KLIM’s Dakar range is the dirt bike kit I’ve been looking for, for some time. It’s proper dirt bike / trail bike spec, but it’s not motocross. This stuff is specifically designed for trail use, or dual sport as they call it in the US.
What’s the difference? Obviously, the colours and graphics. MX kit is designed to stand out, highly colourful, often wacky, it’s natural habitat is the mx track – elsewhere it’s an almost embarrassing pair of pyjamas. KLIM’s Dakar instead takes muted colours and adds adult designs and motifs so that the look is more akin to regular outdoor kit as work by walkers and such.
Equally mx kit has to be light because motocross is fast and furious, and riders need to radiate heat quickly. And it doesn’t have to last, motocross riders like a new look every season, they’re hyper fashion conscious, so even if the kit survives a fair few crashes it’s not going to last the new season reveals. On the trail we’re less exerted, we’re out there for longer and more likely to be exposed to adverse weather conditions. And we ride through prickly things, brush against trees and rocks, and frequently stroll into shops, fully kitted, looking for mid-ride sustenance. And mostly being older, we instinctively hold onto our stuff – ‘buy well buy once’ being our mantra. So for trail use we need to build in a little more substance, more protection and some longevity into our kit. It’s a whole different set of needs.
KLIM Dakar pant
KLIM’s Dakar pant answers to all this. We’ve got the overboot design here, but you can get an in-boot design too if you prefer. Instantly you can tell by the weight that this is a serious pant. The fabric is 630D (denier – being a measure of mass density of the fabric) – which is higher than the standard mx pant, but as well KLIM stitch in 830D Cordura panels over the knee and seat for additional protection and longevity. But because the fabric is thicker and warmer to wear on hot days they’ve also stitched in zipped vents on each thigh.
Then, because we’re trail riding, not racing, we have two zipped cargo pockets. Plus the closure around the boot opens wider (making it easier to get over the boot) and closes using both Velcro and poppers for proper security. Goat leather on the inside of the knee gives a nice tactile, and non-abrasive interface with your bike’s seat and tank. Oh, and there’s D3O (removable) protectors in both the hips and knees.
At £200 for the in-boot and £230 over-boot they’re about £30-60 (15-30%) more than a high-end set of mx pants, but the quality and features more than substantiate the extra spend. Plus you’ll get years of use out of these.
KLIM Dakar shirt
The Dakar shirt is equally well detailed. Yet it’s not been made too heavy. The shirts panels are thicker than an mx shirt where they need to be, but there’s open mesh too, for breathability, under the arm pits, along the sides, and cleverly where the shirt tucks into your (Dakar) pants – so you don’t get multiple layers of fabric causing you to sweat across your lower back.
We especially like the detail on the arms, where the elbows and forearms getting double layer fabric and an internal layer of foam for added protection. There’s a small zip pocket at the top of the left sleeve too, although we’re at a loss as to what we’d store in there.
At £80.00 it’s only a little pricier than the top of the range mx shirts, but between the mature colours, the quality in the design and manufacture, and the extra features – namely that elbow protection – it’s good value.
KLIM Dakar glove
The Dakar glove again offers that little bit more protection over a standard mx glove given the rubber-like TPR protection over the knuckle and fingers. There’s double layer over the fingertips for wear protection and for those using navigation equipment there’s smart e-touch on the thumb and index fingertip.
The functional upgrades are subtle, but again lead to longer durability and work better within the trail environment. At £40 they price match the better mx gloves too.
KLIM Stowaway Pro Jacket
Obviously this isn’t a Dakar range product, it actually comes from KLIM’s lifestyle range. All the same it works so well as a waterproof jacket to match with this Dakar combo. It’s featuring three-layer Goretex (so 100% waterproof and windproof) and stuffs into a small pack that you can easily strap to your bike. It’s got under arm zip-vents with mesh, there’s a comfort collar lining and two waterproof pockets. The hood isn’t exactly motorcycle-spec but you can fold it in and it neither caused me irritation nor collected wind or rain when I wore it through an otherwise saturating day in Wales.
Not cheap at £250 but we’re talking top-end Goretex and this jacket has proven rugged enough for trail riding, cleans up so quickly and looks so snappy it’s also worn for daily dog walks, shopping trips – just about everything. And heck, if for some reason we did entertain country walking, well it’s top spec for that too. After the best part of a year’s daily use it still looks like new too.