and rear braking but limited twisting, so if you have a nasty off with your legs flying about you’re not going to break your ankle.”

BACK AND CHEST PROTECTOR: “I only used to wear a back protector as chest protectors are not the most comfy thing in the world. The say you learn from your mistakes and I had a crash in 2014 at the Southern 100, a first corner pile-up. I ran into the rear of another bike at about 30mph with my chest. I badly bruised my sternum and felt like I was winded for about three weeks.

“I was not wearing one that day – whether or not it would have saved me from the injury I don’t know, but now I wear one without fail and haven’t had a chest injury since.

“I would recommend one to any road rider because it could save you a lot of pain. When choosing either try them on to check how comfy they are and try get a longer back protector as it will offer the most protection.”

New kit – Shoei RYD

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The Shoei RYD is the aimed at younger riders and those who ride streetfighter and naked bikes.

Sitting one step up from the company’s entry-level Qwest, the RYD features some pretty impressive spec – a fully removable comfort liner and Shoei’s new quick release visor and mounting plate, as used on the top-of-the-range X-Spirit III, which offers a more effective seal for enhanced warmth and quietness.

The RYD has been extensively developed in the Japanese manufacturer’s own wind tunnel, and the results are optimised aerodynamic performance and airflow through the helmet’s interior. The latter is largely thanks to the chin vent, which sucks air in around the visor, as well as the two brow vents, with two exhausts at the rear which allow the warm air to escape.

The visor itself promises to deliver a wide field of vision, and is protected by a high-spec Pinlock Evo anti-mist insert.

The shell is a composite-fibreshell construction and inside there are recesses in the EPS liner to accommodate speakers, and it comes with additional pads which can be inserted into the recesses for riders wishing to damp out more noise.

Available in white, grey, orange and matt or gloss black, the RYD will be available in Spring.

£350

www.shoeiassured.co.uk

 

New kit – BMW System 7 Carbon

BMW claims its new System 7 Carbon is set to become the new benchmark in terms of safety, versatility, and aerodynamic properties, and on paper it certainly looks promising.

An evolution of the hugely popular System 6, the System 7 Carbon can be converted from a full-face helmet to an open one by simply taking off the chin guard. No tools are required and it takes only a couple minutes to make the change. How good is that?

As the name suggests, the exterior shell is made out of carbon fibre and has reinforcement inserts. BMW claims the helmet will exceed all safety standards – some feat considering it weighs weighing just 1580 g or 1680g, accordingly to size.

The interior is made out of multiple EPS segments and different thickness foam padding to offer the best shock absorption and increased comfort. As is increasingly becoming the norm, the interior pads can be removed and washed.

The three-dimensionally curved MaxView visor promises to offer an excellent view in all weather conditions while also increasing the field of view compared to its predecessor. Other upgrades include an optimised aero spoiler, integrated sun visor, and an enhanced ventilation system.

The System 7 Carbon will be available in Black, Light White, metallic Graphite Matt and Silver as well as in Prime, Moto, and Spectrum Fluoro paint schemes.

New kit – BMW Motorrad Street Air by Alpinestars

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BMW Motorrad is launching the BMW Motorrad Street Air by Alpinestars, an advanced airbag system offering comprehensive upper body protection and the freedom to ride a motorbike in both on- and offroad situations.

The technology is adopted from the current Alpinestars Tech-Air® street airbag system, a system which requires no motorbike-mounted sensors and instead relies on a sophisticated algorithm that detects imminent danger and inflates the full upper body airbag to provide a highly-effective crash protection system ahead of the first impact.

The BMW Motorrad Street Air Dry by Alpinestars textile riding jacket is designed to interconnect with the Alpinestars airbag system vest and is an essential component for the system to be fully operational.

It offers instantaneous inflatable upper body protection to the back, kidneys, chest and shoulders – the most exposed areas in a crash. It is also fully independent, incorporating its sensors close to the rider’s or passenger’s body means the airbag activates without the need for a triggering wireless signal to be sent from the bike.

This jacket is the first safety product to be launched under an exclusive agreement, between BMW Motorrad and Alpinestars and is available for both female and male customers in different colorways from October 2016.

Key features of BMW Motorrad Street Air by Alpinestars:

  • Full airbag inflation in 25 milliseconds for protection during crash impacts and loss-of-control situations when riding but also in stand-still situation – for example a rear impact while waiting at traffic lights.
  • Function is independently of the need for sensors to be installed on the bike and the subsequent need to link a specific motorcycle to the airbag system.
  • Immediately ready for use and no time is wasted in setting up electronic pairing between rider and/or passenger and motorcycle. Rider can easily switch between motorbikes without reconfiguring or reinitializing.
  • Placing sensors near to the body means the airbag system can be used on road or for off-road adventure-touring.
  • No need to deactivate the system if leaving the road for off-road trails or to stop in between to change settings. Changing surfaces while adventure touring therefore presents no problem.
  • The system is protected by a durable and water-resistant casing which, when worn under a compatible outer jacket, means the airbag system is fully weatherproof.

New – Dainese Mugello R D-air® racing suit

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This is the new Dainese Mugello R D-air® racing suit – the company’s latest evolution of its airbag technology.

The one-piece state-of-the-art suit boasts 25 new features, with the airbags now covering the neck, shoulders, collarbones and the lower sides of the rib cage.

The Mugello R D-air® racing suit, available also through Dainese’s custom works program, will be introduced in two color options from April 2017 starting from £3,399.95.

AGV Pista GP R – the full factory sports helmet

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AGV has unveiled its latest racing helmet, a full factory version of its popular Pista design.

The lid, the Pista GP R, is an evolution of the Pista GP and boasts the same lightweight materials as the GP, but it is claimed to have a better field of view and enhanced aerodynamics and venting. There’s also a new rear spolier and visor locking system, and a Pinlock as standard – why every manufacturer doesn’t include this as standard is beyond me.

However, this helmet allows riders to feel proper factory as there’s also a built-in hydration channel, the first time we’ve seen this feature integrated into an off-the-shelf lid. This is channel is connected to a pouch stored in the rider’s leathers and brings the hydration tube to the rider’s chin, where a drinking valve is located, allowing them to take sips during intense track or road riding.

Tested – Drift Innovation’s rugged Stealth 2 Action Camera

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Action cameras are gaining in popularity, especially with the rise in ‘Crash for Cash’ cases, as well as being used to record your rides and trackdays for prosperity. They’re great for checking your riding – lines, position and technique, and are invaluable for allowing you to critique and improve your own riding.

This is the Drift Stealth 2, and it’s right up there with the best – it’s a great entry-level action camera and a worthy alternative to the ubiquitous Go Pro. This very unit has just survived a spectacular off at 90mph (my fault entirely for not securing it properly in the housing), and when I eventually retraced my step I saw it lying on the tarmac still recording.

Yes, it’s battered, but that shouldn’t be a surprise. The footage shows the camera barrel rolling down the tarmac as it made its flight for freedom. The rear facing camera (A Drift Ghost) caught it even better – the Stealth must’ve launched seven feet in the air, and impacted the ground a good 10 times before it came a rest. When I eventually found it some 56 minutes later, it was still recording. I dusted it down, gave it a clean and reattached it to the bike and shot some more footage. This thing is tough, built to last and is as good as bulletproof. Impressive.

So what else have do I know? The unit itself is very compact – it measures just 80mm x 42mm x 27mm and weighs 97g, some 40 per cent lighter than the original Stealth. These measurements make it very aerodynamic and sleek; ideal properties when mounting on helmets or bike fairings – far more suited to bikes than the square design of its rivals.

As I’ve already stated, the rubber housing feels sturdy enough, and while it doesn’t claim to be waterproof, I think it would survive a nuclear attack.An industry standards screw hole sits at the bottom of the unit for mounting to tripods and other useful features include chunky, easy-to- operate buttons and a dial opening/closing mechanism to access the microSD and the HDMI and USB ports – perfect for keeping out dirt and grit.

On the side of the camera is a 1.3in screen that shows the menu options, and it’s backlit so you can see it in the dark.But the really clever part of this camera is that it comes equipped witha lens that rotates through 300 degrees, which means the camerais always capable of shooting landscape while allowing you all sortsof versatility when it comes to mounting the camera. However, this camera’s field of view is restricted to 135 degrees, compared to the 170 degrees offered by the Go Pro, but Drift claims this makes objects appear closer and sharper – and they’re right, the footage itself is superb – colours are crisp and it captures loads of detail, and there’s no ‘fish-eye’ effect at the edge of the frame

Despite the Stealth 2’s small size it still packs a powerful punch andthe battery life is an impressive three hours when shooting 1080p at 30fps. It’s also capable of shooting 720p/60fps all the way down to 120fps in WGVA quality slow motion footage. The camera also has Wi–Fi connectivity – which enables it to be paired to a smartphone or a Drift remote control unit, both of which are very useful when it comes to setting up shooting angles – a time-lapse function photo burst and video tagging.

Mounting couldn’t be easier and each kit comes with a selection of curved and flat mounts to suit all surfaces, and there’s even a handy goggle mount.Note to self – always check you’ve inserted it properly in the mount!

The Drift works equally well on trackdays and the daily commute – I’ve used it for instructing on track and it’s small enough to not be an issue while it has enough battery to make a decent commuter companion, recording every detail in the case of an incident. And it’s very competitively priced too. Highly recommended.

£149.99 store.driftinnovation.com/uk/

Tested – Knox Meta-Sys back protector

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This back protector is CE Level 2 certified, which means it’s at the top of its game when it comes to offering protection. This is largely down to the tough properties of the hard polypropylene external shell.

Another key feature is Knox’s trademark hinged panels, which allow maximum rider movement without compromising protection. The four panels span the length of your spine, and the lower back section even extends to protect the coccyx area.

The Meta-Sys feels reassuringly protective on, mainly due to the sheer amount of your back that it covers – the upper plates even offer a decent level of protection for the shoulder area – but it’s comfy too, thanks largely to the soft, foam-like nitrex insides, which have a sweat-wicking liner to keep you dry. There’s a decent amount of adjustability at the the shoulder and waist straps too, allowing you to get the Meta-Sys to sit just so, and the clever design means air is channelled away from top to bottom to stop your back from getting too sweaty.

The only downside is that there’s no getting away from its sheer bulk. I simply couldn’t get it to fit into my snug one-piece leathers, and had to go up a size to accommodate it.

4 stars

£130

http://www.planet-knox.com