2017-06-12 23:18:08+0000 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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By Paul Fenn

Contributing Editor

When KTM sends you a care package, it’s pretty much impossible to resist putting it on straightaway and buggering off. Which was just what I did the other night when @Marina of ESR sent word that my KTM stuff had arrived.

First thought was, “What KTM stuff?”

Second was, “Never mind, just fetch it before she gives it to someone else, like her jealous husband.” I was at her house in an hour, Rok-Strapping my old helmet and jacket onto the back of the great unwashed 950SE, Marina snapping shots of me sporting the impossibly svelte riding jacket and orange, blue and chrome KTM-Bell motocross helmet.

Not wanting to traumatize Marina more than I already have on so many prior occasions, I decided the pants could wait and to not change into them in front of her and her neighbours, even though I was wearing my four-leaf clover underpants.

The gear I've been waiting for

KTM’s Racetech jacket alone is almost sexier than a “Free The Nipple” parade. The colours seem newly invented, and the design onto which they're applied is a standout original. Of slightly more importance, it makes me more visible than I’ve ever been. It's a long overdue alternative to the neon safety vest look or the day-glo abortion motocross gear customarily on offer.

To the grownup rider in Toronto, where distracted and stoned driving are now mandatory, tasteful viz feels like no-obligation guardian angels.

Though a summer jacket, this one’s nonetheless well-sealed against air seepage. And for hot times, the jacket’s got zippered vent ports left and right at chest-level, plus one across the back. The sleeves also zip off and store in the outer lumbar pocket.

Attention to detail is profound, with easy-gripping rubber orange zipper pulls on the pockets and a little hood for the main zipper, so it doesn’t stab you in the neck. The fast-adjust waist drawstring system is easily workable with a single gloved hand. The wrist cuffs also have big, grabbable adjuster tabs.

Soft orange fabric piping around the throat chafes you not. Internally, the ventilated mesh lining is proper comf. You get two front, two side pockets, plus one internal one over the heart (for stashing those emergency opioids). The Racetech jacket ships without armour, but has Velcro pockets in the sleeves, shoulders and back to accept yours – and it fit beautifully over my Thor offroading upper body armour.

The whole package has a style and cut that seems consciously anti-Klim -- meaning no trace of security guard or '70s dictator esthetics in play. And it's a fraction of the price.

I tested the jacket on a trip to momma’s, riding the city, the 401 expressway, a bunch of gravel roads, some four hours of Oak Ridges and Ganaraska Forest trails, followed by more gravel and farmer’s lanes to get there. It was nippy out, about 14 C/57 F, but I stayed warm and cozy in just a T-shirt, armour and motocross jersey beneath my Racetech jacket.

On arrival, my mum, who is getting cooler with every passing year, pronounced it gorgeous. She didn’t even mind its five KTM logos, saying “they work”.

Indeed, Katoomists will love that this jacket has the fiercely italicized logo in five places in two colours, plus “Ready To Race >>” on the right-hand sleeve, ensuring losers in the slow lane get a fleeting taste of how bad your ass is.

Panting loudly

The matching KTM Racetech pants are billed as “premium MX pants”. They come with foam hip protectors that Velcro into place, but no armour. Since my 8-year old BMW Rallye 2 ADV pants are currently stitched together with mint-flavoured dental floss (the strongest in its class), and because there are no armour pockets at all in the KTM pants, I’m now going to drop large cabbage on high-end knee braces so I can use these new pants offroad. Good news for my knees; bad news for my overdraft.

The pants fit as if bespoke just for me. Their quick release adjustable dual fastening system (aka front buckle) is easy to operate with gloves on. Other features include two side zip pockets and perforated ventilation zones, but no zip vents.

I must add that these pants made me look dangerous, busy and not to be trifled with. I passionately hope the world responds accordingly.

Skidlid lowdown

The Moto-9 model helmet is a KTM-Bell co-production. First off, the graphics: It’s not easy to find middle-ground between highly visible and savagely vulgar, but this helmet pulls it off.

Being a pure motocross unit, it requires goggles. And me being a sweaty bastard who wears glasses that tend to fog up at the sight of a half-decent-looking female, let alone a gnarly trail, this proved an interesting demo. Once I worked up my routine lather, the fog took hold. But that’s not the fault of the helmet. Surely, I just need to spend half a grand on power-vented goggles.

The magnetic chinstrap fastener is much better than those snap ones that wear out and flap in the wind. I also like Snell and DOT approvals, which you should expect from a mid-priced helmet such as this. The fit is excellent to my head; it’s in the Shoei realm (I’m historically not an Arai guy). The peak is cleverly vented and didn’t blow around at speed. But windage was loud over 70kph. Strangely, the engine noise wasn’t -- the reverse of my Shoei Hornet X2 ADV helmet.

How's it all work together?

Now, I’m not normally the type to wear three-piece matching outfits of any sort, but this is a gear review, so I did it for you.

Today I did some miles around town in the full getup in sudden 35C/95F heat and 150% humidity. Yes, people stared, but I'm certain it was out of envy. I could hear their hissing. And I was far more comfortable than expected, with the nicely vented and excellent-fitting package keeping me content. It did get a bit warm at red lights -- but Jacintha the bike gets good and hot at the slightest hint of it not being February. When rolling, I was cooling.

I've come to the conclusion that if you ride in the city, you should ride with a motocross helmet. It keeps the sun out of your eyes, off your face and provides anonymity should you need to break laws to be home before dinner's cold.

Final pronouncements on KTM's Racetech ADV combo

It's love. Pure and dirty old love.

Strongly recommended.

Many thanks to KTM Canada for supplying the gear. #readytorace

For more gear, bike, news & reviews, go to https://eatsleepride.com/rider/champers

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@frencholive Thanks for the kind words. Are you going to be offroading anytime soon?


@champers Good and dirty review sir. This is the kind of get-up that inspires people to buy the right bike to match. ;-)