Motorcycle Words

a motorcyclist's blog

Knox Zephyr Summer Riding Jacket Review

Product: Zephyr Summer Riding Jacket
Manufacturer: Knox
Made In: United Kingdom
Sizes: Small to 5XL
Color(s): Black, White and Black
Price: £229.99 (GBP) from Knox / $330.00 (USD) from Revzilla

Introduction

Summer riding gear is always a compromise. Protective riding gear typically requires lots of ventilation for hot weather riding which means mesh materials and/or vents be incorporated into the design. This amounts to a lot of holes which, let’s face it, are going to reduce the integrity of the garment as “air” is not a very good barrier to abrasion.

Full mesh jackets will typically offer the best ventilation for street riding but there are some downsides to the typical mesh jacket. One, most mesh will tear up much faster than a solid textile or perforated leather. Two, all mesh jackets I’ve encountered tend to be a bit loose fitting and the shell is very pliable. This can allow shoulder and elbow armor to move in the event of a crash so it may not be in the ideal position to protect from impact.

Adding solid textile and/or leather to impact zones can help improve abrasion resistance performance at the expense of ventilation. This compromise does improve abrasion resistance but it may not address the often “loose” fit of these type of jackets.

To get around this some riders will go “off label” and use gear that may not be designed for the street or that is not designed to be used as standalone protection. The former often consists of armored off road jackets or shirts where hard armor is attached to a thin mesh shell to provide impact protection. These are typically designed to be worn under a jersey and are not necessarily designed for protecting riders from the types of crashes that can occur on the street.

The latter “off label” item is the armored shirt. These shirts comprise a thin textile shirt with impact protection armor like one would find in a street riding jacket. The protectors are usually softer and designed for the higher speed impacts that can occur in a crash on the street. The problem here is that there is little to no abrasion resistance as these shirts are designed to sit under a proper street riding jacket.

The drawbacks mentioned above are not always enough to deter some riders from going those routes in order to beat the heat. Those willing to accept the risk will wear these items and hope for the best. If there was only a happy medium….

Well, maybe there is.

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Scorpion EXO R420 Helmet | wBW

Scorpion continues to improve their class-leading 400 series helmets with EXO R420 and webBikeWorld recently sent me one for review. The R420 is more than just some new graphics and colors but instead is a rethinking of the 400 series from the inside and out. The internal shape has been changed as well as the lines of the exterior shell.

Solid construction combined with a Snell rating means one is getting good protection for around $150.00 (USD) and it looks good doing it. The EXO-R420 has a lot to live up to with the EXO-400 series helmets offering very good value as well as fit and finish that bests many helmets costing significantly more. My initial impression when handling and examining the helmet out of the box is that the EXO-R420 might very well be a worthy successor.

Click here for the complete review over at webBikeWorld.com.

Knox Orsa Leather MKII Gloves Review

Product: Orsa Leather MkII Glove
Manufacturer: Knox
Sizes: Small to XXL
Color(s): Black, White and Black
Price: £89.99 (GBP) from Knox / $130.00 (USD) @ Revzilla

Introduction

I want to start off by saying that I haven’t been fan of short cuff gloves for the past several years. Concerns over the lack of wrist protection combined with some “less than strong”  wrist securing methods had me looking towards full gauntleted options.

So how did I end up looking at (and then buying) these short cuff gloves?

Last year when I started looking for a new Summer glove I took a look at Knox as I appreciate their focus on safety and protection. Among the various glove options offered by Knox were the ORSA Leather MKII gloves. These are short cuff gloves with some perforations to combat Summer heat and protective features to combat everything else. They appeared so focused on protective features I had to give them a a go.

As one would expect from the name, this is the second iteration of Knox’s Orsa Leather glove. The MKII version is certainly more of an evolutionary than revolutionary update and that’s a good thing. The original ORSA Leather glove was well received and you can read a detailed review over at webBikeWorld where Alice Dryden tried them out in 2016.

(In full disclosure, I somehow missed Alice’s review when looking for new Summer gloves. Maybe I wasn’t ready to look at short cuff gloves again at that time?)

The MKII came out last year (2017) and brought with it some subtle, but welcome changes. The overall styling has been updated and I think the white version in particular looks better on the MKII. Other changes include additional elasticated area and the fit has been “changed” as well. I can’t speak to the fit of the previous version but Knox says they changed it, so, umm, there.

With the look back finished, let’s roll forward…

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Well, I’m on video.. for better or for worse 🙂

Trilobite 1860 Ton Up Jeans Review | wBW

My latest review for webbikeworld.com takes a look at the 1860 Ton Up jeans from Trilobite. These jeans are part of a new trend where apparel manufacturers are putting together motorcycle riding jeans that do not have an extra abrasion resistant layer. Instead, Dyneema ®  is used in the denim itself to create a sort of “super” denim that looks and feels (mostly) like normal cotton denim but can meet the abrasion resistance required for a CE level 1 (or better).

This material combined with traditional blue jean styling makes for a pretty stealthy pair of riding jeans. By just looking at them one would be hard pressed to tell they are protective riding gear. Add in the included hip and knee armor and the Ton Up jeans would appear to be the whole package, but all this comes at a price. What is that price exactly? Hit the link below to find out.

Trilobite 1860 Ton-Up Jeans

Hit-Air MLV-C Detailed Review

Product: MLV-C Airbag Vest
Manufacturer: Hit-Air
Sizes: Medium (covers S – XL), Large (covers XL-3XL)
Color(s): Black, White, Red, Blue, Brown, plus special edition colors
Made In: Japan


Over the past few months I have been wearing an MLV-C airbag vest from Hit-Air. During this time I have written about adding an airbag vest to my everyday riding gear and how I came to decide on the Hit-Air MLV-C for me. Now that I’ve had some time to wear the vest on a regular basis it’s time to follow up with my thoughts and final review.

When I started riding with this vest it was late winter and the temperatures during the day barely broke 50 degrees (F).Now with Summer approaching and the temperatures already up in the 90’s (deg F) during the day here in Nashville, TN, I’ve had a chance to evaluate what it is like to live with the MLV-C vest over different riding jackets and ambient temps.

That leads me to the first point…

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The Importance of Suspension Setup

One of the first things I do when I get a new or new to me motorcycle cycle is evaluate and adjust the suspension. I will also tell anyone who will listen to do the same. So how is it that I’ve had my Ninja 1000 for two years and somehow completely forgot to do this? I can’t say.

I can say that less than an hour in the garage with a friend, a socket wrench, and a spanner saved my relationship with my Ninja “thou”. I had been preparing for some time to sit down with the Ninja and say “We need to talk”, but now we’re getting along swimmingly. So what led to this near breakup and how exactly was it saved? Read on, friends…

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Bosch Using Gas to Prevent Low-Siding

So yeah, the title doesn’t make much sense but I have to hand it to the boffins at Bosch. They have developed a system that can mitigate lateral loss of traction and prevent a low-side crash from occurring.  This report and video from CNet.com lays out the details and a demo of this system and it’s pretty slick (pun intended).

When sensors indicate the motorcycle is starting to slide laterally, the system fires off a blast of highly compressed gas. The thrust from the blast counteracts the slide and allows the rider to move past the debris causing the traction loss and remain upright. You can see this demonstrated in the video below.
(Keep watching the video until the very end and you’ll see the bike make the pass without the rig to hold it up)

It’s an interesting idea and seeing it work even in this “setup” demonstration definitely proves the concept has potential. Of course one has to consider the cost in both dollars and weight in order to get motorcyclists to buy into it. I think the same thing was said about ABS when it was first brought to motorcycles by BMW.

One downside that the CNet article mentions is that it is likely a one-time use countermeasure that is depleted after the single use and must be recharged or resupplied with compressed gas. Maybe a replaceable cylinder could be purchased or could be recharged at a dealership for a nominal fee? That may be putting the cart before the horse but I don’t think it is something that should hold back this concept.

What do you think?

Visorcat System Available at Aerostitch

In December 2017, I reviewed a hand/glove mounted helmet visor cleaning system from Visorcat. The Visorcat is a unique solution that allows one to clear road grime and other debris from their field of view. This system includes a sponge,  squeegee, and cleaning fluid all wrapped up in a neat little package.

At the time of the review the Visorcat was not available via dealers in the United States. That situation has now changed as Visorcat just reached out to me and let me know that Aerostitch is now a dealer for their product. At this time the system can be purchased at this link but so far it only includes the whole system. There isn’t a link yet for refills of fluid and the sponges but I will be looking into when these are expected to be available.

Full review at wBW here.

 

Pilot Motosports Elipsol Jacket Review | wBW

My latest review for webBikeWorld of Pilot Motosport’s Elipsol jacket is now posted. The Elipsol is a new offering from Pilot which combines the ventilation of mesh panels with the utility of an adventure jacket plus a “dash” of sporty cut thrown in for good measure.

I’ve been a fan of Pilot’s gear since I started reviewing it for webBikeWorld a couple of years ago. I have found their apparel to offer a very good balance of quality, design, and value with some subtle innovative touches that go a lot further in real world use than one might think.

The Elipsol continues this tradition in a package package that can easily take on three seasons and then some. Mesh paneling plus two liners make it easy to adapt to varying weather conditions. Combined with a surprising amount of storage space, the Elipsol  is the most versatile jacket in Pilot’s lineup and offers good competition to offerings from other manufactures in this segment.

Check out the full review over at webBikeWorld.com

Pilot Motosports – Elipsol Air Jacket

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