Track Days: Gearing Up"> Track Days: Gearing Up

Dec 04, 2016 View Comments by

AGV Corsa Circuit helmet

In my previous articles, I debunked the myths about track riding and explained how to best prepare for a track day. As with street riding, proper gear is critical. The most common accidents on the track are low-siders, when the front wheel loses traction in a turn and the bike falls to the inside, and a high-sider, when the rear tire loses traction, skids, and then suddenly regains traction, causing the rider to be catapulted over the bike. Unlike public roads, racetracks are safer as they are designed with run-off areas, which allow a crashed rider to slide to a halt without impacting stationary objects.

Focused and controlled riding is my best protection in minimizing the chance of me crash-testing my gear. With that in mind, I wear riding gear that provides the most protection for abrasion and impact with the road.

Helmet: AGV Corsa Circuit
Valentino Rossi is undoubtedly my motorcycle-racing hero. I was excited to hear about his collaboration with AGV to develop a revolutionary race helmet: the Pista GP. The helmet has an extremely light all-carbon fiber shell, is highly efficient in removing moisture and heat by the well-designed ventilation tunnel system, has a view port with a wide field of vision, and exhibits the optimal shape based on extensive wind tunnel tests.

For road and race use, AGV developed a DOT compliant version named Corsa Circuit that has a carbon fiber, glass fiber, and aramid shell with closeable air vents. It seemed like an obvious choice for my track riding and touring. Besides the snug yet comfortable fit, I appreciate the visor hinge design, which allows me to swap visors in less than 10 seconds. The padding positions in the headliner can also be adjusted, so I’m able to fine-tune the fitment to my needs.

REV'IT! Jerez Pro glovesGloves: REV’IT! Jerez Pro
REV’IT!’s top-of-the-line gauntlet glove for track use features a series of strategically placed sliders, a protective double cuff around the wrist, and an internal aramid lining. The gloves look and feel like they will provide ample protection in case of an unwanted dismount. Since the first time I slid my hands into them and tightened the Velcro strap around my wrists, they felt custom tailored to my every finger. The pre-curvature of the palm and fingers provides extra comfort when holding the handlebar, and the soft kangaroo leather on the palm allows me to clearly feel my bike’s feedback as I modulate the controls. The predominant use of leather in its construction allows it to be quickly broken in, and it certainly honors the phrase “fits like a glove.”

Alpinestars Motegi suitBoots: Alpinestars SMX Plus
Though I have a great set of track boots, they were not meant for walking. Discomfort? Not unless you count my self-consciousness about the obnoxiously loud and sharp squeaking sounds that accompany every step. WD-40 is no match for its evil plastic hinges.

To the rescue come the Alpinestars SMX Plus, which consist of a removable inner boot with ankle protection, and an outer leather shell with several TPU molded protectors. This design does add some time to getting dressed, though it is not without benefit. The drawstring shoelace on the inner boot allows me to dial in the perfect fit, so I’m comfortable wearing them all day on and off the bike. Best of all, it is silent when walking.

Leather Suit: Alpinestars Motegi
As a street rider, I had no need for a one-piece leather suit. It would simply be impractical for multi-day tours. Hence, my closet was missing this crucial piece of gear when I decided to start track riding. During my research for an affordable, well-designed, entry-level suit, I discovered the Alpinestars Motegi. The cut matched my body style well, though I had to go up a size for the appropriate fit. Well-placed protectors and sliders make the suit feel safe, and the stretch panels help in keeping it snug. Even on hot days, the suit provides ample airflow through the perforated leather in the front. I have learned to wear a moisture wicking athletic base layer of tights and a long sleeve shirt to stay cool. It also makes it way easier to slip out of the suit when I’m sweaty without looking like a madman trying to escape a straight jacket. After a few track days, the Motegi has molded to my body and it feels like a second skin.

Dainese Manis T back protectorBack Protector: Dainese Manis T
Safety has always been important to me, so I religiously wear a back protector every time I ride. When I assembled my track riding gear, it was a fitting opportunity to replace my old back protector with the Dainese Manis T. The thin adjustable lumbar strap holds the protector in place while I squeeze into my suit. After I zipper up, the tension of the suit holds it firmly in place. The back protector is quite flexible and allows me to move and twist in any direction without hindering mobility. Besides adding protection from the base of my neck to my tailbone, the Manis T also provides ventilation, as it allows air to flow between my back and the suit.

AGV Corsa Circuit, store.agv.com, $849.95
REV’IT! Jerez Pro, revitsport.com, $379.99
Alpinestars SMX Plus, www.alpinestars.com, $369.95
Alpinestars Motegi, www.alpinestars.com, $899.95
Dainese Manis T, www.dainese.com, $199.95

The next article of this series will focus on getting the bike to the track.

 

Text: Manuel Neuhauser
Photography: Manuel Neuhauser and Fiorella Photography


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