A Superbike, Canvas Boots and Sticky-Ass Tires

Staff Favorites: Bryan Campbell, Motoring Writer

Editor’s Note: It’s pretty clear that we’re passionate about gear. And with this series, we want to share with you our own personal favorite pieces. Over the next few months, we’ll bring you our staff’s 10 personal favorites — goods we personally own and use. The selection will run the gamut, from heirloom pieces to practical gear that can be easily procured. Last but not least, each will share one “holy grail” item that still remains the stuff of dreams, out of reach, but hopefully only temporarily so.

As GP’s resident wheelman and motoring writer, it’s safe to say cars and motorcycles are my life — but not every car and motorcycle. For me to consider it at all, a car or bike has to make a strong case for its own existence. In other words, form and function are not only not mutually exclusive, but they have to efficiently complement each other. That philosophy bleeds over to the gear I use on a daily basis.

Knockaround Premiums

I replace sunglasses on a semi-regular basis, so dropping a couple hundred dollars on shades doesn’t make any sense. Knockarounds look like any of the other upper-echelon brands — but with a $15 price tag. I’ll take three, and be set until next season.

2008 Kawasaki ZX10R

The first and only bike I bought brand new. I even watched them take it out of the crate. Stock, it does 110 mph in first gear. It’s one of only two bikes to truly scare the crap out of me (the other being the H2). It belongs to the last generation of relatively analog superbikes: there’s no ABS, no launch control or any track apps. Just 185 horsepower moving 460 pounds of bike.

CAT Abe Canvas Boot

These boots have trekked up Pikes Peak, hiked through the Atacama and the Valley of Fire, endured hundreds of hard miles via motorcycle and have never come apart on me — all from something labeled “casual.”

Mott & Bow Wooster Slim

The Wooster has the look of new raw denim with the feel of something that’s long been broken-in. For getting in and out of cars and entire days worth of saddling up on motorcycles, the cut and the built-in stretch is magical.

Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2

If you want to take a corner on your favorite road as fast as you dare, you’ll want to have the Pilot Sport PS2s under you. It’s almost a shame when a set has to be sacrificed every now and then. Almost.

Vans SK8-Hi MTE

Stylish, casual — and they still let you dance on the pedals, just like purpose-built driving shoes.

Hydro Flask 32 Ounce

On a ride across Oregon, I mistakenly stored my Hydro Flask in the pannier right over the exhaust, but it didn’t matter. Even through a full day’s ride, every time we pulled over, I still had cool water to sip on.

Arai GP-6PED M6

When it comes to protecting your head, it always pays to spend a little extra on your helmet. That said, I can’t really justify the $2,300 price jump to the full carbon fiber version of the GP-6PED.

Alpinestars GP Tech Suit

Being comfortable in a car you’re about to drive really fast is paramount. If the GP Tech suit is good enough for the Red Bull F1 team, I see no reason why I should have any less.

The Grail

Porsche Cayman GT4

The engine of a 911, the balance of a Cayman and the weight-saving ethos of Porsche’s GT program — the Cayman GT4 is the car Porsche should’ve been building for years. Stuttgart has blessed the very asphalt we drive on with such an incredible piece of automotive engineering fueled by enthusiasm and guided by driver feedback, and we all owe Porsche our collective and undying gratitude.