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Icon Regulator Search and Destroy Vest

Icon Regulator Search and Destroy Vest

The name of this vest, Icon Regulator Search and Destroy Vest, says it all already. This is some serious stuff.

The 100% leather vest is meant not only to look cool and to protect your back, but to make you look serious while riding your cruiser. The back has removable armor, just an added extra safety, and the nice part is that it can easily fit over your existing jacket.

I went for a quick spin with the vest. First I went out with just the vest, but temperature proved to be still a bit too cold. It was 57°F and although I had on a jumper, my arms were getting too cold. I did have the armor on, just in case (you never know). My body was kept quite warm, so the vest will work nicely when the weather turns really nice, but pre-spring, without a jacket, wasn’t for me.

Icon-Regulator-Search-and-Destroy-Vest-2So back I went and put on a normal leather jacket (Basic Leather Jacket MJ402). There’s more than enough space in the Icon vest to put it over the jacket; no squeezing in, no straining. Since the leather jacket wasn’t equipped with armor, I kept the icon back protector in.

The vest worked like a charm, but then why wouldn’t it? It looks good, if not cool, and it’s got two zipper pockets deep enough to carry most of my stuff. On top of that, the straps on the sides allow you to make the vest fit perfectly. The back armor is well located, you don’t feel it.

The Icon is “pricey”, but that’s because only the best leathers were used. This is no cheap knock-off, it’s the real deal. Solid, warm and safe.

Click here to buy the Icon Regulator Search and Destroy Vest

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The last part of the test review of my winter ride is the boots (click here for the Tour Master Synergy 2 review and click here for a review of the Bell Vortex Helmet). Your body temperature must be kept warm, as does your head. But the parts of the body that usually suffers are your feet (and your hands, but that can be solved quickly and reasonably cheaply). Although you can buy heated socks, I decided that those might be too much for 32°F. Maybe for when I visit the North Pole.

I put on my trusty Alpinestars Scout Waterproof Boots. I’ve used them for off-road riding, but it was the first time I used them in the winter. For winter riding you need to not only have boots that are at least waterproof, but also boots that grip well on the ground. When you stop your motorcycle during winter, chances are that the ground at best will be wet, or worse, that there’s ice or snow.

Alpinestars Scout Waterproof Boots

Alpinestars Scout Waterproof Boots

The Alpinestars are made out of leather, but have an inside membrane that is 100% waterproof. So not rain proof; no, much better – waterproof. This means no matter how much water the weather God throws at you, your feet will remain dry (as long as the water doesn’t come in from above).

The ankles are well protected from impact and crashes, and a removable insole helps absorb shocks. However, I’m uncomfortable with the “footbed”, since my feet are high, so I don’t wear it. It’s a question of comfort, and it may work for you, it didn’t for me.

The whole boot is closed with three adjustable buckles.

During the winter ride my feet stayed not only dry, despite there being a lot of wet surfaces, but also warm. I did not feel any cold air, either circulating inside, or from the outside. And that is a good thing, especially in the winter. For boots that are not even billed as winter boots, they do the job very well. Very versatile.

Alpinestars-Scout-Waterproof-Boots-SoleSeveral times I had to stop for traffic lights and intersections while the road was wet and slippery; The boots worked admirably. The sole part is like a Continental TKC-80 off-road tire; heavy studs. The road grip is admirably and safe.

Changing gears was no problem whatsoever. Easy to move, easy to shift.

As boots go, this one is tops. Highly recommendable.

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During the cold winter months we’ve managed to try out the Tour Master Synergy 2.0 Heater Jacket Liner. We all know how important it is to stay warm when riding during the winter months, and it also applies to those times of the year that temperatures drop, especially at night. Staying warm is essential, since a body temperature that is too low, means that you are not functioning the way you should.

The Synergy 2.0 is a liner, in other words, you put it under your normal motorcycle jacket. It doesn’t replace your jacket. The liner is hooked up to your bike’s 12V system by means of a wire.

Tour Master Synergy 2.0 Heater Jacket Liner

Tour Master Synergy 2.0 Heater Jacket Liner

The liner comes equipped with a temperature control device. You use the device to lower or increase the temperature according to your personal preference.

We tested the liner in cold weather, it was some 32°F (0°C), cold enough not to ride normally speaking unless you have lots of layers of clothing. We hooked up the control unit to the bike’s 12V accessory plug. NOTE: Tour Master warns you NOT to combine heating units from other brands, if you do, your warrantee expires.

The liner is much thinner than what you’d expect. It fits nicely under any jacket without it feeling bulky. The liner is lightweight, so it didn’t feel like you had on a heavy jacket (apart form the heavy jacket itself).

Initially we used the Synergy 2.0 with our normal winter gloves, but that proves to be not so smart in cold weather. The body was nice and warm, snug like two bugs in a rug. But quickly our fingers were cold, and since we don’t have heated grips, we had to stop.

We added a heated glove for Tour Master (the Tour Master Syngery Electric Heather Leather Glove). The only downside for me was that the lead going to the glove is a bit short, meaning you need to “wrestle” a bit to put on the gloves. A few inches more would have made it easier.

The included thigh-mounted leg band, onto which you place the temperature control unit is God-sent. It means the control unit is not flapping around, and you can reach it easily to adjust the temperature.

Initially I had put the temperature too high, afraid of getting cold, but quickly I adjusted the temperature to be really comfortable. It worked like a charm. But unless you have heated handlebars, I strongly recommend using heated gloves.

As far as heated liners go, this one is above reproach. It works like a charm, keeps you warm, doesn’t make you bulky and for the price, you can ride all year round. I plan to use it when ever the temperature drops too much.

Click here to buy the Tour Master Synergy 2.0 Heater Jacket Liner.

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Last time we looked at biker specific terms, the lingo used by bikers allowing you not to stand out in a crowd of bikers. But it’s not only this general terms that you’d need to know, but there’s also a bunch of terms related to motorcycles.

Here are several motorcycle-specific terms:

ABSAnti-lock Braking System (ABS) is a safety system that allows the wheels on a motorcycle to continue interacting with the road surface as directed by biker steering inputs while braking, preventing the wheels from locking up (that is, ceasing rotation) and therefore avoiding skidding.

Ape Hangers - Ape hanger handlebars rise far above the mounting location so that the rider must reach up to use them, hence the name. They are popular on chopper motorcycles. They are available in heights up to 20 inches. Some jurisdictions have regulations on how high the handgrips may be above the seat.

Bagger – A motorcycle equipped with saddlebags and other touring amenities.

Beemer – BMW

Rice Burner – Japanese sportsbike

BHP – Brake horse power. A unit of measurement for engine power output.

Blinkers - Turn Signals

Bob, Bobbers, Bobbed or Bobbing – A bobber is a custom motorcycle that usually has had the front fender removed, the rear fender “bobbed” or made smaller, and all superfluous parts removed to make it lighter This was all part of the early customizing done by the returning WWII fighter pilots.

Brake horsepower - Brake horsepower (bhp) is the measure of an engine’s horsepower before the loss in power caused by the gearbox, alternator, differential, water pump, and other auxiliary components such as power steering pump, muffled exhaust system, etc

Cafe Racer – A cafe racer, originally pronounced “kaff racer” is a term used for a type of motorcycle, as well as the motorcyclists who ride them. Both meanings have their roots in the 1960s British Rocker or Ton-up boy subculture, although the type of motorcycles were also common in Italy, France and other European countries. The term refers to a style of motorcycles that were and are used for fast rides from one coffee bar to another.

CC - Cubic centimeters. A 1000cc engine = 1000 cubic centimeters in volume

Center of Gravity – The point in or near a body where the force of gravity appears to act. If a body is balanced at any point on the vertical line through it’s center of gravity, it will remain balanced. The center of an object’s mass.

Chicken Strips – The tread remaining on the sidewalls of a motorcycle. How much of this there is (or isn’t) is how some bikers size each other up. The less chicken strips, the more angle you will have used when taking curves.

Chopper – A chopper is a type of motorcycle that was either modified from an original motorcycle design (“chopped”) or built from scratch to have a hand-crafted appearance. The main features of a chopper that make it stand out are its longer frame design accompanied by a stretch front end, or increased rake angle.

Crotch Rocket – Sports motorcycle

CruiserCruiser is the term for motorcycles that mimic the design style of American machines from the 1930s to the early 1960s, including those made by Harley-Davidson, Indian, Excelsior and Henderson.

Dirt Bike – Off-road motorcycles that are not legal on the street.

Dresser – A motorcycle set up for long distance touring.

Dual Sport - A motorcycle made for both on and off the road travel.

Duc or Duck- A Ducati motorcycle.

EnduroEnduro is a form of motorcycle sportrun on courses that are predominantly off-road. Enduro consists of many different obstacles and challenges

Fairing - The plastic body panels that protect the rider from the wind and rain and from other debris.

Gixer – Suzuki GSXR Series motorcycles

Goose - A Moto Guzzi motorcycle

H.O.G. – Harley Owners Group – but it also relates to the larger Harley models.

Hack – A term for a motorcycle sidecar.

Husky - Husqvarna motorcycle.

Kwak – Kawasaki

Moped – A motorized bicycle, often with pedals still attached for human power assistance, usually legally defined in states and provinces as having fewer than 50cc and not be capable of propelling the moped over 30 MPH (50km/h) on level ground.

MotocrossMotocross is a form of motorcycle racing held on enclosed off road circuits.

Naked Bike - Motorcycles with no or a very small fairing; allowing you to fully see the engine.

OEM – “Original Equipment from Manufacturer,” refering to parts or components.

Pasta Rocket - Italian Sportbike (Ducati, Aprilia, MV Agusta, Benelli).

Pipes – Exhaust System.

Rat Bike – Motorcycles made from several different parts of different motorcycles and kept on the road using as cheap as possible and usually painted matt black. Often dirty and shoddy.

Rev(s) - See Revolutions Per Minute (RPM). A term used to describe how fast an engine is spinning.

RPM – “Revolutions Per Minute “. The number of revolutions the engine makes in a minute.

Rice Rocket - Japanese Sport Motorcycle

Sissy Bar – The backrest put behind the pillion part of the saddle.

Sled - A motorcycle.

Street Fighter - A bare bones sportbike (or any bike that originally had fairings) stripped of all extraneous bodywork. Also called a hooligan bike.

Stock – A motorcycle set up to OEM specifications with no alterations.

Super-motardSupermoto or Supermotard is motorcycle racing on a circuit that alternates between three types of track: flat track, motocross and road racing, using motorcycles designed for that purpose.

Trials Bike – For competition over radical, rough terrain. Trials motorcycles are designed to be extremely light, minimalist off-road specialties with low gear ratios, high ground clearance and a control layout suited for a standing rider .

Trike – A three-wheeled motorcycle with no sidecar.

Trumpet – Triumph motorcycle.

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You may be a newbie, or a veteran biker, but what’s for sure, our hobby and transportation means is full of jargon. Some terms are a must to know, some are for insiders, but it makes sense to know a few of them.

When frequenting other bikers, it’s good to know a few terms, so here are a few of them. We’ve divided them up in General Terms and Motorcycle Specific ones. Next article is about the motorcycle specific ones.

General Terms

1%er – A biker belonging to an outlaw motorcycle club, like the Hells Angels. The term was coined by the AMA, when they mentioned that these biker gangs represented 1% of the biker population. You will find a “1%” patch often on their vests.

Ape HangersApe hanger handlebars rise far above the mounting location so that the rider must reach up to use them, hence the name. They are popular on choppers. They are available in heights up to 20 inches. Some jurisdictions have regulations on how high the handgrips may be above the seat.

Apex – the line a motorcycle must take in order to minimize the time taken to complete a curve.

Armor – The reinforced parts of your riding gear, often found in motorcycle jackets and trousers. Armor can be made out of different materials, like Kevlar, Foam or plastic, and can often be removed.

ATGATT – All The Gear, All The Time, meaning you should always wear all your protective clothing, no matter when you ride. ATGATT Gear means helmet, gloves, vest, trousers and boots.

BAMBI – Born Again Motorbiker, a biker who having reached middle age, starts riding again after years of not riding.

Belly-Shover – A motorcycle racer who, because of the forward position on a sports bike, has the belly on the fuel tank.

Big Slab – A highway or motorway.

Brain Bucket – A helmet

Bubble Gum Machine – The signal that there is police up ahead. The signal is accomplished by patting the top of your helmet several times so that opposing bikers can see they are riding towards a police trap.

Burnout – By holding the front brake and accelerating, the rear wheel of the bike will start spinning and burning rubber, hence the burnout.

Cage – A car or SUV

Cager – Someone who drives a car.

Century – 100 mph

Doughnut – A burnout done while the front wheel stays in place, and the motorcycle turns 360% on the front wheel, making a complete circle.

Do-Rag – A cloth covering the biker’s head and forehead, avoiding sweat in the eyes and helmet hair. Often used by non-bikers as fashion. Examples

Duck Walking – Sitting on your motorcycle, and pushing it with your feet, usually done when parking your bike, or moving forwards a few feet (like at a gas station).

Eating Asphalt – Crashing your bike

Gearhead – Someone who is very interested and passionate about mechanical objects, like cars and motorcycles.

Hammer Down – Accelerate very quickly.

Heat – The police

Highsider – Being ejected from your motorcycle while riding, above the motorcycle.

Iron Butt – An association that promotes and holds rallies aimed at travelling very long distances. The shortest distance, the Saddle Sore, is 1,000 miles in 24 hours, the longest, the Bun Burner Gold is 1,500 miles in one day. The Iron Butt Rally is 10 days riding 1,000 miles each day.

Lid – A helmet

Lowsider – A motorcycle crash with the bike falling sideways and the biker ejected sideways.

Monkey Butt – When riding for hours on end, your rear end becomes uncomfortable and becomes sore, often the result of chafing.

Newbie – A beginner.

Organ Donor – A biker who rides without a helmet, or rides likes a squid.

Patches – Emblems and symbols sewn on biker jackets and shirts, displaying an affiliation, a club, a brand, or anything that is special to the biker. 1%-ers will always have several patches on their jackets.

Pillion – A passenger on the motorcycle.

PMS – Parked Motorcycle Syndrome, usually the result of not being able to ride in the winter.

Poker Run – A motorcycle run involving usually five stops where you get a card. At the end of the run, the biker with the best hand wins the run. Often used in charity runs.

Popping The Clutch – Letting go of the clutch rapidly, making it possible for the motorcycle to accelerate very quickly.

Poser – A wannabe biker, or a biker with all the gear, shiny and new, but rarely rides. Usually found at motorcycle shows with very low mileage full-chrome motorcycles.

Pucker factor – A very close call when riding.

Ride Captain – The leader of a motorcycle rider-out. The ride captain opens the ride, and is up front.

Ride Lieutenant – An experienced riders who rides as last in a ride-out, making sure that every thing goes according to plan with all the other bikers.

Road Rash – Marks from the asphalt left on your body after you have been thrown off your motorcycle, highside or lowside, a skidded alongside the road.

RUB – Rich Urban Biker, a biker who rides an expensive motorcycle only on the weekend, and never very far. Often RUBs are Posers.

Safety Nazi – A person who rides in absolutely full safety gear, often to an extreme, obeys every law, and wants all others to do the same.

Two Up – Riding with a pillion.

Stoppie – Stopping a motorcycle by pulling only the front brake, resulting in the rear wheel lifting off the ground. Often used in stunts.

Squid – A biker who rides with no protection, and rides very dangerously.

Tank Slapper – A high speed wobble resulting in the handlebars banging against the sides of the fuel tank. Usually an extreme Pucker factor.

Twisties – A part of a road that has many curves, turns and bends. Twisties are very much sought after when riding a motorcycle.

Wannabe – A person who wants to be a real biker, who dresses like one, who tries to behave like one, but probably only drives a SUV or a moped.

Wave – A greeting between bikers on the road, involving raising a hand, usually below the handlebars. The Wave is done to bikers on the opposite direction.

Wheelie – Sudden acceleration and slight pulling of the handlebar (unless your bike has enough torque to do it by itself), resulting in the front wheel of the motorcycle moving up in the air, and riding on the rear wheel alone.

Whoops – An obstacle section on a dirt track that has rows of mounds, requiring expertise to ride within a race.

Wrench – A mechanic.

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Many of us do not have the luxury of going to a store to purchase a helmet. Either the stores are too far away, or shopping for a specific brand can take a lot of store visits. But on the other hand, fitting a helmet is easier and you know immediately if you have got the right one. However, shopping on the internet has many other advantages; it saves money (just for the travel alone) and a lot of time, plus you have much more choice.

But you’ll need to get the right size helmet. You do not want the hassle to have to return the helmet because the size is wrong, so let’s get it right.

Follow the red line

The process is quite easy, but there are a few hints that will make this go smoother:

  1. Use a piece of string long enough, or if you have one, a measure tape (the soft kind tailors use)
  2. Roll the string (or tape) around your head, some ½ inch (10 mm) above your eye brows, and keep the string at the widest part of your head. If at all possible, ask someone to do this for you.
  3. If you are using a measure tape, write down the length, if not use a ruler to measure the length of string.
  4. For a best possible result, repeat the process once or twice to get a good average.
  5. Next wait a day or two, and repeat the process. This is because a head expands and contracts slightly depending on heat or cold.
  6. Look at the results, and take the largest measure.
  7. A good and responsible web site will be featuring the size charts of that manufacturer (manufacturers have different charts). Take your measure and take the one that is the closest to your, always making sure you round off the result upwards,
  8. Order your helmet

Once you have gotten your new helmet just make sure it fits snugly, that there is some movement, but that it is not tight. You should be able to move the helmet with your hand, but only slightly. Too tight is not good, and too loose neither. That’s why it is important to follow the steps above.

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thermahelm -picture courtesyAll motorcycle helmets use polystyrene as a shock absorber, and for that purpose it works quite well. This is the same white foam that you’d find in refrigerators and coolers. The problem with this is that if you are involved in an accident one of the biggest dangers you would face is the increase in brain temperature and swelling, and polystyrene will accentuate that effect since it is an insulator.

If your brain swells too much it can close off the vessels and restrict blood flow, which can lead to brain damage and death. After a crash keeping your head cooler can have a dramatic impact on your changes of escaping brain damage…and death.

With the Thermahelm it also has polystyrene on the inside, just like any other helmet, but what makes this helmet unique is that it also has a layer of water and salt which will combine at the moment of impact (think of the type of cold packs that athletes use) to create a cooling effect and can prevent swelling of the brain which can allow precious time for emergency personnel to arrive.

Invented by Julian Powers after a basketball mishap where he accidentally elbowed a player in the head. After getting an ice pack he later gave it to his friend to put into his helmet on the ride home and an idea was born. According to Powers, there haven’t been any significant changes in the design of motorcycle helmets…until he invented this technology.

The turnaround time to retro fit your existing helmet is 5 days according to their website.

Of course critics say that the problem with this type of technology is that it ignores a more important issue: cyclists and drivers need to more careful on the road no matter what type of lifesaving gear they are wearing.

Thermahelm isn’t available for purchase yet, it is still in the prototype stage. You can visit the company website at: http://www.thermahelm.com and sign up to receive updates as soon as they become available.

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This year if you want to give a great gift to the biker on your list and you have either really deep pockets or you just love them a whole bunch and you want to really splurge, there are many gifts you can choose from. I’ve compiled a short list of some great gift ideas that are $100 or more. Check it out and find the perfect gift for your favorite biker.

1. Motorcycle Helmets. This one item is too important to not be at the top of any gift list. A good helmet is literally the difference between life and death. Helmets come in various styles and prices but make sure to get one that is DOT approved. Helmets can be as inexpensive as less than $100 all the way up to over $800.

2. Leathers. A set of leathers can consist of pants and a motorcycle jacket or it can be more racing oriented with protection sewn in at the most vulnerable spots like the elbows, shoulders, and knees. No matter which option you choose this is a great choice for anyone who is an avid rider. It will keep them safe and they can look cool at the same time!

3. Motorcycle luggage. You have quite a few choices when it comes to luggage for your bike. You can get saddlebags that hang over the back fender, these can be permanently attached or just slung under the back seat and easily taken off when you need to. Or you can get sissy bar bags that mount right on your sissy bar. And last, but not least, you can get tank bags…pretty self explanatory! They come in either leather or man made materials and the prices can vary significantly depending on what type you get, but for a whole set you will most likely spend over $100.

If you’re making your list and checking it twice you might want to add some of these items to it. Of course, there are many other great gift ideas for the rider in your life, but hopefully you can use this list as a starting point. No matter what item (s) you choose, the biker in your life will love you for it!

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If you’re looking for a great gift for the biker on your Christmas list, no gift says ‘I love you’ more than safety gear. Making sure they are safe when they ride will give both of you peace of mind and it will make a great gift. 

Here is a list of the best safety gear that you can get the biker in your life. This equipment ranges in price from $20 all the way up to hundreds of dollars so there’s something for every price range. 

1. First things first, protect the head. Buying a top quality DOT certified motorcycle helmet will help keep your loved one safe. Helmets come in many different styles from half, to German, to full face. Prices will range anywhere from around $60 all the way up to several hundred dollars. 

2. To make sure your favorite biker keeps all their skin where it’s supposed to be, buy them a nice leather motorcycle jacket. A top quality leather jacket made with heavy duty leather will keep them safe in the event they take a spill, and if they don’t take a spill they’ll look really cool! Prices range from a few hundred dollars all the way up to $600. 

3. Boots. There are many styles of motorcycle boots. Some look like ‘motorcycle boots’ while others have a more everyday kind of style. To be an effective safety precaution make sure whatever boots you buy are of heavy duty construction, come up over the ankle, and are properly sized. Boots will cost anywhere from around $60 all the way up to $215. 

4. Gloves. A good fitting pair of heavy leather gloves can provide warmth as well as safety. Gloves come in many styles and a good pair of motorcycle gloves can run from around $20 all they way up to about $152 for heated leather gloves. 

Giving a gift is a great way to show someone you care about them. When you give the gift of safety to your favorite biker you are really letting them know how much you care. I hope this list helps give you some ideas of gifts for the biker in your life. 

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If you, or someone you love, is a motorcycle enthusiast and you want to find them, or you, the perfect Christmas gift, I can help. There are a ton of accessories that you can get that will make the motorcycling experience more comfortable, safer, or just plain cooler. 

The list I’ve compiled below includes gifts that are priced for less than $50.00. Take a look and I’ll bet you can find something for everyone on your list, and don’t forget to pick something up for yourself while you’re at it!

1. Head wraps. These handy wraps are made to be worn underneath your helmet. They can help keep your hair in place and keep your helmet cleaner. They come in all kinds of patterns and colors and are machine washable. These cool bandanas cost you anywhere from $3-$5. 

2. Goggles.These come in kids and adult sizes and a ton of different colors. Most models feature an anti-fog scratch resistant lens, adjustable straps, shatter proof lenses, and can be used with glasses. Priced around $13. 

3. Leather saddlebags. Saddlebags that are made from heavy duty cowhide and will last almost forever are a great gift. They can be thrown over the rear fender and can be taken off just as easily. You can adjust them easily to whatever height you need and they won’t get in the way of your passengers leg room. They will run you around $30.

4. Vintage, Half, and German style Helmets. DOT certified helmets in assorted sizes, styles, and colors. They sell for around $45. 

Obviously, this list barely scratches the surface of great gifts for the motorcycle enthusiast on your list, but I hope it will get get you moving in the right direction. Whether your special someone has been naughty or nice, you’ll find a ton of great gift ideas that will make their riding time more fun, and they’ll love you for it!

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Heated Motorcycle Gear

If you live in a colder climate you will be happy to know that you can continue riding even during the colder winter months with the addition of heated motorcycle gear. You can get heated jackets, jacket liners, vest liners,
heated motorcycle gloves
, gloves liners, pants, and socks. These pieces will range in price from around fifty dollars up to a few hundred depending on what pieces you get.

Heated gear works in one of two ways: it is either plugged directly into the motorcycle battery, or it can come with a rechargeable battery that is sewn directly into the clothing. Both of these methods have their pros and cons.

If your clothing is plugged into your motorcycle battery it will last indefinitely…as long as you are on your bike. You don’t have to worry about running out of juice, but the minute you step away from your bike you’ll lose your heat. Battery operated clothing can keep you warm no matter where you go, even if you’re not on your bike, but you will lose the charge and have to plug it in to
recharge, which will usually take about four hours. 

No matter which type of Heated motorcycle gear you get, the kind you plug into your motorcycle or the battery operated type, you will be able to adjust the temperature so that you can stay comfortable. When you wear your heated gear you don’t want to wear it directly next to your skin. Keep at least one layer between you and your gear. You should still wear your leathers over your heated gear, that will not only add another layer of warmth, it will also provide protection if you should take a spill. 

Don’t let your heated gear lull you into a false sense of security when out in the cold. Even with heated gear you want to limit the amount of time you spend out in below freezing temperatures. No matter where you live you can use heated motorcycle gear to extend your riding season. You have a lot of gear styles to choose from, just pick which ones will work best for you and enjoy your bike year long.

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If you are heading out for a long motorcycle road trip, you have to be careful in packing your gear.

You want to keep the weight low and close to the center of the bike and you also need to make sure that both sides of your saddlebags weigh approximately the same.

Secure loose items with net or stretch cord and stow your lightest gear in the rear rack and tank bag. You never know what will happen on the road, here are the first five of the top ten motorcycle road trip essentials:

  1. Tool kit: Tire repair equipment, air pump, a metric hex wrench set, screwdrivers and lockable pliers, ratchet wrenches and a multi-purpose hand tool.

    For simple electrical repairs include a flashlight, rolls of duct and electrical tape, a mini voltmeter, spark plugs, wire, a wire stripper, fuses and spare bulbs.

  2. Personal gear: Dress in layers to save weight, use synthetic underwear and socks for easy maintenance. A good rain suit that has reflective stripes and a mesh lining for an extra layer of protection from moisture.

    Foam ear plugs are important to use no matter how quiet your helmet may be: wind turbulence can cause hearing damage and drains your energy.

  3. Identification: Make photocopies of all of your documentation: emergency contact information, driver’s license and registration, bike and health insurance and road service cards, use a plastic page cover and store in a waterproof bag.
  4. Communication: Having a fully charged mobile phone along with an extra charged battery helps you stay connected and is invaluable in times of emergency.
  5. First-aid: A bottle of antiseptic, pain tablets, sterile bandages and an elastic bandage for sprains.

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The importance of constantly improving your riding skills cannot be overemphasized. Many bikers take the mandatory course to get their license and ride for years without taking another course.

You can always become a better rider by learning tips from professionals that can improve your ability to avoid an accident.

Defensive riding serves the same purpose as like defensive driving; it makes you less likely to have accidents. Defensive riding technique focuses on improving your ability to:

  • Anticipate
  • Be alert and observant
  • Ride at a speed that will enable you to slow down and stop in good time
  • Position yourself in the best place
  • Overtake safely
  • Take a ‘lifesaver’ glance over your shoulder before carrying out maneuvers
  • Wear gear that makes you easy to be seen and recognized

Protective and reflective motorcycle gear is a must for night riding. You should always wear:

  • An approved helmet that fits securely
  • Protective clothing; jacket, trousers and boots. Wear something fluorescent during the day and reflective at night.

  • Keep your motorcycle helmet visor or goggles clean
  • Keep in mind that there are four steps in the response process:

    1. Detection
    2. Identification
    3. Decision to react
    4. Action

    The goal is to help the driver to use less time to move through the recognition process. The question is: what’s the best way to be easily recognizable on the road? Answer: Use the colors that make drivers take evasive action.

    Drivers are accustomed to seeing the colors red and white in railroad crossings. The color white is highly reflective, in fact it is five times more than red, but red is used to represent danger and signals the need to stop.

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    Motorcycle riders have to take road safety very seriously, especially at night when visibility is reduced. In a car dominated world, being conspicuous is not enough, you have to be easy to recognize by drivers as well.

    Some bikers focus solely on making themselves visible at night; some use strobe lights on their helmets, but that doesn’t help much to make them recognizable.

    A better way to use lighting to make you and your motorcycle easily recognizable is by installing LED accent lights as seen in the photo. These lights are available in several different colors specifically to highlight your bike on a night road. Check out the details at De-Luxcycle

    Night riding can be dangerously deceptive: in the dark, what you might think is two motorcycles could actually be the headlights of an oncoming truck: the result of that false judgment would not be pretty.

    It is not size that matters on the road, it is providing accurate information to drivers that make the difference. Reflective markings have been proven to provide more safety because it eliminates confusion: it allows the biker to be easily recognized.

    When a bike and a car are both in motion, every second counts and the less time used in the process of identification, the more time there is to avoid danger. In the next article we will look at the recognition process and how to make it work for you to keep you safe while riding your bike at night.

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    For a new rider or an experienced rider who is replacing the old helmet, choosing a helmet may be more confusing than buying a bike. Finding the right helmet may be time-consuming, but it can be a rewarding experience.Studies have shown and riders have reported that helmets not only save lives but can drastically reduce the amount of injuries suffered to the face, head and neck.Some people claim that helmets restrict your vision, it’s not true. Manufacturers design helmets to not obscure or block peripheral (side to side) vision. Others claim it reduces your hearing, it actually helps you hear over the engine.

    StandardsDOT is the Federal Government’s Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT sets minimum standards that all helmets sold for motorcycling on public streets must meet. The standard is Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 (FMVSS 218) and is known commonly as the DOT standard. The division of the Department responsible for such things periodically buys helmets and sends them to independent labs for testing to assure that they actually do meet the standard. A helmet that meets the DOT standard offers significant protection if you crash.The Snell Memorial Foundation is a private not-for-profit organization that sets voluntary standards used primarily in the US for motorcycle helmets, bicycle helmets and auto racing helmets, as well as other kinds of protective headgear. Snell standards are the world’s toughest and demand quite a bit more protective capability in helmets than anybody else on the planet.

    Each organization has rigid procedures for testing:

    • Impact – the shock-absorbing capacity of the helmet.
    • Penetration – the helmet’s ability to withstand a blow from a sharp object.
    • Retention – the chin strap’s ability to stay fastened without stretching or breaking.
    • Peripheral vision – the helmet must provide a minimum vision of 105 degrees to each side. (Most people’s usable
      peripheral vision is only about 90 degrees to each side.)

    There is the European standard, called ECE 22-05, accepted by more than 50 countries. There’s the BSI 6658 Type A standard from Britain. Just by looking at the published requirements for each standard, you would guess a DOT helmet would be designed to be the softest, with an ECE helmet very close, then a BSI helmet, and then a Snell helmet.Novelty helmets may offer you the best comfort but it is not DOT or Snell approved and will not protect your head.There are so many makes, models and styles. But which one?

    Of course each type of helmet has it’s benefits and disadvantages. It also has to do with the bike you ride and the type of person you are.

    • Half Helmets: They are also known as Shorty/Beanie helmets and are the simplest form of a helmet. There is no side and chin protection. They look best when riding a cruiser or custom bike. Easy to put on and take off and can leave the helmet on in many cases.
    • ¾ or Open-Face Helmet: Protects the head, neck, ears, and eyes. If you use an open-face helmet, you should have a snap-on face shield in place when you ride, or buy a pair of goggles that can withstand the impact of a stone or other debris. Offers the third most protection over any other type of helmet (other than full face and flip-up full face). Lifting off the face shield for a photo or taking off the helmet for a snack or drink is easier and more convenient. These helmets are aimed to protect the ears and the side of the face. However this kind of helmet doesn’t have any chin protection.
    • Full Face helmet: Protects the entire head, neck, ears, eyes, face and chin. Offers the most in protection over any other type of helmet. Also aids in keeping the rain, wind, bugs, rocks, dust and cold out due to its wrap around design. By cutting down ambient wind noise, helmets can actually help you hear other sounds better. By reducing fatigue from the wind, they keep you more alert. By protecting your eyes from the wind, they allow you to see better.
    • Flip-Up helmet (modular): Protects the entire head, neck, ears, eyes, and face. Offers the most in protection over any other type of helmet. Also aids in keeping the rain, wind, bugs, rocks, dust and cold out due to its wrap around design. Eliminates many of the negatives that normal full face helmets have such as removal, taking it off to drink/eat and to put on/off glasses. May not be as good in a crash as a full face helmet because the chin can come open on impact.
    • Motor Cross helmets: These off-road helmets include a sun visor, an area to strap on your goggles, and graphics that give you some style.

    Getting the right fit

    A helmet that is too loose may come off in a crash, and one that is too tight will be uncomfortable. Slightly snug is better than too loose, since the interior will tend to settle and compress a bit, molding to your head.Determine the circumference of the widest part of your head by wrapping a flexible tape measure around it. Generally, the widest part of a person’s head is the area one-inch above the eyes and ears. Retention: An essential test before buying or using a helmet, is the roll-off test. With the strap securely fastened, grab the rear lip of the helmet and try to roll it forward off your head. Don’t stop just because it hurts a bit. If it comes off, you need a different helmet.Tips The fact that you wear a Medium in one brand and model does not mean that another model will fit you best in the same size.

    An extra faceshield (a tinted one to complement the standard clear) is a nice feature. You might want to buy one if it is not included. An extra shield and a quick-change faceshield mechanism are the best convenience features. A yellow tinted faceshield for cloudy and rainy days is also a good option.If your helmet is a bright-colored visible one, you will be more conspicuous in traffic, making it easier for other motorists to see and avoid you.Depending on the helmet manufacturer, it is recommended to replacing your helmet every 2-4 years. If your helmet is damaged or showing extreme wear it should be replaced. Replacing your helmet every few years is a good idea as its protection may deteriorate with time and wear. Also as newer materials and helmet designs become available, helmets become stronger, lighter, and more comfortable.

    Never hang your helmet on the motorcycle’s mirrors, turn signals, or backrest. The inner liner can easily be damaged from such handling.

    Jafrum helmets available online are light enough that they do not bother your neck. But, the helmets constructed with Kevlar and/or carbon fiber are ultra light and feel extra comfortable on your head.

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