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Old April 19th, 2011, 04:18 AM   #1
gfloyd2002
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BiLT Trackstar Boot Review

I've been commuting with my BiLT Trackstar Boots ($69 from Cycle Gear) for a few days now, and wanted to share my initial impressions.

Construction: Surprisingly, not bad at all. Double stiching, not a single thread out of place. YKK zippers. There was one spot on my boot where you can see the chalk mark where the leather was hand marked for hand stitching of the zipper assembly. (I can almost imagine the underpaid Pakistani woman hand sewing it. ) Not the thickest or best quality leather, and I'm not sure how tough the thread is on the double stitching, so we'll see how they hold up over time. Still, much better than I expected so far. Overall, I can see why they put a five year warranty on them.

Safety: They are leather boots with solid heel, ankle, shin and toe protection. The toe slider is replaceable and there is a reflective panel on the heel. The ankle is protected from abrasion by both a semi-rigid disc and a harder insert underneath. The heel, toe and shin also benefit from reinforcement under the exterior sliders. The unreinforced perforated leather portion is thinner leather and would offer some abrasion resistance, but not that offered by a track boot or upper range touring boot. I am frankly a bit surprised to say these would offer pretty good protection in a get off, and expected something flimsier for the cost. Overall protection is better than non-rigid motorcycle shoes and on par with a mid-range touring boot, but not to the level of a real track boot or upper range tourer. The element missing from a real track boot is the protection from high speed ankle bend offered by a fully rigid and hinged ankle. Otherwise, these are a solid safety option for commuting or touring.

Comfort: On the bike and standing still, they are as comfortable as any boot I've had. The liner is moisture wicking and breathes well. The perforated leather bits offer just enough airflow to work better than any boot I've had in hot weather, but that is hindered by (thankfully) quite a bit of reinforcement in the toe, ankle and heel areas. They are very easy to put on, with a long side zipper offering easy access. With longer walks off the bike they have some issues. No problem from the parking lot into work, or for short periods, but I wouldn't want to be caught on a long hike with only these boots. The issue is that the good safety reinforcement in the toe stops about 1/2 way up the foot, and the soft, breathable leather above that has quite a bit of give for comfort. So when you walk, the reinforced part hits the top of your foot as the boot flexes. The calf area is large, constructed to fit different sizes with room to lean or stand straight comfortably - however, this makes it a tough fit under tight pants and less than ideal for the commuter boot they really are. These aren't quite as comfortable walking as a good touring boot would be, but exceed that comfort on the bike in hot weather.

Special Features: The perforated leather is a great feature for warm weather, making the boot a very good value option for some climates. This would also make them bad in the rain. The side YKK zippers offer very easy entry, but covering the zipper pull in velcro is a nice touch. The zippers grab on the velcro that holds the zipper flap in place, keeping them from creeping down on a long ride.

Fit: They are close to true to size, but not quite. They are manufactured on the EU system so my size 11 are actually EU 44 - not quite a true US 11 (slightly smaller). Cycle Gear didn't tell me this. Funny thing is that even though they are manufactured on the EU sizing, they are sold only in full US sizes, so there are going to be some feet that don't have a perfect fit out of the box. I suspect with the leather construction after a decent breakin, they will end up with a nice fit for nearly everyone. Luckily for me, 44 is my perfect fit and I love the ways these feel even before breakin.

Price: Unbeatable at $69. You can't get decent quality boots for this price anywhere. The are actually better than my $169 A*s, my $79 Vegas and my $189 Tourmasters (though I confess to buying sh*t boots in the A*s and Vegas).

Conclusion: A decent boot worth buying for warm weather. They shoot themselves in the boot () by calling them Trackstars. They aren't boots for racing, so don't go in thinking you are buying Dianese or A* track boots or you will be disappointed. But if you consider them mid-range, warm weather commuters or touring boots, they are actually quite good. Considering the low-range price tag, the mid-range performance makes them an amazing value.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 05:14 AM   #2
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Thanks for the review Floyd. Very informative.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 09:21 AM   #3
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Thumbs up

LOL.. I was actually in the middle of uploading the photos I took of my BILT Trackstars to post my own review. If you don't mind, gfloyd2002 I'm going to just post my thoughts in your thread and use yours to post my photos. If you object, just let me know and I'll pull out my reply and post a new thread.

------------------------

*Disclaimer* - I'm a riding newb, these are my first boots so I have no previous experience with riding boots from which to draw any comparisons. Take my info with a grain of salt I guess.

I bought these this past Saturday and I've worn these for about 160 miles - all from one ride this past Sunday.

My impressions, to be perfectly honest, are pretty much an echo of what gfloyd2002 said with exception to fit. I wear US 8.5 to 9.5 - depending on the shoe - Nike, Adidas, etc. and the smallest they make in this boot is a US 8 (no half sizes) which actually felt the slightest bit big. Luckily the large velcro closure panels allow me to overlap a bit to keep the boot snug. I honestly believe if they had a US 7.5 it'd be perfect for me. In regard to fit, if you consider these, I'd definitely make sure to try a pair on prior to buying as opposed to blindly ordering over the internet.

Safety - what gfloyd2002 said.... but also, for me, it has a nice hard shell on the top front of the boot which actually perfectly meets up to the bottom of the knee pads in my Joe Rocket Atomic pants so I've got some padding/protection all the way up from my toes to my knees against rocks or other debris that may get kicked up. Additionally, prior to these boots I'd just been wearing sneakers - all I had to wear really - so I was very accustomed to the sensitivity I had in feeling the shift lever. With these boots and the hard molded toe I had a heck of a time getting use to the loss of touch when sliding my toe under the the lever for upshifts. I got used to it after awhile but I think if I go for a week or so between rides I'll have to get used to it all over again until I've been wearing them for quite awhile. I'm sure this is common with most riding boots of this style, just offering my newb observation for any other newb riders who may be reading this and considering this boot.

Comfort - what gfloyd2002 said.. I don't think I'd be able to walk around all day in these things but for quick runs to the store they'd do nicely. I'm leaving my dress shoes in my office at work and will be wearing these boots to and from home/office and just change into my shoes when I get there. On weekends I'll probably carry some sneakers in my back pack to change into if I'm going to be out off my bike for a considerable amount of time.

For all other points, gfloyd2002 covered it more eloquently than I. For the price I feel like I got the best bang for the buck in terms of protection. As a new rider at the end of my budget for riding gear, I didn't really have the cash to drop on a name brand boot and while we really can't have too much protection when riding, I don't know if I exactly NEEDED a true racing boot or anything for my daily commuting and fun-runs on the weekend. To be honest, I feel a bit like a twit being a new rider with these track-style "racing" boots but luckily my pants cover them nicely so the only hint that these are anything more than a touring boot is the toe-slider.

And now for some photos....












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Old April 19th, 2011, 03:09 PM   #4
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Thanks, Jason! A nice improvement to my original post this morning, and will keep me from having to add my own photos.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 03:41 PM   #5
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No sweat. Glad I could help.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 03:56 PM   #6
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Interesting... I recently got an email/marketing from Cycle Gear showing a "complete" set of track gear including helmet, one piece leather suit, gloves and boots for less than $500.00. The price alone makes me wonder about the brand.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 04:04 PM   #7
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Posted in a different thread, but included here for one-stop shopping:

Quote:
I've done some research and I've found out that 7 factories in Pakistan make about 80% of the motorcycle gear (boots, jackets, gloves) for the majority of companies out there (Alpinestar, Dynastar, Firstgear, SIDI, Teknic, Fieldsheer, etc). There also some factories in India and China but the majority is from Pakistan.

Why did I start researching this? Because I was on Cycle Gear's website and saw a pair of boots (BiLT brand) that looked exactly like a pair that is offered by SHIFT but at over half the price. I had never heard of BiLT so I called the Cycle Gear store in Louisville, KY and talked to them about it. They told me that it was a new "House" brand for them but couldn't tell me anything more about it, so that is when I decided to do some research. (I'm an Intelligence Analyst for the government so I'm pretty good at doing reseach, it also helps to have contacts working over in THAT country that gathers economic intelligence)

Here's what I found out. The boot by BiLT is made in the very same factory as the SHIFT boot, on the same line. SHIFT boot $100, BiLT boot $49.99. Alpinestar made in the same place and similar design $170........ Difference in the Alpinestar and other two is one higher grade of leather is used. Is that really worth $120 more?

I didn't end up buying that boot but I did buy another one from BiLT. Cost, $70 same boot different brand, $260. Oh yeah, they are made in the same factory..........

BiLT also has a weather proof boot that looks identical to my Alpinestars. Cycle Gear price $60. I paid $180 last year on Closeout for them.

This ties into my recent frustration over gear that is identical, branded by different companies. And generally to the large companies (A*, Joe Rocket, Shift, ICON, Technic, Speed and Strength, Scorpion, Cortech, etc.) simply putting their name on stuff that comes out of foreign factories without much differentiation, design, etc. It shows that motorcycle gear is all about marketing, and guess who the chumps are? Us, for paying for the A* or Icon or Joe Rocket labels. In that kind of market, the recent emergence of BiLT and Sedici as the Cyclegear house brands makes a ton of sense. Cyclegear buys the same stuff directly from the same Pakistani factories and rebrands it without going through the middleman, allowing Cyclegear to offer essentially the same products at significant discounts.

From the research I've done on this since I got the last CycleGear flyer, the quality of the BiLT stuff (5 year warranty) is about what you'd expect from the lower end of the A*, Joe Rocket, Shift, Scorpion, Speed and Strength, Vega, etc. lines at about 1/2 the prices. Entry level gear with some features, reasonably well made, but not going to hold up to comparison with the really high quality stuff. Sedici (lifetime warranty) is meant to offer quality to compete with the top of the line from these manufacturers. My take is that this is genius by CycleGear. And, honestly, consumers who continue to buy the big brands are being taken for a ride and giving away their money to pay for nothing more than marketing and branding.

The rational consumer response to the same factories making most of everything, and to the big companies irresponsibly slapping their labels often on the same products (or with styling varations to differentiate their brand) is one of three things:
1) Start buying from responsible, smaller companies that design their own stuff for purpose, run their own factories, and really care about quality. Aerostich, Vanson, Teiz, etc. Check out this thread: Best Small Companies for Gear;
2) Pay the money to get the uber high quality products that have complete product control and aren't likely to have fungible products. Dianese, RevIt, Sidi, Motoport, Aerostich, etc.;
3) Recognize that much of the gear out there is interchangeable and comes out of the same factories and go with the CycleGear brands to save money and cut out the middleman so you don't have to pay their margins and fund the cost of their branding and marketing efforts. Buy BiLT for the inexepensive stuff and Sedici for the quality.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 04:51 PM   #8
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Excellent, thanks Floyd. Are you a boogie man!
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Old April 19th, 2011, 05:02 PM   #9
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Just got mine yesterday. Same thoughts as above. The only thing I would add is having a padded insole isn't a bad idea. They aren't very comfortable to walk or stand in after a few minutes. But for the price, a must buy if you can.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 06:00 AM   #10
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Just thought I'd add that I rode into work this morning in 42F at speeds up to (speedo incidcated) 85mph so I guess more like 77 and could feel a decent flow of air on my feet but they never got cold. I had thicker dress socks on so that may have helped but I think these would be okay to use as a 3-season boot vs. summer-only.
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Old April 24th, 2011, 05:31 PM   #11
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Hey thanks for the review, Floyd. BTW, which model A*s and Tourmaster products were they? I'd like to stay away from those if possible.
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Old April 24th, 2011, 07:39 PM   #12
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Great reviews... Thanks for your time and efforts...
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Old April 25th, 2011, 12:02 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xoulrath View Post
Hey thanks for the review, Floyd. BTW, which model A*s and Tourmaster products were they? I'd like to stay away from those if possible.
The crap A*s are the Parlor boots, which aren't really motorcycle boots at all, as it turns out. They inspired the "Worst Gear You Ever Bought" thread. I was totally suckered in by the brand name thinking A* could make a decent boot I could wear at work. My bad, really, don't know what I was thinking. The crap Vegas are the Vega Merge boot, a reinforced high-top style boot. Apart from fallacy that a high-top style boot could be very protective, the laces on those lasted 1 week - the cover over the laces rips them to shreds. Same with the replacement laces.

A few hundred bucks later, I finally admitted that I can't wear boots that don't look like motorcycle boots and protect myself adequately. So I got over my fear of looking like a boy racer in the grocery store or on my way to work and bought real boots - the Tourmaster Solution boots. They are actually very good boots, especially for the price and for wet weather. I would recommend them, but they are too hot for the tropics and the fit isn't quite as good for me as the BiLTs. I've also had the zipper catch on the material a few times. Still good boots, but because of heat for me the BiLTs are more comfortable at a lower price.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 09:10 PM   #14
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just wanted to chime in, i bought these boots before i actually bought a bike. got them for $35 clearance since someone had returned them 8)

My only gripe is that the shin area around the top is big and bulky making it kind of difficult to get a pair of jeans around them, but when i wear my leathers i can fit them in so I guess thats the trade off.

They aren't the most comfortable shoes to wear but I walked around my school campus for a day in them without too much bothering from them.

For the price and protection I don't think they can be beat
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Old May 27th, 2011, 04:18 AM   #15
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No worries, just tuck the jeans inside.

Update on my Trackstars: I've worn them every day since I got them. Still not the best walking boot out there, but not bad either. On the bike, they are extremely comfortable, and I feel offer pretty good protection for normal riding. They are holding up very well so far, and still look new.

One thing I've noticed that is worth mention - the airflow on them works well, and my feet don't sweat in them, but there is a side effect. Airflow means they catch air. At higher speeds, and I only notice this in heavy cornering, the air pulls at your foot. More so than with my non-ventilated boots, you can really feel the drag. I have some trouble keeping my toe in tight to the bike in these on a hard, fast corner as the drag tugs my foot away from the bike. Happens a bit with any boot, but maybe a bit more with the wind catching ventilation. Mind you, I wouldn't change this for a moment - I need the airflow in the hot weather here, and I LOVE the comfort of the boot on the bike - but it is something you should know.
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Old May 27th, 2011, 08:14 AM   #16
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Hmmmph... I'm going to have to see if I have the same problem with my boots at higher speeds. I'm focusing on other things so I don't really think about it, which I guess may be an indicator that it's not an issue for me as I'd assume I would notice such an issue.

As for the comfort, for some strange reason on my left foot part of the circular-ish ankle protector on the outside-face of the boot rubs on my ankle and tends to irritate me after awhile. I think I may look into some gel inserts or something to increase the comfort of walking around in them, problem is that, with other shoes I've used inserts on, they always pull out too easily when I take my foot out of the shoe so I'd imagine I'll have the same problem with these.

Still love'em for the price though.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 07:05 PM   #17
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Any link, so i can get one for myself (:?
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Old May 28th, 2011, 07:44 PM   #18
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Here you go: BILT Trackstar Boots
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Old May 28th, 2011, 11:43 PM   #19
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Add to the review: I have a pair of these boots for everyday riding. Bought the pair at Cycle Gear. My only complaints is that the right toe slider seems to push up into my toes which causes some slight discomfort. Also there isnt much of cushioning for my heels so I can't be on my feet a lot. Boots do breathe rather well especially in this Texas heat. Strangely these boots fit me well than the Sidi Cobras.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 11:46 PM   #20
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Get some $10 insoles and stick them in. The boots will feel much better. Once I did that, I had no complaints about their comfort.
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Old May 29th, 2011, 06:54 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reaubideux View Post
Yup, I saw this one, but I was hoping I can get it for $70 bucks like you guys did hehe. Anyway I have a teknic chicane boots right now (white) I like it a lot. But I'm looking to get another "boot" in black (so it wont attract too much attention from the public) do you guys this http://www.revzilla.com/product/alpi...e-riding-shoes one will work? are there any other alternatives? Thanks (:
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Old May 29th, 2011, 08:54 PM   #22
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if you have a store near you i would go in and see if they have any on clearance or any other boots for that matter. my local store has tons of stuff on clearance that i am always looking at
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Old May 29th, 2011, 09:43 PM   #23
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The nearest store is gonna be 4 - 5 hours away from me /:
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Old June 5th, 2011, 10:41 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gogoKawi View Post
Get some $10 insoles and stick them in. The boots will feel much better. Once I did that, I had no complaints about their comfort.
The insoles in the boots are jokes! I finally got around to pulling them out. They're like paper thin! Consider getting replacement insoles for these boots if you find your feet hurting.
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Old June 5th, 2011, 11:02 AM   #25
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I took advice from kkim and others and bought these boots.
Im about a 10.5 but went with 11's because the 10's woulda smashed my toes and i hate that. Their a tad loose in the heel but a gel insole would solidify that.
I also feel it lets the boot move properly for shifting and braking functions without putting any harsh pressures on your foot.
I wore the boots for 2 days straight, only thing I can say is just get over ankle socks.
I had under ankle socks and the zipper rubbed against my ankle.
The pinch from toe shield isnt very noticeable to me, i feel it but no pain etc.
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Old June 10th, 2011, 09:03 PM   #26
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Too bad these are $99 online now, or else I'd pick them up tonight.
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Old October 16th, 2011, 01:21 PM   #27
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Ok these are on my list. I think Ill be getting these in the next few weeks for my birthday
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Motorcycle Safety Foundation

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