Motorcycle protective equipment is something I’ve been getting progressively more concerned with as I get older. Having started riding on the street nearly 25 years ago (has it been that long?) I’ve been fortunate to have what I would consider less than my share of spills and get-offs. I’ve also been fortunate to have been able to walk, or limp, away from the crashes I’ve had.
In the 90’s I had a couple of minor get-off’s that left me and my bike pretty much unscathed and considering the lowly state of my protective gear at the time, I was very lucky. Fast forward to the present and I have a lot of protective riding gear. This includes the usual suspects such as armored jackets and pants, gloves, boots and a full face helmet.
Last year I reviewed the EVS R4K race collar, a neck protection device designed for off-road use. It has worked well for me over my street gear for nearly a year now but lately I’ve been looking more closely the benefits and options involving airbag vests and jackets.
Manufacturers Helite (right) and Hit-Air (pictured above) are probably the best known manufacturers of airbag equipped protection for motorcycle riders. Both companies offer several options of vests and jackets with integrated airbags and use a lanyard system to “fire” the airbag if the rider is separated from their ride.
While these manufacturers would likely argue they are each better than the other, there is little dispute that either airbag systems is certainly better than none at all. After reading numerous threads on the subject of airbag jackets and vests at ADVRider.com I decided it was time I take the plunge.
After weighing the various options of one brand or the other AND a vest versus integrated jacket, I pulled the trigger this morning and have my first piece of airbag equipped riding gear on the way. Which did I choose?
You’ll have to wait to find out when I post my preview in a couple of weeks which will of course be followed by a complete review not long after.
In the meantime I’m very interested to know what my fellow riders think of airbags for motorcycle riders. Would you use one? If not, why? I get that price might be factor but if that isn’t it I’d like to hear the reasoning for or against. Leave comments here and let me know.
A great little strip of asphalt called Fairview-Kingston Springs Rd. Short but sweet!
I just realized how badly MotorcycleWords.com has been neglected by me over the past couple of months. Seeing as the weather has been less than “motorcycle-friendly” in my part of the country it is likely not surprising. Still, that’s no excuse for the emptiness and quiet that has descended on my humble little blog. So to get things warmed back up I thought I’d share some info on upcoming products I have in for review for webBikeWorld.com as well as some teasers for things on the way.
First up, I have one of the new Elipsol Air jackets from Pilot Motosport in house for review. This addition to Pilot’s lineup is a mashup of adventure styling and mesh airflow. I really like the styling of this jacket and in addition to light grey, dark grey, and Hi-Viz colors, they have a new “Sand” color which I totally dig. I’ve managed two short rides with it during the brief periods when it was warm enough but Spring is on the way and this review will be hitting wBW soon.
Sitting on the shelf waiting for warmer temps is a pair of riding jeans from Trilobite out of the Czech Republic. Their TON-UP riding jeans take a different approach than other riding jeans I’ve reviewed in the past as they do not have a separate lining for abrasion resistance. Instead, the denim used in the jeans is made from UHMWPE (ultra high molecular weight polyethylene) thread making it not only very durable but also much lighter than typical motorcycle specific jeans. The material is also very cool against the skin so I’ve been patiently waiting for Spring to show up so I can give these a full test.
Finally, after about 6,500 miles on my Continental Road Attack 2 EVO’s, I’ll be replacing them soon with a set of Continental’s new Road Attack 3‘s so I’ll be posting up an initial review soon as well as a “post-mortem” on the EVO’s. (Hint, the EVO’s were fantastic)
In news not related to my wBW reviews, I’ve got a more installments of my “Risky Business” series of riding skills articles coming for 2018. I also am looking forward to announcing a new riding skills course that will (hopefully) be available later this year from a highly skilled motorcycle riding coach/instructor I’m lucky to be friends with. I’ll be posting up news about that as it gets closer to launch. If this is something you might be interested in attending please let em know so I can let you know when this is available.
More content and updates to come!
If there were an official “household” name in motorcycle helmets, HJC would/could likely be that name, especially here in the in the United States. According to HJC, they have been the number one selling motorcycle helmet brand in the States since 1992 and has achieved this by offering a balance of good quality and reasonable price. As such, HJC has not been the most expensive or inexpensive choice around and has excelled at dominating the mid-range market.
My first motorcycle helmet was an HJC full-face model in 1993. I don’t recall much about it except it was black, full-face, and it did the job. I believe it was right around the $100.00 mark which fit well in my meager budget at the time. Since that first helmet I’ve had some other helmets from HJC but haven’t owned one in the past few years. When HJC provided a RPHA 70 ST for review, I jumped at the chance to check it out and see their latest and greatest.
Click here to see the complete review over at webBikeWorld.com.
I have to admit when I first received the EZGO helmet carrying strap for review I thought, “Who is asking the question that this device is answering?”. A carrying strap that connects to your micrometric buckle (if so equipped) on your helmet? Seemed like it would be awkward in theory, but what about in practice?
After procuring a helmet with one of these Euro style buckles I spent some time testing out the EZGO. The results were much better than I had expected. Is it perfect? I wouldn’t go that far, but it is more useful than I thought it would be. Of course there are some caveats as well.
Check out the full review and more photos over at webBikeWorld.com for all the details.
I recently got to review an interesting product from across “the pond”. UK based Visorcat sent me one of their helmet visor cleaning systems to check out for webBikeWorld.com. This isn’t the first time that webBikeWorld has review the Visorcat but they have made some updates to the product over the past four years since Alice Dryden reviewed it for wBW.
So what is it? The Visor cat is a device one attaches over their left glove. This places a sponge, under a rubber squeegee/cover, on the back of the rider’s hand. Swiping to the right and then left, the squeegee/cover is opened exposing the sponge to the visor surface. Pulling back to the left brings the squeegee piece into contact with the visor clearing the fluid and grime soaked by the sponge. Within the Visorcat is a reservoir of cleaning solution that wicks toe the sponge to keep it soaked and ready to clean.
That’s basically the Visorcat in a nutshell. It’s not something I thought I would want myself but after seeing it first hand, they might have changed my mind. The only downside at the moment is that for riders here in the USA, there isn’t a distributor and so far. I did find that one of the UK distributors, Cupar Motorcycles is selling the Visorcat on eBay and will ship it to the States.
Read the complete review with details and more photos over at www.webbikeworld.com.
Singapore based startup Neo and Sons has just launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new helmet bag they have been working on.
Dubbed “The Classic”, this helmet bag doesn’t look or function like your typical lid carry-all. Most helmet bags I’ve seen are pretty simple affairs made from nylon, polyester, or a similar textile. The Classic is made from full grain leather (there is a waxed cotton version too) and uses quality hardware like YKK brass (or gunmetal) zippers as well as heavy duty D-rings. The interior is lined with black twill cotton and an optional hounds-tooth pattern will be available for a bit of extra style on the inside.
The materials aren’t the only thing that set this helmet carrier from the rest. Neo and Sons make use of the empty space within the helmet for additional storage. I often carry my gloves in my helmet when I carry them around but this carrying bag has an integrated storage pocket that protrudes into the open helmet space from underneath.
While covering the final round of MotoAmerica racing at Barber this past Fall, we learned about some of the new classes coming for 2018. This includes the new Junior Cup which replaces the KTM Cup which we are very interested to see but also even more surprising is the new Twins Class. This is very exciting to see as it adds a huge range of possibilities for both riders and builders.
The Twins class will allow for a lot of modification to the machines allowed to compete in the class which comprises 600cc to 800cc displacement two cylinder engines. Plus this segment offers a lot of inexpensive and versatile places to start including Yamaha’s MT-07, Kawasaki’s Ninja 650, and Suzuki’s SV650 (replacing the SFV650 for 2018).
Modifications can be applied not only to suspension and engine components but competitors will be allowed to modify ECU programming. This will be a boon to tuners looking to get the most out of these middleweight machines. These lenient rules are going to likely make for a very interesting and diverse field of machines on the grids for 2018.
Read more about the new Twins Class at MotoAmerica’s website. You can also download the detailed technical specs by clicking here.
Along with a change to a new look at webBikeWorld.com, my latest review for that site has been published as of yesterday. This review is of the Flying Eyes Golden Eagle Sport sunglasses which are designed for use in helmets and with over-the-ear headphones.
The name Flying Eyes relates to the fact these shades were designed by a pilot for use when piloting planes. The original “aviator” design sunglasses can be less comfortable with modern headsets and they also tend to let noise into what are otherwise sound isolating headsets.
By using very thin temples, these sunglasses have minimal impact on headsets and are comfortable inside of helmets used for flying. As such they are also well suited for use in motorcycle helmets which is exactly why they landed on my desk for review. So how did they perform? Check out the full review and find out.