2020 Leatt Gear Review
By Billy Rainford
Photos by Emily Nicholson
OK, nobody is fooling anyone here…Jeff McConkey was the biggest gear nerd in the history of gear nerds. He lived for new gear to try out. He was the guy for the job of trying out new stuff, no doubt.
You may have heard me say this before, but I could be looking at a random photo from 12 years ago on an external hard drive, message Jeff asking him what so and so was wearing for gear in, say 2008, and he would nail it. And he knew what goggles and boots the rider wore, too. It was uncanny! In all the years, I don’t think I ever stumped him. Not once.
Anyway, I have Jeff’s Yamaha YZ250 2-stroke at my house now and decided it was time I threw a leg back over a bike and did some riding and testing. I’m not going to lie, I’m as rusty as it gets, so let’s not judge my opinion on my faded riding skills.
Leatt sent me some fresh gear a few months back, but there was a ton of stuff going on in my family that just did’t allow me to get out in the early season to get this testing done. I apologize for that.
Finally, the time was right to head out and pull on the leathers, as they say. Do they? I headed out with Greg Poisson and Emily Nicholson to turn some laps, burn some fuel, and try not to cramp up too badly.
Now, you have to understand, the last thing I want to do is post photos of myself. No, that’s not entirely true. The last thing I want to do is post photos of me riding! But I’m just going to have to grin and bear it to show you the gear, so here goes…
Here’s what I was trying out:
Helmet: GPX 3.5
Let’s take it from the top.
The GPX 3.5 helmet. Here’s the official word:
POLYMER COMPOUND HEAD AND BRAIN PROTECTION
The wait is over! Finally, a helmet with brain rotation and concussion reduction technology and a great price tag!
Our helmets feature 360 ̊ Turbine Technology and the 3.5 helmet is DOT+ECE certified. The helmet is lined with turbines, which are 360 ̊moving discs constructed of an energy-absorbing shape and material. The 360 ̊Turbine Technology has two exclusive advantages, namely the reduction of rotational acceleration to the head and brain, and the absorption of energy upon impact at concussion level.
So next time you crash, see to it that you’ve got the gear to keep you properly protected!
The first thing I noticed was the light weight of the helmet. It felt great as soon as I put it on. I’m not about to start smashing my head into things to get a feel for how much impact it disperses, but I think all the technology crammed into this thing makes it a great choice, regardless of whether or not I landed on my head.
On my first time out on the track I was sweating profusely. Not because I was exerting myself, but because I was so damn nervous about being back on a track again. The helmet stood up to the task beautifully. I took it off after my 15-minute warm-up ride and it aired out quickly on the bike rack on the back of the DMX Van. It was comfortable and the goggles fit in nicely. Excellent.
Goggles: Velocity 6.5
Bulletproof Goggle with Anti-Fog Lens
The answer to your question? Yes! Our goggles are bulletproof, they work in all conditions, look great, fit perfectly, and they won’t break the bank. They meet all the design criteria we set out when we started developing these for you.
Can one go wrong when buying goggles? Probably. Do all goggles meet one’s expectations? Maybe not.
Nothing in life is perfect, but these are pretty darn close. The unique combination of safety, optically correct and permanent anti-fog lenses, optimal fit and overall aesthetics make these goggles a great buy.
We have recorded riders going 3% faster when wearing these Leatt goggles versus normal consumer goggles – just kidding, the speed is up to you!
However, by protecting you and giving you perfect vision in all conditions, our goggles certainly won’t slow you down!
Well, last time I rode I didn’t have this issue – I now wear glasses, full-time. I sort of forgot about this situation when Leatt was sending me this gear to try out. I haven’t made the move to progressive contact lenses and don’t know if I see myself doing that in the future or not.
So, as I went to put the goggles on I realized this may be an issue. They hadn’t sent me goggles that were “officially” designed for putting over top of glasses, but I didn’t let that deter me. I took some extra time to see if I was going to be able to make this work.
I’m not that hard of seeing but it’s enough to make it so that going without glasses just wouldn’t be great. I got to work.
After a couple minutes of fussing, I got my glasses positioned inside the goggles so that they actually felt pretty natural. I’d give it a go.
Like I said, I really sweat it up out there on my first ride and I didn’t have a single issue with the goggles. They stayed perfectly clear and were comfortable on my face.
They sent me a bunch of tear offs too but I didn’t put any on or pull any.
I went with the tinted lens in the bright sun and they dimmed the light the perfect amount – not so dark that I was blinded and not so light that I was noticeably squinting. Excellent.
Again, I set them out to dry in the sun between rides and they were in like new condition every time I went back out and forced my glasses in them.
Gloves: GPX 1.5
ULTRA-LIGHT OFF-ROAD GLOVES WITH MICRONGRIP PALM
A light and minimalistic glove that offers good airflow and a great fit.
The all-new MicronGrip palm is setting a new standard for gloves in this price range with superior feel.
If you are looking for impact protection, check out the Leatt GPX 3.5 or 4.5 gloves.
Since I wasn’t able to get on the dirt bike for a while this spring/summer, I used these gloves every time I was out on my mountain bike. It’s pretty good test, albeit not quite as rigorous.
When I got out on the track, the gloves were immediately put to the test, as I was sweating profusely. I didn’t realize it at the time, but they were soaked. I found this out when I pulled into the pits the first time. Again, they were wet but didn’t cause me any troubles.
They dried quickly and when I went out for another session on the track, I didn’t really sweat and the gloves were great. They just had salt stains on them…
Actually, Emily and I went for a long kayak down the Thames River in London the day before, so I already had paddle blisters on my hands that weren’t a factor in these gloves on the MX grips. I thought that was a pretty good test.
Jersey: GPX 5.5
ULTRA-LIGHT, LASER-CUT AND WELDED OFF-ROAD JERSEY
The GPX 5.5 UltraWeld jersey is simply unbeatable in quality and fit!
It is ultra-light, has welded seems, and offers ample ventilation thanks to its air channels and laser-cut vents.
The stretch mesh ensures a race fit that enables you to ride with or without body armor, and the collar can stretch to be compatible with or without a Leatt neck brace.
The rear silicone grip keeps the jersey tucked in the pants, and the welded seams at the cuff and hem make it ultra-comfortable.
This jersey is the choice of champions!
Let me start out by saying that I definitely fall on the more understated side of gear preferences. I’m not one for all the splash and gore that some gear has. Sure, red, by nature, is a pretty flashy colour, but I really appreciated the fact that Leatt let’s the red do most of the talking, with a simple and effective usage of their logo. As a vet rider, I like that.
After putting the jersey through its paces during my warm-up, I slipped it off to dry before going out again. It dried immediately. In fact, this technical material just wicks moisture off your skin and into the air, so there’s really not much to dry.
My plan for riding was this: 15-minute warm-up, break, 20-minute “moto,” break, final 20-minute “moto,” home.
I’ve got some weirdly sensitive skin. That being said, if you’re anything like me (Sorry, if you are), I would definitely wash the gear in your preferred gentle laundry detergent before wearing it. I got a slight rash on my stomach from the material, but I’m guessing only a very small percentage of riders would get the same.
The mesh is extremely breathable and didn’t wear on my nipples or anything. The advancements in gear production have come a long way since the baggy, heavy, cotton garbage of my day!
Pant: GPX 5.5
OFF-ROAD RACING, STRETCH PANTS WITH INTERNAL KNEE BRACE SYSTEM
Our all new top line race team tried-and-tested pants are unbeatable, more flexible, durable, and lighter, the 5.5 pants will give you ultimate comfort and first layer protection.
A completely new fit, incorporating an anti-roll waist system that locks into the rear yolk, meaning you won’t be caught with your pants down!
Full grain leather knees offer the ultimate in wear resistance, as part of our multi layered signature Internal Knee Brace System (IKS), this reduces the wear and tear from knee braces using different materials in critical places whilst not effecting the comfort and feel.
I put in a couple laps in these pants and had an issue with them slipping down a bit. I pulled off to the side of the track and realized a simple fix of the waist band system solved the issue in a mere second or two.
I definitely put them through the “sweat test” and they passed with flying colours.
I was also wearing some Mobius knee braces underneath and they fit tightly but nicely inside.
I haven’t pounded out enough motos to give the inside knee durability the proper test, but the real leather inserts will definitely hold up as good or better than any other pants out there, for sure.
Boots: GPX 5.5
ANKLE AND KNEE SAVING OFF-ROAD BOOTS WITH ADJUSTABLE FLEXLOCK SYSTEM
The all new Leatt GPX 5.5 FlexLock boot, a 3-year project with long term development and testing using our Pro athletes from all over the world!
The GPX 5.5 boot is a real head-turner when it comes to looks and style, but the design brief was comfort and protection also, and we nailed it first time.
As you slide your foot inside our boot, you instantly feel the plush interior and quality of the materials used, it’s like putting your feet inside your favorite shoes or slippers!
Our adjustable FlexLock system reduces forces to the ankle by up to 37% and the knee by up to 35% by locking out the ankle movement when over flexed, giving you that feeling of security.
With great feel of the frame, gear lever and rear brake, these boots instantly feel so good.
You must check out our SlideLock Velcro function, it really is ground-breaking in security fastening boot technology.
Here’s where I was worried. I hadn’t ridden in a long time and wasn’t sure how I’d do in brand new boots. I broke them in by walking over to check on Greg Poisson. Seriously, that was it.
I’m old. I even used to wear those hard plastic boots back in the early 1980’s, so I know what it’s like to ride in boots where you can’t feel…anything. You used to have to throw your knee out to the side to change gears. What were we thinking back then?!
Anyway, I would like to give the boots more riding time to really get them feeling natural, but I was impressed with how secure they felt while immediately feeling pretty flexible at the same time.
You definitely get the sense that a lot of design and effort went in to producing boots that will give you the best of both worlds – safety and feel.
And how is it that people still have trouble keeping boot buckles done up on the track?! There’s just no way this should still be an issue. Fortunately, these buckles stayed done up and right where I set them. I have absolutely no complaints about these boots.
All in all, it was a successful return to the track and a very successful gear test. I may not have been setting lap time records, but that wasn’t the goal. The goal was to try out some new gear and put it through its paces. With the amount of sweating I did on the first go, I definitely did just that.
Mission accomplished. The Leatt gear looked good and performed great. Be sure to consider them when you’re out looking to update your kit. You won’t be disappointed.
Thank you very much to Leatt for giving me the opportunity to get back on the track, look good, and be safe while doing so.
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