DOT-Approved Helmets, Road Gears And More!

Affordable Lids
Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you can't have a fancy-and DOT-approved-lid. Bieffe's B12R (above left, $79.95 for solids, $89.95 for multis) features a composite thermoplastic resin shell with adjustable scalp and chin-bar ventilation, and incorporates the company's "plush comfort interior with new generation fit." From your favorite dealer or call Van Leeuwen Enterprises at (800) 461-1226. The TAC 400 (above middle) from Anstun ($89.95 solid, $109.95 with graphics) has an injection-molded polycarbonate shell with an elastomeric polyurethane finish on the outside, and a "comfortable, plush, moisture managing Hydrofil/Dri-lex interior." Contact the Anstun folks at (877) 4anstun or www.anstun.com. HJC's ZF-7 ($99.99 for solids, $124.99 with Spider graphics) utilizes a fiberglass shell with chin and forehead vents, and interior padding you'd swear is lifted from the company's premiere helmets. Call (562) 407-2186 for your closest dealer, or browse at www.hjchelmets.com.

Neat Feet
Ladies, listen up. You want to be safe and look good, yes? Get your feet in some Engineer boots from WomanBiker (above, $115.99) or Harley-Davidson (left, $130.00). WomanBiker's 10-inch-high boots feature a half-inch oil-resistant sole with a 1.5-inch heel and a top buckle for a snug fit. Surf on over to www.womanbiker.com or call (877) wm-biker. The Motor Company's boots are made from full-grain leather with a removable, full-cushion footbed. An oil-resistant rubber outsole "makes footpegs happy." See your local dealer (find one at 800/luv-2ride) or on the Web at www.harley-davidson.com.

Paw 'Tectors
From our friends at Roadgear comes this wide selection of stylish, inexpensive gloves. The All-Season Sport Touring Gloves (left, $39.90) feature a Kevlar reinforced double-stitched palm, hook-and-loop wrist strap, and a liner that helps keep your mitts cool in the summer, warm in winter. Mesh-lined for comfort, the Sport Leather Gauntlets (middle, $33.90) also feature a double-stitched palm and adjustable wrist closure. And for those blazing hot days, the Summer Riding Gloves (right, $19.90) incorporate an elastic wristband and a hook-and-loop strap for a comfortable fit. Dial up Roadgear at (800) 854-4327 or go to www.roadgear.com.

Lower-Buck Booties
Wow, there really is a Daytona boot you can afford! The Flash model (above left, $189.95) incorporates many features found on the company's higher-priced boots, such as the combination leather/textile lining, hook-and-loop calf fitting, elasticized inserts in the ankle and instep, extra plastic and latex foam padding, steel reinforced insole-the list goes on and on. Distributed by Helimot European Accessories (408) 298-9608 or www.helimot.com.

Joe Rocket's Rhino sport-touring boot (right, $149.95) has a "100 percent waterproof/breathable midliner" to keep your feet dry, a hook-and-loop calf closure with two cinch buckles, and incorporates a Kevlar reinforced ankle with an elasticized leather stretch panel. Call (519) 945-7200 or www.joerocket.com.

Where's The Wolf?
For those rides to visit Grandma, you're sure to be seen in WomanBiker's Red Riding Jacket. Made from three-ounce cowhide, this jacket has padded elbows and shoulders, and oodles of pockets. The quilted nylon liner keeps things comfy, and the belted waistband and zippered sleeves will have you looking stylish. Yours for $159.99 at www.womanbiker.com or (877) wm-biker.

BKS Leathers And Gloves
It's hard to get Burnsie out of his suit of lights, but these British-made BKS gloves and one-piece suit may have done the trick. The CE-approved leathers ($1999) sport things like Suproflex body armor and integral back protector, double-layered-and hugely supple-leather in strategic places, "memory foam technology" padding, preshaped knees, and your choice of knee sliders. The gloves ($349.95) are made to order-"just send a photocopy of your hand"-from 1mm leather, and feature carbon-fiber armor throughout. Think of them as tiny leathers for your hands. Choose from a variety of styles and colors at Headhunter Racing (651) 645-9433 or www.hhr2.com.

Teknic Violator II Glove
A lot of gloves come and go over the old transom here, and many aren't worth the life of the animal they're carved from. These Teknics, though, are quite nice. It seems nearly impossible to buy motogear anymore that isn't festooned with carbon-fibery Kevlar this or that and the accompanying buzzwords, and the Violators keep up with the Joneses in that department. Underneath all that, though, there's a beautifully sewn glove that fits extremely well, and unlike many of its bulky offshore ilk, gives back great control feel through tough-yet-buttery kangaroo palms. Those fingers are precurved, and so wrap naturally around your grips without bunching up, and the seams inside all 10 of our samples' fingers run straight; all that ever comes between you and yours, then, is that layer of marsupial-OK, two layers in the thumb/forefinger crotch for longer wear in that high-stress area. Comfort is sublime, right out of the box.

Protection should be good, too, judging from the extra layers of foam and cow that run along the side of the little finger and around the heel of the hand. In addition to the hard carbon/Kevlar knuckle patch there are chunks of closed-cell foam padding behind the patches of carbon/Kevlar fabric as well-and those various patches are actually located over wrist bones and things which need protecting. There's also an excellent two-strap retention system for making sure these stay on your hands when you bite the bitumen. We'd rate the Violators right up there with the expensive Italian and Japanese brands; quite the bargain at $129.95.

Price: $129.95
Rating: HHHHH
Verdict: Yes, right up there with pricier gloves in terms of feel, fit and probably protection

Teknic
532 Wolverine St.
Rockford, MI 49341
(616) 866-3722
www.teknicgear.com

AGV X-Vent
The Italian manufacturer's top-of-the-line competition helmet, AGV's X-Vent ($510.00 for multis; $455.00 for solids) features a composite fiber shell with a removable, soft fabric liner. The shield replaces easily without tools, and you can fit tear-offs for those nastier venues. Shown here in the patriotic scheme of Aussie Peter Goddard. Contact AGV at (301) 663-8171 or www.agv.com.