New Urban Boots - An Independent Review by John Matcham.
Monday, 16th January, 2017
So you’re 54 years young, having ridden motorcycles since you were 8 years old and you’re in need of a two wheel fix.
The last bike I had ridden was my Scorpa SY250 trials bike, sadly it was sitting in the garage and not ridden for several months. The last time out, I had taken a huge chunk out of my shin on a foot peg. I learned over the following weeks that once you reach a certain age, you don’t heal so good.
My last road bike (a ZZR600) sadly ended up on its side sliding past a roundabout covered in diesel about 8 years ago. Having ridden for 46 years those were my only two incidents. My love of road bikes however and the joys of British roads had faded. I’d had the luxury of living in the alps for ten years and clocked a zillion miles on two wheels while I was there. Regularly going up to Luxembourg and back and weekends round the mountains was always a thrill.
There is only one way to ride a sports bike – flat out and hanging off the edge. Yes even at 54 once it’s in your blood it’s a devil of a job to get it out and drive sensibly. Only one thing for it, something big and heavy, that’ll slow me down.
Hail the Honda ST1300 Pan European. I won’t bore you with the search details, but I got a reasonably good one. Then spent a small fortune turning into a really good one.
So out comes the dusty road/race gear, which I manage to squeeze into, but only just.
Firstly, you look an idiot on a Pan dressed in skin tight leather and a race helmet. My bits that bulge are making the whole experience regrettable. Off to the shops then.
Secondly most of the shops don’t have a lot of biker gear on the shelves, it seems the internet has killed off holding any serious stock, or that’s the excuse your given. I visited three shops, the first one had not even bothered to open its doors that day. The second had me drive 25 miles to discover they had no stock of anything and what they had was not in my size. In fact not a single jacket to match a pair of trousers.
The third was JTS in Coalville who offered me a cuppa on arrival and had loads on the shelf, everything I needed. After an hour in good company and with a cup of tea, I’m all geared up.
After years and years of ridding into bad weather and getting a very wet crotch, I was determined to buy clothes that would make this renewed adventure into road bikes at least a comfortable one, the built in armour it came with provided an added element of safety. That job done, I just needed boots.
I have a wide foot. Narrow boots give me cold feet. The only pair that fitted me perfectly were, a brand new for 2017 sample pair of Urban waterproof “wide fitting” boots. However they were samples from the factory and not yet released to us mere mortals. “Hey I’ll have these and write you a report on them” I said. Amazingly the tea toting incredibly friendly team at JTS agreed and I went home with absolutely everything new.
Two days later it was a Sunday morning and the sun was shining, not bad for a November morning in England. The Derbyshire Dales on the doorstep and an opportunity to try out the new bike and all the gear.
All mounted up on the Pan, now nicknamed “leviathan”. Its no sports bike and my short legs are beginning to wonder what the hell my head was thinking when I bought such a bike. Even with the seat at its lowest I can only just touch the ground.
Yes you guessed it, just 1 mile from home it starts to rain. Not deterred I push on towards Ashbourne down the country lanes. Winter had arrived, today of all days. I watched the temperature reading on the console drop from 11°C slowly down to 7° and eventually to 3°, it stayed there until I reached the road up to Carsington Water, when it fell suddenly to 0°C. Five minutes later it hit -4°C By now I had turned on the heated grips and begun to reflect on this morning decision to venture out. Then the sleet started to fall. Just my luck!
Gingerly as the road started to see a covering of slushy icy mush, I made an about turn and headed back toward Ashbourne. I found refuge in a garden centre café and sat down to a hot cup of chocolate. Realising that for the first time in my life my crotch was dry. Hallelujah! In fact I was warm and cosy in my new duds. Not a jot of damp anywhere. This JTS stuff is really good. Surrounded by little old ladies eating cream teas I only just stopped my self screaming out “Oh my goodness my b---s are dry”.
I downed the chocolate and headed back to the bike, more please. The sun had come back out again, if only briefly, and the sludge had turned to water. The roads had not seen a proper frost yet, so held some of autumn’s warmth and prevented any freezing so far. But I guess this was going to be the last trip out this year into the hills without a careful look at the weather forecast.
A little while later I was back home in South Derbyshire. The bike looked a mess and while the temperature had not risen back above 4° I couldn’t put the Pan in the garage covered in mud and muck. Off with my jacket and out with the jet washer. When I’d finished I gloated over my new bike and the fact that my legs were still warm and dry.
“Tea?” came the cry from the house, followed by “don’t you come in here in those clothes”.
Just then I realised just how wet and mucky my new trousers were on the outside and decided to peel them off on the doormat.
Then as my trousers dropped to expose my warm dry legs, so did the penny – Hmm the boots, I was supposed to review them and write about them for JTS. That was the deal.
To be absolutely honest, I had completely forgotten all about them. My feet were warm, dry and very comfortable. I hadn’t thought about my feet once on the ride, or during the jetwashing. Gears and brake had been used without a single question of contact with lever or pedal. It was like I had worn this pair of boots for the last 46 years.
Now that’s what I call a pair of boots….
Job done then!
Ps. There’s a really neat bit of velcro on the zip pull that’s stops the zip ever coming down.
Thanks JTS the 2017 Urban waterproof boots are awesome! And so is the rest of your gear.
Born again biker boy