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Diablo Pro Tank Bag by Giant Loop


Adventure tank bags

Oregon-based Giant Loop has made a well-earned name for itself designing and manufacturing adventure-proof saddlebags and gear for the hard-core offroad and ADV camping crowd. Designed with ADV use in mind, the 4-liter Diablo Pro Tank Bag is a high-quality tank bag large enough to carry essential gear. Featuring an integrated harness for easy on-off, the Diablo has integrated electronics pass-through slots. Quality made in the U.S. and featuring a lifetime warranty. $210 and up. MC

Fast Lane Boots by Bates Custom Leathers

Fast Lane boots by Bates Custom Leathers Photo courtesy Batse Custom Leathers

I’d always wanted a pair of custom boots, specifically sized and cut to fit my feet, and my feet alone. Last year, with plans for my first visit to the Isle of Man Classic TT and Manx GP set in motion, I decided it was finally time so I contacted Dawn and Dana Grindle at Bates Custom Leathers in Lakewood, California, suppliers over the years to some of the greatest names in racing including David Aldana, Kenny Roberts and Giacomo Agostini, to name but a few.

After describing my riding style to Dana, we both agreed the Bates Fast Lane Sport Racer was the best fit for my preferred riding, which is sport touring. A classically cut full-leather boot, the Sport Racer features an 11.5-inch cuff and is tailored to go over or under riding pants. I think they fit better under, which fortunately suits my tastes.

My boots were comfortable right out of the box, their soft, supple leather a visual and tactile treat. Frankly, they were so comfortable, I was a little worried how they’d wear. Aren’t hard core boots supposed to be, well, hard core and hard to break in? Outside of plastic inserts on either side of the heel, the Sport Racer boots are devoid of armor. There’s extra padding at the ankles, the toe is reinforced, and there’s added leather on the bridge for shifting — on both sides, making these truly ambidextrous left or right shift boots — and at the outside leading edge of each boot in case of road contact when cornering.

The fit is excellent; tight without compressing my feet, yet with enough room for an extra pair of socks, and the full-height rear zipper makes them easy to put on and take off. I took delivery of my boots in early spring, and by the time I packed them up for my trip to the Isle I’d worn them for several thousand miles. A common problem I find with motorcycle boots is that many of them are uncomfortable off the bike. I understand why people gravitate toward heavily armored riding gear, but in the real world I need gear that can adapt to changing situations, gear that I can wear off the bike as well as on such as at a show or just going into a restaurant to grab a bite to eat. I’m willing to make compromises, but I typically look for utility and performance, and the Fast Lane Sport Racer boots deliver both.

So far they’ve worn like iron, and I like that the fact that if I ever have to, I can get the soles replaced. Comfortable and made to last in the U.S. by people who care about motorcycling, these are quality boots at a price that won’t break the bank. $250 off the shelf; add $70 for custom fitting. — Richard Backus

Enzo Gloves by Corazzo

Corazzo Enzo gloves. Photo courtesy Corazzo

I got my first pair of Corazzo Enzo gloves about four years ago, and unless it was raining or really cold out they quickly turned into my go-to pair of riding gloves. An excellent set of all-around riding gloves, the Corazzo Enzos are fantastically comfortable. Styled like a classic driving glove, the Enzo’s goatskin leather wraps your hands comfortably yet tightly. Goatskin is known for its good stretch qualities, and this is a glove that fits. Loose gloves drive me crazy, so I’m particularly fond of the fit. Rider safety is augmented by PVC knuckle protection, and the hook-and-loop straps secure them tightly. Comfortable, good looking and well made, they’re an excellent three-season riding glove. $55. — Richard Backus

Tang-Thru Screwdriver Set by Vessel

The right driver

Japanese bikes use JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) cross-point screws. They may look like Phillips-head screws, but they’re not, and non-JIS drivers will strip them out. Vessel’s premium 8-piece screwdriver kit with impact driver is an indispensable part of our tool set. The Japanese company also makes a 3-piece Tang-Thru set featuring #1, #2 and #3 drivers. Designed so you can strike them with a hammer for extra force, Tang-Thru drivers can also be turned with a wrench for extra torque tightening or loosening. $49.87. MC

Liftstick by BikeMaster

Getting a lift

Motorcycle parts and specialty tool supplier BikeMaster’s Liftstick lets you lift your rear wheel off the road even if you don’t have a centerstand. The non-slip rubber support won’t mar your swingarm and its clawed foot will hold it firmly in place. Raising your bike is a simple matter of spinning the adjustment collar to the desired height. Small enough to fit in a saddle bag, it can be used on the road or in the shop. $29.95. MC

Andy Tiernan Calendar by Mike Harber

A calendar that gives

Beautifully illustrated by Mike Harber, this year’s Andy Tiernan Calendar features vintage British V-twins ranging from a 1914 Ariel sidevalve 670cc AKS to a 1936 overhead valve BSA Y13 750cc. Important dates in the U.K. classic bike scene are noted, and the featured machines are described in detail. All proceeds from calendar sales go to the East Anglian Air Ambulance, a non-profit ambulance service that has saved the lives of many motorcyclists. $18.75 (at press time) plus postage. MC

Strap Ring by Canyon Dancer

strap ring

Tie-down hooks

California-based Canyon Dancer has innovative tie-down accessories for motorcyclists, including handlebar strap tie-down systems, direct and remote peg harness systems and the simple but useful Strap Ring. Made in the U.S. of stainless steel, it can be fixed to your bike anywhere there’s an 8mm bolt to hold it. Obvious locations are triple clamp pinch bolts. Break tested to 2,000 pounds each, they’re more than stout enough as an attachment point for tie-down straps. $8.75 at Dennis Kirk. MC