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Old 02-18-2013, 08:34 AM   #1
Scorch_TX OP
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Cycle Gear Bilt ADV boot vs First Gear Kathmandu boots

Not sure which thread this belongs in, but here goes.

Disclaimer: I work part time at a Cycle Gear, but I am not their marketer, nor do I propose to endorse all their products and services, but I do think it's ok for me to discuss their gear when I am so moved. I work for CG, but I have been a rider for much longer.

Last fall I saw that CG had a new line of ADV gear. Being a Strom owner, I was pretty interested in this. It's under their Bilt brand--and my findings on the Bilt gear are that some of it is cheap, entry level stuff, while some of the items are actually good quality and great value. I advise my customers what I think of it on a case by case basis. I want them to be happy with their purchases. The crappy Bilt stuff, I steer them away from it. The good stuff, I try to evaluate and learn more about.

So, when the ADV gear began arriving in the stores, I fell in love with the Adv1 helmets (which I commented on elsewhere in this forum), and I also was interested in the tall adventure boots. About the same time, I came across an ad for First Gear's Kathmandu adventure boots, which after close examination, I found to be the same boot as the Cycle Gear boot--except the FG boot uses buckles, the CG boot uses leather straps with velcro for closures.

Even though the Cycle Gear boot is a little less expensive, I wanted the FG boot cause those buckles shore look purty. I ordered a pair and they arrived last week. The fit was really good for me--I usually wear a size 10 for boots, the FG size 11 was a good fit. They seem to offer moderate protection, not as sturdy as a pair of A-Star Tech 7s, or the AStar Durban boots, but plenty for my kind of riding,

Now, other than the buckles, these boots are identical. They both are leather, with the fancy wicking liner stuff, and the soles are the same; they also both sport the same "Waterproof" tag. I will know more about how durable they are after August, cause I usually pile about 10,000 miles on my Strom during the spring and summer. I will report back, as to the waterproof aspects, and how they hold up. I am also very interested in hearing from any other riders who have used either of these boots, so I can better advise my friends and customers.

I predict: The fancy First Gear boot buckles may actually be less durable/reliable over the long term than the simpler but more ruggedly constructed Bilt straps. First Gear does warranty their boots with a 2 year limited warranty. Cycle Gear will also warranty their boots, but for 5 years against manufacturing defects (not wear and tear, of course). I love those buckles, they look cool and purposeful, but I will get a pair of the Bilt boots and store them on the shelf for the day the FG boots are worn out.

Either pair looks like a great deal (since they are essentially the same boot). If you are interested in the Bilt or FG boots, you can try these on for fit at any Cycle Gear by trying the Bilt boots. If you find the size that fits, of course the Bilt boots are there for you, and if you decided to try the FG boots, it would be nice if you would consider ordering them through the Cycle Gear Store you used to fit the Bilt boots. This really is fair, since brick and mortar businesses cannot exist for long if people don't support them. Plus, CG matches legit pricing.

Thread on Cycle Gear Bilt ADV stuff
Firstgear Kathmandu boots?
BILT Explorer Adventure Boots
Smoke 'em if you got 'em:
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:10 AM   #2
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Saint Johns, FL
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Thank you for this comparison. It's very helpful.
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:13 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by samhain View Post
Thank you for this comparison. It's very helpful.
+1! I will have to head over to CG to try a pair of these on!
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:09 PM   #4
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what's your take on the adventurer h20 coat? thought about getting one
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:34 PM   #5
Scorch_TX OP
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I have seen a few sold, but have not gotten any feedback on them yet from customers. It looks similar to the Bilt Typhoon jacket I have. I like my Typhoon--very warm jacket, and so far it is holding up well.
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:06 AM   #6
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Honolulu
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Just bought a pair of the FG Kathmandus. I start a ride in late April east from Las Vegas to Key West and then up the East Coast or the Blue Ridge and expect to run into lots of rain -- so, I was looking for a waterproof boot.

They boots just arrived today and first impression is good. I'm usually a 9.5 EEE, and I ordered the US 10 size boot, which turns out to be EU 43. They were a little stiff to put on at first, but they started to loosen up after some flexing and prodding. They are lightweight and roomy.

The boots are also fairly tall --maybe 15 inches -- but the waterproof part is shorter -- about 10 inches. The un-broken-in boots were comfortable. In Hawaii's warm April weather, they started to get warm around the calf, where I had fastened the hook & loop snug, but my feet remained cool and comfy.

I realize these are economical ($160) boots -- not true "adventure" boots -- but my plan is a six-week two-lane blacktop cruise without much off-roading -- so the "waterproof" claim is paramount.

I've used rain gaiters on my last few trips and they were both uncomfortable and a little dangerous, since they bag up and snag around the gear shift lever.

I'm looking forward to see how the Kathmandus do.
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Old 09-21-2013, 02:09 PM   #7
Scorch_TX OP
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Update: I have not been riding this summer as much as last year (working will do that), so I have put only about 3000 miles on these boots. They are still in very good condition, no torn seams or wear. Today was the first good rain we've had here, and I can testify that these boots are not at all waterproof. After riding in a medium shower for about an hour, my feet were wet and squishy. I was wearing rain gear so the water did not enter the boot from the top.

Nice light duty boot, but useless in wet weather. I assume the Cycle Gear version would be the same.
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