Gaerne SG 12 boot review

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by jonz, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra

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    Howdy gang,
    This is just a quickie review because when I was considering the purchase of these boots, I didn't find much in the way of reviews here on advrider.

    As far as adv bikes, I have a KTM 400 XCW and 950SE. I've been using some medium priced Oxtar boots and they were just adequate. Around 6 years ago during a low speed low side, my 950SE landed on my right leg and mashed my lower right leg down onto my right foot. I ended up with a moderate ankle sprain and a kind of bone bruise in the ankle joint. Over the years, the bone bruise has never gone away and ill placed dabs with my foot re ignited the pain. Also unexpected g-outs and impacts on both the moto and mountain bike hurt in the same spot. In the last year, that pain seemed to be getting worse. I changed the position of my foot on footpeg to where I never put the ball of my foot on the peg (couldn't do that on the mountain bike) just the instep. That helped. I tried pivot pegz so I could leave my ankle in a more open position and that helped some as well. But I still got a fair amount of pain.

    Next up - try some new boots. I have a moderately wide forefoot - E width. I looked around here for some reviews but didn't find a lot on the Gaerne 10's or 12's here on advrider. I found this: http://www.motorcyclejazz.com/Gaerne_SG12.htm . The Gaerne website had some good info: http://gaerneusa.com/shop/off-road/sg-12-motocross-boot/ and http://gaerneusa.com/shop/off-road/sg-10-motocross-boot/. I did find more reviews of the Sidi Crossfires and read those as well. I didn't want an inner boot and I'm not a fan of the running shoe style boots so it seemed the Crossfires and SG10/12's were going to be it. So off to the moto candy store: Chaparral. I tried on the Crossfires and SG10 boots and they did not resist forward flex enough for my taste. The SG12's did and fit my moderately wide foot pretty well.

    Chaparall has a huge presence in internet sales but were not interested in matching internet prices. So online shopping I went. http://www.motorcyclecloseouts.com/insanity/27815 had the best price and they get mixed reviews. It seemed that bad reviews almost always involved returns and the good reviews were for items that didn't need to be returned so shop sizes carefully. The closeout was for a "unique" color combo - ktm orange and red boots for $383. Sold. The boots arrived in less than a week and before I left on a Baja trip.

    While I'd have preferred a trial ride or two, it wasn't to be. But my foot was in love after the first few miles of riding. The Dual Hinge design really works to prevent flexing my foot up into my lower leg. The toe box is a little bigger than my last boots but I was able to adjust my shifting technique slightly and didn't have to rotate the shift lever (I may move it one tooth in the future). Walking takes some getting used to as it uses a rocker type sole but once accustomed to the rolling motion, walking is not too bad. You wouldn't want to hike miles but you could probably manage 1 or 2. The next day of riding was almost twelve hours in (and mostly out of) the saddle on the No Wimps Trail in Baja. Not one single twinge in that ankle bone. I had 4 or 5 low speed tumbles into boulders and the boots never failed to protect. The only slight issues were the grip panels sometimes caught on plastic body work and after standing for long periods, my feet hurt a little. I'll be experimenting with some different insoles or maybe just an arch support. One thing I quickly learned to appreciate was how easy they were to put on/ take off. The buckles are really nice and when these are your only footware for a few days (I lost a flip flop), you really appreciate little things like that.

    So I give them a big thumbs up when your rides tend toward the dirtier side of advrides.
    #1
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  2. the slow heart

    the slow heart alive

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    Thank you for sharing personal impressions re SG12 boots.
    I am in a similar process of upgrading my touring Forma Adventure boots due to more dirt and aggressive riding,
    had some mishaps and foot forward flexing borders me most.

    I've been very pleased of my Forma's, and initially tend to choose Forma Predator boots,
    saw some good reviews, some show them as superior to SG12 in terms of smoother action.
    Apart from that I doubt those Forma Predators are less restrictive for the forward flex -
    the area just above the ankle seems thinner and covered only with soft materials.
    Looking at SG12 I see more rigid material going lower over the lower leg, boot is visually larger in that area.

    Did you have tested this model also ( Forma Predator ), what is your opinion?

    Regards, K.
    #2
  3. Johnf3

    Johnf3 Long timer

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    The SC 12's are a top of the line boot and very high quality, but the one drawback is that they are a heavy boot. I first hand witnessed a simple dab in SG 12's result in a totally destroyed lower leg that required cadaver bone grafts to fix. The doctor pointed out that the boot acted like a lever and both leg bones broke right at the top of the boot. It probably would have happened the same way in other boots too, but I can't get that out of my head.

    I have gone the complete opposite direction and seek out light boots that still offer decent protection.
    #3
  4. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra

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    I didn't have those available to try on. I did read that they had some kind of dual pivot protection which I think is similar to what the SG12's have.
    #4
  5. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra

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    Ya, I think it's a pick your poison type of thing. I've read there is now evidence that some of the knee braces cause the same kind of breaks so if you don't have knee joint issues it may be better to go with a less stiff knee brace. If I didn't have the issue with my right ankle getting mashed, I wouldn't have spent that much on big stiff boots that protect my sore ankle joint.
    #5
  6. trc.rhubarb

    trc.rhubarb ZoomSplat!

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    When you wear the big heavy boots, the first time you appreciate them is when you don't notice your bike is on your ankle and a big rock is under it.
    It's all in what you don't feel as far as I'm concerned.
    I'll take a bone injury any day over a joint injury for what that's worth... even something as obviously bad as needing donor bone.

    I really like the SG12s and I was very close to them when Chapparal had a ridiculous price on Crossfire2ta's in just a couple sizes and in one color. I've been very happy with the Sidis as well.
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  7. the slow heart

    the slow heart alive

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    May you give more info on that, knee protection is another thing, so far I am on regular double hinged protectors ( not braces ).

    Over protection is problem for sure, over weight so, those Predators are even heavier ( 10-15% ) than the SG12s.
    #7
  8. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra

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    I was talking with the Leatt rep at a motorcycle show a year or two ago. We were discussing neck braces (which I do wear) and he was saying the data either for or against wearing neck braces was not conclusive whether the neck brace prevented or even caused injury. He did say there was evidence that knee braces cause more bone breaks. Leatt (and probably other companies now) engineer their knee braces for the " elimination of excessive forces to the femur and tibia (thigh and shin bone), ..." That's a quote from Leatt's website. Search Google for motorcycle knee braces and broken bones and you'll come across lots of anecdotal references. But some knee brace companies now have similar wording to Leatt's describing their knee braces. So it sounds like for recently designed knee braces, it's not as big a risk as with older braces where that was not necessarily a design concern.
    #8
  9. SpeedyR

    SpeedyR SE in the SE

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    good to hear about the SG12's. About time to get some new boots. for me it's always an MX boot for off road use, but my TCX boots are needing to find a new home.

    Considering the SG12's, maybe TXC Comp Evo, Sidi crossfire 2 TA, and the new Fox instinct off road. I like the tread pattern of the fox but a bit unsure of the bonded on soles compared to the stitched/welted soles of the others (actually the TXC is bonded on as well).

    Mostly would be used on my 950 in off road environments. the nice thing about the TXC Pro 2 that I had was it was comfortable for a bit of walking if needed. I like the hinged ankle systems.
    #9
  10. guavadude

    guavadude Dirt Nap Enthusiast

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    What light boots have you found that offer good protection?
    #10
  11. TossingLead

    TossingLead Adventurer

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    Been wearing SG-12's for a few years now, very comfortable and protective. When and if they wear out I'll get another pair or have them rebuilt.
    They do squeak when walking though.
    #11
  12. alongat

    alongat Fesh Fesh

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    Thanks for the review...this is of personal interest to me given my experience. November 2016, I had a high speed drop onto my left that saw me sliding along a section of hard gravel running parallel to a paved road so the last section of slide was on the actual road. I was on my 950SE and wearing full armour head to toe including my trusty Sidi Crossfire TA2 boots and similar to what you described, my ankle took the brunt of the weight of the bike in the crash and got "caught" and possibly hyperextended in a way during the slide. I didn't remove me my boot and it wasn't until nearly four hours later in emergency that I did. Turns out a broke a bone in my ankle but worse was that I tore one of the ligaments; one of the ones that keep the two lower leg bones (tibia and fibula) held together at a precise distance apart over the talus (ankle bone). One week later I was in surgery for three bolts inserted to hold ,y ankle together. 4.5 months later with absolutely zero weight on my leg, I was out of the cast and "walking". I'm 48 years old so I don't expect to heal quickly or completely but I'm doing very well. I can walk perfectly normally though my range of motion in that ankle is never goi g to be better than the 85% fore and aft (or up and down in shifting gears) but I manage. Pain is bad when it's cold and wet and when I spend a lot of time standing when riding and yes, I'm still in my Sidi crossfire TA2 but looking at other boots and I also have a large and wide foot (13/48 and wide). The SG12 is at the top of the list of ones to try but as is the TCX Comp evo Michelin because that ankle hyperextension hinge at the lower back is a very impressive design. The one thing I'm not sure of yet is their molded soles instead of the stitched (welted) soles I'm used to. In the meantime, I tried a pair of alpine stars tech 7 enduro and loved the fit and comfort but they have what I consider to be a very exposed area of vulnerability. The material over the Achilles' tendon is soft material and knowing my luck, I'll dig a foot into the terrain and pin it between the terrain and my foot peg and no good can come from that...yes, I'm a bit paranoid but I want to avoid more injuries. As for people commenting that boots can be too stiff, etc and break lower leg bones, my surgeon said he would rather fix two broken leg bones that have snapped in the middle than fix a joint. Same goes for knee braces for those afraid of breaking a femur...easier to fix than a completely screwed up knee (so long as you don't rupture your femoral artery of course). As for foot pegs, I use raptor titanium but have been eyeing pivot pegs with curiously as I wonder if they will make standing and shifting better and easier for me given my range of motion limitations.

    Moral of the story is - don't be cheap and don't be fooled by "adventure boots" - get the best and strongest boots your money can buy. Again, thanks for sharing about the SG12: they keep coming up as the benchmark in every review and story...
    #12
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  13. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra

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    I did a hard dab on my dirt bike ride last week and tweaked the usual spot in my ankle so it still can be hurt in the SG12's. I'm thinking of wrapping my ankle in increasingly thicker layers until the boot is completely filled (but not so tight it cuts off circulation) in the ankle area to resist flexing even more.
    #13
  14. alongat

    alongat Fesh Fesh

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    I hate to say it but it sounds like you've got a lingering issue with your ankle, perhaps even a problem similar to mine...the ligament health in the ankle is so crucial and the two primary ligaments that maintain the distance between bones are easy to measure in regular x rays. I don't know that wrapping the ankle to add stability inside th boot is going to do it for you.
    #14
  15. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra

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    So far, it has always healed up to pain free and then remained so until the next hard dab every year or two. But it has definitely lingered over the years. If it gets much worse, I'll deal with it. Since I'm not a spring chicken (62), some arthritis has probably crept in due to the trauma. It's definitely not bad enough now to even consider surgery.
    #15
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