Helmet
Z1R Intake Flame Helmet
$220; www.z1rhelmets.com
The Intake Flame is Z1R’s top-of-the-line off-road, competition-ready helmet that is both DOT and Snell approved. Our staff wore previously the Z1R Rail lids, and our complaints were that the visor didn’t have enough adjustment and the chin bar was too long.
This new Z1R differs in both: the chin bar is sized appropriately for fewer clumsy bumps into sled parts and it’s close enough to the chin to prevent unnecessary cold drafts.
We loved the bright orange helmets for added visibility and the Intake Flame was compatible and comfortable with the assortment of goggles we used last season. However, none of the goggle straps covered adequately the cheek pad/forehead cushion gap that channeled snow into the helmet ear chambers when following in traffic or riding while it’s snowing.
The Intake Flame was designed like most moto-style helmets: an off-road application rather than a purpose-made snowmobile application. That said, most moto helmet designs are more snow-compatible. A piece of duct tape over the cheek pad gap was a simple fix to keep snow out of the ear pockets.

Boots
Klim Adrenaline Boots
$160; www.klimusa.com
We weren’t the only people last year to wear the Klim Adrenaline Gore-Tex boots. It didn’t take us long to realize why: these are great boots. The materials list for building these boots were just right. They held up well to a season’s worth of abuse and still look great. We never had wet feet, either, and with the right performance-fabric socks these boots withstood standing on bare ice in below-zero F temps for hours during a cross-country snowmobile race. Lacing was easy, break-in was instant and though not as good as a snocross boot (or as immobilizing, however) ankle support was good. Our first choice of boot all season and likely for the coming year, too.

Jacket
Castle Switch 07 Jacket
$180; www.castlesales.com
Female staffer Lynn Keillor introduced her version of our Castle Switch 07 gear in our Premier issue this year. The rest of us had the male version in a black/gray/white color scheme with red accents. Most of us liked the gear after we got used to the rubber patch dead-center on our sternums. It added a layer of protection and doubled as a style element. We liked the jacket weight and we were warm on all but the coldest days without the zip-in liner. If we got too warm, we opened the pit and rear vents. The pocket on the sleeve was a nice touch for added storage. Some of the hook and loop fasteners on the jacket were wearing out by season’s end, most notably on the collar.

Pants
Castle Switch Pants
$150; www.castlesales.com
On our bottom end we wore the Castle Switch 07 pants. The fit was just right for male testers, without added bulk yet fitting tight enough not to snag sled parts or flap in the breeze. The waist had an adjustment strap for just-right sizing and there was a zippered crotch. The lower leg was cut to fit over larger snocross-style boots.
We didn’t have an exact match on colors, but the pants we wore worked the same as if they did and didn’t leave us looking like a catalog ensemble. The biggest complaint with our pants was weak hook and loop fasteners on the inner, lower legs that made the ankle closure fail often. A snap addition would take some of the strainof the materials and likely make it last longer. Great flexibility, good warmth, good ventilation and a great fit made for decent riding gear last year that we’d be happy to extend into another season.

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