Photos by Chris Denison and Joe Mckimmy
When the crew at Motonation invites you to go riding, it is typically not wise to argue. Traction, good food and great stories are always plentiful, along with a top-notch cast of entertaining friends to roost with. But it goes without saying that the staple of anything hosted by Motonation is a tie-in to the Sidi boot and Vemar helmet brands. In this case, the Dirt Rider crew had been summoned to a private day just north of the Mexican border at Vogt Ranch for a first look at the new Sidi Crossfire 2 boot and VRX9 helmet, both of which are bringing new features to the table for the 2013 riding season.
Before we get to the product segment, a note about Vogt Ranch: This off-road and motocross wonderland is almost too good to be true. Nestled in the hills literally right next to the U.S.–Mexico border, Vogt hosts one race a year that is limited to just 100 riders. The layout is a twisty, long-lapped flow of great dirt, with some additional single-track sections available for those who want some variety. Check ‘em out atwww.thevogtranch.com to learn more about the facility.
Now, back to the product: Although not the biggest helmet brand out there, Vemar boasts a stellar reputation that has been built upon quality construction and solid fitment. If you have been a fan of any previous Vemar helmet, then you’re going to love the new VRX9. The first thing that stands out about this lid is the fact that it is extremely lightweight; a medium VRX9 clocks in at just 2.7 pounds! Much of this weight savings can be credited to the carbon fiber/ Kevlar/ fiberglass blend shell, which comes in two different sizes to help accommodate six different helmet sizes. Built in Italy to both ECE and DOT safety specifications, the VRX9 boasts a sleek, racer-friendly look that comes in several graphics and colorways (ranging from $375 to $495), including an ultra-cool glow-in-the-dark ‘Night Vision’ graphic ($550).
On the track, the VRX9 is comparable to an Airoh in weight feel—it really is incredibly light. The eyeport was designed with room to spare and because of this can accommodate a variety of goggle frame sizes, all the way up to the largest Oakleys that we had in our gearbags. The Vemar’s fit is comfortable and true—a medium really is a medium—with a soft inner liner and padding that removes easily. The Motonation crew highlighted the Vemar’s superior venting ability as one of its best traits, and we had no complaints in this area. With just one ride under our belts, our initial impression of the VRX9 is certainly a positive one, and we’ll no doubt continue to test this helmet in even more conditions on even more heads.
In the boot category, Sidi unveiled its $325 Agueda boot, but it was the Crossfire 2 that stole the show at this intro. The top-of-the-line Crossfire 2 SR features an anti-skid sole that provides outstanding durability without compromising feel on the pegs. Sidi’s top engineers were on hand to describe how the Crossfire 2 was designed so that the rider’s foot fits inside of the foot bed rather than on top of it; this minimizes bulk while providing a high level of protection and impact absorption. All of the bolt-on parts on the Crossfire 2 are replaceable, and with a variety of colors customization is totally possible.
Several of us at Dirt Rider have felt that past versions of Sidi boots were too narrow in the foot area, but this new Crossfire 2 has a much better feel to it and the width is definitely adequate. There is no excessive movement of the foot inside of the boot, a good thing for riders who want security. On the bike the boots are both light feeling and supportive, with great feel of the controls. There was little to no break-in time; within two laps we were feeling comfortable with the boot. The look of the Crossfire 2 is awesome, and Sidi is offering them in several colors that are all clean and sleek.
Several of Sidis top riders were in attendance at Vogt Ranch, including Kurt Caselli, Ivan Ramirez, Cory Graffunder, Danny LaPorte, Kyle Redmond and Kyle Lewis. Along with the invited media and dealers, these riders burned countless laps while getting a great taste of the new goodies from Vemar and Sidi. We were stoked to walk away with our new Crossfire 2s and will be putting more time on them—along with the VRX9 helmet—in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to the magazine and check out www.motonation.com for more info!