For the past three years, Fly Racing and Western Power Sports have held Summer Camp for media types from all over the off-road world to show off their new wares; even the trade media was invited to take part, which is a rarity for these kinds of launches. Having ridden mostly off-road on four-wheels lately, riding a motocross track on two-wheels was going to be a challenge. However, for the sake of our readers, we donned the new gear and set out to assess FLY’s 2020 moto line. Our approach was, admittedly, a little different than the expert riders and pros who were also out on the track testing.
FLY Racing’s pro riders Weston Peick, who is still recovering from a devastating crash last year, and former supercross rider and brand ambassador Damon Bradshaw, showed up to put their bikes – and gear – through the paces. The FLY team set up camp on a brand-new track not far outside the WPS Headquarters in Boise, ID, for 20 journalists and a handful of WPS sales reps, brand managers and marketing folks. There was a whole fleet of KTMs and Husqvarna’s, courtesy of local Boise dealer
Carl’s Cycle Sales, waiting for us.
While the pros were testing the flexibility and lightness of the new gear by flying over doubles and tabletops, we spent a lot more time on the ground, picking our bike up after a few wipeouts, trying to get comfortable on the peaky Husqvarna two-stroke. It wasn’t the bike’s fault that the ground jumped up so fast, but, thanks to the gear, we didn’t have a scratch,
and we looked good in our orange and black Kinetic gear.
The Kinetic line comes in mesh and standard and is in the price range of most mid-level gear, only it comes with some premium features. We liked the tagless comfort-stretch collar and the shorty elastic sleeve cuffs. The pants were also comfortable with laser-cut ventilation for precision breath-ability. While we didn’t wear a knee brace, many riders do, and the pre-shaped knee accommodates most braces and guards.
After a moderately hard crash landing on the backside, we truly tested the seating area with its stretch-rib material that moves with your body. It was a painful landing, but thankfully neither the axle nor the sprocket poked through the pants.
Jason Thomas, FLY Racing brand manager, and retired pro himself said that this year’s gear is more of an evolution than a revolution since last year’s big redesign. The FLY Racing team improved many little things that may not be noticeable at first glance, but Thomas noted that most experienced riders would feel the difference as they ride. Some seams have been moved, and they added more DST (durable stretch technology) in other areas.
Between all of FLY’s moto lines, there are several variations to appeal to almost any rider (about 28 different colorways). The Lite Hydrogen is a minimalist gear set that has undergone some significant changes in the past year. This is a set most pro riders wear but also some amateur racers as well because it is so lightweight and comfortable. For riders looking for something a little more durable, yet still at a competitive price point, FLY has an updated EVO DST line that underwent some of the most changes. The pants alone were lightened by more than a pound, and it is even more durable and breathable as well. Overall, the whole line has been refined and updated with the latest graphics, including one called Glitch, which sort of looks like a 3D movie because your eyes can’t focus on it.
We were also lucky to ride out to the track with Dr. Plant of Rheon Labs, who headed up the technology that went into the new FLY Formula helmet, which everyone was outfitted with for the day. Plant must’ve felt like he was on a talk show with all of the questions we were asking about the Rheon material. He did reveal that the material had recently been tested by an independent lab of an unnamed professional sports organization where it was compressed up to 10,000 times to see how it reacted. He said it passed easily with only a slight modification.
What Dr. Dan Plant and his team and other companies like them are doing for the safety of our sport is impressive. The challenge with such technology is that riders can’t see it like a new graphic scheme or design. However, we are entering a new era of understanding of how crashes affect the brain and how to best protect it. Thankfully we didn’t need to put the helmet through any real-world crash test. t