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Archive for the ‘Motorcycle Gear’ Category

Cowboy-SaddlebagSaddlebags are great. No matter what kind of a motorcycle you ride, you always need to take something with you. The only bikers that don’t need a saddlebag are the track racers.

Commuters, day trippers, Round The World riders, city bikers, rural riders, you name it ..if you ride a motorcycle, chances are you have stuff you need to take with you. And what better than storing it behind you in some nice saddlebags.

Then you can walk around with the saddlebags slung over your back like in the old days.

But you need to take care of what you are going to buy. Here are a few pointers for those of you who are about to buy a saddlebag.

Leather-SaddlebagsMaterial

First of all, let’s be clear. For me a saddlebag has to be made out of leather. Imagine a plastic saddlebag? That’s like serving a hamburger in the Four Seasons restaurant.

But even leather comes in different types:

Top Grain Leather

The most expensive part of a cow. It shows the most of the leather’s grain.

Full Grain (also known as Whole Grain) Leather

It’s a one piece leather, so not split. It is the top leather you can use for saddlebags. It’s heavy and thick.

Split Leather

Split leather is leather that has usually some other material in it. It comes from the bottom part of Full Grain leather, so much cheaper. It is usually thinner.

Bonded Leather

Leather mixed with another material, usually plastic. If done right, it can be quite good and less expensive while still giving the impression of real leather.

Covered Leather

This is the cheapest form, it’s when there is a different material covered by a thin layer of leather.

Waterproof Or Not?

You will need to think about waterproof. If you ride only in the desert, than skip this, but if you stand the chance of riding in the rain, you’ll need to think about this.

Most leather saddlebags aren’t really rainproof. This might surprise you, but it’s a fact. But you can buy waterproofing leather cream that will stop moisture from penetrating your saddlebags. But if your bags fall in the river, all hope is lost.

But if you live in a wet climate, better go for waterproof saddlebags. Maybe they’ll not be 100% leather, but at least you spare socks and phone will not get wet.

Saddlebags Support

throw-over-saddlebagsThe last thing you need to remember is that you can not just buy a nice saddlebag and throw it over the rear of your motorcycle. It’ll come off seconds after you open the throttle. So you need to ensure that you also get the saddlebag support for YOUR bike’s model. Not all models are available for a given saddlebag, so watch out carefully.

However, some bags can be used without supports, but those require it to be tied-down. Called Throw Over Saddlebags, they do allow you a lot of flexibility, but personally, I prefer my bags to be fully locked onto my bike’s support. Perish the thought that the bag leaves my bike while riding. Stuff of nightmares!!

Maintenance

Like everything that is good in life, believe it or not, saddlebags require maintenance. Leather will deteriorate over time. The elements are not nice to them; sun, rain, snow, dust & dirt – all will make your leather turn ugly.

To prevent this from happening, and to enjoy the saddlebags for many years you need to wipe the bag clean and place leather cream over it and then rub the cream in. This keeps the leather soft and supple, AND it makes the leather waterproof.

A few minutes and your leather is good to go for many more weeks.

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When the weather gets cold, really cold, and the snow is on the ground, most of even the hardest of hardcore bikers will leave their motorcycles in the garage. Only a very few will go out in winter conditions on their motorcycle; some because of their passionate love for riding a motorcycle, some because they have no choice.

Heated-LinerBut whether you ride in the winter or not, the advantages of owning heated jackets (and even trousers and gloves) has advantages that many have not considered.

First of all, if you do decide to ride in the winter, you really need to keep very warm. If your body cools down, you are going to lose your focus and when you do, you are going to have an accident. Wrapping yourself up in layers of clothing is good, but probably not sufficient. Read these articles (part 1, part 2, part 3) we wrote about winter riding to find out more.

Putting on electrically heated clothing is going to make you feel very comfortable. So if you are planning to ride in the winter, plan to get some heated jackets at least. There are male and female versions. Heated gloves are going to be pretty much in demand as well.

An Advantage You Will Not Have Thought Of

But there is another advantage of owning heated clothing you probably will not have thought of. And that is to use it when driving your car!

snow-car

When your car sits outside in the cold, and you arrive in the morning to drive to work, all shivering, you start your car and put on the heater. Then you drive off, and all the time you wait for the heater to get to a proper temperature. And this takes quite some time, and then when you’ve reached a proper and cozy temperature, you’re probably already close to work, and your windows are fogged up.

If you put on an electrically heated liner for example under your coat, plug it in when you enter your car, you’ll find that the heat builds up almost instantaneously. So you will be warm and cozy even before you drive out of your street.

The other advantages are that your windows will not fog up and you use less power to heat your liner (and maybe gloves) than your conventional heater. Motorcycle heated clothing are made to be used on motorcycles where there is less power than in a car, so electrical consumption is far less, so you use less gas.

So now you can drive your car in the winter while feeling nice and warm, all by using your heated motorcycle clothing.

Be ecological, and use a heated motorcycle jacket in the car.

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At the Italian Eicma motorcycle exhibition, the world’s largest, Bell helmets made quite a splash with its recently announced Bullitt helmet. More and more motorcycles are being produced nowadays that have that retro look; the shape and design of yesteryears but with modern technology, so it goes without saying that the same fashion should come to our helmets.

Bell Bullitt Helmet

Bell Bullitt Helmet

The Bullitt helmet looks very much like an old fashion helmet, dating back a couple of decades ago. With a bubble visor, you in fact get more breathing room, so on its own, not a bad idea. But it is only the exterior that looks “old”; the helmet itself is high tech and fully DOT certified.

The shell is made out of a fiber composite, the inside is removable and washable, there are 5 air intake vents and the inside has precut areas for loudspeakers for those of you who want to install a Bluetooth communication kit.

Bell Bullitt Helmet with no visor

Bell Bullitt Helmet with no visor

And to make matter even easier, you can remove the visor and place goggles. Now how looks like Steve McQueen? Or just ride around with your sunglasses.

The helmet weighs 1400 grams, and three colors will be offered (metallic blue, matte black and cream/red).

The Bullitt helmet will be available next year in March 2014 and should cost around $399.

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This is part 2 of interesting products that were shown at the Italian Eicma motorcycle exhibition this month. If you missed part 1, click here.

Isotta

Italian Isotta make something that will allow you to stay reasonably dry on a scooter and even a motorcycle.

Isotta rain cover

Isotta rain cover

The cover is fixed to your wind shield, and extends to the rear. This allows you to be dry and away from wind turbulence.

They even had a version for bicycles.

NoNoise

NoNoise is a new Dutch company that makes different ear plugs to stop noise while riding your motorcycle.

NoNoise-1

The silicon-free ear plugs have been built to last, and inside the ear plug is a ceramic filter. It is this filter that remove the rumble of your bike while riding, but allows you to listen to your Bluetooth headset, music and traffic. So it is safe to use, and it remove the fuzzy-head syndrome after a ride.

NoNoise-2

The also have different types of earplugs, depending on use: sleeping, swimming, shooting etc.

The ear plugs are delivered in a nice metal canister that is easy to take with you and allows you to keep the ear plugs clean. They have recently signed up an American distributor, so expect to see them in stores shortly.

Sidi

Sidi showed their recently announced Crossfire2 motorcycle boots. These boots can be adapted to different feet and usage:

Sidi Crossfire2

Sidi Crossfire2

The soles can be changed, depending on how you are going to use the boots; motocross, enduro, supermotard, etc.

Sidi Crossfire2 straps

Sidi Crossfire2 straps

The straps are changeable as well, allowing the boots to be adapted to any type of foot characteristics. No matter what you foot looks like, you can change the straps to your liking.

Sidi Crossfire2

Sidi Crossfire2

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Despite the English name, the famous helmet brand named “Shark” is a French brand and has been in operation for some 25 years, so no fly-by-night. This innovative brand is now available at Jafrum.com.

Shark is very active in motor sports, supplying helmets for the road racing, motocross, rally and endurance categories. The names of famous racers adorn their trophy cupboard; big names like Tom Sykes, Alex Espargaro, Carl Fogarty, Troy Corser, Scott Redding, Stefan Bradl, Cyril Despres, and the list goes on and on.

A lot of the development done in the racing world finds its way to consumer helmets and it shows. Many Shark helmets are high tech with an innovative design. Easy to use, light, comfortable and most important, safe. All helmets are approved by world’s safety agencies, and the helmets have all received 4 or 5 stars in the Sharp helmet safety rating.

Shark has four main helmet ‘divisions’. Each division has its own style and use:

Shark Racing

Shark-Racing

This is the helmet used for racing. They are top-end helmets developed with professional racers like WSBK racer Sylvian Guintoli. Helmets that you can buy, some even as replicas of the racer’s helmet. These helmets use the latest technology, like the Race-R Pro Carbon helmet.

Shark Pulse

Shark-Pulse

These helmets have been developed by Shark’s R&D department for areas like stunt riding or just plain street riding. All have been made to be very light and comfortable.

Shark Discovery

Shark-Discovery

The Discovery division looks after helmets meant for long distance riding. The helmets have been developed with assistance of one of world’s leading movie stuntmen, Jean-Pierre Goy. Helmets are light, comfortable for long distances, and used off-road. The modular helmet Evoline series3 is very popular thanks to its innovative design.

Shark Metro

Shark-Metro

Shark RAW

Shark RAW

These helmets are designed for clean looks, used in the city. This is where you will find open face helmets and helmets used predominantly by scooter riders in the city. The Shark Raw helmet has caught the fancy of many riders recently.

Depending on the usage, Shark uses many different technologies inside their helmets. You will find helmets made out of carbon fiber, helmets with air pumps or with Shark’s own built-in wireless communication system, Shark Tooth.

Click here to see the full line of Shark Helmets available at Jafrum.com.

You won’t believe this epic commercial by none other than Shark! Enjoy

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The Italian Eicma exhibition is well over now, but there are some new things that have been shown that merit our attention.

Our roving reporter discovered some interesting new items, some that may or may not appear in our stores.

This is part 1 of the series of interesting new things appearing at Eicma.

Acerbis

Italian Acerbis showed an interesting motorcycle jacket that promotes our safety at night. As you can see from the animated gif photo below, the jacket has several LED strips built in to the jacket (sides, rear and front).

Acerbis High-LED jacket

Acerbis High-LED jacket

The LEDs have a low battery usage, and at night you can see the LED, but they are not strong. The animated gif was taken in full light, so you can not see how strong the lights are, but you get the message.

The jacket is called “High-LED” and is made out of Nylon Polyamide with Oxford 1680D reinforcements. It has a removable interior and EVA back protector

Airoh

Airoh helmets showed a different technology for motorcycle helmets to keep our cool during hot weather. They have a new visor system that reflects heat.

In the photo below, the first one you see the visor when it is hit by hot sunlight:

Warm sunlight

Warm sunlight

And in the next photo you see it during normal weather, when even with direct sunlight but not hot, the visor is clear. Obviously the sunlight strength is filtered out of your eyes, but more important, there is less heat coming into your helmet.

Not warm sunlight

Not warm sunlight

The visor has been approved in Europe for use on motorcycles.

D3O

We’ve already talked about the wonder material from D3O (click here to read it). It is light, extremely shock absorbant and it’s even high-tech. D3O have adapted their materials to the new protection requirement, EN1621-2.

D3O King Cobra

D3O King Cobra

The Cobra series are available for protection level 1 or 2. As you can see it is quite thin (22.5 mm) and will withstand crashes in all kinds of weather and temperatures.

D3O Cobra Pro

D3O Cobra Pro

The ultimate protection is called King Cobra, a level 2 protection for your back. The Cobra Pro featured here is level 2 as well.

GPA

French helmet maker GPA showed a Lacoste helmet. This is probably the ultimate helmet for fashion conscious bikers.

GPA Lacoste

GPA Lacoste

You can not imagine riding your Vespa scooter, dressed in your Dior or Armani clothes without this Lacoste helmet. It just wouldn’t look right.

GPA Lacoste

GPA Lacoste

More on Eicma shortly.

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Eicma in Milan, Italy is world’s biggest motorcycle expo & show, with thousands of companies showing off their latest products. At the 2013 Eicma, one of the manufacturers that showed some new products was Xena, the company that makes some of the more interesting and high-tech locks for motorcycles and scooters.

Xena-Eicma-2013-01

Xena-Eicma-2013-06One of their latest products is a “Ground Anchor”. The Ground Anchor is used by drilling a hole in your garage floor (presuming it is concrete), turning in the rod, and when finished, hitting the end with a hammer. That seals the rod into the ground, making it almost impossible to remove, unless you’ve got a JCB or jackhammer.

On the rod gets mounted a cap onto which you can hook up a solid metal chain and lock (see the last item here). The cap folds down so you can ride over it safely.

Xena-Eicma-2013-02

What is interesting with this Ground Anchor is that compared with its competition, the cap turns on itself. This means you do not need to put stress on the lock or chain when placing it onto the cap. No matter at what angle you park your scooter or motorcycle (or even bicycle), it is going to be easy to place the lock & chain. No turning big metal chain to fit the opening.

Xena-Eicma-2013-03

Xena have also added many more colors to their existing alarm disc locks. Now you can color match the lock with your bike’s colors.

Xena-Eicma-2013-04

Another change made to the existing locks is the key. Previous versions of the key were in a “S” shape which allowed people to jam stuff into the lock making it difficult to open. The new key is “8” shaped and easier to use. Placing the key into the hole is simple, almost self-guiding, and it is more difficult to place junk into the hole, and easier to remove if it has been done.

Xena-Eicma-2013-05

Finally, Xena now have an alarm lock for chains and for the Ground Anchor. This means you can place the Ground Anchor in the ground, and with the lock you have a very loud alarm in case someone still tries to relieve you of your bike.

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