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Date reviewed: July 2019 | Tested by: Dave Yorke, BikeSocial Test Team | Price: £299.99 | www.nevis.uk.com
I’ve been wearing these TCX Baja GTX boots for about three months on longer days out – and on a couple of trips around the North Coast 500 in Scotland – covering over 3,000 miles in the process, wearing them for up to 13 hours at a time. As well as big tours on my Honda Africa Twin, they’ve also seen duty on gravel track sections with both the Honda and a Royal Enfield Himalayan.
Full-length full-grain leather boots that are Gore-Tex lined up to mid shin level, the TCX Bajas have a PU armour plate on the shin with the TCX logo embossed onto it.
The gear shifter pad is another layer of leather that’s double-stitched onto the boot, while the inside leg is covered in suede for the top third meaning that if you wear these on the outside of your trousers, they shouldn’t mark the bike if they come into contact with it.
The top rim has an elasticated nylon gaiter to keep a close fit on your leg; when worn under trousers, the visible boot looks smart and low profile at the front
The Bajas fasten with three tough, adjustable aluminium cam-lock buckles that secure into place with a satisfying click’ they’re interchangeable should they get damaged, but they’re so well made this seems very unlikely.
The cam-locks have adjustability via plastic straps built into the boot, which have about 3.5cm of travel so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting a good fit. The bottom cam-lock has protection in front of it by means of a wedge-shaped plastic deflector, to keep debris and the like from damaging it during use or a crash.
Once you’ve adjusted to suit, it all secures with a large piece of hook and loop at the top. I found it easier to secure the fastener first, then do up the cam-locks to get a nice secure fit.
Meeting EC regulations EN13634 -2015 Level 2 for cut and abrasion resistance, TCX has also fitted PU malleolus, toe and heel inserts along with the PU shin plate protector. This is a solid boot, offering very high levels of confidence without being too rigid or bulky.
From April 21 2018, all new motorcycle clothing is deemed to be Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). To meet this legislation, it must be tested to a recognised standard. For more information on the laws, click here.
I wore them straight out of the box for a couple of mid-length days at about 180 miles before plunging them straight in at the deep end; two consecutive days of 13 hour wear on long rides of 550 miles. They did leave a small witness mark at the top of my shin after the second day (where the elasticated section was rubbing my skin), so I changed to a longer sock and for the next big ride averaged 300 miles a day in Scotland for five days with no issues.
In fact, after those days – with the boots on from around 9am until 6pm – the TCXs came off very easily thanks to the cam buckles enabling a really wide opening; I didn’t feel any discomfort at all in them. There wasn’t even that feeling of relief you sometimes get when you take boots off after a long day.
The sole is a hybrid style; neither a smooth race boot nor a full off-road style with big chunky sections. But it is fairly stiff, so offers a good level of protection front to back. After three months of fairly heavy use there’s a small amount of wear on the sole around the ball of each boot – which might be due to my foot position on the pegs or when I’m walking – but it’s very minimal.
I’ve worn these both on and off road, and in terms of grip there, they weren’t fazed when walking off the bike on wet gravel tracks or muddy puddle sections. They also saved the Africa Twin from damage when I almost dropped it; I was travelling on my own and completing a very slow U-turn on a steep road in the Lake District when the bike fell away underneath me… I was able to plant my right foot onto the road and then somehow manage to drag the bike back up and shuffle my foot to a position from where I could ride away. There was absolutely no slippage from the boot, only confidence-inspiring grip. I thought my leg would give way before the boot.
There’s waterproof and then there’s Gore-Tex; if I see the Gore-Tex label on a boot I expect it to be fully waterproof and still maintain breathability. The Gore-Tex lining extends about two thirds of the way up the leg, all the way round, and I have never been wet after any rides.
On a day when I was riding through rainstorms that left water a couple of inches deep across Scottish Highland Roads, the outer leather part of the boot dried well overnight in a hotel room, but as they’re Gore-Tex inners, even if you were camping and denied them a warm room, they would still be dry inside for riding the next day.
I weighed these size 10s at 2.2kg for the pair; some 400 grams lighter than a pair of Sidi Stivali that I usually wear for off-road riding and although they aren’t direct rivals, the TCX weigh in favourably.
Aimed at the adventure bike rider and with high-level features across all aspects of the boot including full leather, quality aluminium buckles and Gore-Tex lining, these boots are comfortable and protective for a full day’s riding.
Having confidence in your kit makes it easier to deal with whatever comes your way, whether its poor weather or the confidence to detour down a forest track. After over 3,000 miles, the TCX Baja GTXs have become my preferred boot for big days and long trips.