Knox Contour, BMW Rider's Apparel And More - Gear Box

No April Fools Here-Just Top Gear

Put Your Back Into It Knox Contour
U.K. safety equipment firm Knox's latest, greatest back protector is called the Contour because of the way its shape matches the curvature of the wearer's spine. The Contour has more than just that shape going for it, though. It meets CE's tougher Level 2 specifications with a polypropylene honeycomb construction, and features Schoeller Dynatec on the back for abrasion resistance, Schoeller phase-change material down the inside back and antibacterial-treated Coolmax on the sides. Current exchange rates put the price at $175.39, in small, large, large plus, small race and large race, directly from Knox at Planet Knox Ltd., Unit 5 Derwent Mills, Wakefield Road, Cockermouth, Cumbria CA13 OHT, U.K.,

**Mc Tested Hang 'Em (Sort Of) High
Condor Helmet HangerWhere do you put your helmet? On your bike's rear-view mirror, where it can easily plummet to the pavement? On a garage shelf, where ants and other vermin can make it their home? Or on a table inside, where yard apes can knock it to the floor, where the dog can chew on it, or where it's guaranteed to cheese off your significant other when she wants to serve high tea?

Obviously, none of those are particularly good choices. Even a mid-range helmet is a sizable investment, not something you want treated like a basketball or a chew toy, or to cause domestic unrest.

Enter, then, Condor Products' Helmet Hanger. A 11/48-inch-thick, 2 11/44-inch-wide and roughly 20-inch-long piece of hot-rolled steel finished in black powdercoat, it can be screwed to a door or wall (Mount Type), or hung over a door, clothes rod or most anything you can throw the end over (Universal). Both versions have one end bent up, which is then laser-cut to form a loop that supports a helmet. Rubber molding covers both long edges and the support loop to prevent scratches.

Even the most mechanically inept should find it a snap to put the Helmet Hanger in their desired location. And apart from simply providing a place to hang your hat, it's plenty strong to support a hanger and your jacket or leather suit. Naturally, the Helmet Hanger is only as strong as what it's screwed to or hung over. Condor says a securely mounted Hanger can support up to 30 pounds. In fact, it looks sufficiently overbuilt for an average person to do chin-ups off the loop end. Not that we're recommending such a thing. Perhaps the best compliment we can pay the Helmet Hanger is to say one editor went out and bought one for home use to keep his favorite flowery-finish helmet out of harm's way.

It's your hat and your head: Condor's Helmet Hanger can keep the former safe, so it can do the same for the latter.

Condor Helmet Hangers
MSRP $27.95


Might seem frivolous at first, but it's a sensible way to keep your helmet safely out of harm's way

Condor Products
(815) 754-7418

Get It Together Aerostich Organizer Pocket
For most of the Motorcyclist staff, Aerostich's Courier or Parcel Bags are the favorite way to carry stuff on a motorcycle. The bags' appeal is lost on some other staffers, though, because there's no interior organizer pocket, and it's too easy for them to lose small items in the bags' cavernous confines. Now, Aerostich obliterates that complaint with its Organizer Pocket. Actually, the Organizer features several pockets, including a mesh and a zippered one, with plenty of places to put small, office-style impedimenta. The Organizer comes in black only and is sized and priced to fit all four of Aerostich's bags: Letter $24; Dispatch $26; Courier $28; Parcel $30. (800) 222-1994,

Mc Tested Das (Comfy) Boots
BMW Transition Boots

They don't look much like ordinary touring footwear. In fact, BMW's Transition boots would fit right into the Star Wars wardrobe department, except the boots are a lot more comfortable. Uppers are constructed from a mix of full-grain leather and Cordura fabric over a waterproof four-ply Gore-Tex membrane, with a tough, hinged plastic exoskeleton wrapped around the rear of the boot.

BMW calls the exoskeleton Biomex protection. Developed with the Centre for Orthopedics and Accident Surgery in San Moritz, Switzerland, it features a hinge that articulates the tough plastic framework on an oblique axis to mimic natural joint movement, which is supposed to protect your ankle joints from the sort of painfully unnatural movements involved in falling off a motorcycle. There's also stout shin armor, form-fitting plastic caps to protect toes and heels, as well as a washable, shock-absorbing insole to soften the blow if you have to put a foot down hard. Altogether it's sufficient protection to earn CE certification, something not as common on motorcycling footgear as you might think.

Getting your hoof inside is easy. Secured by two lateral panels of hook-and-loop material, the front of the boot swings forward to reveal a nicely padded interior, complete with sweat-absorbent padding. Snug up the internal speed-lace system with one tug, pull the wraparound shin-guard back in place and you're ready to ride.

Relative to the average Italian racing boot, all that armor and padding requires a bit more break-in time, and makes the Transitions noticeably heavier. They're bulkier as well, with a bit less feel than we'd like for genuinely aggressive riding. We had to raise the shift lever on some bikes a tick to accommodate that thick sole. On the plus side, the boots are absolutely waterproof, even after four otherwise soggy hours on the autobahn into Munich. And they're more comfortable than most racier alternatives for kicking around off the bike.

At $299, the Transitions are in the ballpark for upper-echelon riding boots. Not cheap, but ours are very much alive and kicking after nearly a year of use and abuse. So? For anyone who racks up big mileage in all sorts of weather and puts comfort and protection above impersonating Nicky Hayden or Valentino Rossi, BMW's Transition boots are nearly perfect. And with a little online shopping you can beat that $299 sticker price by a margin. They're available in any color you want so long as it's black in men's (6.5-12) and women's (5-11) sizes.

BMW Transition Boots
MSRP $299


Comfortable, all-weather foot protection for the street

BMW Rider's Apparel
(866) 426-9432