If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Boot Hill

The deed is done. I woke up early today after the night shift and had a couple of hours before I needed to set off back to work, so I visited my local dealer to see if he had anything suitable for my feet. I knew he had a pair of TCX Infinity boots in (voted Best Buy in RiDE magazine's Rider Power survey) and finally I had an excuse to try them on.

They looked great, both in appearance and quality (a touch of the motocross boot about them, but understated), but they were well over £200. I was therefore delighted when they simply didn't fit. The heel seemed slightly offset, making my foot twist as I walked, and the foot part was not the same shape as my foot. So I was not unhappy to put them back on the shelf.

The rest were either race boots (all garish colours and spacetrooper plastic) or the kind of things smelters wear to work. And then I spotted an unassuming pair which reminded me a little of the moribund Sidis.

They are Frank Thomas Aqua Rides, and on offer for a penny under ninety quid. I know a lot of bikers are a bit sniffy about Frank Thomas gear, but I have had quite a bit of stuff of theirs over the years, and it has always been good (well-made and durable) if a little unglamorous. My current commuting gloves, used right through winter, are a 10-year-old pair of FT Aqua gloves which are no longer waterproof, but are warm and fit me like - er - you know what I mean. In a world of use-once-and-throw-away, they have lasted exceptionally well and still feel as if they would protect my pinkies in a tumble.

So I bought the boots, after negotiating the lovely saleslady down to eighty of your British pounds. They are proper leather (not Lorica like the Sidis) and advertised as waterproof. We shall see about that, but I am hopeful. They are very comfy indeed, and already way better for walking around in than the old ones. The soles are thicker, which means that I will have to get used to the slightly different gearchange action, but the comfort outweighs that. And very warm - I hope not too warm, considering we are approaching summer.

I'll do a full kit report when I have had them a month or two, but first impressions are good.

And the best thing about them: no zips.


Footnote (fnarr):

In the comments to the previous post, Brian suggested getting a professional repair for the zip of the old boots. As you can see from the next pic, the Sidis haven't got much life left in them, but if I can get a new zip put in for a reasonable cost, I will do that and keep them as reserve footwear. Old friends shouldn't be just cast aside.


  1. I know a lot of bikers are a bit sniffy about Frank Thomas gear

    Not being a current biker - why are they sniffy?

  2. Alwaysw try getting on the bike, wearing them, before buying as well.

    I made the mistake of getting what appeared to be a great pair of boots. But the sole was so thick, unless you rode permenatntly with your foot at the perfect calf cramp producing angle, NO bloody WAY could you fit the toe cap in the space needed to change up the gears.

  3. They have gone bust - remaining stock bought by by J and S

  4. Frank Thomas? Might as well get your order in for the Altbergs now.

  5. http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Altberg-motor-cycle-touring-boots-size12-/200601370016

  6. Yes, sadly FT went into administration back in January. I've just had a look, and that explains why Motrax have been absorbed by Oxford too (previous post on heated grips) - they were part of the FT group, which I didn't realise. And my Red Route kevlar jeans too, it seems!

    @ James - why are bikers sniffy? FT were never a top-end brand, more the bread-and-butter everyday stuff, so they never had the glamour of Dainese or Alpinestars. I think they had quality control issues, which led to some bad comments, but I can only speak well of the kit I have had from them. See Voyager's comment above ...

    @ Furor - LOL, and about 70 people. It's a shame, but apparently the recession and the cost base made the business unsustainable.

    @ Voyager - yes, I heard you the first time :) For £80, they only have to last me a couple of years to be good value, and my next pair will be something better. Altbergs a possibility, but I will also be checking out Daytonas and Sidi Couriers, which I have always fancied. Those metal tips to the toes look really kick-ass.


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