No Excuses! - KNOX

-Reg Dwight

Hot weather protection is now available

It delivers freedom, comfort and protection

The new Knox Urbane Pro is the new essential armoured motorcycle shirt and an entirely new innovation in rider protection apparel. This new piece, as our friends in the trade call clothing, is lightweight, protective shirt that is CE approved as a standalone “Class A” garment.

It has been designed to be worn on its own in hot weather with no other jacket required. It’s good for this kind of use since it’s the ultimate lightweight, breathable, impact and abrasion resistant shirt. In doing so it delivers freedom, comfort and protection on a motorcycle, in a way that we’ve never seen before.

This works really well since in changing weather conditions riders can simply add a warm layer or a waterproof layer over the top. They can do so with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the Urbane Pro is still the core abrasion and armour layer beneath.

The new piece also works seamlessly with the full range of Knox outerwear jackets. These jackets, in turn, all expand to accept extra layers. There is also a huge range of styles to choose from.

This garment is another first for Knox, a company who have been pioneers in armour since 1981 when the founder, Geoff Travell, created the world’s very first back protector, an invention for which many of us are still more than grateful for.

The first Knox armoured shirt was released all the way back in 1994 and in the following quarter of a century, it has been the Knox mission to provide riders with close fitting protection, in one easy to wear solution.

With the introduction of the revolutionary Urbane Pro, CE approved abrasion resistance is built in. This means that an outer shell is no longer necessary unless you, the rider, want to wear one.

It has designed to be the most versatile, core garment for any rider, no matter what motorcycle, or type of motorcycle they ride. Worn close to the body, the armour stays in place and won’t move around.

Made by Knox in the UK using technical fabrics specially selected for their abrasion, cut and tear resistance. Skillfully designed and crafted by Knox from the ground up with added stretch panels for comfort and flexibility so you can forget you are wearing armour.

New Urbane Pro meets its CE approved as a Class A garment under the CE standard pr-EN17092. This means that it’s not the company themselves who are rating it, rather its done independently and to an incredibly high standard. This is in some way thanks to it containing the most advanced and softest Knox Micro-Lock armour in the shoulders, elbows and back.

This stuff uses SMART technology and properties to keep the armour super soft to touch but it locks when impacted. The locking action increases the amount of impact absorbed by the back protector and reduces the energy passed through to the riders back and limbs.

A separate chest protector can be added as an optional extra. The Urbane Pro is available in both ladies and gents cut and from the very, very small to the very, very large. The price is €225 and they are available from AMI in Wexford and Kennedy Motorcycles in Drogheda. The FTR pictured is available from Franklin Motorcycles in Dublin.


Rewriting the Rulebook

In 2009 when the S1000RR rewrote the superbike rulebook the brand was propelled into the fastest race classes in the world.

The S1000RR has been around for almost a decade now. The machine has spawned the single R and the XR. When word came out that the company was launching a new RR it was going to have to be amazingly good to keep our jaded attention.

The new machine features the Shift Cam technology. This allows for a variation of valve timings and valve strokes on the intake side. This results in a more controllable and rideable machine. There is a whole lot more torque in the lower and medium speed ranges with at least 100 Nm of that beautiful usable torque available from only 5,000 rpm.

The electronics package is impressive. The standard Rain, Road, Dynamic and Race are still there. There is also a Pro Mode option available. All of this is available in a bike that still has heated grips and can be reconfigured in slow mode, can carry a pillion and even some luggage.

If you’re going to buy one of these please bare in mind that, while it can be ridden to work in the mornings or on a Sunday breakfast run, this is a machine that excels on track. Talk to Paul from Motocraft on 086 822 2859 about getting some quality track time in Jerez or Cartagena this summer, or the team from the California Superbike School on 0044 1189 509992 who will be in Mondello later this year.

Having one of these and not riding it on track would be downright wrong!

The bike is available in both Keareys and Duffys. Give them a call on 021 500 3600 and 01 864 7750 respectively to find out more.


Once upon a time there were very few trustworthy helmet brands. Thankfully as technology and research methods have moved on and upward that is no longer the case. So with such a wide variety to choose from how do we choose which one to wear? Who do we trust our most valuable asset to?
There are many different types of helmet on the market. For some of the more gentle riding styles such as are to be found on cruisers and scooters the open face is just the thing, while for others the ‘system’ helmet, as favoured by some police forces, offers the best of both worlds. What we need on the track is a one piece full face helmet. There is no room for compromise on this.
Approval ratings and standards are both important and relevant as various jurisdictions have rules and standards as to what qualifies as a standard and what is needed to meet them. Some of the testing is more rigorous than others. The American DOT rating is one of the least rigorous in the world while the Snell test from the same part of the world is, arguably, the most stringent.

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Putting Your Foot In It

Men only need two pairs of shoes, a nice pair of black ones, either slip on or lace up, and a pair of decent motorcycle boots. That’s it. Ladies footwear requirements are frighteningly complex. We know at least one young woman who has a filing system for hers. There should, however, always be room in the collection for something with replaceable toe sliders in the bottom of the wardrobe.

There is a dazzling array of motorcycle boots available today. From the big off roaders like Alpinestars Tech 8s all the way to the armoured sneakers for the cooler skinny jeans wearing hipsters on café racers. What we are concerned with on the track is protection and comfort. Thanks to having one way traffic on a closed circuit and all the participants being there for the same reason the pace can get quite a bit faster than the public road.
If, and it’s a big if since the track is significantly safer than the road, a rider comes off, it is vital that they are properly attired. Picking the correct footwear makes for a safer and more comfortable track experience. Italian footwear specialists, Sidi, make the ‘Mag 1’, which is an excellent example of what we are talking about.

With an internal carbon fibre brace they offer superior protection as well as weighing next to nothing. The closure system is clever using a ‘perfectly adjustable’ closing system.  Injection molded polyurethane panels continue the lightweight, maximum protection narrative. The heel, shin and toe sliders are replaceable. You’re never going to walk to the shops in a pair, but then again that’s not what they are for...

These ones are offered for sale from Megabikes, all good motorcycle dealers have something similar. Prices start at around the three hundred euro mark...


Throwing Down The Gauntlet

Thanks to those handsome little men who ride in Moto GP the performance of motorcycle gloves has got much, much better over the last few years. Many gloves now feature MotoGP and WSBK derived innovations. Features such as flexible compound knuckle protectors, ergonomic cuff designs and strategic reinforcement in the palm area make for a piece, or pieces of riding kit that are significantly better than anything that was available even a few years ago.

Race gloves are designed solely for protection and as such need to be softer than any kind of winter or waterproof offering. Kangaroo hide tends to make up the palm and goatskin makes up the main part of the chassis. The leather is made with accordion stretch inserts on fingers and thumbs, allowing a greater range of movement across back of the hand area and thereby adding to the comfort level while still offering an enormous amount of protection.

Speaking of same, advanced knuckle protection system features flexible, dual-compound TPU protectors. Some brands even come with air intakes and an exhaust port to keep ones mitts cool! Most race gloves are made to endure repeated abrasion and are very good at dissipating the shock of an impact.

Kevlar lining, scaphoid protection systems and ‘finger bridges’ that prevent leather from twisting around your digits and keep seams from bursting are common features. TPU wrist cuffs absorb a huge amount of energy. They look like pieces of hard plastic that sit on either side of the wrist and are as effective as they look.

Meanwhile nobody likes blisters and that’s why simpler and subtler hides are used in the palms of good gloves. A softer palm allows for grip sensitivity, minimal material structure and fewer seams. The whole thing should close together with a gauntlet style strap on the inside of the wrist. If it isn’t there ask why and move on if you don’t get a proper explanation.

Good gloves last a long time and don’t come cheap. Expect to pay anything from €150 all the way up to a little under four hundred euro. What they do is look after your precious hands and a good pair can do so for a very long time.