By Mark Kariya
FOR THOSE WHO WANT THE CASUAL LOOK WITHOUT SACRIFICING PROTECTION
It’s easy to drive by and miss Kon-Tiki Motorcycles in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego, California. The small family-owned service-and-repair shop is tucked away between a Starbucks and a convenience store where it’s been since opening in 1965, long before the owners of those other establishments were old enough to draw up business plans.
In this age where mega, multiline-dealerships with acres of sanitized sales floorspace grab the most attention, Kon-Tiki harkens back to the time when motorcycle enthusiasts went to the local shop to buy a few parts or just to hang out. (Motocross legends Marty Smith and Marty Tripes were regulars before they got their factory rides.) It’s cluttered, the floor probably doesn’t get swept weekly and parking can be hard to find, though there are a half dozen clearly delineated spots for motorcycles directly in front of the entrance.
Thus, it made perfect sense to hang out there for a few hours the other night for the introduction of the Trilobite line of protective apparel from the Czech Republic.
Odds are, Italy comes to mind first when thinking of motorcycle clothing, but after seeing what Trilobite has to offer, there’s definitely a reason to take a look.
Trilobite’s Martin Solar is, first of all, a rider and gearhead like most of us—and he has a real appreciation for American muscle. When he first got his driver’s license, he relates, he was all about V-Twins and V-8s; to him, those represented the performance and freedom of the road that he wanted to chase.
Several years on, he decided leather suits or motocross-inspired riding gear simply didn’t fit the style he wished to project, so he began designing clothing that had a more casual outward look while harboring the protective qualities that motorcyclists require when things go wrong.
To that end, it appears he’s succeeded. Much of Trilobite’s product line—which Motonation will distribute in the U.S. and Canada—appears at a casual glance to be simple denim, but it’s actually denim on steroids. Cordura Denim with Coolmax fibers in the top-of-the-line Probut X-Factor jeans ($274.00), for example, provides practically unbeatable abrasion resistance and breathability in a protective garment that doesn’t scream riding gear. The same goes for the other offerings like the gloves, shirts, jacket and women’s jeans.
To find out more, head over to your nearest Motonation dealer or www.motonation.com. And if you’re in the San Diego area and want to visit a great old-school motorcycle shop, stop by Kon-Tiki Motorcycles at 1335 Garnet Ave., San Diego, CA 92109; 858-272-6751 or www.kontikimotorcycles.com. Just be aware they’re closed and gone riding on Sundays and Mondays!