Gear Box

Carbon Para Tu Cabeza
There are helmets, and then there's the Vemar VSR Carbon. Crafted in Italy from fine carbon fiber too pretty to hide under a coat of paint, it's amazingly light. The slick AeroWedge shape is designed to stay neutral at speed, with no nasty lift or drift. A total of 11 different vents usher fresh air through the interior when it's hot, or you can close them and stay warm when it's not. Vemar's finest passes the ultra-tough Economic Commission of Europe standard ECE 22.05 used by the FIM for MotoGP, as well as domestic DOT rules. Every major sanctioning body in roadracing from the AMA to WERA accepts it as well. Sizing runs S-XL. There's just one catch: If your head's not worth $899.95, do not, under any circumstances, try one on. Those who do have been known to sell family heirlooms or household pets to come up with the cash. (888) 313-2510,

Oakley/Ducati Monster Dog Iridium Sunglasses
Oakley and Ducati have teamed up to produce a line of seven different sunglass frames. The brawniest style are these Monster Dogs. The frame provides a fairly good seal against our staff testers' faces. Bayonet-style temples push straight back without hooking over your ears so they can be worn under most helmets.

Iridium lenses allow 10 percent visible light transmission while blocking UV rays, making them suitable for use in very bright conditions. $105. (800) 969-2895,

Roll Your Own
Paying some dealer's wrench to mount and balance your tires is no great hardship if you're doing it twice a year. But regular track-day attendance can burn up three sets of tires a month, maybe more. At that rate it makes more sense to invest in Parts Unlimited's new dual-purpose stand, which lets you balance new tires and true wire wheels. The captive-axle design and precision-ground bearings help keep your work accurate, and there's a dial indicator to ensure truly true wheels. The stand can balance just about any motorcycle tire imaginable, even those phat 300-series meats. There's even a built-in tray to keep weights and assorted paraphernalia handy. It'll set you back $169.95, plus $44.95 if you need an adapter for BMW's Telelever. Adapters for Honda VFR rear wheels sell for $27.95, as do those for Harley-Davidsons and Ducatis using single-side swingarms. (608) 758-1111,

Tail Treatment
Looking to coax a little more power from that 2004 YZF-R1, are we? Jardine's new RT-One carbon-fiber slip-on mufflers are designed to do exactly that. The Race model ($901.95) allegedly adds five to six horsepower in the midrange and two to four on top. There's also a quieter, more socially acceptable Street version ($935.95) for you silent types. The RT-One is also available in titanium ($936.95 for the Street model and $863.95 for the Race). This R1's rear end is adorned with Jardine's Supersport Fender Kit ($79.95) as well. Crafted from powdercoated 5052 aluminum billet plate, it cleans up the beast's tail while letting you keep the stock rear turn signals. Curious? Who could blame you? (951) 739-5900,

mc tested:Shoei RF-1000
For the last month or so, we've been riding in a Duhamel-rep Shoei RF-1000 helmet, and it's been a real pleasure. The lid is strikingly different from Miguel's previous version, with a new shape that reduces aerodynamic lift. The helmet is relatively immune from wind buffeting--a feature we've put to the test both on long highway stints and Road Atlanta's wide-open-in-top back straight.

It's lightweight, quiet, and comes with adjustable cheek pads for a customized fit, though it was perfect as issued.

For those who wear prescription glasses, the new RF-1000 is the only helmet we've ever used that has adequate channels for the temple pieces. Glasses aren't squeezed into your head, and because they sit normally on your face, tiny movements of the helmet don't distort vision.

In torrential rain the RF-1000 proved as fogfree as any helmet we've ever used (though in worst-case scenarios, an accessory face mask is always the best solution).

While we thankfully haven't crash-tested it, previous Shoeis have saved us from serious head trauma. Obviously, the new RF-1000 is DOT and Snell approved.

The only downside is you can't fit the visors from previous Shoeis, despite the fact that they look virtually identical.

The Duhamel-rep RF-1000 shown here doesn't come cheap. Shoei suggests a retail price of $480.99. Some one-color versions are more affordable at $340.99.

Price: $340.99-$480.99
**Rating: ** * * * *
**Verdict: ** Exceptional protection at a reasonable price.