Click on pictures to
see larger image
The Scott 89's do have a slightly larger lens, but
I never noticed the smaller Smith lens while I
was riding.

Moose Racing Over-the-Boot Pants
On a whim, I bought a set of these pants from
my buddy David Brewster and tried them out in
Colorado in 2006. If you don't like cleaning mud
from your boots, these are the pants. Plus, they
have several pockets and an infinitely
adjustable waist belt, which is great for
odd-sized waists like mine. Not sure I'd race in
these pants, but they are great for long trail
rides where you want some extra space for odds
and ends that fit into pockets. With the pant
legs exposed all the way down to the ends of
your boots, the lower part of the legs will get
abused a more. In the winter time, these also
make great ski pants in moderate-temperature
outings (in combination with long socks like the
Fly socks below).

Motocross Socks
Knee guards chafing your legs? Well, get
yourself a pair of up-to-the-knee socks and
chafe no more. I love my Fox Pivot knee guards
but they rub in uncomfortable areas. The socks
take care of this completely.

Knee Guards
So here's a rant for y'all: knee guards suck. I've
been using knee guards in one form or another
since 1993 and have yet to find a pair that feels
good and doesn't crack when you whack your
knee against a big rock. The pricier versions are
less prone to cracking, but all of them have
straps that rub my legs raw. Sure, you can
throw on a pair of long socks, but who wants
another layer of clothing on a 95-degree day?
My latest pair is the $65 Fox Raptor's, which
look nice and have some pretty thick plastic
pieces that extend all the way up to the thigh.
The guards are actually three pieces, connected
by riveted hinges. After a couple rides, the rivets
started falling out. Some I was able to recover
inside my pants; those I covered with duct tape
to keep from losing. The missing rivets were
replaced with nuts and bolts. Eventually I cut off
the top two straps because they rubbed so
badly. They get the job done, that's about it.

Fox F3 Boots (2008)
When you're a bonehead like me and do stupid
things like forget to bring your boots to an
enduro, every once in awhile you find yourself a
little epiphany. Sometimes you get what you
pay for, and the Fox F3 boots I bought in
desperation on the way to the race just
happened to be the most comfortable (and most
expensive) boots I've every owned. No break-in
period. Absolute comfort right out of the box. I
have managed to lose a couple boot straps,
which were replaced free of charge by Fox, but
after two pairs of these over the past several
years, I have no complaints.
Fox Raptor knee guards
Smith redesigned roll-off canisters
The roll-off concept for maintaining clear vision
is nothing new, but Smith came up with an
improvement to one of the biggest weaknesses
of their roll-off canisters: the latching
mechanism. The canister covers used to look
like this:
The canisters would stay closed about 99% of
the time. But just the wrong kind of leafy foliage
could grab the goggles in just the right way to
pop open the canisters. The result was a
10-foot trail of roll-off tape that would eventually
catch on something and yank my head
backwards. This would go on until the tape
broke apart. To prevent this, each time I'd
change the roll-off tape, I would cover the
canister latch with duct tape.
After a year of use, there has been no need for
duct tape, and for good reason: the latch is a
real bitch to open. The idea is to push down on
the two tabs and pull apart the canister. But for
reasons only known to Smith's designers, they
chose to make the tabs with pointed edges.
They are dang sharp against my fingers,
especially with the force required to press and
push. That's ok, though - it's a small price to
pay for never having to seal the canisters with
duct tape. And with see-through canisters, I
don't have to open them to see how much
roll-off tape is left.
Riding Gear
These boots tend to shed
their adjustable straps if
the buckle comes undone.
To prevent this, drill small
holes and safety wire the
straps in place (as seen
here). The bottom two
straps are the only ones
that ever seem to come
undone.
Smith has since beefed up
its latching mechanism
Product Reviews
Smith Goggles with Sweatbuster face foam
Not sure why it took me so long to discover the
magic of thick face foam on goggles, but it's
been a huge improvement. For ten years I stuck
faithfully with Scott 89 goggles and put up with
sweat being flung against the inside of the
goggle lens after healthy jolts. No more with the
Smith Sweatbuster foam. I first tried them out
during the 2004 season and never had an
incident of sweat dripping down the inside of the
goggle lens. Check out the difference between
Smith Top Fuel (with Sweatbuster) and Scott
89's: