Motorcycle Holiday Gear Bag – Ken

November 25, 2009
Ken Hutchison
Ken Hutchison
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The ulcers keep piling on for the warden of the MotoUSA asylum. With the inmates running rampant around the globe, Hutch has opted to get in on the madness more these days than in years past and is back in the saddle again.

The joy of the holiday season is upon us and I have to admit that the only thing better than showering the people I love with gifts and watching the excitement on their faces as they unwrap another in a series of no-holds-barred bad-ass presents from dear old Dad…is unwrapping the presents with my name on the tag.

That’s why I am here on behalf of track day junkies around the world. If you have one in your life it is best to embrace them, to embrace their affliction and support it with all your heart. The best thing you can do is make sure they have all the necessary equipment to ensure that their time on the track is spent wearing the best protective equipment money can buy. This is not the place to cut costs and save a few bucks. If they are serious about riding then they should be serious about safety as well.

Alpinestars Racing Replica One-Piece Suit.
When it comes to being safe at the racetrack – and on the road – there’s little more important to your well being than the leathers protecting your skin. Having top-quality protective gear is paramount.

After smashing our GSX-R1000 to pieces earlier this year I discovered a new found love for quality gear. It is this protection that I recommend as the gift that really does say baby I love you and I want you around for a long time so we can ride off into the sunset together when we are old with the memory of how you waxed that squid at that track day back in 2010. Ahhh yes, that was a glorious day indeed…. 

Alpinestars Racing Replica One-Piece Suit
MSRP: $2500 

Although this high-tech and ultra-modern top shelf racing suit is expensive at first glance, I encourage you to look beyond the purchase price and ask yourself: What is the price I put on my significant other’s skin? If we skimp now and get the cheap suit and they crash at 100 mph, get road-rash and have to endure tens of thousands of dollars in skin grafts and plastic surgery to repair their fragile epidermis – then I say: Where is the savings again? Think of it as a one-time buy-in insurance policy that features 1.2-1.4mm leather stitched together with strategically placed reinforced ABS plastic armor, internal padding and it comes with an A-Stars Bionic Race back protector as well. You cannot imagine the look on a loved ones face when they pull this masterpiece out of the box while the chestnuts crackle on the fireplace in the distance. 

Alpinestars Super Tech R Vented Boots
MSRP: $450

These are the same boots that grace the feet of 2007 MotoGP champion Casey Stoner and 2007 AMA Superbike champion Ben Spies.
Alpinestars Supertech R Vented boot is the most comfortable, highest quality road race boot we’ve ever tested.

And why stop at the suit if you’re willing to pony up the loot? Over the years I have wore so many boots and have found only a few to be worthy of protecting my always finicky feet. But the boots that I simply must recommend are the Alpinestars Super Tech R boots. The vented-variety is the best because the track day season is during the summer when temperatures are sweltering hot. I will never forget the first time I put them on and hit the track I thought to myself – it feels like I am wearing slippers! I had to double check that I didn’t leave them unzipped because there was so much airflow around my feet. They feature an armored, protective inner booty that you put on first and lace up tight. Then the leather suit legs zip over the booty. Then the exterior of the Super tech boot pulls over the booty and leathers to form a nearly unbeatable layer of protection that not only looks good but feels incredibly comfortable. I spent years suffering with boots that pinched my skin or made the legs of the leathers fold up and crease the skin on my ankle – but not any more. Alpinestars Super Tech R Vented boots are better than warm chocolate chip cookies dunked in a cool cup of milk just long enough to soak in and make that first bite so amazingly yummy. Yeah, they’re that good.

Shoei RF1000 Helmet
MSRP: $350 – $475 

Shoei RF1000 Helmet
The Shoei RF-1000 was the helmet Ken wore when he went down during our 2009 Superbike Shootout. The RF-1000 did its job taking the blow and left Hutch unhurt.

Since our resident Grinch, Bart managed to weasel the only blue RF1100 available to the public from Shoei before I could get one – I’ve been forced to settle into my Shoei RF1000 comfort zone here in the waning days of the ’09 riding season. Sure the new RF looks cool and has more features but the venerable RF1000 fits my round, Charlie Brown-shaped head perfectly, has all the protective qualities of the top-shelf X-series helmets and is a little bit less expensive. There are a multitude of graphics and colors to fit any rider’s needs and if you can’t squeeze the suit out of the budget then a helmet is the next best thing. Close your eyes and picture the box being opened on Christmas morning. With the smell of hot-totties and pine in the air they lift the helmet out of the box. It glistens in the radiance of the Christmas tree lights while the little drummer boy plays indistinctly in the background, their eyes well up when they realize you bought them a gift that protects their most valuable assets. The gift they will treasure for a long, long time.

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