Motorcycle Words

a motorcyclist's blog

Don’t Let Autumn Lead to a Fall

Fall is typically a beautiful time of year. In many areas of the United States including my home state of Tennessee, changing leaf colors leads to some very nice scenery along the highways and back roads where I often ride.  This is all well and good while the leaves are still attached to their branches. When they start falling to the ground, however, they can pose a threat to the motorcycle rider.

Hazards from falling leaves come in two major flavors. For starters, leaves can obscure a damaged piece of pavement or debris in the roadway. This type of hazard isn’t that prevalent or as dangerous as the second scenario which is wet leaves.

A thin layer of wet leaves on a road surface can be very slick. Not only is the upward facing surface of those leaves slick when wet but the downward, road-facing side adds to the overall reduction in friction. All in all this is not the ideal surface for the small contact patch of a motorcycle tire to deal with.

What is really dangerous is that while one is typically already being cautious when riding in the rain, a patch of leaves may stay wet for some time after the precipitation has ended. It’s not unusual to have the sun  shining down on a deceptively innocent patch of leaves on the road the morning after a rainy night. Those leaves can still be quite wet underneath and can easily ruin one’s day if ridden over at even modest lean angels.

It’s easy to get caught up in the scenery and colors that come with a crisp Autumn morning ride so be vigilant when you’re out riding during this time of year. Make sure you are staying aware of what is on the road surface up ahead and never assume those leaves on the road are completely dry. In fact, I would say just avoid riding over any leaves on the road if it can be done safely.

Congrats to Caroline Olsen

I would like to take a moment and say congratulations to #43 Caroline Olsen for a great Supersport race (two actually) this past weekend at Barber Motosports Park during the final round of MotoAmerica.  The last race, on Sunday, was particularly satisfying as she moved from starting in 19th place to finishing 11th! The previous day’s race was nothing to sneeze at either as she started in 22nd position and moved up to a 17th place finish.

It’s been heart-warming to watch her get back in the groove and it hasn’t been an easy journey. For those who aren’t aware, Caroline had a pretty nasty crash due to brake failure last year at NJMP that landed her in the hospital for a couple of days. Her injuries were rather serious as she described in a press release last year;

“I escaped without serious long-term injuries and I got released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon. Bruised lungs, a broken collarbone, two broken vertebrae and an overall beat up body were the verdict. Since I’ve got back to Norway, I’ve had an operation on my collarbone and it was discovered that I had a broken fibula just below my right knee.”

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Multiple Crashes in SuperSport Race 1 Yesterday

I mentioned yesterday that the Supersport race had to be restated twice due to crashes. I understand this morning that everyone involved is “OK” at this point which we’re all grateful for considering what it looked like right in front of my position on the track. The photos speak for themselves.

    
  
  

MotoAmerica Final Round this Weekend at Barber

It’s that time of year again when Kevin and I head down to Leeds, Alabama for the final round of the MotoAmerica series at Barber Motorsports Park. This weekend will have us watching (95) Roger Hayden taking his last laps before he retires from racing.

We’ll also be watching (43) Caroline Olsen to see how she fares in the last of the year. Caroline had a bad spill at NJMP last year but has been she’s working hard this year to get back in the groove. Personally, I’m elated to see her back in action as I feel she truly loves motorcycle racing. I’ve caught a lot of photos of her over the years and she always looks so happy when she’s on her bike in the grid ready to take off.

2018 brings  some new/changed classes to the fray which should make for a packed weekend of racing. Though not “new”, the KTM cup has evolved into the Junior Cup with the field of KTM only machines now holding mostly R3’s  and Ninja 400’s with just a brace of KTM 390’s in the lineup. The new Twins Cup class is something close to my heart as the field is seeded with a large dose of SV650’s, a bike have owned myself and still feel is one of the best all around bikes of the past two decades.

It’s going to be a lot of action in Alabama this weekend and Kevin and I will bring the highlights to this space as best we can.

Dainese Druid D1 Long Gloves Review @wBW

I’m giving a “whole lotta glove” today with not one, but two, reviews posted up in the past 24 hours with this  one coming by way of webbikeworld.com. In this review I take an in-depth look at the Druid D1 Long gloves from Dainese. These track oriented gloves offer good protection wrapped in high quality materials with robust construction.

These gloves have lots of hard parts as befitting this style of glove as well as some smart looking colorways giving these gloves a lot of appeal on the safety and style side of things.

Are they perfect? No.

There are a couple of issues that cropped up in my review but these can be somewhat subjective. Hit the link and view full review to found out if the Druid D1 Long gloves are right for you.

Dainese D1 Druid Long Gloves Hands-On Review

 

Rev’It Sand 3 Gloves Review

Product: Rev’It Sand 3 Gloves
Manufacturer: REV’IT
Made In: China
Sizes: Small to 4XL
Color(s): Black, Black/Silver, Black/Red, Sand
Price: $109.99 (USD) @ Revzilla

Introduction

Beating the Summer heat for the motorcycle rider is always a challenge. Protective gear can be stifling in the hot and humid Summers here in the Southeastern United States. Earlier this year I reviewed the Orsa  Leather MkII gloves from Knox that I have put to use for hot weather riding since 2017. Those gloves are very protective and look the part for sport riding gloves.

Always being interested in what the next new thing might be I started looking for a new pair of gloves for 2018. Back in 2017, REV’IT released an update to the Sand Pro gloves, the Sand 3. The description ticked all the right boxes and they were available in a smart looking brown color. Certainly the color won’t affect comfort or protection but they do look cool (in my opinion).

Let’s dig into the details.

The Rev’It Sand 3 Glove

The Sand 3 gloves take up the torch from the Sand Pro gloves as their mid-range off-road/street hybrid glove. These are a worthy successor to that popular glove and it ups the ante in protective features and the looks are nicely updated as well.

The Sand 3’s are available in four colors including black, black/silver, black/silver/red, and of course, sand. Sand being unique from the other colors as the leather for the palm and underside of the fingers is brown. It gives this colorway a distinctive look from the other black based designs but obviously does not offer as much visibility as the color choices that incorporate silver.

In the sand colorway brown accents are also found on the back of the hand in a diagonal strip of fabric as well as on small accordion stretch panels on the top first three fingers The diagonal strip has the REV’IT logo in it while the short gauntlet has the three-sided REV’IT graphic sitting on top of a three sided piece of TPU.

One of the unique stylistic and functional features of the Sand 3 gloves is the flexible TPU material used for impact protection in various places on these gloves. These protectors are made up of a matrix of hexagonal shapes in a similar fashion to REV’IT’s SeeSmart armor. This armor gives the gloves an uncommon look and combines good protection with good flexibility.

The Sand 3 gloves also offer a simple, but very welcome, feature in the form of a large red loop of fabric and the cuff opening. The heavy duty 1/2 inch (13mm) strap makes pulling these gloves on much easier. This strap provides good leverage and prevents wear on the cuff that would result from the repeated grasping and tugging required to put them on.

One last thing to note is that the tips of the forefinger and thumbs employ REV’IT’s Connect material for use with capacitive touch screen devices. Having been placed on both of those digits makes it easy to zoom on mobile devices which is very handy for using map applications.

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Dealing with Helmet Hot Spots

ADVRider.com member S21FOLGORE recently posted up a very informative thread on the popular adventure riding discussion board site detailing ways to deal with helmet “Hot Spots”. His post includes very detailed instructions on how to measure one’s head to determine the shape in a more specific way than simply round, oval, intermediate oval, etc.

He also details the issues with hot spots and demonstrates ways to address them.  I am fortunate that my head shape fits in the general mold for most motorcycle helmet brands so I personally have not been affected by these issues. For those of you that do find most helmets uncomfortable to wear for more than 45 minutes or so I highly recommend reviewing the thread.

Even if you don’t have issues it is still an interesting read and the illustrations by the author are quite good. Who knows, perhaps you’ll find that your heads shape is different than you thought and you could end up making your current lid that much more comfy.

Coming Soon: Druids, Halos, Silica, and More

Photo from manufacturer

Manufacturer photo

Reviews have been a little sparse of late but I have reviews coming soon for webBikeWorld.com as well as Motorcycle Words exclusives. Two pairs of gloves are in currently being put through their paces, one pair from Dainese and another from Rev’IT. I understand I might have a carbon fiber adventure helmet coming in for review as well but that’s all I’m going to say until it lands in my hands.

On the technical side I’ve got a new motorcycle specific “dash-cam” set up freshly installed on the Ninja 1000 and I’m looking to get some footage captured in the coming days. During the installation I connected the camera system DVR module to my Eastern Beaver PC-8 fuse panel and realized I needed to post up mu thoughts on this little gem of a device so that will be coming to a screen near you soon.

Manufacturer photo

Manufacturer photo

Finally, I’ve have been riding with a pair of Fox Racing knee guards in place of my venerable Shift Racing Enforcer guards that I have been wearing for years. The guards from Fox are actually designed for mountain biking but offered a combination of features I could quite find in other moto specific products.  Keep an eye on this space as well as the Motorcycle Words Facebook feed for new content as it becomes available.

SWR Fall Trail Ride at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch

Southern Woods Rider invites you to attend the 21st Anniversary of the Fall Trail Ride at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch October 19th through 21st. At last years event there were over 900 Dirt Bike and ATV riders from around the nation in attendance over the three-day event. To cover all levels of riding skills SWR prepares a small beginners loop near the campground area, a 3 to 5-mile novice loop and a 15 to 20-mile main loop. In addition we have a Friday Night Poker Run and a Saturday night banquet. The banquet is a big hit so we have limit the attendance to 300 meal tickets. During the banquet we give out special awards and acknowledgments to the event volunteers, touch on any important off-road news and giveaway many great door prizes.

SWR continues the strong tradition of the fall ride in the education of participants on safety and trail etiquette while continuing to bring riders of all ages exhilarating riding opportunities. All ATV and Dirt Bike riding responsible individuals and families are welcome to attend.

Get all the details at SWR’s website. 

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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