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Archive for April, 2013

If there’s one thing that we use all of the time while riding our motorcycles, it’s the handlebar grips. Grips are indispensable, since without them you might as well have a soapbox cart. Handlebar grips need to be sturdy, allow for a good, if not great, grip, look good and be very comfortable.

A buddy of mine asked some help to put on a Kuryakyn Premium ISO Grip on his Harley Road King Classic. So I decided to use the occasion to review these grips.

Kuryakyn Premium ISO Grip

Kuryakyn Premium ISO Grip

Putting them on was quite easy. Unfasten the screws/bolts that hold the current grip (the housing). The left side is glued on, so you need some patience to get it off (use a razor blade or even a cutter). Once off, put the supplied glue in the new grip and slide in. Simple. 5 minutes maximum.

If you’re not so comfortable in doing this, have a look at the video below. It explains how to put the grip on.

Once installed I set out on my friend’s Harley. I have been on it many times, so I know how it feels. The first thing I noticed is that the Kuryakyn grips are slightly thicker than the stock ones. To be honest, they feel a lot better, and I mean A LOT.

The hand is very comfortable holding these grips, even when holding them in a death grip. But the most important part of these grips is the lack of vibrations! The stock grips transmit the Harley’s engine vibrations to your hand, which will make you tired. The Kuryakyn do not transmit vibrations. Fantastic, great for long distance rides.

Not only do they feel great, and do not make your hands tired, they look great. These are the grips Harley-Davidson should have made in the first place.

If you want to customize your bike, I strongly recommend that this is the first thing you change. Your hands and body will thank you.

Click here to see and buy the Kuryakyn Premium ISO Grips

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Having good manners is the right thing to do, in any situation. We’re not savages that only think about ourselves. We don’t exactly need to behave the way Emily Post told us to at the dinner table, or when entertaining, but there should be some form of manners, even protocols or etiquettes, when riding your bike.

Manners are usually a two-way street. It’s like a good stereo system; it needs to come from both sides. A bit like, treat people the way you want to be treated yourself; respect.

Riding

When coming up behind another biker, don’t honk, and don’t immediately overtake. At a red light when the other biker is stopped, don’t pull up beside him/her, but staggered behind the bike. The reasons for this, is that you don’t know the rider’s abilities and street smarts. Coming up behind a biker and continuing fast, may result in the biker suddenly pulling out to accelerate and bump into you. Coming up behind the other biker and staying a few seconds will ensure that the other biker has seen you. Sitting behind the biker at a red light, staggered, will give the biker time to see that there’s someone behind.

MANNER: Don’t suddenly overtake another biker. Don’t honk.

When you ride up to another slower bike and there’s no lanes available to pass, wait. The slower bike will hopefully see you and wave you through on the same lane. If you don’t, you stand the chance of crashing.

MANNER: Don’t pass in the same lane if you don’t have space to pass on the road. Wait for an acknowledgement.

If you are behind a slow car which goes out of its way to let you pass, remember to wave to the car as a thank-you.

MANNER: Wave a “thanks” to cars that go out of their way for you.

If you see another motorcycle that has broken down, it can be a good idea to stop and see if they need help. We’re on our own out there in SUV land, and the more help we get from our brothers & sisters, the easier and safer our lives will be. The same obviously applies to bikers who are in trouble with car drivers. Go and help them.

MANNER: When possible, help out other bikers on the road who are in trouble.

Motorcycle-wave

The Wave

One of the most common forms of manners, or protocols (etiquette) is the famous wave between bikers. When you are riding and come upon other bikers, give them a wave, or at the least a nod with the head. The “wave” shouldn’t be just to motorcycle riders who are riding your favorite motorcycle. The wave is to any motorcycle, even scooters. It’s a form of respect, a respect to their chosen form of transportation. We are a brotherhood.

The actual form of wave is not that important, it could be a high held hand, a low one, one, two or all fingers, whatever the “wave”, as long as the others can see it. Obviously when you are riding in a dense motorcycle area, like Sturgis, you don’t need to wave, or even nod. In cities where there are many more motorcycle riders, you could be spending all your time waving. Here maybe a nod will do, or nothing at all.

MANNER: If you can, wave or nod to other bikers riding any brand or type of motorcycle.

Group Riding

When riding in a group, if there’s a smoker out there, would you like to ride behind that person and receive their cigarette in the face when they flick it away;

MANNER: Don’t throw away cigarettes when riding (it’s illegal anyway). Remember the bikers behind you.

Don’t try to get others to ride at your pace, especially when your pace is fast. It’s nicer for everyone to ride at their average pace.

MANNER: Don’t force the pace.

Motorcycle-lane-splitting

(c) Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times

Lane Splitting

If you are in an area that allows lane splitting, don’t race your bike through the lane, ride at a leisurely pace, but keep an eye on your mirrors. Other bikers may come up to you faster than you. That is their concern and safety, but to ensure good harmony, when you get a chance, move over and let them pass. When you move over, signal the other rider that they can pass, thereby eliminating confusion and misunderstandings.

MANNER: Let faster motorcycle pass when lane splitting.

Parked

When you see a parked motorcycle, even if the owner is right there, never, ever, sit on the parked motorcycle. If you want to sit on it, ask permission. You don’t see people go into someone else’s car to sit in it. It’s just not done.

MANNER: Never sit on someone’s motorcycle without asking for permission.

When you have to park in car spots, if the spot is taken up by another motorcycle, do not put your bike in that slot. You are going to give the other biker problems taking out his/her ride. Only put multiple bikes in one parking slot if you are all riding together.

MANNER: Do not park in the same car parking space as another motorcycle.

Motorcycle-bear-Pillion

Pillions

When you get a new pillion, tell them what is expected from them. Tell them where to get on or off the bike, what to do when you are in a curve and what not to do. Even if the pillion has been riding as pillion with others, just remind them of “your” rules. Why do you think airlines keep telling you about the safety procedures?

MANNER: Instruct a new (to you) pillion on your rules and procedures.

Remember that you have got the pillion’s life in your hands. Be extra careful. Now is not the time to show off, or the scare the pillion. Ride responsible.

MANNER: Ride extra careful.

These are just a few common sense manners. Keep civil, be nice. Let’s all enjoy the ride.

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The dual-sport, or dual-purpose motorcycles have become very popular since BMW came out of the famous GS motorcycle. Many manufacturers have tried to take a stab at the GS crown, some with success, some less so. But whatever brand motorcycle you ride on and off road, you will need to think about your feet.

If you do ride your dual-purpose bike on the streets and the trails, you’d better think about a good sturdy boot to protect your feet when riding off-road. But you also need to think about walking in those boots, since often we go for walks when we’ve arrived at our destination on our dual-purpose motorcycles.

Gaerne Balance Oiled Boots

Gaerne Balance Oiled Boots

One boot I love that fulfills all the above requirements is the Gaerne Balance Oiled Off-Road Boots. These boots look, feel & perform the business. The brown leather is oiled, meaning it will handle very well in damp and wet conditions.

Mind you, they are not waterproof, so don’t go fly-fishing with them, but if you need to cross a stream or river on your bike, you’ll be ensured that your feet will stay warm & dry.

The soles are made out of gum rubber which enhances your grip on the soil, no matter how much dirt and sand. Even when crossing a river, these soles handle the way they should.

I recently took my BMW R1150GS for a run, and after a good 35 miles riding down the blacktops, we went off-road following a fire lane through a forest and then climbing up a hill. There were two smaller streams to cross. Both the GS and the boots functioned perfectly. The GS may be a pig, heavy and sluggish, but it just keeps on riding. The Gaerne boots are light, much lighter than what they look like. The 3 buckles can be adjusted so they fit perfectly. The boots didn’t move but my feet remained snug and safe. There’s sufficient air to keep the feet comfortable, but just watch it when you remove the boots after a long day, and you are in a small enclosed space. But it’s not as bad as many boots I’ve tried.

After arriving at our destination (I was traveling with 2 others, both on KTM), we stopped for a picnic. We walked for about 500 yards up a hill, and the boots felt comfortable and despite riding through 2 streams (I’m a bit of a chicken, since I ground my feet on the ground to ensure I don’t tip over, the others just ride fast and splash through), my feet remained dry. For the walk, these boots were more than fine, almost like hiking boots.

As boots for riding street and dirt trails, and for walking, they don’t get any better. But mind you, do not think these are motocross boots!!!! They are not. Do not plan to use them in real off-road riding, enduro or motocross. They are not designed for it; your ankles are not protected enough for this kind of riding.

If you are a real dual-purpose rider, these are the boots for you.

Click here to but the Gaerne Balance Oiled Off-Road Boots

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Red-Traffic-SignalNot many people, if any, like red lights. They are a pain; when they are red you have to stop, and when they are green, you need to cross the intersection while keeping a close eye on the other traffic. There are always idiots who run red lights. The only time you might like a red light is when there’s a big glass window close by and you can admire yourself and your motorcycle (if you don’t think this happens, have a close look at what happens at red lights).

“Normal” red lights are okay I guess. They are timed, and after so many seconds they will either turn red or green. It’s the “demand-actuated” red lights that can be bothersome for bikers. These lights will turn green if there’s a vehicle stopped in front of them. And the way they know there’s a vehicle is because they have a metal wire in the ground, and through this inductive-loop traffic detector it can “feel” that there is a vehicle through its magnetic field. That’s because the wire acts like a metal detector.

This means that when a car is stopped above the wire, the wire senses a metal object and turns the light green. It’s handy since if there’s no traffic at the other side, why would you need to wait for the light to turn green. It’s a waste of time, money, gas and CO2.

However motorcycles are at a disadvantage. The metal mass of a bike is far less than that of a car, and often the light is not tripped. Standing on your own as a motorcycle, even a big one, is not enough. There are several types of sensors, from ones that behave very badly for motorcycles, to ones that recognize even the smallest bike or scooter. Click here to read more about the types of sensors and how to spot them.

For those sensors that just don’t change for a motorcycle, there are gadgets out there that say they can change the lights for you. Most are magnetic, but personally I have never seen one work properly.

So you end up moving aside, hoping that a car will drive up and trip the light.

The only saving grace in all this, is that many states in the USA and countries in the world, are allowing more and more for motorcycles to turn on red. You can’t cross the road on red, but at least you can turn on red. But to do that, you really need to pay attention. Vehicles can travel faster than what you may think. And remember, if you do turn on red, even if it’s legal, and someone crashes into you, you’ll be at fault.

So be careful when turning. Also be very careful when crossing a road on green. Many cars don’t pay attention, even for a red light. Have a look at the shocking video below (this is China, but this can happen anywhere in the world). The car runs a red light.

Warning – this is shocking.

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FirstGear Kilimanjaro Jacket

FirstGear Kilimanjaro Jacket

The weather has changed, winter is gone replaced by some sunshine, warmer temperatures, and more important, lots of rain. Riding in the rain can be fun (see previous article) as long as you dress for the part. When you put on your riding gear, you need to ensure that it’s not only warm, but also very rainproof. And to that effect, there is nothing better for all kinds of weather riding than FirstGear’s Kilimanjaro Jacket,a full 3/4 length jacket.

As motorcycle jackets go, this one is difficult to beat. It has become an industry standard.

FirstGearKilimanjaroJacket-bThe Kilimanjaro Jacket is made out of a waterproof but very breathable shell (in contrast with others that use rainproof liners), using nylon materials. To show you that this jacket is meant for rain, it has a rain hood that can easily be worn under your helmet. What that means is that no rain water will drip down your neck from your helmet, something that does happen often enough with other jackets.

The jacket is well protected with the ultimate in biker armor; D3O. This means you really don’t need to worry when hitting the pavement unexpectedly since D3O is a liquid gel that hardens on impact without adding too much weight or bulk.

Another thing I really liked about the FirstGear Kilimanjaro Jacket are the air vents. If the weather gets warm you can open a total of 6 vents allowing fresher air to circulate, cooling down your body.

Another great thing about the jacket is the numerous pockets. As a biker I can never have enough pockets. The many pockets available on the Kilimanjaro have proper all-weather closures so no water can seep into them. Only thing missing IMHO is a sleeve pocket since that is where I keep my credit card and driving license.

If you’re riding in-between seasons, you have a removable thermal liner which keeps you warm when the temperature outside is too cold. If you have got the matching pants, you can zip them up to the jacket, thereby ensuring that no cold air moves through your body.

Review Ride

For the ride, it was very damp and rainy. Temperature was pleasant, around 55-60 but the whole day was rained on by the weather Gods. A perfect day to test the jacket.

Putting on the Kilimanjaro is no problem.Usually you need to squeeze on a motorcycle jacket, but this jacket uses stretch material in the shoulder, arm and elbow areas, making it much easier to put on. With the straps on the bicep and forearm, you adjust the the sleeves to fit your body. With the waist belt, you adjust to your belly. This unique capabilities make the jacket fit you like it was tailored, a very nice experience.

I had put on the rain hood under my helmet, no problem there, and set out for the ride. The ride lasted 1 hour 45 minutes and throughout the ride, my body never felt wet nor cold. The jacket fulfills its promise to 100%.

At one stage, later in the day, temperatures started rising so I opened the back vents, enough to give some cooler air, but not allow water to get inside. A cool back is enough to stay comfortable.

Summary

On the positive side, the Kilimanjaro is heaven. It’s comfortable, it blocks water and cold air, it allows cool air in when it’s warm, it’s not heavy and you can get it in high-visibility colors.

On the downside, the sleeves at the hand are very open & wide. If you are wearing thin gloves, you’ll be getting air and rain inside via the hand, though there is a neoprene closure. It’s not a biggie.

The jacket is an all-round perfect jacket.

Watch the video below for more information.

Click here to buy the FirstGear Kilimanjaro jacket.

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Most people when they go for a motorcycle ride end up doing 100 miles or so. Usually they commute or do day trips, traveling to a destination within a day’s reach and back. Some bikers can’t get enough saddle time, while adventure riders can go hours and many miles, often visiting foreign places.

The group of fanatics who love extreme long distances have been well documented, the Iron Butt Riders. They can go for some 1000 to 1500 miles in one day, which if you think about it, is phenomenal. Talk about saddle sore.

But these are not the records. The current Guinness World Record for the longest distance travelled in 24 hours is held by Texan L. Russell “Rusty” Vaughn. Rusty rode his Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide motorcycle during 24 hours for 2,0194 miles (that’s 3,249 kilometers)!

Rusty Vaugh   © Guinness World Records

Rusty Vaugh © Guinness World Records

2,000 miles is enormous, but almost impossible to do on the road (due to speed limitations). That’s why the attempt was performed on the Continental Tire Test Track in Texas.

Source: Guinness World Records

The longest distance on the public roads was not set in North America or Europe, but somewhere you would not expect it, namely in Oman (Middle East). There, Omar Al Mamri and 36 year old biker drove his Honda CBR 1100 from the capital of Oman, Muscat to Salalah, a distance of 640 miles (1031 kilometers) AND BACK. And this road that would not qualify a good rating since it was full of potholes.

This totalized to a trip of 2,062 kilometers (1,281 miles), averaging 94.1 kph. What makes this record even more impressive was that the temperature in the desert was between 42 and 48°C (107 – 118°F).

Source: World Record Academy

And if you are interested in knowing about all those folks who have traveled long distances on their motorcycles, how about the record holder of the longest distance traveled in one trip?

That record is held by Argentinian Emillio Scotto who in one trip took his motorcycle 457,000 miles (735,000 kilometers), traveling around the world, visiting 279 countries. It took him 10 years to do the record breaking trip, and he did it in luxury & style, riding a Honda 1100 Gold Wing.

I have to presume that Emillio didn’t set out one morning to go and buy a packet of cigarettes, returning 10 years later. During the trip (he left with only $300 in his pocket), he went through 13 big sized (64 page) passports, used up 12,500 gallons of fuel and 86 tires.

Source: Guinness World Records

So next time you go out on your motorcycle and think that the 300 miles you have traveled was much, think again.

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Bell Star Helmet

Bell Star Helmet

I had stayed away from Bell Helmets for a while since their build quality had been dubious, but after hearing a lot of good things about their Star helmet I decided to give it a try. So I went to the shop and borrowed a Bell Star helmet.

When you have it in your hands you notice that it’s a quality product, something that in the past Bell was well known for. At first glance it looked like they got their act together. So let’s see how they stack up.

The Star helmet is a full face helmet which can be bought in one of three colors (black, matte black or metallic silver), I went for the black model. The helmet itself is made out of lightweight TriMatrix Composite material and Kevlar combined with Carbon and Fiberglass making it very strong but also very light (1550 grams). Despite being a full face helmet, it feels very light in your hands, and once you put it on, you can barely feel it.

Putting it on was quite easy. Make sure you pull the straps wide open and slip it on. The cheek pads fit me very fine, but I have read somewhere that you can get different cheek pads in case yours are too tight. I have to say, the fit was very comfortable with very little top pressure.

The helmet has a clear visor, but you can buy different kind of visors, liked a smoked one (and even a photochromatic one). I prefer the clear one. The helmet has the Bell patent pending magnetic strap keeper, which is a magnetic holder for the end of your strap; it might sound like a gadget, but after having been hit by the end of the strap at high speed because it was flapping, I know it’s not. It’s a great idea making the helmet just that touch better. Just “click” the end of the strap onto the buckle holder and it stays in place.

Once I hit the road with the helmet it was time to find out how good it really was. Temperature was high 40′s, pleasant sun and a bit humid. First thing I noticed was that my ears were very comfortable. I hate it when a helmet presses very hard, specially when riding, on my ears. The Bell helmet has a recess for the ears, meaning your ears are not squashed.

Since it was sunny I put on my sunglasses. I had to remove the sunglasses before putting on the helmet, but once I put on the glasses, they fit fine. I have to say there’s a slight pressure on the glasses, but hardly noticeable on the face.

Noise levels, even at high speeds were very good. The helmet is very quite, maybe not the quietest I’ve had, but very quite nevertheless. In fact, it’s quite impressive.

The visor/shield can be set to three positions, something you’ll love when riding in traffic, or when riding on a track. You can set the shield to open a crack to let air in when you are riding in the city or at lower speeds.

Ventilation is no problem whatsoever. You can adjust the air flow giving you exactly what you want. Remember that the Bell Star helmet was born from motorcycle racing so Bell understands airflow and aerodynamics. Ventilation options are plentiful and excellent.

After a 5 hour motorcycle trip, the helmet stayed comfortable (which is not always the case, since things can start hurting or itching) and quite.

Bad points: In fact, I can’t really find one except the price. It’s in the higher price range for motorcycle helmets, but you pay for quality. If you want something that is really good, be prepared to pay a price. On the other hand, the helmet has a 5 year warranty.

Check out the video below for a more detailed explanation about this awesome helmet.

Click here to buy the Bell Star Helmet

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Rain-RidingIn all the years that I have been riding a motorcycle, I can honestly not remember one biker who loves riding in the rain. I do not think that there’s anyone out there who, when looking out the window and seeing a downpour, will say “ohhh great, it’s raining, let’s go for a bike ride”.

However I do know a lot of bikers who flatly refuse to go out riding when it rains. Personally, I think that is a mistake. Rain is nothing but water, and as long as a) it’s not raining very hard, b) falling horizontally (in other words a strong wind) and c) you wear the proper clothing, then the ride will be fine.

High Visibility Rain jacket

High Visibility Rain jacket

There are a lot of things to take into account when riding a motorcycle in the rain, but one of the most important ones is that you have to dress appropriately. Having your normal jacket and trousers might not be enough. If there’s a light drizzle, it probably will not be a problem, but when there’s consistent rain, water (usually cold) will seep through your clothes onto your body, and that is not fun! Getting wet, or at least humid, when riding is distracting and very uncomfortable. It’s also when you will get a cold, or worse.

Rain-Boot-CoverSo whatever you do, make sure the clothing (jacket, trousers and boot covers) you use during a rain ride is rain proof.

This is the most important tip for riding in the rain, all other tips are more or less common sense. The clothing doesn’t need to be a diver’s suit you use for deep sea diving, but it needs to keep the water away.

  1. Wear proper rain gear, preferably Gore-Tex or equivalent. It needs to be able to breath but still not allow water to creep in. Make sure your helmet covers your face, since rain above 30 mph is going to hurt you.
  2. Make sure your tires are correct for riding in the rain, in other words, do not go out riding in the rain with slick tires.
  3. Watch the road. What used to be kind-of slippery is now very slippery. White lines on the roads will have become ice rinks, metal plates/manholes are super dangerous, avoid them like the plague.
  4. Watch out for puddles. Yes, it can be fun riding through one, but since the water hides the surface you just don’t know what you are riding into. Can the puddle in fact be a 3 feet deep hole? Do you want to find out the hard way?
  5. When riding and you see a colored rainbow on the ground, watch it. It’s got nothing to do with the gay movement, chances are it’s oil.
  6. When rain first starts after many days of dry weather, it’s when it’s the most dangerous since there’s a lot of oil and dirt on the road. Wait an hour or two for the rain to wash away the oil/dirt before riding since the road surfaces are at their slipperiest. If it’s just drizzle, then the road will remain slippery.
  7. Railway crossing are to be taken as straight as possible. Remember the railway tracks are metal, and wet metal is slippery. Straighten your bike.
  8. When you need to brake, apply more rear brake than normal. If your front wheel starts sliding you’re done for, if your rear wheel slides you can easily correct.
  9. Do not brake strongly if possible.Brake gently. If you need to urgently apply your brakes, pump them so that you do not start aquaplaning.
  10. Give yourself more space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Braking distances are much longer in the rain.
  11. Relax when riding. Getting all cramped and bunched up is not good. First of all you will get tired real quickly and it is dangerous. Relaxed riding is much better.
  12. Be visible. Rain makes it difficult for cars to see you. If you have high visibility clothing, now it is the time to put them on.
  13. An obvious advice, but here it is anyway: reduce your speed! In many countries legally you need to reduce speed by some 10-20% when it rains, and there are good reasons for it.
  14. Since we don’t have wipers on our helmets (well, maybe some do) you can easily spray something like Rain-X on the visor to help you with your visibility. Rain-X keeps the rain from the visor.
  15. When lightning starts up, stop riding. Head for cover (don’t stop below a tree).

Riding in the rain will at times be necessary, and you should not stop riding just because it is raining. Relax and enjoy the ride. You are after all riding a motorcycle and that is fun. ENJOY IT.

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Many people think a battery tender/charger is only of use during the winter months when your motorcycle is hibernating, but I respectively disagree. After any trip, at any time during the year, I’ll plug my bike onto my batter tender. I want to be sure that even if the bike is not used for a few days, that the battery is in perfect working condition. It will not be the first time I roll out one of my motorcycles out of the garage, turn the ignition and all I hear is clicking noises. Dead battery, despite having been on a ride a week ago. It all depends on weather and the state of your battery, so I’m no longer taking any risks.

But, and that’s a big BUT, the most important thing for charging your battery is making sure you’ve got a good, if not great, battery tender. Many people think that by buying a battery tender that trickle charges, your battery is safe. Wrong! A trickle charge keeps sending small amounts of current to the battery, even when it’s fully charged. What happens then, is that the battery starts “cooking”, and that’s the death spell for your battery.

DelTran 12 Volt Battery Tender Plus 1.25 Amp

DelTran 12 Volt Battery Tender Plus 1.25 Amp

My favorite battery charger/tender is the DelTran 12 V Tender Plus 1.25 Amp. Obviously as the title suggests, it’s a 12V charger, so if you’re using one of those 6 V batteries (your bike must be pretty old), then don’t even think about it (a 6V version does exist). The interesting thing about the DelTran is that it compensates charging depending on the ambient temperature. Temperature strongly affects your battery, the colder it is, the worse your batteries behave (that is why electric motorcycles and cars misbehave in freezing climates). When it’s colder, you just need more juice to ensure a 100% charged battery.

The best part of the DelTran is that it doesn’t trickle charger, it switches from full charge to floating charge mode automatically, meaning that when the battery is fully charged, it will send a low level juice to keep the battery fully charged. This method is much better than trickle charging since your battery will never be cooked, and will always be charged at 100%. You can click here to read more about float charging.

One of the other things I like of my DelTran is that when you hook up the charger you don’t get any sparks (okay, I admit, this happens when I use it on my car). My old charger always did that, and it scared the living daylights out of me.

The Tender Plus comes with normal alligator plugs (like what you’d use for a car) but also with a quick & easy access plug-in (a hard-wire you keep connected to your battery, allowing you just plug in the tender). The quick access plug-in is great for motorcycles. Batteries are usually well hidden and would involve removing lots of pieces of motorcycle (like the fuel tank) to get at the battery. With the DelTran Tender Plus, you only need to do it once. Wire the quick access to the battery, and place the extremity of the wire somewhere you can easily reach on your bike (under your saddle, in your front cowling, handlebars, etc). Then all you need to do is plug-in and charge.

To be honest, I love this product. I’ve currently got 3 bikes, and each one has its own DelTran Tender Plus. I never have a problem starting one of the bikes, even if they haven’t been moved for months.

Click here to read more about it, or to buy it.

Here’s a short video explaining a thing or two about the DelTran:

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As a rider, even on one of the biggest motorcycles, we remain very small. And when you are in traffic, car drivers might miss seeing us and before we know it, we’ve crashed into them. It’s not that the car driver isn’t looking for us, many actually do try to pay attention to bikers, but at times they just don’t see us. One of the possible reasons is Motion Induced Blindness.

Motion Induced Blindness, also known as MIB, is a recently discovered phenomena. Back in 1991 it was first formulated as something that could cause people in motion not to see certain things. Jet fighters and even airline pilots know about it, since in essence MIB is a result of staring into a space while in motion. With your vehicle’s movement (be it a jet fighter or a car), looking at a spot (like the center of the road) can hide other objects.

Look at the moving diagram below. You see three yellow spots on the outer limits, in the center is a green blinking dot and around it are blue crosses turning. Not exactly a situation you’ll find on the road, but it’s just to illustrate the MIB point (image driving a car on a country road with trees lined on both sides and the yellow dots are motorcycles). If you now stare at the green blinking dot, you’ll suddenly see the yellow dots disappear and reappear. There’s no rhyme or reason behind the timing, it happens at different times for different people. Have look:

Motion-induced blindness demonstration

Motion-induced blindness demonstration

You can say that the dots are too small, that is why you can’t see them, or that they are turning to fast, or slow. Well, head on over to the MSF site and try it there. The same diagram can be changed by increasing or decreasing the size of the spots, or making things go faster or slower. The result is the same; you’ll occasionally not see the yellow objects.

You can see the same in this video, with only one object (top left)

or try this one:

Basically the MIB phenomena means that even if you are wearing high-visibility jackets, a car could not see you.

The only way out of this process is to have the car driver shift eyes continuously, i.e., not stare in one spot (straight ahead). So, no white line fever, something that for sure will involve cars ramming into motorcycles.

Obviously MIB is not the main reason that cars and motorcycle have accidents. There are many factors at play, and as we know from statistics, around 70% of motorcycle accidents are caused by car drivers, and this will be one of them.

What can we do as motorcycle riders? Not much. If the car driver can’t see you because of MIB, maybe the only thing is flashing your headlights and swerving, but that will result in a whole other series of problems and dangers. Nobody ever said that riding motorcycles is a safe hobby.

Click here to read more about Motion Induced Blindness.

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