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Alpinestars Tech 7 SuperMoto Boots Meet Our Motopup


By: Andrew Harbron | Published 14 November 2011, 21:03 | Views: 3,920 | tags: alpinestars, tech 7, boots, supermoto, dedicated, footwear, ktm 625, review, road test, article
This summer one of our members took the plunge and traded his sports bike in for a SuperMoto; a KTM in fact. Many have talked about doing this; trading in for a bike with less power and speed to save the licence yet one capable of delivering as many thrills while looking sharp doing so.
Lewis wrung every last drop of fun out of his beloved R6, so much so that it was getting to dangerous levels before he was able to find the buzz he was after. Wisely, before life or licence damaging trouble arrived, he swapped over to the SuperMoto style of bike with a KTM 625 LC4.

A change of bike type means a change in riding technique. With the SuperMoto the most pronounced change is the foot down technique when cornering - no more knee down but a lot more foot down. That means a lot of foot contact with the ground, plus the off-road potential of these bikes will also mean more foot / lower leg contact with the environment in general. The first concern regarding his current riding gear was whether Lewis’s Sidi Vertigos would cope with all that unfamiliar abuse.

Sensibly he decidied they wouldn't cope well at all. What Lewis needed was a big pair of pukka SuperMoto boots and where better than to start than at the top with Alpinestars?

I think most sports bike riders are envious of SuperMoto/MX style boots because they are simply too trick for words. Sports boots are marvels of protection versus weight and flexibility where as the Tech 7 boots Alpinestars sent over to us sacrifice some of the flexibility for a lot more protection with not as much weight as you’d expect.

 

Out of the Box

The Alpinestars Tech 7 boot lies in the middle of their Tech range and comes in both MX and SuperMoto versions so do be careful you look at the right Tech 7 boot to suit your needs. The SuperMoto version is what we tested here, and it is significantly different to its MX brother especially around the foot.


The most obvious difference between MX and SuperMoto boots is the sole. Watch SuperMoto racing for a minute and you’ll see why those riders need more foot protection than MX riders. These Tech 7s come with a high tech and replaceable 3 part outer sole while a fixed one piece main sole area give the strength and rigidity needed.

Those replaceable sections are secured with prominent allen-headed steel bolts visible around the toe of the boot, and away from the areas of wear on the sole. 

Natural full grain leather with a PU shell gives an impact and abrasion resistant outer layer while beneath the surface lie protector plates (calf & shin) and a toe box utilising a dual injection process to blend strength with flexibility.

The closure system, always so important on this style of boots, comes from four beautifully made aluminium buckles with memory settings, self-aligning design and a quick release/locking system. Quite literally it is a clunk-click every trip.

Something which is only apparent when comparing them to a full MX boot is their smoothness. An MX boot is quite lumpy and bumpy because the riders don’t really have a huge aerodynamic gain to achieve plus when they fall off it’s likely to be into mud or grass at a slower speed than other disciplines. These Tech 7 SuperMoto boots are quite smooth across the surface: the sturdy clips are sleek and don’t stick out away from the boot’s profile very much. SM riders will spend a fair percentage of time doing a rate of knots on tarmac, and the general public buy SuperMotos primarily for road use. So a lack of sticky-out bits means good aerodynamics and less things to dig in and yank the boot (and attached leg) in awkward directions should the worst happen.

Naturally they smell great although you can only say that once with boots, and in white especially they look amazing. They are indeed pretty expensive though I can find some for only £225 online amongst an average price nearer £250, but you are getting a lot of boot and speciality design for your money.

One major concern is how Lewis will take to these big, comparatively clumsy boots after his sporty slim-line sports footwear. He’s had them for a couple of months now and they’ve seen a lot of action.

So here are his findings almost in his own words, how did he get on with them?

In Use

Already hyper from the ride over on my new (to me) KTM 625 I couldn’t believe what I could see when Andrew passed me the substantial box. My shaking hands fumbled with the unfamiliar clips and buckles while the crowd waited for my first nervous steps in proper SuperMoto boots. They didn’t have to wait long because my feet slid easily into the boots and they are supple and flexible enough to allow comfortable walking from the start.

Comfortable? Yes. Awkward? Well I have to say yes because my first steps across Andrew’s living room were a little like an astronaut stepping out of the lunar landing craft. They feel 2 ft high but are perhaps an inch, though this isn’t the first time I’ve confused feet and inches according to my better half, but I digress.

I had a brief stomp about before Andrew pestered me for some action shots of them in the street outside so somewhat nervously I clumped out and threw my leg over the KTM, fired her up and took off fully expecting not to be able to change gear at all.

The first few laps around the green were indeed a little clumsy with botched gear changes and harsh rear braking but within 10 minutes I was more concerned about hitting my ‘mark’ in front of the lens and less about the boots. After 20 minutes it was as if I’d worn them for years; a transition helped by the bike’s pedals being laid out with similar boots in mind but the Tech 7s were as easy to break-in as my Sidi Vertigo’s were.

I was quickly locking the rear wheel on demand, hitting my mark and rattling through the gears like a pro! I was in love, Andrew was happy with the images and Alpinestars have yet again produced a monster product.

2000 miles later........

It’s been a couple of months now since I first tried these Tech 7s on and I’m happy to report that they still fit as well as they did the first time. Better in fact because they’ve eased up slightly and moulded a touch to the shape of my foot to the point that they are the most comfortable boot I’ve ever worn. I frequently spend 10 hours in them on Sundays and can report no discomfort either through my feet being encased or through bad fit – they are simply outstandingly easy to wear. All thoughts of clumping about and botching gear changes are a memory and a completely groundless worry.

I’ve even tested their ability to keep my feet dry by several runs through a local ford including, I’m ashamed to admit, stalling the KTM in the middle of it on one occasion which meant jumping off and pushing the bike out. Despite the water reaching the top of the boot not a drop entered anywhere; keeping road-spray out is one thing but resisting a complete immersion is truly impressive. The gaiter at the top of the boot, principally for stopping stones entering the neck clearly works to some degree with water too!

All the clips buckle up with the same crispness they always have, nothing has fallen off or worked loose. They are very well made with high quality components bar one which I'll come to.


Riding Technique

The chief characteristic of SuperMoto riding is the foot sliding corner technique; something very much in Alpinestars’ mind when they designed these boots. Most of us would be nervous about sticking your foot out to the ground while travelling at a decent speed yet these Tech 7s inspired with their strength and then impressed with their complete indifference to the road surface and debris in practice.

Their specially formulated sole simply slides along the tarmac with stones, cats-eyes and other debris being absorbed under the boot or deflected out of the way without distracting me from embarrassing the sports bike I’m gaining on.

They feel so invulnerable I’m tempted to actually boot the competition into the hedges road-rash style but that wouldn’t be fair would it?

Of course this road-rubbing does wear down the soles as most readers who skateboarded in their youth will testify, which is where the replacement sole system comes in. Unbolt the sole components via the allen-bolts around the base of the boot, and refit with the replacement sections available from Alpinestars direct or your local stockist – and being the leading boot brand one isn’t hard to find. The manufacturing quality is obvious when you refit the sole; nothing is forced or ‘made to fit’ – the boot simply reassembles quickly and accurately. This is a pro-competition spec boot and pro riders will simply use another brand if they have to mess about or compromise the boot’s integrity by forcing components into place.

 

So What’s Not To Like?

As fantastic as these boots are and as much as I dearly love them they aren’t perfect. It’s not the boot’s fault really but a pair of white SuperMoto boots is just asking for trouble and sure enough they aren’t really white now. Alpinestars do suggest regular cleaning with a sponge and warm soapy water but either they don’t really get them dirty (Italians do seem to shrug off dirt though, so who knows?) or we have a different kind of dirt here. I had to upgrade to a toothbrush and proper cleaning product to remove the ingrained filth from roaming around our country roads and still they aren’t back to their dazzling white. 

I know the sensible option wouldn’t have been white but when Alpinestars offered I got in a flap and ordered from the heart. What are you going to do?

On a less narcissistic note the texture strip across the top of the boot which grip the gear lever has already worn through to leave a polished surface pushing the lever up. After only a couple of thousand miles I’m disappointed that this seemingly irreplaceable part has worn off when the rest of the boot clearly has a life into the 5 digits and beyond. If it can be replaced please comment to that effect and we’ll talk; likewise anyone who has a DIY repair please feel free to comment likewise.


Final Scores:

   

Out of the Box 

10/10

All of this class of boot are impressive but these are simply statuesque. Their smell, their feel and their quality suggests money well spent.

Fit

10/10   

I was initially concerned because we didn’t order these in a shop after a fitting but it wasn't a problem - the size quide is bang on. They fit far better than something this sturdy had a right to out of the box and they’ve only got better with miles.

Looks

7/10    

In a dark colour these would score higher because I suspect in a year’s time they are going to look grubby and tired; which will be a shame because I’m confident that physically they’ll be far from it. Yes I could have picked a better colour but white is an option yet can’t stand the test of usage.

Ride-ability         

9/10

Even the first ride in them wasn’t a complete disaster and after a very brief run I was able to concentrate on riding not operating the foot controls. For someone already used the style these would be a home from home. Now, they’re so easy and natural to ride in while offering all the security and protection you’d expect and more.

Safety

9/10

Accepting that I haven’t crashed in them I’m going by specifications and the old thumb-press test. It’s gonna take a very large solid object to hurt me in these.

Longevity

8/10

Points are lost because the grip panels across the gear-side toecap has worn smooth after a couple of thousand miles and can’t be replaced (by the looks of it). Otherwise they appear impregnable to time and wear (leaving aside the colour choice penalised elsewhere).

      
   

 LB Score:         53/60.

If you are making the transition to a SuperMoto bike or just need another pair of SM boots then look no further. They take next to no getting used to and reek of quality. Be prepared for hours of cleaning if you buy white but it’s worth it in my opinion.

No way would I ride an SM without these boots on.

Editor’s Comments:

Well it’s true to say that Lewis loves his Tech 7s, and well he should. Boots were the only bit of kit he changed after moving to his KTM and that’s largely because this opportunity came up. What an education it has been for him and for me; these boots are a simply amazing blend of strength and aesthetic appeal.

Trust Alpinestars to get it right again. In fact, just trust Alpinestars.

Many thanks to Lewis of course for testing these although he made it sound suspiciously like an enjoyable experience (it's work remember!) and more importantly to Alpinestars in Italy for sending these over.

Check out their website for all manner of tasty stuff and their Tech 7 page for full colour choice and all the details.

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