Photos taken before boots...
Photos taken before boots were cleaned.
Dainese has sponsored a star-studded list of riders over the years, namely Valentino Rossi, Kevin Schwantz, Barry Sheene and Giacomo Agostini. With input from each of these riders, the Italian company has been able to develop an impressive number of innovations over the years, including the back protector, aerodynamic hump for one-piece suits and knee sliders.
The ST TRQ-Race boots are essentially Dainese’s entry-level race boots, designed with serious track-day enthusiasts in mind. Lorica synthetic leather is primarily used, since it is stronger, more abrasion-resistant and breathes better than cowhide leather. Dainese’s popular D-Stone fabric (high-tenacity nylon with elasticity) and thermoplastic injection-molded plastic are also used throughout, boosting the boots’ comfort and protection qualities. Speaking of protection, the ST TRQ-Race utilizes Dainese’s Axial Distortion Control system, which keeps your ankle from twisting contortionist style. Then there’s the TPU heel cup, removable toe slider, non-removable inner bootie, reinforced shin protection and D-Tec shock-absorbing sole.
The feature we appreciate most, however, is the Velcro straps on the calf that allow the rider to adjust the fit of the boot. In our case, for instance, closing up the boot opening via the straps provided a better all-around fit. The ST TRQ-Race fits snugly around the ankle too, which is confidence-inspiring. And the TPU protection that engulfs the bottom back half of the boot leads us to believe that the boot will perform quite well in the event of a crash.
In our nine months with the boots we didn’t test the ST TRQ-Race’s crash qualities. We did spend a great deal of time on the road with the boots however, in plenty of varying conditions. And despite the lack of perforation or vents (an Air model is available) the standard ST TRQ-Race performs admirably in warmer conditions. The D-Stone fabric is the biggest contributor to the improved comfort, as it allows enough airflow that your feet won’t overheat, yet not enough to make the ST TRQ-Race uncomfortable even when the temperature drops.
There’s plenty more for Dainese to brag about. The company has incorporated a range of small features that most other boot manufacturers could easily build into their products, but don’t. The textured TPU panels on the inside of the boot allow the rider to grip the bike for better control. There’s also the recently developed shock absorbent sole, which we had zero complaints with, and the easy-to-use single zipper out back that makes boot ingress effortless.
As is common practice for the Italian company, Dainese has designed the ST TRQ-Race boots to be as fashionable as they are functional. The pair we specifically tested was white with red accents. Flashy, no doubt, but we were a fan. The boots are also offered in white/blue, white/black and black. After serious abuse, the white Lorica got pretty hammered, but surprisingly cleaned up well when scrubbed thoroughly with Simple Green. The white TPU panels and nylon shift pad didn’t clean up as nice though, and were stained yellow where exposed to intense UV rays. As such, we’d probably recommend going with the black boots. We also think the boots would benefit from more foam beneath the nylon shift pad, as our left toes would sometimes get irritated on long rides.
There aren’t any other concerns with the ST TRQ-Race boots. They are comfortable enough for street rides and have enough protection features for the average racer, which can save riders from buying two separate pairs of boots (a track-day boot and a street boot). And with features like a replaceable toe slider and ankle support, it’s a surprise to find them priced at $299.95.
WHAT WE'RE TESTING
Suzuki recently unloaded a crate of its new Spray Cleaner and Polish at our office. We’re keeping a few bottles handy with the hope that it’ll bring our dirty test units back to like-new condition.
Leo Vince Performance Kit
Leo Vince just announced the Track Pack Performance Kit, which is comprised of a Leo Vince exhaust and FAST II fuel injection box. Our 2011 ZX-6R test bike is already on the lift and awaiting install.