A promise made and although a tad overdue, a promise fulfilled: Part 2 of our Gaerne GX-1, SG10 and SG12 off-road boots review.
At the time that Part 1 of this review was published in February of this year, I was very much looking forward to getting extended peg time in the boots.
Aand now that this objective has become reality, it is time to collate all the new information gathered since then and provide a longer-term assessment.
One sizing issue to note before we get started: the Gaerne GX-1 boots in size 46 are quite a bit small for me.
So I lent them to a fellow Beemer rider who normally takes a Euro size 44/45. Since the GX-1 boots fit him, we can only assume either this pair or the GX-1 boots in general run a bit small.
However, the Gaerne SG10 and SG12 boots in size 46 fit me just fine.
So besides the GX-1 sizing issue, there is little to fault in any of these Gaerne motocross boots; they represent the quality, features and performance the company is famous for.
Since Part 1 of the Gaerne off-road boots review was published, the three pairs of Gaerne motocross boots have alternated between the storage shelf and the motorcycles.
Early Spring in the western part of Virginia seemed to be a repeating pattern of 24 hours of warmth and sunshine, followed by 24 to 48 hours of freezing rain or snow, all of which tended to minimize the off-road riding to a degree.
Getting dirty off-road once I was back home north of the border was then severely restricted, given the soft moist terrain that is easily damaged. We tread lightly or not at all with stewardship and green-space management taken seriously and actively promoted by provincial organizations and local clubs.
With a few weeks of warming temperatures and some May vs. April Spring showers, however, the trails are open and dirty trail-capable machines and riders are seen almost everywhere going to and from their favourite riding spots -- groomed or otherwise.
And lots of riding means all three pair of the Gaerne boots are now broken in, but not broken...
The Gearne GX-1 boots, as originally assessed, are much smaller than a size 46 in my opinion, measuring closer to a size 44 or 45 when compared to the Gaerne SG10 and Gaerne SG12 boots that indeed fit and feel true to their Euro size 46 label.
A fellow Beemer rider who spends a lot of time flogging his well-prepared Suzuki DR-Z400S off road (and who takes a size 44 or 45 boot) is happily using the GX-1 boots and he provided the following feedback:
The Gaerne GX-1 boots are generally very well built, but there is a rub point that I can feel on my calf. This rub point is where the black section joins the white section, just above the second fastener; the boots also seem to crease in a bit here, possibly contributing to the rubbing. A modification to the design or the construct would cure this issue.
Admittedly, the bulky external shell of the GX-1 boots are pretty big -- typical for motocross or off-road boots. But this hasnít proven to be an issue when riding; e.g., no missed shifts or brake lever issues, even with the small levers on the Suzuki DRZ400S.
Remember though that with off-road boots, the shift and brake levers may need to be adjusted properly; something that many riders forget, with predictable results.
Overall comfort with the GX-1 boots is very good, even with a pair of sole liners installed and knee length riding socks.
The flex and feel of the GX-1 boots is also good; if the boot is too stiff then the rider's knee and joints in general take more of a pounding, since any shocks are directed from the boot to the rider and not absorbed by the boot as intended.
The Pivot Pegz that are installed on this bike is not an issue for the Gaerne SG10 boots either. I also wear my pants over the boots and I have not experienced any issues with the boot uppers, the buckles or anything else -- things that can be issues when the pants are worn inside the boots.
With only one or two differences observed between either the Gaerne SG10 and Gaerne SG12 boots during riding, I will combine my longer-term observations, less any model-specific points.
With use has come far more comfort; what hasnít gone away is the fact that both pairs of these boots are large and heavy -- issues I can live with, given the protective environment they provide.
Neither the SG10 or the SG12 boots suffer from the fit/sizing or the slight chafing issue of the GX-1; the interior of both boots is quite smooth and along with a thicker liner and the heavy-duty mouldings, the SG10 and to an even greater extent the SG12 both exude strength and quality.
Break-in has done nothing to change my mind about the fit of either pair, which is seemingly a perfect size 46 with enough room lengthwise to wiggle the toes and the ability to change between medium- to heavy-weight knee-length socks without compromising comfort.
I have tried a very thin insole when wearing vented summer-weight socks in the boots but in reality, even on the warmest days so far, the blue or yellow coloured BMW Functional Socks (review) have proved supportive and comforting without overheating my feet or lower legs, which are securely encased in the Gaerne off-road boots.
As I suspected, the Gaerne SG10 boots are the most comfortable to wear, day in or day out for extended periods of time.
Whether narrow-legged motocross-style pants are tucked inside the boots or heavier padded pants are worn outside, there are no pressure points, no flex issues and no fatigue issues.
Not to take anything away from the supremely constructed Gaerne SG12 boots that undoubtedly have an edge over the SG10 boots in protection and armoured flexibility, but wearing them for full days brings out one or two minor pressures points, at least for my feet and lower legs.
The first pressure point is just above the ankles and it was not cured by adjusting the straps. The other is in the instep area; an area of my feet that has not escaped damage over the years, although these pressure points can be largely cured by loosening the lower two straps on the boots.
Neither issue is a deal breaker for me; I can and will gladly live with both pairs of boots, although for the extended adventures planned for this season, the slightly lighter-weight and definitely more comfortable (for my feet) Gaerne SG10 boots would be my first choice to meet heavy-duty footwear requirements.
And as an added (dry) bonus, I can get my socked feet inside the Gore-Tex liners and then into the boots with only a little more resistance than normal and the same comfort can be provided by loosening off the straps by one small notch eachÖprecision fitment for overall comfort and security.
Despite the fit issue and some flexing of the Gaerne GX-1 boots, they are an excellent first motocross boot or as replacement boots for protection for off-road riders...and they economical to boot (pun intended).
I feel that the size issue with my pair is probably an anomaly -- or at least I hope it is.
The outer pivot skeleton or "Razorback" component used on the Gaerne SG10 and SG12 boots really works, without compromising comfort, flexibility or function. And although the Gaerne SG12 boots are visually and functionally the "better" boot, the black SG10 pair is what I would classify as the "work-horse" pair.
One of the best features of all three pairs of these Gaerne off-road boots are their large and easy-to-use fasteners. Whether it's the first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon; fresh or tired; getting in and out of the Gaerne boots just isnít an issue at any time.
Another great feature -- or perhaps an observation: All three pair seem to be Teflon coated. Dirt and other related crud just doesnít seem to stick to them, so I guess that more testing in dirtier conditions is needed!
The added months of use with the Gaerne GX-1, SG10 and SG12 boots have confirmed that our initial assessment points stated in the Gaerne off-road boot review Part 1 Summary still stands.
Publication Date: June 2013
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NOTE: See Part 1 of the Gaerne Off-Road Boots Review for the product information table and owner comments.