Here at MXN we ride a lot, and being in the Northeast we have to take advantage of every day we can ride because we have this thing called “Winter” that spoils our 2-wheeled fun…so we ride anytime we can and that includes on some of the hottest, most oppressive days that our New England sun can dish out.
Some days up here it’s been almost 100 degrees at the track and that’s just dangerous.
But we wanna ride, and because of this heat it’s just not safe to do so. Last year we lost a very talented pro rider named Josh Lichtle to heat stroke, and that tragic event just underscored the fact that heat stroke is a very real thing, and can strike any of us.
We started looking at ways to “beat the heat” and we were contacted by our friends at TechNiche International, which make cooling vests to specifically address this issue.
TechNiche has many different products to help with this problem so we consulted Jeff Belin at TechNiche to see what he would recommend. Jeff stated he felt the 6531 HyperKewl Ultra Sport Vest with pull-over w/mesh ventilation panels and scoop neck would be a good vest to test, it features a quilted nylon outer with HyperKewlTM fabric inner, water-repellant nylon liner, and a black cotton-poly elastic trim.
We did a little research and found that the TechNiche vests are being used by both the Kawasaki Monster Energy Australian Team and the Honda International MX Team so we figured that certainly made it worth a try!
We brought the vest to the track on a day from Hell, it was well over 90 degrees and presented a perfect opportunity to test the vest and we were blown away by how effective it is!
We started by soaking the vest in cold water. The first time we did it we used drinking water because we thought soaking it in the cooler would just be too much of a shock to our body, but this was not the case. We found the colder the water, the better. When using drinking water it seemed to evaporate much quicker and the vest lost effectiveness faster. When using ice water it was really cold but so much more effective, it lasted for hours and we just re-soaked it when we needed a re-charge.
The vest is easy to put on, and we wore it underneath our jersey with and without a chest protector. When using a CP the vest does not get as much airflow as without, but it still works and for enduro/hare scramble racers this is a good thing. We would imagine it would last for 2-3 hours maximum under these conditions, which should be enough for even the most hard-core racers. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities that it could be swapped out quickly at a fuel stop.
It’s not obtrusive an any way, we rode on the track for hours without noticing it, and we also kept it on after racing to stay cool in the direct sun. This thing is the bomb, it’s such a simple idea but it works so well, you wonder why every rider isn’t using one because they should be.
- Increases time on the track
- Allows you to ride in brutally hot conditions
- Inexpensive and indispensable
- Must have safety item – heat stroke is no joke!
- Hand wash only
- Stays wet forever in gear bag
The TechNiche 6531 HyperKewl Evaporative Cooling Ultra Sport Vest retails for $41.99
CONCLUSION: We highly recommend the TechNiche 6531 HyperKewl vest and feel it’s a necessity for all riders in hot weather. The recent tragedy involving Josh Lichtle only highlights the fact heat stroke is serious business and it can happen to any of us. Think of this item as health insurance as well as increasing your ability to safely ride even longer than your opponents.