gear box

Exercising Your Urge to Accessorize

The Hot Set Up

The above title is admittedly a misnomer, being that the first boot we're discussing from the new Set Up brand--distributed by Motonation--is in fact a piece of ventilated footwear. The $160 Pegaso Vented (right) is, as its name properly suggests and we just clarified in the intro, a synthetic leather riding boot with breathable vent panels. The lining is a fully vented blend of cotton and polyester, the heel cup an injection-molded piece of thermoplastic, and the stitching in all high-stress areas doubled for added internal and external protection in the event of a get-off. For another Andrew Jackson ($20), you can trade the ventilation for waterproofing. Another trick boot setup from Set Up is the $75 Urban (left). This street boot features a lace-up closure, a fully vented lining, and an internally braced and protected inner ankle. Best of all (OK, second best--the sweet price takes top billing) is that this boot's street-shoe-like appearance will allow it to comfortably and confidently be worn once you reach your destination. (877) 789-4940, www.motonation.com

Shopping at the Mall...

A few names in motorcycling do wonders in terms of their ability to simultaneously make enthusiasts smile and checking accounts (and in-the-know spouses) cringe. Atop this list are two European-bred product lineups with lineage tied directly to every major form of motorsports on the planet--Oehlins and Brembo. CycleMall.net is your one-stop shopping solution for every Oehlins and/or Brembo-based need. Oehlins steering dampers ($290-$580) use a Ducati 916-style damper-rod system and work as well as they look. The same functionality extends to Oehlins' line of every-which-way adjustable rear shocks ($550-$975) and equally adjustable road and track fork sets ($1950). Brembo bits, even more so than the above-mentioned Oehlins ware, truly fall into the "if you have to ask, you can't afford 'em" category, but CycleMall.net promises to offer the lowest prices on all the exotic brake components, from discs to monoblock six-piston radial-mount calipers. CycleMall.net also carries just about everything else necessary to make a rider's heart patter with joy this holiday season. (866) 292-5362, www.cyclemall.net

Guilty Pleasures

Whether you admit it or not, we all like to watch...DVDs and videos of riders doing crazy $#!t on motorcycles. And few do said, ah, stuff crazier than the boys (and girls) of Las Vegas Extremes. It doesn't matter if you ride cruisers, dual-sports, choppers or racebikes, it's hard not to--on some twisted level--respect the combination of talent and insanity displayed by today's stunting crowd, and few document said talent and insanity better than Las Vegas Extremes. Be it their self-titled Las Vegas Extremes and Las Vegas Extremes II, or the definitely not-for-kids LVX Girls, these surprisingly high-quality DVDs and videos are reasonably priced and rank right alongside the American Choppers television show atop our list of guilty pleasures. (866) 398-7363, www.lasvegasextremes.com

Protect Your Noggin...

...or the noggin of a loved one with Shoei's new-for-2004 RF-1000. A revamp of the hugely popular RF-900, this lid--like Shoei's awesome new X-11 race-spec offering--features intensely effective ventilation to stave off the dreaded swamp-head funky helmet syndrome. The RF-1000 also features a new, softer liner and a redesigned visor that provides improved peripheral vision and promises zero distortion. Like all Shoei street helmets, said visor can be locked into place by a small thumb-operable tab. It's DOT and Snell approved and will be available in solid colors ($340.99-$356.99) and race-replica schemes ($443.99-480.99). (714) 730-0941, www.shoei-helmets.com

Dream On

If the Blackstone Tek carbon rims we featured in last month's Holiday Gift Guide aren't your thing, then you're obviously crazy...or holding out for true racer-replica status and what is perhaps the ultimate in light weight and high strength--forged magnesium rims from Marchesini. These circular pieces of art are favored by many top-tier race squads, including the 2003 AMA Superbike Championship-winning Yoshimura Suzuki team. And being that racers have long shown an aversion to using cheap parts, at $2690 per pair most of you (and most definitely the entire Editorial We) can expect to mortgage your spleen in order for the UPS man, Santa or Hanukkah Harry to deliver gifts of this magnitude. But again, it's fun to dream. CycleMall.net: (866) 292-5362, www.cyclemall.net. TAW Vehicle Concepts: (303) 456-5544,www.tawvehicle.com

Leather-Wrap

Our good friend and yours, Gina, is modeling the all-around goodness of this one-piece leather race suit from Corsa. Made from 1.4mm top-grain Brazilian leather, and featuring a full arsenal of CE-approved armor--including a back protector, Schueller Keprotec stretch panels, 3M protective piping atop the double-stitching and knee pucks. Gina not included, of course. This suit, like the rest of the Corsa line, is available in a boatload of sizes and colors, with custom work available upon request. (301) 816-2810, www.corsa.com

MotoMP3

Tired of listening to yourself redefine the word "sing," or worse, of listening to your bike howling at you to repack the silencer? If so, or even if not and you just want to listen to some tunes while you ride, check out Sound Factory's MotoMP3. This little godsend is in actuality a 64MB MP3 player with a mounting system that allows it to be affixed to any sort of helmet, be it street, dirt or otherwise. Music can be downloaded to yonder MotoMP3 player from any of your favorite Web-based sources--perhaps the recently relaunched Napster 2? The MotoMP3 includes a USB cable that will allow download speeds of 2.7 Mbps, which our in-house computer dorks claim is pretty fast. Said music reaches the rider's ears by way of either the included helmet-mounted speakers or the included earplug-style headphones. The system also features voice-recording capabilities, multiple pay modes and a five-band equalizer. This trick setup retails for $200 and needn't be attached to a helmet to provide its pleasures. (888) 673-7686, www.motomp3.com

Warm Hands

Tour Master knows how much cold hands can spoil a fine day of riding for many of you cold-climate dwellers, and has just the cure with its new top-of-the-line Winter Elite glove and Cold Front Carbon glove. Tour Master's so confident in the warming abilities of the $90 Winter Elite that it claims it is the "best winter glove on the market." Sporting Grade-A water-resistant goatskin and sheepskin construction, 3M Thinsulate insulation, a breathable, waterproof HiPora outer barrier and a thumb-mounted shield wipe, we just may have to agree with them. The Cold Front Carbon glove, as its name suggests, features carbon-fiber panels on the fingers and molded carbon knuckles for crash protection in the event of an encounter with black ice or snow. The Cold Front Carbon also offers cowhide construction, Thinsulate lining and a waterproof HiPora insert--all for $60! So unless you're of the "cold hands, warm heart" crowd, you may want to contact Tour Master and buy a pair of these hot new gloves for yourself. (800) 455-2552, www.tourmaster.com

**mc tested:

Widder System2 Lectric-vest **

Take it from someone who wore duct-taped garbage bags before discovering rain suits: Electric vests are the hot ticket for cold-weather riding.

Widder was founded by an aerospace engineer who wore a military-spec electric flight suit during chilling B-25 missions over the Himalayas in World War II and has since been in the electric-gear business for more than 30 years.

An upgrade of the original System1 vest, the System2 is built from a urethane-coated 600-denier polyester outer shell, ribbed throughout with heating elements beneath a lightweight Thinsulate insulation. Closure is provided by a high-quality YKK nylon zipper. It also has an effective, 70 denier windproof collar lined with ultrasuede and a pair of well-placed side pockets. All three are heated.

The lightweight Lectric-vest offers a good, snug fit, realistic sizing, good looks and folds into a small, tidy package when needed. Power is provided by a simple, 19-inch battery lead and delivered through Widder's coiled electronic controller (an $81 option) rather than a standard on/off switch. Wearing a long-sleeve T-shirt beneath a standard-issue Aerostich riding suit, testing took place in a variety of conditions aboard both faired and unfaired bikes. No matter what we were riding, we found the vest's output a bit lacking. We wanted to be hot under the collar--and around our ribs and backs, for that matter--and then turn the thermostat down accordingly. In 40-degree-ish weather the vest's effect was hardly perceptible. In 50-plus and 60-plus temperatures, things got a bit toastier, especially on bikes with enveloping bodywork.

The vest can be used with Widder's arm chaps, leg chaps and gloves. The arm chaps are especially cool, as they simply snap onto the vest in a big hook-and-loop patch. These four snaps double as the connections--no wires! When used together, the arms and legs get more heat than the vest itself.

Available only in black, in sizes 36 to 52, the vest draws a maximum of 36 watts, mere chicken scratch for today's charging systems. --Eric Putter

Price: $158
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Verdict: Not the hottest of the heated vests, but a good, versatile platform.

WIDDER
(800) 992-2653