daytona

New Boots from Daytona, The Lady Pilot GTX

I've always been a Daytona fan but in recent years I've left my Daytonas behind except for extreme weather conditions like freezing temperatures and heavy wet weather riding. I also have found ways of compensating for lack of height using other methods.

But if you're looking for a way to get additional height without resorting to a casual styled, chunky heel that isn't protective enough, light enough, or strong enough for riding then try these new Lady Pilots from Daytona.  

I'm liking the cleaner calf / leg design and the simplified styling. To me it also seems like there's more height offered through the soles given the wedge-boot style design. I'm going to test this theory out this week and try on my Ladystars and these Lady Pilots to see if I can tell a height difference. Fit wise, these are going to be a wider fitment overall like the Ladystars but we'll see if there's much difference. 

Either way, you save $100 and get the height you might be looking for with a simplified style and the same comfort and quality you'd expect from Daytona. 

Saddleman Tail Bag for your Sportbike

Saddlemen Sport Tunnel Tail Bag triumph speed triple daytona street triple I definitely see the value in a tailbag that has top access, since my Kriega packs don't. 

This Saddlemen Sport Tunnel Tail Bag looks like a cool tailbag if you have a tiny rear seat like on a Speed Triple, Daytona 675 or similar. A customer came in recently and purchased one for her Daytona 675. It looks like the straps work under the seat so if you don't have any mount points below, this should work well.

Another bag I recommend for top access is the Cortech Super 2.0 Tail Bag (available in 14L or 24L), but you do need external mount points to attach this to your seat. Cortech also offers an optional rain cover if you choose the larger 24L option.

cortech super 2.0 tailbag

QnA: How Do You Handle the Weight of Your Bike?

A woman rider asked me recently about how do handle the weight of her bike as a new rider.  Initially, she had questions about the Daytona Lady Stars, and whether they would help her get both feet down comfortably on a Ninja 250. When I do wear my Daytonas (but not all the time), they only allow me to have both balls of my feet on the ground. So most of the time I use one flat left.

2012_triumph_street_tripleR

"So with the boots, I'm able to put a foot down. How do you handle the weight of the bike? I meant like when you're parking or in situation where you need both feet to roll the bike?" - Mango 

I'm assuming that you can get almost one flat left or a full flat left down. If this is the case, then you will always, always keep your right on the rear brake for stability, no matter what. As long as your right foot is on the brake, your bike won't go anywhere.

Continue to practice braking as perfectly Smooth as you can. Pretend you're entering a contest for the best braking technique and the grand prize is going to be a million dollars. The only way you're going to balance the motorcycle without dropping it is really finessing and perfecting your braking so you don't stop and release too soon or grab all at once.

As far as parking, get off the bike. There's nothing wrong with having to park the bike while walking next to it. In fact, if I never did this I wouldn't be riding my motorcycle today because I can't park unless the pavement is completely flat. If there's even a slight slope I always get off and park. Most of the time I find it faster and a lot easier to manage. When you do park, lean the tank on your hip and walk the bike backwards. I have a blog post here that shows what I mean with a few pictures.

Keep practicing, and try not to think about what others will think or say or do. It's all about You riding your motorcycle, not them.

 

 

Taller Motorcycle Boots for Women

daytona_ladystar_gtx, prev version  

If you're looking for boots that offer a little extra height (and traction) to give you more leverage and confidence while riding, as well as protection, here are some ideas.

Options 1-3 are fully lined with Gore-Tex, considered to be the most breathable, waterproof membrane you will find in footwear.

1/ Daytona Ladystar GTX

$449. My favorite recommendation (and most expensive, unfortunately) are the Daytona Ladystar GTX's above. Yep, you get *that* much extra vertical height. Definitely the tallest women's motorcycle boots on the market that I've seen so far that also provide plenty of protection for street riding. You can read my review here. Two places to buy these online; Helimot or Revzilla. Pick your poison! Daytona also makes the same boot for those of you over a size 40, called the MStar (typically marketed towards men, even though its the same exact boot).

2/ Dainese Siren WP

$249. Although the Siren doesn't feature Gore-Tex, it's waterproof and breathable per Dainese. Also, the Siren has a very generous calf space, so this is a great boot if you need a little more room. Remember that Dainese's fit profile is a little narrower everywhere (except the calf).  I've included a photo showing where your foot will be once inside the boot (0" mark). So that's almost 2.5" of extra height. You will get the same height on the Svelta (#2) and Luma (#3) as well.

dainese_siren

Dainese Siren GTX 

 

2/ Dainese Luma GTX

dainese_luma_gtx

$249. The Luma isn't a full height boot, but falls just below your calves. The height on these and the Siren will be the same.

3/ Dainese Svelta GTX

dainese_svelta_gtx

$269. I love the Svelta because it actually doesn't have a large calf space since it zips all the way to the top. I don't need extra room there, so for me, it's the perfect boot. If you have a slender leg then you'll like the streamline fit on the Svelta. Another fabulous Gore-Tex lined boot!

4/ Alpinestars Stella Gran Torino GTX

Alpinestars Stella Gran Torino GTX

 

alpinestars_gran_torino_gtx_ladies

$299. The Alpinestars should have a slightly wider footbed and slightly larger ankle space. A good amount of calf space is provided as well.

5/ Sidi Livia Rain

sidi_livia

sidi_livia_rain

$230. Sidis have a more generous fit all around than options #1-4, especially the ankles / heels and arches (better for high arches). They're incredibly comfortable as well, and also have a very generous calf space. As generous as the Sirens (#2), maybe even a tad more.

For those of you that can't afford a new pair of boots, here are two ideas:

  1. Try new insoles to add height and / or comfort. Dr Scholls, Superfeet, etc. I also wear Sidi Vertigo Leis but they took away from my vertical height so I couldn't get my heel down at all. So I added another insole, and a heel cup to give me an extra inch. It also made working all day in them far more comfortable.
  2. Try checking eBay. I found a barely used pair of Daytonas on eBay for less than $100 because I set up an alert to let me know if someone posted a pair in my size. It took a year, but a year later I found them!

Recommendations for Women's Motorcycle Boots

Sidi Womens Motorcycle Boots Updated 6/11/2013

Hopefully you've read my personal philosophy about riding boots. If not, I highly recommend taking a look before passing on the idea of investing a pair of boots that offer more protection than those cute, really stylish "motorcycle" boots that you saw at the mall.

The main difference between a protective riding boot and those cute, wedgy Cole Haan, Nine West or other boots you're thinking about wearing is protection. I'll say it again, PROTECTION. This time in bold. PROTECTION.

I don't know what it is, but many riders (including myself, back when I was a noob) forget about their feet. Our feet do almost everything on our motorcycles! Braking, stopping, shifting. It's so important to have this part of our body covered too.

As I mention in my boots overview, one of the main jobs your boots are supposed to do is to keep your feet from being crushed. Not by a car, not by a truck, but just by your own motorcycle!  The fact that you're small ankle bones are vulnerable to the weight of your 400-500lb beast is more than enough to brake, fracture or shatter bones in your feet/ankles.  I'm not saying boots will eliminate the possibility of injury, but just like the rest of our gear, they minimize the risk. I'll take a fracture or sprain over a break/shattering any day!

So I'm going to give you a few recommendations for real boots that offer real protection where you need them. These are all comfortable for walking, breathable, waterproof and will last you a good 3-5 years with almost daily wear and tear. They're all meant to be worn under your riding pants. Although there may be space to tuck your jeans in, if you're wearing actual motorcycle pants then you're going to wear them over the boots.

All of the sport touring style boots below (non track looking) would also be perfect on a scooter. Super comfortable and a clean look.

Keep in mind that none of these offer the protection that a track boot offers in terms of extra ankle support/bracing, shin protection and reinforcement in key impact points. But they offer way more protection than those hiking boots, doc martens, horseback riding or sneakers you're wearing, so save up some money and invest in a pair of Real riding boots!

Alpinestars Gran Torino GORE-TEX®

Alpinestars womens motorcycle boot

MSRP $299.95, RoadRider San Jose (local) Although these aren't on the Alpinestars website, they are the newest introduction for the women's line for Spring 2012.

Daytona Ladystar GORE-TEX®

Daytona Ladystar womens motorcycle boots

I want to recommend these SO bad, but they're very difficult to get from Germany right now. Here's a link to my review and where you can call to find out about availability and how they saved my feet over and over again. They offer 2 inches of additional vertical height, the most of any women's (protective motorcycle) boot currently on the market (not including high heel boots, no) 

Dainese Siren

Dainese Womens Motorcycle Boot

MSRP $229.00 Revzilla (online), DStore San Francisco (local) Euro sizes 36-42

The Siren I believe is an updated version of the previous Dainesella boot. I really like the styling on these.  These also feature a 3/4 length zipper to allow for ample calf space.  These also have a fairly narrow fit in the toebox as the toes are a little bit more tapered (not pointy, just not super round).

 

Dainese Luma GTX

Dainese Luma GTX Women's Motorcycle Boots waterproof gore-tex

MSRP $219.95 Revzilla (online), DStore San Francisco (local) Euro sizes  36-42 (~US 5.5 - 9.5)

The Luma is essentially the lower half of the Siren, which is fantastic if you have any issues finding boots to fit your calves! These are also fully waterproof with a GORE-TEX liner, which is a really great deal at this price point. I think these offer the most heel height next to the Daytonas.

 

Gaerne Rose

Gaerne Rose Womens Motorcycle Boots

MSRP $209.95 Revzilla (online), Gaerne.com Euro sizes  35-42

Read my review here.

I had to go up a full size to fit into these, to a 38, because they were sooo narrow, especially at the entry. Order one full size up and you'll be much happier. They'll break in over time, as will any leather boot.  If you have narrowish feet, you'll like the fit especially around the ankles and the arch. I think the zippers are a little skinny, so I'd use a zipper pull on them to make on and off easier, and it won't wear out as quickly. You can really tell the quality of a good boot (motorcycling or otherwise) by the quality of the zipper. Out of all the riding boots I've tried on, these have the narrowest calf fitment since the zipper goes all the way to the top. I have a 14" calf measurement and they fit me perfectly.

 

Sidi Livia Rain

Sidi Liva Rain Boots, Water Resistant

MSRP $220.00 www.motonation.com Revzilla (online), Roadrider (local)

The Livia is an update to the old Jasmine. In addition to the styling changes, they've added more reflective features and a reinforced toe shifter.  Very calf friendly, with a 3/4 zipper and velcro adjustment.  The fitment on Sidis is generally wider around the ankles, heels and calves. If you need more space in those areas, you'll appreciate the fit profile on these. Otherwise, consider the Dainese or Gaernes for a snugger overall fit.

 

TCX Aura

TCX Lady Aura Motorcycle Boots

MSRP $219.99 Revzilla (online), TCXboots.com Euro sizes 38-42 (their website says they're offered starting at 35/US 5, but it doesn't look like that size is available through any retailers.) I'm usually a 7, and I wear a 37 in these.  Very calf friendly, with a 3/4 zipper and velcro adjustment. The toebox is tapered, (not pointy but not super round) so you may find them to be a little tight up there if you have a wider foot.

 

Want Even More Protection?

Maybe it's your first track day or you're looking for something for all around street riding. Here are some ideas. Keep in mind that these are designed a little more towards performance and more protection. They also have a very sporty, forward articulated riding position in the ankles. If you're riding an upright dual sport/ standard or cruiser, these will be far more uncomfortable than the sport touring styles above.

 

Alpinestars Stella SMX-5

 Womens Street Motorcycle Boots

MSRP $239.95 Euro 36-44 Alpinestars.comRoadRider (local)

These are based on the men's SMX-5, offering the same features/function. Everyone I know who has these boots love the way they fit and feel. I'm told that in general, Alpinestars are more comfortable, but I think that's going to depend on your feet and what fits you the best. These fit generally snug all the way around (ankles, heels/arches).

Dainese ST Avant Race Lady

Dainese Womens Street Motorcycle Boots

MSRP $299.95 www.dainese.comDstore San Francisco (local) Something that's a little different from other boots is the rear zipper, making it easier to step in and out.  This one is also vegan friendly, made of Lorica instead of cowhide. These fit generally snug all the way around (ankles, heels/arches).

 

Sidi Fusion Lei

Sidi Womens Motorcycle Boots Fusion

MSRP $215.00

www.motonation.comRoadRider (local) Read my review here.

 

Sidi Vertigo Lei

Sidi Vertigo Womens Motorcycle Boots

MSRP $300.00 www.motonation.comRoadRider (local)

Read my review here.

If you're a fan of pink, you can still find last year's patent leather black and pink style in local dealerships, online or on MotoNation's website.   The Vertigo offers more protection than the Fusion and would be a great track boot with the extra heel and calf protection, as well as additional calf space adjustment to accommodate leathers.

 

How do you Park your Motorcycle?

Someone recently gave me a wonderful compliment about my ability to maneuver my motorcycle. Being a short stack (as my husband sometimes refers to me) I can't always maneuver my bike in the same way as others. Sometimes you have to work with what you got. And if I limited myself to just what I could maneuver while seated on a motorcycle, I'd probably still be riding a 200lb scooter right now. But why should you be limited to anything? As long as you have the right tools and techniques, it can be done. A 20 point turn to get it straightened up. It doesn't help that my SV has a very limited turning radius. It always feels like a 10 point turn, no matter how big the parking lot is. And then if there's gravel or sand or an uphill grade, that makes things a little more complicated. It's impossible for me to back my bike up any kind of incline. And if I have to back my bike downhill, it can be even harder, as is the case with my garage.

I could practically do this with my eyes closed!

If you've ever driven around San Francisco, you know how the houses are set back from the street a little bit. Although there is a very flat sidewalk right in front of my garage, the garage itself is sloped downwards right where you pull into the garage and then it's still sloped once you get inside. Unfortunately it's not totally flat and can make in and out a little difficult.

When I get home from work, I pull up to the garage and back it in by walking it in since both of my feet barely touch the ground. I can get away with this on a flat surface, but with a downward slope, I'm sure to tip over. So my strategy is to walk it in backwards. I use this technique every time I need to maneuver my bike in and out of a space that it simply too tight or difficult to turn around in.

First, I always try to wear my Daytonas or other riding boots while doing any manuevering. With the added traction beneath my feet, it actually makes it easier for me to push the bike around. It almost feels like I don't have to push as hard to get the bike to move in the direction I need it to. I have more leverage to push the bike where I need to. Oh and a bonus are my framesliders which are right where my knee can push against the bike as well, if need be. They've come in very handy when I have to push my bike up a slight grade a few feet.

Second, I also am very conscious of my front brake and use it oh so lightly. One hard grab and I'm done. I use 2 fingers to manage the front brake so that I don't grab it too hard. Generally I just drag the brakes a little bit as I walk backwards.

Knee is braced against the slider, or up against the bike

Look Ma, No Hands. The bike is resting solely on my hip, so as long as I stay upright, so will the bike!

As you can see we have a funky slope in our garage, it's not flat, but YAY for having a garage to keep the bikes dry and warm