I’ve gotten a chance to use a couple new Arctic Cat products during the past month and thought I’d share a couple observations in case you’re interested in this stuff.
The first is the new Mountain Tek (P/N 5212-912, $370) protective vest, built for Arctic Cat by TekVest.
I just got this baby during the summer, so I’ve only been able to use it while riding dirt bikes. So far, this vest is excellent, for these reasons:
-It’s lightweight and HIGHLY BREATHABLE. I sweat like a fat pig when I ride hard, and staying cool is a constant battle. That’s even the case when riding snowmobiles, where I’ve used the original TekVest from around 1994 and that Arctic Cat sells as the Trail Tek (it’s good for protection, but WAY too hot).
-Full torso protection, including the kidneys. I crashed too many times in my youth, so I no longer ride ANY motorized vehicle without this kind of protection.
-Two zippered pockets. When I wear it for moto, I love having the external zippered pockets to stash beef jerky and ride maps.
-Easy-to-add optional shoulder pads. Which I use for moto, but not for snowmobiling.
-The high-impact plastic that serves to offer impact protection is bendable enough that it “molds” under a jacket, under a back-pack and the like. This is completely unlike motocross protectors, whose “formed” plastic cannot bend.
-Its neutral color won’t scream “RACER” when, during sled rides this season; I take off my jacket inside a restaurant. Loud, garish protectors always look loud and garish in these circumstances.
-Fits great under my snowmobile jacket. That’s key!
Second piece of gear that has been logged serious time on my hands is the Windblock Nylon Gloves (P/N 5212-964, $40) available through the Arctic Cat ATV catalog. Here’s why they’ve been on my hands a lot lately:
-Non-insulated (I hate hot, bulky gloves), excellent form-fitting. I won’t use them for sledding, but they’ll be my driving/trailer/loading gloves on ride trips.
-Windproof and water-resistant membrane is key for cool-weather riding, like I did on my dirt bike recently as well as mountain bike. The water-resistance worked great for ridding North Dakota of one Wile E. Coyote during an annual pheasant hunt, during which it spit rain pretty much the whole weekend.
-Synthetic leather palms. When it gets wet, this stuff retains its shape and traction. Something leather doesn’t do.
Dislikes for either?
I wish the cinch belts on either side of the Mountain Tek vest were easier to use/tighten.
I also wish it was ISR-approved for racing, so I could wear it in the vintage class in the I-500 this winter.
As for the gloves, I wish the cuff wasn’t a Velcro strap. I prefer pull-on, flared cuffs without any strap. Also, the extra wear material sewn onto the palm doesn’t fill in the area between the thumb and pointer finger. This area of any glove gets some wear, and I worry it will wear out sooner.
Bottom line: This stuff works great and, most importantly, I can use both for multiple activities. This point is critical, because I’m very reluctant to spend money for any riding gear that can only be used for one single purpose. When I can use a single pair of gloves for moto, pheasant (and Coyote) hunting, splitting wood and riding my mountain bike…I can justify the purchase. Same for protective gear that works for sleds, dirt bikes and ATVs.