If you’re anything like me, then you probably spend hours, if not days, obsessing over reviews and YouTube videos before purchasing a new bike gear. As a sportsbike rider and road-racing nut, I gravitate towards the high-end gear that all the top racers wear. Despite my budget (and riding ability) I can’t justify owning such Gucci kit (Looking at you Daytona Security 3 GP’s!) Next up the Alpinestars SMX Plus.
Does an R1 tick every motorcycling box?
So last year I ‘pulled the pin’ on a pair of Alpinestars SMX Plus Gore-tex race boots. These are the next boots down from Alpinestars’ flagship Supertech R boots, worn by many top Moto GP riders. The SMX Plus can be seen worn by many Privateers at Irish national road races, due to (I imagine) being a more affordable, yet comparable quality option. The boots are available in waterproof Gore-tex (black only) or non-waterproof (in a variety of colours) which are cheaper.
My choice was ultimately made easier my familiarity to Alpinestars. The first pair of boots I bought after passing my DAS in 2011 was the previous version of the SMX Plus. They last 8 years of abuse before they started to fall apart. I knew they were highly protective but also very comfortable on and off the bike. They seriously felt like a pair of slippers and you could walk around in them all day no problem.
Read more about the Alpinestars Supertech R
This time around I opted for Gore-tex, as I foresaw myself doing more touring on my ZX6R. This meant the possibility of wet weather rides so I wanted more of an all-weather boot.
SMX Plus sees a budget price, with top-end features
The SMX Plus boot is packed with features found on the more expensive Supertech R. The SMX houses them in a one boot system opposed to the two separate boots on the Supertech’s. Features include a motocross-style ratchet closure, non-slip crush-proof soles, armoured heel and toe boxes, external shin armour, removable toe sliders and an external bracing system. This provides both ankle protection and lateral torsion protection, which prevents the foot from being twisted violently in an accident. A soft, non-removable inner boot with a lockable lacing system which makes the boot feel very secure and unlikely to fly off in a crash, and I have crash-tested them.
How do modern leathers compare to leathers from the 90’s?
A week into ownership, I had the misfortune to crash on the way to work. It was winter, and I tipped the bike into a tight, sloping, off-camber lefthander which ended up being covered in sheet ice. I went down violently, and the bike was on top of my left foot briefly before sliding around 50 feet down the opposite side of the (luckily empty) road. The bike was not in a good way, but I was happy to find that I was fine apart from a badly-bruised hip. The boots, in particular, the one the bike landed on, completely protected my feet/lower legs and had no more damage than a slightly ground, but still working closure buckle and some general scuffing/scraping. Crash-tested, you are welcome!
Waterproof Gore-Tex tested!
Testing the waterproof qualities was done on the worst ride of my life – on the way back from TT2019. Hungover and unslept, I rode from Heysham to Edinburgh, at midnight, through the night in driving rain, fog and standing water. Stupidly I had no waterproofs, only my perforated one-piece leathers. By the time I finally made it home around 6 am, after countless coffee stops at service stations, I was completely soaked, frozen and crippled. My feet were the only part of me warm and dry!
Is this the best sports 600 on the market?
The only real criticism I have is that they can squeak a lot when walking, but that doesn’t bother me, and it’s nothing some lube can’t fix. The hard ankle armour on the instep of the boots can scuff paintwork on the bike’s heel plates and vice-versa.
Overall the SMX Plus are supremely comfortable and protective boots. They have a premium feel thanks to the typical Alpinestars build quality and they look the part too. I this pair lasts as long as my previous, I’ll be very happy.
I personally can’t recommend the Alpinestars SMX Plus highly enough
This was a guest review by Chris, check him out on Instagram (@wolfurine)