The first assignment for our Shift Strike gear was the MotoUSA 2007 450 MX Shootout and the heat of the SoCal motocross scene.
When Shift ran that ad of the steam rolling off Jeff Emig’s shoulders after a late-summer moto, I was instantly drawn to the bad-ass appeal of the brand. As an easily influenced youth, seeing my favorite rider’s endorsement on the track and his ultra-hip behavior on the big screen with Fresno Smooth, it was an easy sell. Once I started keeping my eye on the burgeoning spin-off of Fox Racing, I noticed that the clean, simple styling really appealed to my taste. After a few years, the bad-boy image lost its luster. Right about then, Shift came out with the ride. race. live. campaign which sank the barbs even deeper. For me, Shift has always nailed it on the head with its rider network, fashion genre and company message. I suppose that’s exactly what the marketing people were hoping for, but nearly 10 years after I bought my first cotton jersey, the chance to test a 2007 set of Strike gear still brought a smile to my face.
The Strike lineup is Shift’s mid-level gear and it’s easy to see that the pant could have been made better or much worse. As a set of moto trousers for fewer than 100 bucks, we’ve been mightily impressed with them. First off, make sure you get the right size. These run small, so if you wear a 34 like me, order a 36, otherwise the ratchet waist closure system will be nearing the end. As it was, my 34s were a little snug on the waist and through the upper legs, which really highlighted the stretch factor of the X-Stretch 4-way panel in the crotch. Rather than blow out for some extra venting, the pant held together well throughout our testing.
The right knee is covered with a full-grain leather patch, but the left-side reinforcement is constructed of Ballistic nylon. Both are extremely tough and we had no problems with either. Of course, we’d like to see cow hide all around, but performance-wise it wasn’t a big deal, and actually contribute to the pant’s featherweight. These digs are exceptionally light. They also happen to flow air pretty well thanks to the massive crotch panel. The liner is comfortable and the logos non-obtrusive. Did we mention they look freaking awesome?
Clean lines and the new Shift logo make this one sexy long-sleeve. Constructed of 100% woven polyester, the jersey is light and dries quickly when soaked in salty brine. Luckily, that never happens very often thanks to the generous amounts of mesh located under the arms and across the entire back panel. With a size range of S-XXL, there’s definitely an option to fit your needs. This piece of the Strike ensemble doesn’t run small like the pants, so order your normal size – the same goes for the gloves.
The graphics held up perfectly, as did the low-profile rib cuff, to our surprise. Cuffs are usually the first thing to go, but these hung in there without any problems while remaining comfortable. The Lycra-inset collar is also a nice interface between rider and apparel.
A lightly padded Rima palm is one of the best features of the Strike glove. With enough protection to ride all day, the leather material is durable and never bunched uncomfortably. As with the rest of the gear, the glove is noticeably light and breathable. A combination of Spandura, Lycra and Liteprene materials, and well-placed, minimal use of rubber make the glove feel like it’s worth much more than a Jackson.
The X-Stretch crotch panel allows plenty of movement. Without it the snug sizing would have forced us to order a larger pair.
After more than a dozen rides and several washing machine episodes, the seam along the thumb finally came out. Considering the amount of moto use, plus a few BMX rides, this hardly indicates a crappy product. Quite the contrary, the fit, comfort, style and blend of protection and mobility are all features that made this our favorite set of gloves in the gear bag.
We rode the living crap out of this gear and the only failure we could produce was the aforementioned thumb seam, even with multiple crashes. Even though this line isn’t touted as a hot-weather selection, there are two features that really stand out – light weight and excellent airflow. Even with the snug fit, I like this gear so much that I wear it at every opportunity. Not only does it perform well, but with such a sweet look I’m always happy to roll in it. As the summer continues to build steam, we choose to let it off our shoulders in true Emig style – with Shift Racing. As they say – ride. race. live.
Product: Shift Strike Gear
Color Options: Black, Blue, Red, Buckshot, Green Trauma, Yellow Trauma
Sizes: Pant – 28-40; Jersey – S-XXL; Glove – 8-12
MSRP: Pant – $99.95; Jersey – $34.95; Glove – $19.95
Find More Shift Racing Products
Read more evaluations on the MotoUSA Product Review page.
Let us know what you think about the Shift Strike gear in the MotoUSA Forum.