I'm a technical woods and high mountain single track rider that has has been wearing motocross boots since I can remember. I did try a pair of trials boots that were VERY comfortable, but they just didn't offer enough protection against trail hazards. I had been researching boots with the perfect blend of MX protection and trials style comfort and flexibility, and the Tech 7 Enduro by Alpinestars looked like a great candidate (at least on paper).
Key Features of the Tech 7 Enduro
Let's start top to bottom. The max usable opening on top is 5"W X 8.5"L with a Velcro enclosure and 4 replaceable aluminum buckles. Alpinestars doesn't necessarily explain the reasoning for the top and bottom buckles facing the opposite direction from the center two, but it's possible that pulling against each other might create a stronger enclosure? I can also see how the very bottom buckle sits out of the way from snags. There's also an extended gaiter to help keep moisture and dirt entry to a minimum, but keep in mind that the Tech 7 Enduro is not marketed as waterproof.
Next, is a bio-mechanical pivot that creates really nice flexibility on and off the bike. Instead of just a clunky hinge right in the middle, the whole boot basically flexes in more than one spot. Upfront, there's an anatomically profiled shin plate that's made from a single piece to improve structural integrity. The foot shell of the boot is super resistant to impact and includes a hardened toe protector and a steel shank. The toe box of the boot is more compact than the last set of boots I ran and it has a grippy shift pad.
Moving inside the boot, Alpinestars refers to an "Internal 3D Lining" that includes "anti-slide" microfiber suede to help keep your foot in place. Top that off with lots of cushy soft foam around the ankles for all-day comfort. Each boot weighs 4lbs. 7oz. and are CE certified. Checkout the "Description" tab for the entire feature list as I coverage the ones that stood out to me. Initial Impressions
Out of the box, "Wow, those are REALLY white!" I took pictures because I knew they'd look terrible after riding in the woods. The overall fit and finish is as top-notch as you'd expect from a leader like Alpinestars. The first time I put my foot in them (no booties to bother with), it was like stepping onto a cloud. They are extremely fluffy and comfortable inside! I wore them for the last hour at work the day they arrived and hardly even noticed I had them on. The Tech 7 Enduro required no break-in period, being comfortable out-of-the-box. In terms of sizing, I generally wear a sized 12, that what I ordered, and I found them to be true-to-size. Since my GasGas 2-stroke is plated, I rode home in my new boots and had to relearn how to shift (more on this below).
In terms of the buckle system, I'm not going to lie; I struggled with it. While I generally start from the bottom buckle and go up, with the Tech 7 Enduro, I found that I had to get the Velcro enclosure fastened first, then work my way down, re-adjusting them all again. I felt like as soon as I'd get the boots snug, I'd take a few steps, and they'd feel too loose again. Even once I thought that I had them to my liking, some adjusting was necessary to get them properly snug. With some experimentation, I've got them dialed in and I'm happy, but it just took more work than I'm used to.
For three days of intense trail testing, I headed to Entiat Washington for non-stop switch backs, rock gardens, and beautiful alpine scenery. For the first few miles, I continued to struggle with shifting. However, I don't fault the boot. I'm running wide foot pegs and the arches of the boot are different enough from my previous boot to cause this. It's amazing how even small changes in a boot sole can require adjustments in foot positioning to get your shifting dialed-in. When riding high mountain single track with switchbacks, you plant your inside foot A LOT. There's no just sitting down and riding. We did 215 miles over a long weekend and while my bike took a beating, my feet did not.
Washington State has been in a drought, so on day one, the fire danger was extremely high and so were the dust levels. The extended gaiters on the Tech 7 Enduro did a solid job of keeping all the dust out. On day two we lucked out with some rain that made trail conditions perfect! My feet stayed dry for a bit, but when we started pushing through wet brush, I began to feel some moisture getting in. However, water was not pouring in and pooling, just a little dampness. However, I think that our typically very wet Pac NW winters might prove to be a little challenging. But for semi-dry conditions, I think the Tech Enduro does a good job.
I also spent time walking around on mountain tops and at creeks, as well as getting off my bike to push it up ridiculous obstacles. Regardless of the activity, my feet remained comfortable and supported. Given the conditions that I was riding, it's inevitable to take some hits to your feet and I recall having my feet swept off the foot pegs a few times by hidden rocks. I'm sure that I took plenty more smaller hits that I don't recall, but that's a good thing (having not noticed)! My feet & shins came out without injury, just how I like it.
Foot peg sole grip is excellent and so far, little to no wear. But, both the the sole and foot peg insert are replaceable, so I should get some good life out of the these boots. I actually found that my feet became slightly hung up when I needed to put my foot done a few times. Not sure if there is too much grip or the sole lug pattern hooking on my foot pegs just right? Regardless, the Alpinestars Tech 7 Enduro boots took everything that I through at them and got the job done in comfort.
Wide range of mobility.
Grippy, replaceable sole.
Not sold on the buckle system just yet.
I've definitely found a good boot for the technical riding offered in the Pacific Northwest. They allow me to move around on the bike without getting in my way, the protection from trail hazards is great, and they are one of the most comfortable boots I've ever worn. However, I wished that Alpinestars had rounded out the package with a waterproof design, something that is valued by us Pac NW west weather riders.
The Monster Energy Cup is the most significant offseason race for 450 Supercross teams, allowing riders an opportunity to measure their progress with their existing team heading into the 2018 series. And we can’t forget the million dollar grand prize to any rider who finishes first in all three main events. For other riders like Justin Barcia, MEC is an audition for any future potential team exploring options. The unfortunate truth is riders get hurt while preparing for Anaheim 1 in January. If a team is in need of a last minute fill in, a standout MEC performance can move a rider to the top of the possible replacements list.
The MEC is unlike other Supercross races in format and track design. Adding in a Joker’s Lane that Marvin admitted in the postrace press conference he forgot about in his first race. Feld (the promoter) utilizes the Monster Cup as a trial to test format and track changes. It also allows for amateurs who qualified via Loretta Lynn’s Amateur National a chance to race on a tamed down (highly debatable) Supercross track in front of thousands of spectators, live on TV. While I enjoyed watching these kids take center stage I also wondered about the safety hazard of sending kids in the middle of puberty (makes them crazy and irrational) out on a track with such aggressive obstacles. The first couple of practices and qualifying sessions looked more like Russian Roulette than Supercross racing. The amateurs represent the epitome of “whatever it takes” and at such a young age unfortunately, some of them need to be protected from themselves. With that said I thoroughly enjoy watching them show off their incredible talents, but am conflicted if this is good for them or if they are being exploited for entertainment purposes.
It only took 7 years, but Marvin Musquin finally duplicated Ryan Villopoto’s inaugural MEC win. Heading into the first main event the biggest threat to Marvin was Eli Tomac, but Eli went down hard in the first race and was unable to continue the rest of the night. With Eli out, the race quickly became Musquin’s millions as he easily cruised through three wins to take home the million. The only rider who appeared to be formidable competition was Jason Anderson. Both Marvin and Jason train at the Baker’s Factory so it was difficult to imagine a pass from Anderson in the third main event, Anderson’s lap times reflected his lack of aggression. Let me be clear though, I do NOT think Anderson gave Marvin the win however, if Blake Baggett was the rider going for the million dollars JA would have charged a little harder. At the postrace press conference I asked Marvin what his thoughts were being “the man” heading into the offseason and in typical Marvin style he downplayed his ride. He expressed it felt great but it really didn’t carry much weight when Anaheim rolls around. What was more interesting was the look Jason Anderson shot me when I called Marvin “the man.” Jason looked as though I had insulted his mother. While I am sure he is happy for his teammate the truth is these guys don’t achieve the highest level of racing by accepting someone’s performance as better than them. I suspect tension will come to a boil at the Baker’s Factory this offseason.
Eli Tomac remains a mystery. At times he would lay down a few sections looking like the fastest guy on earth but then he would follow up with a major mistake. He has a few months to figure things out, but right now Marvin Musquin looks to be the favorite going into 2018. We all know Ken Roczen says he will be at Anaheim 1 and according to Jeremy McGrath he looks very fast. The MEC might have created more questions than answers heading into 2018. Let the bench racing begin, we have a few months to debate and lock in our predictions for 2018.
Nobody was taking a knee during this National Anthem! Great tribute to the victims of the Vegas shooting too.
After getting throttled by Stephane Roncada while testing out the new Supercross game I decided to sit back and learn. Game will be released Feb 2018 and it is insanely realistic!